ASK AMY

The Fresno Bee - - Life - Askamy@amy dick­in­son.com

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 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.

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 (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. 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. 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 it 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 Chi­huahua 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 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 homes, your friend might opt for joint cus­tody, where you have the dog dur­ing times when she is away, and vice-versa.

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