DEAR AMY: I have a longtime lady friend whom I also work with. She got married just over a year ago.
Her husband ran away a couple of times for days at a time while they were dating and during their engagement.
They have a child together, and she feels she might have gone through with the wedding only because of their kid.
There has always been a connection between us, and it has come to the surface that there may be feelings there from both parties.
I am close to her husband as well. I don't want to feel as if I'm trying to steal her away from him, because I am also divorced and had my wife stolen from me by a guy.
However, if she is married for the wrong reasons, how does she figure that out?
I'd like to know if it's OK to try to have a relationship with her.
— Lonely Guy
DEAR LONELY: Getting married for the sake of a child isn't such a bad reason to tie the knot.
Your friend is responsible for her own choices. You shouldn't trivialize her choices, and she shouldn't use you as a motivation to leave her marriage.
Your friend's judgment will be clouded if you reveal your feelings for her. You are also at risk of doing the very thing you claim destroyed your own marriage.
You seem to be asking my permission to move in on these friends and interfere with their marriage.
Sorry, permission denied.
DEAR AMY: I had a cordial but not close relationship with my father's sister, who lived in a different part of the country.
When my aunt passed away, I wrote a note of condolence to her loving husband, whom I've met only once or twice and haven't seen in 20 years. Several months later, when Christmas rolled around, I sent a photo card of my kids, like I always did when my aunt was alive, but I wrote a note on the back with a few kind words.
Now Christmas is rolling around again, and I can't decide whether I should continue to send this man, who barely knows me and has never met my children, a Christmas card/photo.
Is it rude or unkind to just drop him? Or is it weirder to keep sending cards to someone I don't have a personal relationship with?
— Nice Niece
DEAR NIECE: There's nothing quite like watching a group of children who are complete strangers grow up via their holiday pictures. It's like viewing a slide show in extreme slow motion.
But I maintain that every year many of us engage in a guessing game over the identity of at least one of our Christmas correspondents.
This annual riddle has become an important holiday ritual in my own family and has provided almost as much amusement as "A Charlie Brown Christmas."
Your aunt's husband no doubt knows who you are, even if he doesn't know you well, so you should send your card.
This year when you write your note, you could say, "I realize that my children are strangers to you, and I don't know you well, but you were an important part of Aunt Sally's life and I hope it's OK to keep in touch in this way. Please let me know."
If you don't hear from him this year, you could quietly let the ball drop.
DEAR AMY: I've just read another comment about the family whose feelings were hurt because their teenage kids were not invited to a family member's wedding reception.
Why not reserve a room at the wedding venue or at a community center (or even someone's house), pay someone a small sum to supervise and give them their own party?
It doesn't have to cost much; a boom box or iPod docking station, or some family musicians if there are any, and a pot luck, chips and/or cupcakes or a cake.
The couple can stop by at some point to let the kids congratulate them.
DEAR RUTH: This is an interesting idea, though it puts the marrying couple in the position of hosting and paying for a parallel reception.
I also wonder if this would satisfy those parents who feel their children should be included in the "real" reception.