Dear Amy: My brother, “Joe,” re­cently got en­gaged to his girl­friend of three years. He asked my par­ents for my ad­dress to send a “save the date.”

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - By Amy Dick­in­son Send ques­tions via e-mail to askamy@tri­ or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tri­bune, TT500, 435 N. Michi­gan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

How­ever, Joe and I have not got­ten along much over the last two years. I had a fairly ma­jor surgery last New Year’s Eve, and in­stead of spend­ing the time with my par­ents and me, Joe and his girl­friend de­cided to spend a night out in the city be­cause, ac­cord­ing to her, “New Year’s Eve is for cou­ples.”

This has caused feel­ings of be­trayal and dis­trust, though when I try to broach the sub­ject, I get brushed off and told to get over it.

Since then, I have been hap­pier not spend­ing time with my brother, in­stead fo­cus­ing on my health, my friends and my ca­reer.

I would pre­fer to not go to Joe’s wed­ding, as I do not feel close to him any­more and I am not sup­port­ive of the union. Is it all right for me to de­cline the in­vi­ta­tion, given our his­tory? Or am I be­ing self­ish in not plan­ning to be present on his big day? — Es­tranged in Illi­nois

Dear Es­tranged: You can de­cline any in­vi­ta­tion, but when you ask whether you are “ob­li­gated” to at­tend your brother’s wed­ding, the an­swer is yes.

A wed­ding is not an in­vi­ta­tion to the movies. It is a ma­jor life-chap­ter in the story of a fam­ily, and be­cause you are the groom’s sib­ling, you should at­tend. This wed­ding is both a fam­ily and a so­cial obli­ga­tion.

It is cer­tainly your right not to honor this obli­ga­tion, but you should be aware of the con­se­quences if you do: pos­si­ble to­tal es­trange­ment from your brother, up­set­ting and dis­ap­point­ing your par­ents and other fam­ily mem­bers and deny­ing the pos­si­bil­ity that things might ever be dif­fer­ent be­tween you.

Fam­ily mem­bers de­lib­er­ately avoid wed­dings for big and le­git­i­mate rea­sons — abuse, aban­don­ment or the to­tal lack of any fam­ily re­la­tion­ship. In your case, your brother didn’t honor your re­la­tion­ship when you wanted him to. This doesn’t rise to a level whereby you can le­git­i­mately refuse to at­tend his wed­ding and blame him for your choice. This oc­ca­sion could serve as a fresh start for both of you. I hope you’ll re­con­sider your de­ci­sion. Dear Amy: I just started dat­ing a guy. I did a lit­tle back­ground in­ves­ti­gat­ing through the in­ter­net and found out he has a res­train­ing or­der on his ex.

The res­train­ing or­der was taken out in an­other state, but it is re­cent. His ex lives in the same state we are in, and I am con­cerned she might be stalk­ing him. If she is stalk­ing him, this places me and my fam­ily at risk.

I checked lo­cal records in our county and did not find any­thing, but my in­ter­net search in his pre­vi­ous state showed a pend­ing case. I’m not sure what to do with this knowl­edge. What do you think? — Un­sure Dear Un­sure: You don’t say what the “pend­ing case” is for, or who might be charged (and with what crime), but the most log­i­cal thing to do is to ask this man to an­swer your ques­tions re­gard­ing what your in­ter­net search has turned up.

His in­volve­ment in a court case, or swear­ing out a res­train­ing or­der on his ex, does not au­to­mat­i­cally mean that you and your fam­ily are in any dan­ger. How­ever, if your search is cor­rect, you have a right to be filled in on all the drama, if you ex­pect to have a long-term re­la­tion­ship with him.

Dear Amy: Your re­sponse to “Du­ti­ful Daugh­ter” was ab­so­lutely right on.

She should let her mother be in­de­pen­dent, and even if she should die at home, that’s prefer­able to be­ing put in some fa­cil­ity just so that the other chil­dren don’t feel guilty.

In this so­ci­ety, too many peo­ple want to post­pone death at all costs. Why? And why shouldn’t the el­derly, un­less they are se­nile, be able to make their own choices? — In­de­pen­dent, too

Dear In­de­pen­dent: Let­ting some­one die at home sounds like a bi­nary choice, but it is not. Would you let an el­derly per­son suf­fer at home through ill­ness or ne­glect?

Ag­ing in place and dy­ing how you want are ra­tio­nal and re­lat­able goals, but get­ting there is of­ten messy, con­fus­ing and heart­break­ing.

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