Ask Amy: How to protect daughter from a creepy family friend?

Dear Amy: My parents are wonderful people. They have a long-time friend, “Roger,” who is a heavy drinker and doesn’t have a family of his own. He doesn’t seem to reciprocate their friendship, and they seem to accept Roger as something of a family member – he’s just someone who is often around.

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I am a 40-year-old woman and have known Roger all of my life. When I was a teenager he repeatedly made leering and gross comments to me; I knew he’d been drinking and didn’t know what to do about it, so I did my best to avoid him. Once I went to college, it was easy to do, but on visits home Roger often seemed to find a way to sexually harass me.

I never told my parents.

Last year, my husband and I decided to move back to my hometown. We have a teenage daughter and a younger son. We moved back home in order to spend more time with my folks, who are getting up in years.

Roger is still around, and doesn’t seem to have changed at all.

I don’t want to control my parents, but I don’t want my daughter to be exposed to the same harassment I experienced.

I’d appreciate your ideas about how to handle this.

– Harassed Mom

Dear Harassed: Talk to your daughter. Tell her about your own experience. Tell her that you never told your folks about being harassed, but that if she ever experiences anything like this, you would like her to tell you.

You’ve been sitting on this for 20 years or so, and I think it’s time to have a chat with “Roger.”

If you see him and discern that he hasn’t changed, you should tell him, “You harassed me when I was younger and I didn’t say anything about it, but I’m letting you know that if this happens again – or if you say anything even slightly inappropriate to my kids – you’ll have to deal with me.”

Do not expect Roger to acknowledge his behavior or apologize to you. (He may not remember – or claim not to remember – due to his drinking.)

He may choose to bring this up to your folks. If so, you can let them know that you don’t want to burden them with this and have decided to handle it like the strong and capable adult they raised you to be.

Dear Amy: We learned that my long-divorced nephew was engaged to his girlfriend, whom we have not met.

In a congratulatory card we asked them to inform us when they set the date so we could book the flights.

A month ago, my nephew informed me they had decided to elope at some point.

I told him we would love to meet them for dinner on a trip we plan for later this year, and they agreed.

This month invitations were received by my many siblings for a summer wedding.

We did not receive one – and I doubt it was lost in the mail.

Knowing that I am not a favorite of my nephew’s mom (since her developing early dementia), it was not a surprise – except for his story about eloping.

While I am prepared to send $1,000 like we gave to a niece on my wife’s side, my wife disagrees because we were invited to and attended her niece’s wedding.

Should I contact my nephew or his dad, my oldest brother?

I am inclined to just let it go and send the gift, but what’s your take?

– Disappointed

Dear Disappointed: I think you jumped the gun when you responded to this engagement by assuming they’d be having a wedding and that you would be invited.

I suggest reaching out to your nephew and saying, “I don’t want to pressure you, but I’m just trying to clarify whether we’ve been invited to your wedding?”

This is extremely awkward, but keep in mind that when it comes to weddings, the groom’s preferences are often outnumbered by the bride, her family, and his parents.

And yes – if you can afford to be this generous to all of your nephews and nieces, I think you should send a check.

(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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