Ask Amy: Letter-writer is no pen pal
Dear Amy: When my wife was a teenager, a 20-something man she knew in her social circle became obsessed with her. He kept calling her and would mainly whine about his life.
He started talking about marriage, although for her he was an annoying acquaintance.
She finally had enough and told him to stop contacting her. He then started in on her friends and family.
When she and I became engaged, he started contacting me and my friends and family.
He wrote lots of long, whiny letters about how miserable he was and how terrible she was and why can’t they just be friends.
This went on for years. We have bunches of letters he wrote. Finally, he stopped writing, and we hoped he had finally moved on.
But he started up again. We’re in our 60s now.
His letters are the same as before, and full of delusions about how things used to be.
The letters are very distressing to my wife, every time. She’s in counseling.
We’ve contacted lawyers, but they’re not interested because he hasn’t made any violent threats and because we haven’t seen him in person in years.
What can we do?
Dear Conflicted: According to you, these letters don’t contain threatening language and don’t cross the line into harassment. Are you sure? You have expressly asked not to be contacted, so you should do more research to see if the content of these letters is over the legal line.
Writing and sending these letters might be a venting exercise for this unstable person — and you merely receiving them but never responding may cause him to taper off.
You should go to the post office and speak with your local postmaster. Ask about your options for refusing this mail. Ask if they are able to withhold delivery of mail from this particular sender, or if filing a form called PS 1500 (which applies to sexually explicit material), might be possible or advisable.
They might advise you (not your wife) to open and read these letters to make sure they have not changed in tone (keep them in a file), or for you to order an ink stamp that says, “Moved, no forwarding address” or “return to sender,” and send the letters back unopened.
If you do this, take a photo of these letters to have a record of when they were delivered.
Dear Amy: I work for a well-known company in an office environment that was very busy and stressful — before the pandemic hit.
All of the workers in my category have been working from home for almost three years now.
I have completely adjusted, and find that I am just as productive as before — and much happier. In addition to the convenience of working from my home office, I have saved 10 hours of commuting time a week, as well as a substantial sum that I would have spent on clothing, lunches, and commuting.
My company is now urging all of us to return to the office. I’ve heard through the grapevine that they will start really cracking down.
I’m wondering what I should do.
— Happily Working
Dear Happily Working: The first thing you should do is to communicate with your manager to see if there is flexibility in this dictate — for a productive and seasoned worker like you. Are you willing to go into the office at all?
According to a recent article published in Forbes magazine, your company is part of a trend of workplaces insisting that workers return to the office.
There are few labor laws that protect your preference to work from home.
The marketplace, however, is on your side.
Adzuna, a search engine for job advertisements, conducted “a year-over-year analysis of advertised job vacancies across the United States and found that from November 2020 to 2022, job postings grew by more than 6.2 million. Yet less than 2 percent were for office-based roles, whereas ads for remote roles rose by nearly 10%.”
It might be time for you to hop back into the job market.
Dear Amy: “Sad Sister in WY” described her brother’s girlfriend as “fixing” his looks in a number of ways, and then critiquing the way he used to look.
You described the girlfriend as controlling and lacking tact.
Unfortunately, I identified with the girlfriend. I realize I’ve been criticizing the way my husband used to look. I see now how rude that is.
— I’ll be Changing
Dear Changing: I appreciate how this insight came about, as well as your honesty in admitting it.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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