Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Should you reconnect with a long-lost love? How to get out of kissing husband’s grandmother on the lips without offending her? DEAR NATALIE: I am a well-educated, retired professional woman. In this last season of my life I have reflected on the special r

DEAR DIFFERENT PATHS: I’ve been mulling this one over and over. In one way, it may be best to let sleeping dogs lie. It was so long ago, and perhaps for him, burying that past heartache is best. But, as I thought about it more, so much time has passed. It may be a nice thing to hear from a long-lost love. It is romantic, in a way. So, if this has continued to weigh on your heart, a traditional handwritten letter might be a nice way to say how you feel without making direct contact. I would make it clear in the letter that you aren’t trying to upset him or stir up anything. You just want to thank him for being such a special and important part of your life and that wherever life has taken him, you wish him the best. I wouldn’t get too deep into your last meeting or that you broke his heart. I would focus on the good times that you shared. Love runs deep for some people, and it takes on many forms. While he may not have been “the one” for you, there is nothing wrong with holding a special place for him in your heart. Just don’t expect anything in return.

DEAR NATALIE: My daughter was recently asked to kiss her husband’s elderly grandmother on the lips when they visit her. She was told that when she turns her head to kiss her on the cheek that it’s insulting to the grandmother. My daughter has never been a big hugger or kisser in greeting situations, even with her immediate family. We’ve always respected her for those boundaries. If you could offer advice in this situation it would be appreciated! -- NO KISSES PLEASE

DEAR NO KISSES PLEASE: No one is obligated to kiss anyone on the lips — or anywhere else — for that matter! I’m sorry that the grandmother feels insulted, but kissing has to be a mutual decision. There is nothing wrong with her kissing her husband’s grandmother on the cheek, or even just giving her a hug. Not everyone is comfortable with physical displays of affection, and she is not in the wrong for avoiding touch that she doesn’t want. The next time the grandmother complains, have your daughter say something like, “Please don’t take it personally, I’m just not one for kisses.” And move on.

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Feel like you aren’t getting anywhere on LinkedIn? Have you tried reacting to other people’s posts? Try commenting and liking articles. Post content that is relevant to your network, while giving your own thoughts on the topic. Being on social media isn’t enough. To make connections work in your favor, you have to engage with people in a meaningful way.

Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to her email,; or through postal mail to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15212. Follow her on Twitter at @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)