Life Advice



Ask Amy: Future family visit is rapid-tested

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My mom has invited me, my husband, and our two teenagers to her home for a special occasion dinner.

Our household, and my mom, have all been vaccinated and boosted for COVID.

My brother, who does not live with our mom and has no underlying conditions, is also vaccinated and boosted, but wants us to take a rapid test before arriving (according to our mom).

I am disappointed that my brother has put our mom in the middle of this.

I have notified our mother that we will not take a rapid test, which we feel is totally unnecessary at this point in the pandemic. If this is a problem, we will stay home.

My husband agrees with me.

Is my brother being unreasonable?

– Upset

Dear Upset: No, you are. Vaccinated people get and spread COVID to other vaccinated people. And a person can have the virus in early stages and not be aware of it, something a rapid test would reveal.

As an elder, your mother might suffer worse symptoms than you would if she got the virus.

I recently attended a multi-day event and took a rapid test each day, before attending any events with groups of people not in my own household.

During this period, I will also take a test and wear a mask outside the home if I have cold symptoms; this is to try to protect other people not in one’s circle.

It is relatively easy to take an at-home test, and at this point in the pandemic – where a variant seems to be emerging – why refuse to do it?

You care enough to vaccinate, but this is the molehill you refuse to climb?

Your mother might be relaying this message from your brother, but he is not the only person putting her in the middle of this – you are, too.

If you have a problem with his request, perhaps you should take it up directly with him. Once he explained his reasoning, it might make more sense to you, and then you might be willing to do a very simple thing — if only for another person’s peace of mind.

Dear Amy: I met my boyfriend shortly after separating from my husband of 24 years. The marriage was good for many years, producing two sons who I love dearly. Eventually I discovered that my husband was living a double life – he's gay and had numerous homosexual affairs during our marriage. Naturally I was devastated and left the marriage.

My current boyfriend and I have been together for eight years. The last two years haven't been good. He is hot tempered, controlling, and very disrespectful.

For the last eight months, he has gone over to our next-door neighbor’s house – every single day, eight or nine times a day.


It’s become a huge problem between us. He says I’m trying to control him.

The neighbor is 41, unemployed and spends all of his time smoking pot and playing video games.

I don't want to be in a relationship where I'm disrespected, dismissed, and set up on a shelf until HE'S ready for me.

I'm ready to leave. I've tried talking with him, but he's only interested in pointing fingers at me. He suggested that we go to couple's counseling, but I said that unless he's willing to discuss his issues, counseling won't work.

He wants to do what he wants, when he wants, and with whom he wants. It sounds like he wants to live as a single man with no accountability to anyone!

What's your take on this?

– Fed Up

Dear Fed Up: My take: All of us want what we want when we want it. That includes you.

It does seem controlling for you to declare that therapy “won’t work” unless it follows a path you dictate. On the other hand, given your history, your guy’s behavior would trigger your own sense of loss.

Your relationship has broken down. Maybe your guy should move in with his neighbor. You’d then decide if you wanted to grant him visitation.

Dear Amy: “Sad” wrote to you about her friend who had an elderly failing pet, but is unable to let go.

Years ago, I saw on a TV show something that has stuck with me.

If your pet is suffering, please remember that saying goodbye and releasing him/her from pain is the ultimate act of love.

– Been There

Dear Been There: This end-of-life responsibility is the highest and most challenging calling for humans who love their pets.


(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.)

©2022 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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