Dear Amy: I have been dating my (probably ex) girlfriend for more than 11 years.

After she had a run of financial problems, I helped by storing a lot of her furniture and personal property at my house. I helped a little with her bills, helped her move, took in a couple of her cats — and many other things — because I was her boyfriend and believed I was being a good person to help her.

I’ve done these things, even though when I need help, emotional support or some form of thank you, I never receive anything. For instance, I got a two-word text message for my birthday.

Now she is starting to ghost me after I asked for some of my money back. How long should I hold on to her things before I call a thrift store and have it hauled off?

Amy says: You should make a good-faith effort to contact this woman to tell her that you intend to get rid of the possessions she has left in your home. Document your attempts by printing out texts and e-mails and keep copies. Give her a specific deadline to pick up these items (two weeks seems reasonable). Tell her that if she doesn’t pick them up, you’ll be donating her furniture. You should not donate any of her small personal items (letters, documents, photos, etc.). These things should be put in a bin and left at her house at a prearranged time.

If you gave this woman money because she was your girlfriend, you will not get it back. If you loaned it to her and have a loan agreement in writing, you may have to take her to court.

You deserve better, and I hope your next relationship is more positive and balanced.

Unhappy anniversary

Dear Amy: This year marks my 25th wedding anniversary with my wife.

Our marriage has been quite tumultuous, and we have come close to ending it, but we have stayed together “for the sake of the kids.”

I’ve kept our marriage going (which has been a regret) for most of the last 20 years. My wife has put up this facade of happiness for many years and my two children (17 and 20) know exactly what is happening at this point.

I threw my wife a surprise 40th birthday party and have always remembered her on holidays — even if we were fighting at the time. However, whenever I attempt to make plans to celebrate these special occasions (including planning a trip to Europe for this anniversary), my wife finds an excuse not to participate.

Should I treat this anniversary like any other and buy my wife a piece of jewelry, or should I corner her and insist that she do something special?

Amy says: You say you’re unhappy. Your wife seems disconnected.

There is no question that some people are made very uncomfortable by the attention that accompanies landmark events. If your wife is one of these people, she will not enjoy your efforts, regardless of your grand intentions. In this regard, you should plan whatever you would enjoy doing, and understand that you may be flying solo. “Cornering” her won’t work.

However, your wife might be deliberately undermining your admirable efforts to wring some celebratory joy out of your union. If that is the case, perhaps you should present her with an appointment for marriage counseling — or a separation agreement — for this landmark anniversary.


Send Ask Amy questions to Amy Dickinson at Twitter: @askingamy Facebook: @ADickinsonDaily.