Ask Amy: They say I’m going to hell. My husband says let it go.

Dear Amy: I am a married, 50-year-old
elementary school teacher.

Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

Socially and politically I lean firmly left and my family is
very aware of it. My parents and my in-laws are very conservative
and quite religious.

At gatherings they are very vocal about their disdain for
liberals and Democrats, calling them names, saying they’re going
to hell, etc.

They also voice their dislike of other races, religions and
s****l orientation, using bigoted language.

I don’t enjoy spending time with any of them. I do not voice
my opinions, as I have no interest in being part of their hostile
conversations. When the assault begins, I pick up my phone and
scroll through and ignore them.

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I have limited my time with them as much as possible, but I can’t
cut them out of my life completely, as that is just not my

My husband lets it go and is mostly politically neutral. He says
it’s not worth arguing with 80-year-olds.

I find his answer irritating. Any suggestions?


Dear Teacher: You seem to point your irritation
toward your husband, whom you claim stays neutral, but you are
doing the exact same thing, by ignoring comments from both your
parents and his that you say are bigoted and offensive.

So, “Teacher,†I think it’s time to take these
80-year-olds to school.

I can imagine not wanting to waste your breath on your in-laws,
but your parents raised you. Surely you can spend some energy in
order to engage them in some thoughtful conversation about their
own hate speech.

There is absolutely nothing about Christianity that gives
believers license to express hatred toward other human beings. But
aside from the religious aspects of this, I think it might be time
for you to locate your backbone. If you consider yourself a true
ally of people who are discriminated against and consigned to hell
by ignorant people — then you must use your own voice to push

This book is currently flying off the shelves (I’m reading it
now): “How to Be an Antiracist,†by Ibram X. Kendi (2019, One
World). Here’s a quote: “Denial is the heartbeat of

Dear Amy: About two months ago, my boyfriend
potentially had COVID-19. The week he started to work from home, he
got very sick. Taking care of him was scary and stressful for

He was able to get a virtual doctor’s appointment. He tested
negative for the virus, but still believes he had it, due to the
high rate of false negative test results.

He recovered in two weeks and is good, now.

He brings this up whenever we have Zoom calls with family or
friends; he even brings this up with his clients. When it initially
happened — and the month following — bringing it up made sense.
I realize that sharing with friends and family can help to process
a scary event.

It has now been two months (it feels like six), and he’s OK.
I’m confused as to why he still feels the need to talk about it
now, however.

Healthy and Wondering

Dear Healthy: You went through this with your
boyfriend, and so you have been exposed to this story many times
from many different angles. You can have whatever interior reaction
you want, but your boyfriend should continue to talk about this
experience if he finds it helpful.

His brush with serious illness might have deepened his empathy
toward others. He may also be tacitly inviting you to share in this
drama, and to confirm to others how challenging this was. There are
fears about people developing the illness again — after they
believe they have recovered — and he might be worried about that

Some people are genuinely traumatized by an experience with
serious illness. If he is ruminating excessively or seems to be
stuck in an anxious loop, you should encourage him to set up
another appointment with his doctor.

Dear Amy: I
smoked three packs of cigarettes a day
and loved it for more
than 35 years.

On November 1, 1992, I stopped smoking and went on the nicotine
patch for six months. I still have three cigarettes in my

I still feel guilty for my children (none of them smoke) when
they had to put up with both parents smoking in the station

I’ve saved enough cigarette money to take four trips to Europe
and numerous cruises.

Recovered Smoker

Dear Recovered: What a testimony! (I may need
to learn more about those cigarettes in your freezer…)

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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.

Source: FS – All – Interesting – Lifestyle
Ask Amy: They say I’m going to hell. My husband says let it