Couple resists pressure to attend family wedding
Dear Amy: My husband is from a European country. We are in our 60s.
I work part time, and he hasn’t worked in a decade due to health problems.
We are being pressured by his family to attend his sister’s wedding next year in Europe.
The costs would be astronomical for both of us to attend. We would have to stay with his mother, and one of us would have to sleep on a couch. Our little dog would have to be kenneled and we would be worried the whole time.
My husband hates weddings and social gatherings, and is refusing to go unless I go. He also says I should go without him.
His family is feuding. Half won’t attend this wedding (and they live there). His mother was yelling when I told her he didn’t want to go. She implied that his sister would be extremely upset if we don’t go.
My husband doesn’t want his sister to hate him.
What is the way out of this mess? — HARD PASS Dear Hard Pass: Your husband should be dealing with this, for the following reason: These are his family members. Sending you out ahead as a human shield only creates more opportunities for them to bulldoze past you and appeal to him.
Understand that this family pressure stems from the fact that they want to see him! Rather than blame family members for wanting his presence, he should acknowledge this, and be respectful and firm in response.
He should prepare himself (rehearse, if necessary), and give a very polite “regret” to this invitation. If I were he, I would anchor to his poor health as a reason. If he is not well enough to work, then he is probably not well enough to travel to Europe.
He should contact the bride — not his mother — to say, “I’m so sorry, but I won’t be able to make it home for your wedding. I’m very sorry to miss it, but I hope you will send us lots of pictures so we can enjoy your day from here.”
His sister, his mother and perhaps other family members will pile on the pressure, but you both need to stay calm and polite, and respond, “We know you are disappointed, but there is no way around this. We hope it is a beautiful day for you.”
Dear Amy: I had a tiny 12-yearold Chihuahua. I had her for eight years, but a month ago, I gave her to a friend, because I was gone all day and it wasn’t fair to the dog.
But now I miss her so much! I’m not away as much as I was — I’m home more now.
Is it wrong for me to ask for the dog back? My friend probably wouldn’t give her back anyway. She has already told me how much she adores her, but I’m wondering what you think? — LONELY WITHOUT HER Dear Lonely: I wonder what was really going on that you surrendered this elderly dog to your friend. But yes, at this point, if things are different in your household, you should at least ask if your friend would give her back.
If the dog seems well-adjusted to both households, your friend might opt for a sort of joint custody arrangement, where you have the dog during times when she is away, and visa-versa.
Dear Amy: I am concerned about your advice to “Working on it in the Midwest,” who wanted to make amends for a drunken sexual assault he committed in college. I couldn’t believe that you actually suggested he should turn himself into police!
I am a lawyer. He could be facing years of jail time! You should have suggested he seek legal counsel before following your terrible advice! — CONCERNED Dear Concerned: In my answer, I wrote: “Are you prepared to face the possible legal consequences (including being charged with a crime and/ or sued) for admitting guilt for what you’ve done?”
I intended that as a (perhaps too subtle) suggestion for him to do his due diligence and understand all of the consequences.
Dear Amy: “Guilty” wrote to you, describing a hellish childhood with a mother who was physically and emotionally abusive, as well as sexually exploitive of her children. All these years later, Guilty and his siblings want to try to do something about this. Their elderly mother is active in her church.
Your response was thorough and correct — until the end of your answer, where you say, “If your main impulse is to ruin her reputation in her church community, then I don’t think you should do so.”
What the heck? Why should they care about her reputation? — UPSET Dear Upset: I cautioned this group of siblings to contact clergy, especially if there was any possibility that their mother had contact with children there.
Otherwise, I considered the possibility that contact with a spiritual community might be an important factor keeping their mother safe from harming others.