Dear Amy: Almost 30 years ago, less than a month before his death, my father gave me a ring that has been in our family for generations. When I went to his room to get the ring, it wasn’t there. He found it hidden in my sister’s room.

She recently asked me to give the ring to my nephew for him to use to propose to his girlfriend. I told her no. I proposed selling the ring and splitting the amount among our siblings; she accused me of being money-hungry. She made up a story that 30 years ago we all agreed that the ring would go to my nephew (who is only 26).

She has used histrionics to emotionally bully me to get what she wants over the years, and I’m over it. I love her, but every couple of years she creates one of these dramas and distances herself for weeks, or months.

How should I interact with her?

 

Amy says: Your understanding is that the value of this ring should be shared among your siblings. Have the ring appraised; whichever family member wants the ring should purchase it at an agreed-upon price, with the money going to the other siblings.

If you are being continuously manipulated and stomped on by your sister, and if you’ve finally “had it,” then all you have to do is to behave differently.

When one person in a relationship starts behaving differently, the other person generally thrashes around for a while, acting out and trying to force the relationship back into familiar patterns. Expect this from your sister. If she goes deep and silent, then let her stew until she understands that while you love her, you’re not the pushover you used to be.

He’s in love, but with whom?

Dear Amy: I am a man in my mid-20s. I have been dating “Cassie” for about four years. I love her. Lately I have started noticing strong feelings for my friend “Holly,” whom I have known all my life.

I have been spending more time with Holly, due to work-related circumstances, and feel giddy whenever we interact. I seem to be more excited to spend time with Holly than Cassie. I don’t know if it’s due to the novelty of spending time with her again, or if I am more in love with her than Cassie.

The biggest problem would be if I had to break up with Cassie. She is sure she wants to marry me, and she can be emotionally irrational when it comes to fights or loss. I think she has the potential to harm herself if I were to end things.

Please help me sort through these feelings and figure out what I should do.

 

Amy says: I don’t know which woman you love more. But I do know that the fear of breaking up and the fear of your partner’s reaction to a breakup are the worst reasons to stay together. Do not let your fear, or your girlfriend’s emotional manipulations, run the show.

 

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