Ask Amy: My wife objects to my strategy for mellow shopping with our 3-year-olds

Dear Amy: I hope this doesn’t seem like a silly question.

I have twin boys (almost 3 years old!). I regularly take them to our big grocery store, in part to give my wife (a really great full-time, stay-at-home mom) a break. And also, of course, to pick up groceries. Lots of groceries.

So when we’re at the market, I like to cruise the “free samples,” and I offer the boys a snack as we go. These are small things and they’re usually healthy snacks. Just nibbly things to keep them busy.

My wife doesn’t like me offering them snacks between meals.

My folks are on her side, her folks seem to be on my side, and our siblings are divided on this topic.

We agreed to ask you and your readers.

– Snackin’ Dad

Dear Dad: First of all, any question involving toddlers is both silly and not silly. Daily life with children at this stage can be crowded with matters that can seem very important, until you gain some perspective in retrospect.

Basically, raising young children is a humbling trip to the funny farm.

I’m wondering why you are polling so many family members about this. Are you hoping for a tie-breaker?

My take is that whichever adult has the fortitude to take twin toddlers through the superstore should use whatever means necessary to basically complete the mission, and should not necessarily discuss the details later.

Dear Amy: I am in my 40s and a single adoptive mother of two girls.

Many years ago, I met “Jeremy” on an internet dating site. While I wasn’t romantically attracted to him, we became friends.

From our first meeting, Jeremy made it very clear that he wanted more than friendship from me. I was honest in stating that I viewed him as a platonic friend and that it wouldn’t go any further than that.

We have remained in touch over the course of 11 years (with the exception of a very brief marriage of his). He has become a dear friend. We laugh and commiserate.

I’m open to dating if someone compatible were to come along, but my daughters come first. I like being single.

Jeremy continuously makes not-so-subtle hints that he would like us to be more than friends. I’ve never led him on and have reiterated that we are friends.

We have some common interests, and we are both good people, but there are major differences, and frankly I’m not attracted to him.

Friends and family members have suggested that I’m crazy not to date him, but I just don’t see him that way.

Am I hurting him by remaining in his life if he is always going to harbor hope that I will grow to view him as a romantic partner?

Why is friendship so completely underrated by our society?

– A Friend Indeed

Dear Friend: I don’t necessarily concur that friendship is underrated – in fact, I think that we in this country are currently experiencing something of an epidemic of loneliness.

Most people crave and value having a special and intimate friendship connection. True and lasting friendships are worth their weight in gold.

You seem worried that you will hurt Jeremy by maintaining a friendship instead of transitioning into a romance.

But I think he is undermining the friendship by continuing to indicate that he wants to be romantically involved with you. A friendship should more or less remain in balance, with both parties respecting boundaries.

Respond to his next not-so-subtle hint by saying – out loud – “That’s never going to happen; furthermore, this makes me uncomfortable. If you really believe you can’t be friends with me without exerting this pressure, then maybe we should rethink our friendship.”

It would help for you to think about how you would respond if one of your daughters reported a similar dynamic with a friend. Would you advise her to keep quiet about her own needs?

Dear Amy: I’m replying to “Taken Aback,” whose parents want an open relationship.

My sister had an open relationship when she was still married to her first husband. She told us about it, as a heads-up in case we stumbled upon people who became “more” to them.

In Taken Aback’s case, it might have been the mom’s way of letting her kids know that her marriage is fine and not to worry too much about them.

– Been There

Dear Been There: I take your point, but in the case of your sister, the marriage obviously wasn’t fine. Taken Aback’s mother might have been telegraphing that message.

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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Author: Amy Dickinson