Cou­ple re­sists pres­sure to at­tend fam­ily wed­ding

The Sudbury Star - - LIFE - AMY DICK­IN­SON Email: askamy@tri­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy

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: You and your hus­band need to find one ex­cuse (sorry, make that “rea­son”) to miss this wed­ding, and stick with it. Pil­ing on var­i­ous (com­pletely valid) rea­sons to miss this wed­ding makes it seem as if you are try­ing to cre­ate a smoke screen. (Do you want to go with­out your hus­band? If so, then at­tend, but un­der­stand that this will not sat­isfy his fam­ily.)

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-year-old 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.

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