Ask Amy

Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 11:45pm

DEAR AMY: I have what some might consider an "untraditional" question.

I am a very undersexed single woman. A female co-worker and I became very close friends this year, and I am steadily becoming close friends with her husband as well.

I'm interested in pursuing a threesome with this couple, but I don't know how to ask. Certainly, directly asking seems to be the best way, but I'm worried that I might ruin this relationship.

They are a very liberal couple, but how do I bring this up without offending anyone or losing my friends?

— Undersexed

DEAR UNDERSEXED: If you need a stapler, look for it at the office.

A threesome? Not so much. Intimately engaging with this couple would interfere not only with your friendships and your professional life, but also with their marriage.

I believe the protocol here is for you to wait for them to invite you.

You are an adult and can make your own choices with other consenting adults, but people don't invite themselves into another couple's relationship.

Be forewarned — even if they do invite this entanglement and it does happen, your relationship with both parties will change and (I believe) eventually suffer.


DEAR AMY: My dear father-in-law recently passed away. As we received cards from friends and acquaintances, I noticed that fairly often people would address a card of condolence to my husband only — both on the envelope and in the card.

I know there is no intentional slight to the rest of the family, but I want to suggest that people include spouses and family when sending cards of sympathy.

This man was my "father" for 36 years, and I know he considered me part of the family.

Of course, I'm thankful for any expression of sympathy, but it hurt not to see my name on some of the cards.

I don't know if there is such a thing as sympathy card etiquette, but I want to share this so that others who see it will consider this when sending cards.

It's just a little thing to be acknowledged, but it's a welcome thing at a time of sorrow.

— Grieving

DEAR GRIEVING:
I can understand why someone would address a condolence note to your husband when his father passed away because his relationship with his father is considered to be the primary relationship, and his grief would be assumed to be unique.

These gestures of condolence aren't intended to exclude you, but rather to recognize and honor the primacy of the relationship between a child and his parent.

I'm happy to hear you're not holding these kind expressions against the people who have extended their sympathy, though it's obvious that you also keenly feel this loss.


DEAR AMY: "Worried Friend" wondered how to handle the news of her friend's divorce when other people asked about it. I think you missed an opportunity to enlighten her and your readers.

Neighbors are not entitled to the private details of her friend's life, and they should not be pumping her for information.

As to her comment that she "doesn't know what to say" to the couple, her discomfort at not having the "scoop" could be why the person going through the divorce hasn't confided in her.

— Living in West Blaberon


DEAR LIVING: "Worried Friend" did seem a little too concerned about being out of the loop with news of this extremely personal matter. I agree with your conclusion.


DEAR AMY: "Stuck in a Rut" wanted to be more assertive in his life and his job.

When I needed assertiveness to ask for a pay raise, I took on the persona of the most assertive person in the same job I had.

When I approached my boss, I was that person, and I found it was easier (and successful) to be assertive as "someone else." After several years of practice, I became more assertive without pretending.

— Assertive Actor

DEAR ACTOR: This is a very effective technique, and I'm happy it worked for you.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com

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