Dear Annie: I have a dear friend who means a lot to me. “Sherri” moved in with her boyfriend, and as their relationship began to spiral downward, they started seeing other people while still living together. Some of this was done without the other’s knowledge, although each of them has been caught by the other on several occasions.
Sherri has been pressuring her boyfriend to stay faithful to her and cease contact with his other girlfriends. But at the same time, she confides in me about her ongoing intimate relationships with several other men in her life, for which she feels no remorse or guilt.
This is my problem: While she is sharing her happy escapades with me and admitting she has no intention of ending her other relationships, she asks me almost daily for advice on keeping him “in line” and making him stop seeing other girls. I have managed to remain diplomatic with my responses, saying, “You both need to decide what works for you individually, and either agree to an open relationship or part ways.” But she still bombards me daily for advice. She doesn’t seem to grasp that relationships are a two-way street.
I do not want to ruin an otherwise wonderful friendship by saying, “Don’t ask him to stop cheating if you are not willing to do the same,” which is what I really want to say. Any suggestions on how to reply to her constant nagging for support and advice?
— Trying To Be a Good Friend
Dear Friend: You don’t ruin a friendship by being honest, as long as you aren’t unkind. When Sherri asks how to get her boyfriend to stop cheating, ask her whether she is willing to do the same. If she says no, simply reply that she seems confused and maybe this guy isn’t the best match for her. To demand fidelity without reciprocating creates a level of mistrust that is a poor basis for a relationship.
Dear Annie: Your answer to “Kids and Dogs and Neighbors, Oh My,” whose yard was constantly being trespassed upon by the neighbor’s kids, was too nice. She should not have to go through all that you suggest to get relief. She should give the parents one last warning that the next time their kids trespass, the police will be called. She has worked hard to make her home the way she likes it and has no obligation to protect it from invaders. That is what the law is for.
I had the same issue because I have a creek that passes through my property. After many unsuccessful attempts to be nice, a call to the local police department resulted in a swift, sure and permanent solution to the problem.
Dear Pittsburgh: Many readers agreed with you, but when trying to maintain good relations with a neighbor, as well as one’s pretty lawn, we always suggest kindness before resorting to the police. Asking the neighbors to keep their kids off the grass was a decent first step, but it’s inadequate, as anyone with young kids understands. If the additional suggestions we offered still don’t accomplish the appropriate result, calling the police is always an option. Here’s one more:
Dear Annie: Grass will grow back. There used to be plenty of kids in my yard, but they’ve grown up, and my yard is quiet. I long for the joy of having children play on my lawn again. The grass has grown back, and now all we do with it is mow it. There are no kids, and there’s no noise. I wish I had a few running in my yard again, tearing up that perfect lawn.
— An Old Grandpa
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