Dear Amy: My best friend "Maria," whom I've known since high school, has ghosted me three times within the last four years. Maria is like a sister to me. She is the godmother to my kids, as I am to hers.
When we reconnect after her silence (which lasts months), it is because I initiate it. She apologizes and tells me that she loves me and misses me. She has explained that she was just going through things with her boyfriend and didn't want to discuss it and therefore doesn't return calls/messages.
We have always confided in each other, but I've told her that if there is something that she doesn't want to discuss, we don't have to. But she keeps on dumping me and acts like nothing has changed. I cannot continue the friendship like that.
To be honest, I think there is something more than her having issues with her boyfriend, but she doesn't want to tell me.
About nine months ago, I called and left two messages, letting her know that I would like us to meet so that we can discuss our friendship. She never called back. She has broken my heart. I've been sad, angry, mad — and I feel abandoned.
I will not be contacting her again, and at this point I don't know if I want her contacting me, either. I miss her and my goddaughter, and I think about her all the time.
How can I get past this?
Amy says: "Maria" may be involved in an abusive relationship that is isolating her from her other friendships. Sometimes, an abusive partner will deliberately isolate someone from family and friends; other times the abused person self-isolates out of embarrassment. This is only a theory, but according to you, Maria has hinted that there is something deep going on.
The other possibility is that Maria simply doesn't value the friendship as much as you do. This doesn't invalidate your history together, but it does change your future.
The only thing I suggest that you do differently is to try to change your own perspective on this relationship, and to give what you want to give without the expectation that you will receive an equal amount (or, perhaps anything) in return. Expressing your own generosity can feel good, if you detach from the idea of reciprocation.
Parents with opinions
Dear Amy: I am pregnant with my first child — a boy. For personal, well-considered and well-researched reasons, we have decided not to circumcise our child.
My husband and I made this decision together, and expected the choice to stay there. Then my mother, a first-time grandmother, asked me outright what we planned to do regarding circumcision. I told her we would abstain. She strongly recommended that I reconsider.
The following day, we received a text message from my parents outlining the reasons they thought we were making a horrendous decision. They begged us to circumcise the child. I was furious at what I consider to be overstepping a boundary.
My husband and I made an informed choice, and we intend to stick by it. I know this will leave my parents fuming.
How do I politely explain this, while also implying that I need them to keep their nose out of our intimate decisions?
I foresee boundary-crossing becoming an issue in the future, if not addressed directly now.
Amy says: This does not require a response. Your folks had their say. Other than a brief "message received," you will, of course, rethink any intimate information you are asked to share in the future.
If they choose to bring this up again, you should tell them, "Mom, Dad; I love you. You are interfering with our choices as parents. Please don't do this again." There is a high likelihood that you will face this interference in the future; training yourselves and your parents should start now. It will be ongoing.
Send Ask Amy questions to Amy Dickinson at P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068 or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @askingamy Facebook: @ADickinsonDaily.