Cou­ple fights fam­ily pres­sure to at­tend over­seas wed­ding

The Mercury News - - Movie Guide - Ask Amy Amy Dick­in­son Con­tact Amy Dick­in­son via email at askamy@ amy­dick­in­

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 smoke­screen. (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.”

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