Dear Amy: I have a best lifelong friend who is generous, caring, selfless, and has been there for me countless times throughout the years. I truly don’t know what I would do without her.
She went through years of heartache, trying to conceive.
She had countless miscarriages and false alarms. I was there for her.
Fast-forward 10 years — yes, 10 — and just when she was about to give up, she scrapes up enough money to try ONE round of IVF, and, lo and behold, she gets pregnant with twin boys!
The beautiful boys are now a year old. Unfortunately, they have had issues both with sleeping and with acid reflux. It has not been easy for her.
I completely understand how hard it must be, lacking sleep and to be dealing with fussy babies for a year. But this entire year, all my friend has done is complain. Complain, complain, complain.
I hesitate calling or texting her because the constant complaining negatively affects my day.
I don’t get why she has become this way, especially after all she went through to have kids. Even if I was terribly exhausted, I would never constantly complain about it. I mean, who wants to hear that?
I have recently tried to distance myself, but I feel bad.
Am I a bad friend for thinking/feeling this way? Should I just suck it up and hope this phase of hers passes?
— Bad Friend
Dear Bad Friend: I don’t think you can actually understand how your friend might be feeling, but let me put it into some context by quoting from my ancient copy of Dr. Benjamin Spock’s chapter on twins in his book, “Baby and Child Care.” The chapter starts: “Get help!” (The 10th edition of this book, 2018, is published by Gallery Books).
Did you give birth to twins after a decade of a heartbreaking and hormonal roller coaster, followed by bank-breaking IVF? If you had, you might feel less aggrieved by your friend’s complaining, and more concerned for her mental and emotional well-being.
Your friend is experiencing the real-world completion of the adage, “Be careful what you wish for…” Her venting makes you not want to pick up the phone. But you picking up the phone might be — quite literally — a lifeline for her.
Here’s how to be supportive: “This is overwhelming. But have YOU had a checkup? Have you seen your doctor? In addition to everything you have to deal with, postpartum depression would make it all harder.”
Online communities would be a very good resource for her. Reddit.com’s parentsofmultiples is full of twin stories — the good, the tough, and the yucky. Other parents of multiples will be very supportive and helpful, and this would give you a (well-deserved) break from her venting.
Dear Amy: I am a 70-year-old active woman who is semi-retired. I’ve been divorced for more than 20 years.
My adult children live out of state, and I have only a few social outlets.
I hate being alone and often feel lonely, even with work, volunteering, and seeing my one good friend.
I was excited to meet one older man at church but his entire conversation over brunch was about (you guessed it) sex. I was mortified. I haven’t interacted with him again.
Online dating seems so scary to me. I am only interested in companionship and honestly have no interest in having a sexual relationship.
I am out and about all the time, volunteer, go to the gym, go to work, go to church … and still no male interest. What’s wrong with me? Can you give any advice about how to either be the best alone (and lonely) older woman, or try again? How do I do that?
Dear Lonely: You should consider cohabiting with another woman. Would your good friend consider giving this a try?
Otherwise, you should try to build up your friendship pool, with both men and women. In terms of meeting new people, Meetup.com is a great place to start. You will find local meetup groups ranging from square dancing to “over 50” game nights.
Dear Amy: Wow, the question from “Concerned Mother” sure brought back memories! This mom wondered if she should let her son join the daughter’s theater group.
I resisted my younger sister’s interest in the theater. The reason was — I knew she would upstage me! Guess what, she did.
In retrospect, I realize that this was quite simply an experience I needed to have.
Dear Grown-up: I was the obnoxious little upstaging sister.
(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.)