Dear Amy: I am a 58-year-old divorced woman. I have a male friend whom I have known for 40 years. He and I dated when I was 20. We were sexually intimate.

He calls me frequently. I no longer feel any sort of physical attraction toward him, but he is still very attracted to me. We have a great time talking at dinner or watching a movie, but then he wants to become physical. I have told him I am no longer interested in sex at all, but he just ignores it and says things like, “Once we start, I know you’ll enjoy it.”

I enjoy his company, so I hate to just start refusing his invitations. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, either, by saying that I don’t find him attractive. I need a good line to let him know I enjoy his friendship but only in a platonic way!

 

Amy says: How’s this: “Dude. Stop. No means no. Do you get that?”

You have offered all sorts of explanations to guard his ego. You do not owe him any further explanation about anything. If he can’t handle being platonic and strictly nonsexual friends with you, then you shouldn’t spend time with him.

Contact friend about gift card

Dear Amy: I have a friend, “Shelly,” with whom I have had a warm relationship for many years. Over the years we drifted apart, but reconnected quickly when we ran into each other.

A couple of years ago Shelly’s husband died, leaving her with four school-age children and few financial resources.

Because of my own health issues, I have not been in touch (other than through a condolence card) since she was widowed, but I think of her often.

At Christmas, I expressed that sentiment in a card to her and included a $100 gift card to a restaurant, adding that I hoped that she and her family could use it for a fun dinner outing. My husband, “Brent,” delivered the card. Without opening the card, she said she was going to call me to catch up. That was weeks ago, and I have heard nothing from her. Do you think my gift offended her?

 

Amy says: The last time I gave someone a gift card contained in another card, I experienced some pretty major anxiety about it, because giving a gift card is like enclosing a $100 bill — you don’t know if it has been received unless the recipient tells you.

You should contact her. Cop to your own anxiety. Say, “This is awkward, but Brent assured me that he handed you a card at the Christmas party. I’m a little nervous because I had enclosed a gift card, and I just want to make sure that Brent did get it to you. If so, great. And I’m very eager to catch up. I think about you and the kids so often and regret that I haven’t been in closer touch. That’s on me, and I’d like to remedy that.”

You should not automatically assume that your gift has offended her, but if it has, her response should clue you in.

 

Send Ask Amy questions to Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com. Twitter: @askingamy