DEAR AMY: My boyfriend of 12 years and I are supposed to move into a house together at the end of this month, but there are problems.
Until now, we've lived separately. He has a house a half-hour away from mine. Both of us have grown children. While my children have known him for almost all of the 12 years, his children do not even know I exist.
This is an ongoing issue between us. Two weeks ago, he took his oldest daughter (who is 27 and married) to see the house we're buying. He told her to pick out any bedroom she wanted.
He didn't tell her about me.
I was very upset and said that he should tell his kids about me immediately. He got mad at me and hasn't spoken to me for 10 days. He doesn't take my calls and he doesn't call me. I know from past experience that he is waiting for me to apologize for questioning him.
I'm worn down by all of this and very depressed. I've invested a lot of money putting my house on the market, I've accepted an offer and the closing is scheduled. Am I making a huge mistake or can this relationship somehow work? Please help me.
DEAR FRETTING: Because you have made the shocking choice to accept an offer on your house and invest in another under such dicey circumstances, I'm going to leave my sometimes cozy perch, grab my megaphone and tell you, no, no, no, no!
This relationship will never work. Every single thing about it is so off-kilter that I can only imagine that you checked your brain, along with your self-esteem, somewhere along the way.
Take this current crisis as a wake-up call that will change the course of your future in a very positive way. Do whatever is necessary to extricate yourself from this house deal and start fresh. Do not communicate with this man again. Put as much distance as possible between you. His refusal to acknowledge you to others effectively negates your very existence. Please, reconnect with who you are and start your life anew.
DEAR AMY: My father is in his mid-80s and in poor health. Mom died several years ago.
Dad has always been miserable. He never really had a kind word to say to anyone, complained almost constantly and basically has always been a mean and miserable guy.
At my workplace in the past six months we have had five elderly parents of co-workers pass away. Collections were taken, cards sent and services have been held for these family members. That got me pondering the demise of our dad and how I will not have the same kind of grief as my co-workers. Two of my brothers have already indicated they will not attend any kind of service for him.
How do people have and hold funerals or services for family members that were not loved? Are the services just kept private? When co-workers express feelings of sorrow to me am I being a hypocrite because I will not have much regard for his loss? Some insight would be appreciated.
— Not Sad for Dad
DEAR NOT SAD: There is no requirement (social or otherwise) to hold a service after your father's death. It isn't all that unusual for families to have small private services — or no service at all.
You are a lucky person to work in such a compassionate environment. When co-workers (or others) express their sympathy, focus on their actions and intent. If you don't want to discuss the back story behind your relationship with your father, you respond, "Thank you so much for your concern. It means a lot. We aren't holding a service (or 'we're having a private service')."
DEAR AMY: A reader wrote to you saying that men seldom criticize one another about working (or not working) outside the home. You concurred that you "never hear men judging one another's choices in quite this way."
The reason is simple: Most men simply don't have the choice of whether to work or stay home raising children.
DEAR LOGICAL: Absolutely.
Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.