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Ask Amy: #MeToo movement has woman questioning response to old affair
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Ask Amy: #MeToo movement has woman questioning response to old affair

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Dear Amy: Decades ago, when I was a young person ("of age" but hardly a woman), a married man in a position of power over me began an affair with me. At the time, I was too naive and insecure to realize how exploitative the relationship was, but it left deep scars.

On several occasions, he was also (what I now recognize as) physically abusive.

I have had a good life and am now happily married and the mother of two beautiful sons. But after #MeToo, I found myself re-examining what had happened to me. I became extremely upset and decided to confront him.

I eventually received a written apology, but it contained no detail. It felt incomplete. (Follow-up correspondence made it clear that he was unwilling to talk about what happened.)

Two years later, I am still waking at 3 a.m., feeling angry and wounded. The man in question is now close to retirement. He continues to hold a prominent position in his community and has long since remarried.

I have no evidence that he did this with anyone else.

Should I report him to his workplace (or wife) and potentially destroy what is left of his life and reputation? Or, given that the events in question took place years ago, and that he did say he is sorry, should I try to forgive him?

— Haunted in Hawaii

Dear Haunted: Before wrestling with your binary choice: Potentially "destroy what is left of his life" vs: forgive him, you should immediately seek professional help to handle your relived response to your long-ago trauma.

A therapist could help you to process this episode in your life, sort out the power dynamic and how it has affected you, and review your options now. To find a therapist, you can check the American Psychological Association's psychologist locator database (locator.apa.org), or get a referral from your physician, or a friend.

If this man physically abused you, you should check your state's statute of limitations regarding the option of reporting him to the police.

You should also contact a lawyer and discuss the option of suing him for whatever damage this relationship might have done to your career, as well as the physical and subsequent emotional distress you're experiencing now.

Discuss all of these options with a counselor in order to make decisions that benefit you, enable you to heal, and help you to move on.

Dear Amy: My daughter is getting married, and I want to know the etiquette behind the bridal shower. Who is supposed to host it?

My daughter and her fiance agreed to have me host a shower. They also said the groom's mom had too much going on with her own marriage right now to participate in the planning.

I sent out the invites with just my name as hosting the shower, and I got a very nasty text from the groom's mother saying that she has never seen a situation where only the bride's mom was hosting the shower and that she was insulted.

I apologized, but she never responded. She also never offered to help pay for the shower, or even help out.

This is my last daughter getting married, and I feel honored to do this for her.

Am I wrong?

— Mom of the Bride

Dear Mom: Typically, the maid of honor and other attendants will host a bridal shower, with the mothers of the bride and groom as guests, but this convention is not necessarily set in stone.

You are attempting to do what the marrying couple asked you to do.

This episode seems to have triggered an extreme reaction. Whether your future in-law typically overreacts, or perhaps is especially stressed right now, she has decided to tell you off for no reason and has not acknowledged an apology.

You should proceed with your plans for the shower, have a nice time, and give this future in-law the opportunity to get it together. If she continues being dominating and demanding, you should feel very sorry for your daughter. She could be in for quite a ride with a mother-in-law who is both reactive and rude.

Dear Amy: Thank you for publishing your advice that people should be patient with families who are desperately trying to reschedule special events (such as weddings) that had to be postponed due to the pandemic.

Rescheduling our daughter's wedding has been a challenge, to say the least.

— MOB

Dear MOB: Yes! I hope you will also accept some guests' confusion or questions with equanimity.

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