Ask Amy

 Dear Amy: I believe that when you get a pet, you become responsible for its care and well-being.

My dog has diabetes and requires a morning and evening shot of insulin.

A dog cannot tell you how it is feeling, and only a vet can check a dog’s blood sugar.

The way a dog’s diabetes is controlled is to have regular, consistent feedings and maintaining a strict schedule of insulin administration.

I will not go to social functions if it interferes with my dog’s evening insulin shot. People seem to think that it is only a dog and that you can skip the insulin or be several hours late with no problem.

Not true. It is to the point that I do not give a reason; I just say that I cannot make it. Is there a better way to handle this? — Anthony

Dear Anthony: I think your dog has enough problems without being used as a scapegoat (or scapedog) for those times you’re not interested in spending time with people.

People with care-giving duties for chronically ill family members (such as you) should find respite care occasionally to maintain their other relationships.

I agree that it isn’t anyone else’s business to determine what is best for your high-maintenance pet, but I bet your vet could recommend a responsible person to take over your duties from time to time so that you could build and maintain healthy relationships with the humans in your life.

 

Dear Amy: I’ve been dating my girlfriend for more than a year, and we’re both very happy with our relationship.

Recently, one of my girlfriend’s former boyfriends reached out to renew their friendship. He recently became single.

While I completely trust my girlfriend, I’m viscerally uncomfortable with her being friends with people she has slept with.

I’ve told her I’m anxious about the situation, but I believe it’s my problem and I need to get over it.

Is this just dumb, primal instinct rearing its ugly head?

Neither I nor any of my friends who are in serious relationships are friends with people we’ve slept with, so I don’t know whom to ask.

What’s your insight? — Fourth Wheel

Dear Wheel: Your discomfort over this is natural, and what you do about it is your responsibility.

Your girlfriend has responsibilities too, however. Just because her ex reaches out to her doesn’t mean that she has to reciprocate.

You need only to ask her how she would feel if the situation were on the other foot (so to speak). I’m sure her reaction would be primal too.

If she wants to be friends with him, then she should make sure you meet him and have the opportunity to be completely part of the circle.

There are rare occasions when the whole friendship with the ex thing works out — though this seems to happen mainly on television sitcoms, as a way to keep the plot moving and tensions high.

Here in real life, people’s histories and agendas frequently clash and former partners are reminded of why they broke up.

 

Dear Amy: My spouse and I have dear friends we enjoy going out to eat with on a regular basis. We have a unique problem, and I just don’t know what to do.

Our friends insist on paying the bill every time!

They will never accept money, so the only way we have been able to pay is by getting to the restaurant before them and handing the server our credit card immediately.

They even tried to pay the night we took them out for their anniversary.

It was one of the few times that I put my foot down and literally had to strong-arm them into letting us pay.

I’m worried about how to approach them, for fear of hurting our friendship.

I don’t want to seem ungrateful — it is nice to get taken out sometimes, but we also enjoy picking up the tab sometimes.

My spouse and I are not destitute and are perfectly capable of paying our way at a restaurant.

Any suggestions? — David

Dear David: Generosity is a virtue, but your friends don’t seem to realize that true generosity accommodates another person’s need to also be generous. They are denying you the opportunity to give, and that’s not fair. It is also throwing your relationship out of whack.

Extended tussling over the check is only cute in the movies. In real life, it’s a graceless power struggle.

This issue will only hurt your friendship if both parties dig in and refuse to do things differently. Bring this up the next time you both want to go out.

Tell them you appreciate the generosity but that their good-hearted refusal to let you pick up the check makes you uncomfortable, and then ask if they will agree to hold their generosity at bay every other time you go out.

 

Send questions to askamy@tribune.com or to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

About Chris Elkins

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