Ask Amy: I saw them steal the platter from the pub. What do I do now?

Dear Amy: I have maintained a friendship with “Wendy” for decades.

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She and her husband were there for me in a major way after my husband’s sudden death three years ago. I simply could not have made it through that awful period without their love and emotional and practical support.

Recently I heard a rumor that Wendy had been caught shoplifting. It didn’t really seem possible, but my understanding is that she was not charged because she returned the items and because this was a first offense.

Last week, I went out to a brewpub with Wendy and her husband. I ordered appetizers for the group that were delivered on a large decorative platter. After a while I excused myself and went to the restroom.

As I was headed back to the table, I witnessed Wendy putting the (empty) ceramic platter into her large bag, which her husband was holding open for her.

I was stunned, but I didn’t say anything. I thanked them for taking me out and haven’t talked to them since.

We’ve had some contact on Facebook, but yesterday she blocked me (possibly because I have dodged a couple of phone calls?).

I am so sad now. I wish I’d said something when I witnessed them stealing, and I fear that our friendship has ended on a very bad note. But I really can’t be friends with a thief.

Where do you think I should go from here?

– Sad

Dear Sad: You might assume that you’ve been blocked because Wendy knows that you saw her lifting the pub’s platter.

You could tighten the circle here if you got in touch with her to acknowledge her importance in your life during a time when you were at your lowest — and to tell her, “If you are struggling with something now, I’d like to be there for you, too.”

If she responds honestly, you could try to move forward in small increments.

Dear Amy: I have an open relationship with “Brett,” my partner of many years.

I allow Brett to have sex with other women as long as I am comfortable with the woman and privy to all communication between them. Only sex is allowed, with no dating or relationship.

Recently Brett saw “Charlotte,” a single female (with my approval). When he started seeing her too often and without including me in the communication, I expressed my concern and asked for him to cease contact with her.

Brett has told me that it’s not a concern and that he will continue to see Charlotte, even though I disapprove.

He says I’m crazy for being upset and concerned.

I’m not sure where to go from here.

– Peeved Partner

Dear Peeved: You believe that you and your partner have a binding agreement. I happen to believe that this is a contract with a high likelihood of being breached, because you have put yourself in the position of controlling a type of human behavior which is notoriously challenging to control – in part because it involves two other people (Brett and Charlotte).

My point is that while Brett may have agreed to this “sex-only” contract, if Charlotte wants to be with him longer-term, she has no incentive to comply.

And now, like a plot twist from a low-rent Jane Austen novel, these two seem to have developed an actual relationship.

Despite the somewhat unconventional nature of your contract, all of the humans involved are behaving in conventional ways: You are jealous and suspicious; he responds by gaslighting you.

Welcome to regular life, where people stray, others get jealous, and agreements are often violated.

Brett’s most unconscionable behavior is to throw his choice back on you in a particularly cruel way, by denying that he is violating this contract and then characterizing you as “crazy” for objecting.

Because your partner is proving that you cannot actually control him, your own choices now are to give in and redraft your agreement to “sex-plus,” or to consider leaving the relationship.

Dear Amy: The question from “In a Bad Place” could have been written by me. Everything was so familiar: the silences, walking on eggshells, and my husband never apologizing for anything.

However, after 30 years of this, I’d finally had enough.

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It was only after we split up that others came forward to tell me of their bad experiences with him.

The hardest part was the first step to end it. I’m much happier now.

– Been There

Dear Been There: I hope that “In a Bad Place” can make a sound and safe choice.

You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

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