Dear Amy: My ex-husband and I had a difficult, drawn-out divorce after 26 years of marriage, with eight years of unhappiness and zero sex (and no — the lack of sex and fighting over money were due to HIM, not me).
After the divorce I moved back to the Midwest, moved in with my dear parents, struggled to restart my career, and have moved on with healthy activities and friendships/relationships over the last decade.
Our children are all adults now and the ex and I are brought together more often due to births, weddings, etc., but he continues to totally “ghost” me. He never greets me, never directs a word toward me or even looks at me.
My friends and daughter tell me, “Just ignore him. He wants nothing to do with you.”
This is still hurtful to me after all this time.
I still send him birthday cards, emails and notes once in a while.
How do you recommend I deal with this?
Dear Exed-Out: Ghosting is when someone basically ceases all contact.
If you didn’t reach out to your ex with birthday cards and other messages, you wouldn’t feel quite so “ghosted,” because every time you reach out, you’re triggering an expectation that your contact will inspire your ex to react or respond. You need to stop.
Yes, it is extremely rude for him to be in your presence at a family event and to act as if you don’t exist, but he doesn’t want to have anything to do with you, and he is trying mightily not to have anything to do with you.
I suggest that you should attempt to cordially share space with him during family events, greeting him verbally (if he doesn’t respond, that’s his problem) and behaving neutrally otherwise. In short, yes — ignore him.
Dear Amy: As a retired minister, I am occasionally asked to lead funeral services or weddings. Most pastors do not “charge” a set fee for such services but typically receive an honorarium. In the past year, I prepared and led several funerals and a wedding. I received nothing for one of the funerals, and less than $100 for the wedding.
Comparing that “gift” to the thousands spent on venue, clothing, entertainment, drinks, and dinner, I could not help but feel as if my work was totally unvalued. The amount received didn’t even cover my mileage!
Of course, no matter what the price, I put my heart into these services of worship, but they demand hard work and lots of time, and pastors do have expenses.
I will not set a fee, because I am willing to serve those whose financial resources are truly limited. Any suggestions?
— Puzzled Pastor
Dear Puzzled: It seems to me that as a retired minister, you should actually “charge” for conducting a service. You are essentially a pastor-for-hire, able to accept or decline requests that come your way.
My theory is that most people simply do not know if — or how — pastors are compensated for “extra” services, and they believe it is too awkward to inquire.
When you receive that first inquiry, you should state: “I charge XX to perform a wedding service. This includes meetings with the couple in advance of the ceremony, conducting the rehearsal, and the wedding ceremony, itself.”
For a funeral, you might state: “I normally charge XX to perform a funeral service. Would this present an additional hardship for you? If so, I would be willing to reduce or waive my fee.”
Overall, I’m suggesting that you merely be kind and clear at the outset. You’d be doing families (and yourself) a favor.
Dear Amy: I’m responding to the question from “Baker” about supplying sugar and gluten-free food for a relative.
I was born with a medical condition that means I must abide by a highly restrictive diet.
When I was a kid, dietary restrictions were unheard of and rarely talked about.
My extended family believed that my mother and I made it all up to get attention. At family gatherings, while my extended and immediate family ate pie and goodies, I had a cup of water.
I never held any resentment toward them, but I always felt excluded. Aside from some times when my mother could make something special for me, I always wished and hoped that others might make food that I could enjoy along with everyone else.
Dear Excluded: I can imagine how this must have felt. As I said to “Baker,” providing food that her guest could safely eat is the right thing for a host to do.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org 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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