Dear Amy: My wife and I are in a fellowship group with other families from our church. We meet for dinner at one house each month and visit after church. The families: husbands/wives/kids, are all very close and adore each other.
Unfortunately, it appears that one of the husbands and one of the wives (not his) seem to adore each other a little too much. They always sit next to each other at these dinners, and my wife and I have both noticed some funny business going on under the table.
The two of them will go off to “do the dishes” while the remaining adults continue enjoying the group conversation. All of this happens with their spouses present.
We weren’t certain this behavior was obvious to anyone else, but my wife talked privately with another wife, and she and her husband are certain that something is going on.
Our emotions range from sadness to disbelief and anger that we are somehow facilitating a possible affair.
We don’t want to talk with the two spouses on the sidelines, and we know that confronting one of the two in this possible affair will definitely bring the group to an end. What should we do? — Sad on Sundays
Dear Sad: “Doing the dishes” has a whole new meaning for me, now. Thank you for that.
Minding your own business is an option. Otherwise, you are sharing your reactions with the wrong people. This has become an open secret and a source of gossip. You could speak with the principals involved (I’m assuming the husband). You and your wife witnessed untoward behavior. So you say, “Your behavior has been noticed and commented on. I don’t want to personally judge you, but ... it seems like you’re headed toward some Commandment-breaking stuff. I’m giving you a heads-up. I’d hate to see people get hurt.”
Yes — this could implode your group.
Dear Amy: I am a retired, 65-year-old woman. I live by myself in a townhouse community.
A few months ago, new neighbors moved in. They are two gay married men, in their 40s.
They introduced themselves to me, and invited me over to their house for a backyard barbecue the weekend after they moved in.
I was surprised that they invited me, because I thought they’d think I was old or boring.
I went to their barbecue. I was very nervous, but I had such a good time! They were lovely and funny, and I had so much fun.
Besides waving “hello” to them, or the occasional quick chat outside, we haven’t talked since. They seem to have people over to their home almost every weekend, and are very active, but they’ve never re-extended an invitation.
I don’t want to invade their space or be the “nosy neighbor.” I want to be in their company again, but I want it to be at their house.
I have always been shy, so I don’t know how I should approach this.
How should I get them to invite me back? — Nervous Neighbor
Dear Nervous: Your smart (and nice) new neighbors have done the right thing by inviting you to their home soon after moving in. In a townhouse community, you are living in close proximity (possibly sharing a common wall), and by demonstrating how they entertain, they have created trust, understanding and — yes, your burning desire to spend more social time with them.
You should always and forever be authentically who you are, and you should read and respect whatever social cues they are sending.
These gentlemen likely have a long-standing social circle. You might not be able to angle your way into it, but you could probably deepen your relationship beyond the occasional wave hello.
Even if you don’t feel comfortable reciprocating by inviting these two into your own home, you should have thanked them for their hospitality by sending them a note and a small token — perhaps a plant for their garden.
In order to seed a friendship, you first need to let your neighborliness bloom.
Dear Amy: I’m offering my perspective to “Desperate,” who seeks a rural lifestyle while her boyfriend wants to live in a city.
I was in the same position, except I was the one who wanted the city life.
My boyfriend won, we got married, and have lived in a small town hundreds of miles from cities.
It’s been 44 years, and not a day passes that I don’t regretfully wonder “what if.” — Country Mouse
Dear Mouse: I hope “Desperate” reads your response.