Bridg­ing their dis­tance

Los Angeles Times - - AT THE MOVIES - Send ques­tions to askamy@ amy­dick­in­son.com or to Tri­bune Con­tent Agency, 16650 West­grove Drive, Suite 175, Ad­di­son, TX 75001.

Dear Amy: My younger brother and I had a fall­ing out, and he stopped all con­tact with me for about a year. In fact, he mar­ried, and I wasn’t in­vited to the wed­ding.

I ad­mit that the in­ci­dent lead­ing to es­trange­ment was my fault. I don’t blame him for not talk­ing to me.

We rec­on­ciled, but our re­la­tion­ship has changed. It is not as close as it once was.

I have lived abroad for al­most four years. He’s still in the U.S. I never hear from him un­less he needs to know when some­one’s birth­day is or is ask­ing for a fam­ily mem­ber’s phone num­ber.

I’m spend­ing $4,000 to go home and be a brides­maid in his wed­ding (sec­ond mar­riage), but I feel like he would never spend that kind of money to at­tend my wed­ding (should I ever have one).

If I stop mak­ing the ef­fort to keep in touch, I feel like he would do noth­ing to change that. What can I do to have a closer, more mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ship with my brother and other fam­ily mem­bers? Up­set Brides­maid

Dear Up­set: In or­der to have a closer, more mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ship with your brother and other fam­ily mem­bers, you will need to share ac­tual ex­pe­ri­ences with them. Your choice to travel home for this wed­ding is a great one. The fact that he wants you to stand with him on his wed­ding day is a sign that he wants to ac­knowl­edge your im­por­tant role in his life.

It is coun­ter­pro­duc­tive — and a cu­ri­ous choice — for you to en­ter this ex­pe­ri­ence, which is brim­ming with po­ten­tial for all of you, and to al­ready be keep­ing score.

If you can’t freely spend $4,000 with­out us­ing this large ex­pense as lever­age against your brother, then don’t do it.

He could def­i­nitely do a bet­ter job at keep­ing in touch, but you two shar­ing this mile­stone ex­pe­ri­ence will cre­ate com­mon mem­o­ries and might in­spire a warm­ing trend in your fam­ily, over­all.

Dear Amy: Af­ter my fa­ther died, my mother moved back to the area. She lives off of her So­cial Se­cu­rity, and when she is short of money, we help her out. We are glad to do this. It is sim­ply un­der­stood that if she needs money, all she has to do is ask and we will help her.

Last week she re­ceived an in­vi­ta­tion for a high school grad­u­a­tion for a dis­tant nephew many times re­moved that she has never met, who lives across the coun­try. We also re­ceived an in­vi­ta­tion.

My mother thinks that now she is obliged to send a check to the grad­u­ate. I think that send­ing an in­vi­ta­tion to a widow on a fixed in­come for some­one halfway across the coun­try she has never met is sim­ply a money grab.

Do you think our dis­tant rel­a­tives were sin­cere, or are they sim­ply send­ing out in­vi­ta­tions with the ex­pec­ta­tion of re­ceiv­ing gifts? Not so Funny Money

Dear Funny Money: I don’t con­sider giv­ing a mod­est gift to some­one as demon­strat­ing poor money man­age­ment. How­ever, it is im­por­tant for all of you to re­al­ize that re­ceiv­ing an in­vi­ta­tion or an­nounce­ment does not ob­li­gate you to send money or a gift. All that is re­quired is for you to con­grat­u­late this dis­tant cousin, and wish him well.

This might have been a “gift grab” (but you needn’t take the bait). Maybe they’re just re­ally proud of their son.

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