DEAR AMY: My roommates and I have breakfast together on the weekends. Your columns keep us entertained. We play "amateur psychologist" and come up with our own answers before reading yours. Now I have a dilemma to share with you.
A very casual acquaintance of mine, "Patricia," randomly sent me the following message at 2:15 a.m. recently:
"This is completely inappropriate, but what the h--l. I enjoy analyzing and talking about dreams. In my dreams, I have sex with a whole slew of random people."
(Readers, Amy here. I am officially redacting the middle portion of this message. Trust me, it is for your own protection. Earmuffs on the children, please. And now, back to our dream sequence.)
"In my dreams, I've had nocturnal relations with you at least three times in the past year, including last night. We were in an old study on an English estate. It's like a hall pass to do anything without repercussions.
"No, I'm not hitting on you. This strange phenomenon just inspired me to say hi. Life is so enjoyably weird sometimes."
Amy, I am a single man and she is in a long-term relationship with a guy I know. How should I respond? Or should I respond at all? I'm not sure what to think! -- X-Rated Dream Object
DEAR X-RATED: Life is weird. And guess what makes it weird. People.
Your acquaintance starts her message to you by saying, "This is completely inappropriate, but what the h--l." Do you care about the appropriateness of this behaviour? I think you do.
She also says she is not hitting on you. Do you believe her? I think you don't.
I find this creepy and stalkerish and agree with your basic bewilderment as you ponder what to do.
Not responding is an option, but she might take that as an invitation to further share her horrifying dream journal. If you don't want this contact, you should respond: "This is definitely not cool, and I don't enjoy or appreciate it." Then you should maintain total radio silence.
DEAR AMY: My fiance and I are 25 and 26 and are discussing our wedding plans.
We have decided that we want to have a courthouse wedding because we don't want to spend thousands of dollars on a big ceremony.
Our families have been extremely vocal about their disapproval. They said we would be robbing them of their experience.
We explained to them that they could still come to the courthouse to witness our union, but that was not good enough. My mom actually started crying.
I do not know what to do. My gut is saying that my fiance and I should continue to do what we feel is the most appropriate thing for us.
Please help me come up with the best compromise and the correct words to address our families. -- Conflicted Bride
DEAR CONFLICTED: I think that on some level everybody lives vicariously through marrying couples. When you announce your intentions it is one of those times when family members feel it is their right -- and their business -- to weigh in on something that is actually very intimate.
You have to be strong enough to risk disappointing your families and resilient enough to realize that everybody will survive this disappointment.
You say, "I realize you are disappointed, but this is how we want to do it. We hope you will be there with us and join us for lunch afterward. It will be a very happy day for us, and we can't wait to share it with you."
DEAR AMY: This is for "Struggling Through Grief."
When my young son died, I went to a grief counsellor. She told me she was going to help me "get through it." She said, "You will never get over it, but gradually the pain will subside."
Some events will be difficult (birthday, holidays and other memorable family times) but you cannot use a calendar date because change happens gradually. -- Mom With Experience
DEAR MOM: How wise. Thank you.