I'm getting married soon, and planning final touches of my dream wedding.
Unfortunately, I’m miserable! My parents are driving me insane.
I moved from my home state and away from my parents when I graduated from high school ten years ago.
They’ve always seemed resentful of my new life.
Now, my mother’s very jealous of time I spend with my future mother-in-law. She’s stopped speaking to me.
My father insists that I invite more relatives from our side so that we’re not "outnumbered," though I cannot afford more guests.
How can I stay positive and escape my parents’ pessimistic influence?
Blushing Bride in California
The wedding is about your choice of partner, and the love you and he feel for each other.
Those are big emotional positives. Most negative distractions should be brushed aside.
But retain a pocket of compassion for your parents, since this event’s clearly having an emotional impact on them, too.
Whatever transpired in your growing up with them, you left home as soon as possible.
The wedding (like your move) highlights the distance in your connection to them, and apparently sparks jealousy/guilt/blame about what could’ve been different.
That’s their problem, not yours, at this time.
Tell your father you’ve cut off the guest list at what you can afford. For anyone extra, he has to put up the money ahead of your sending an invitation.
Send a note, email, and phone message to your mother, all saying that she’ll always be your mother, no matter whom else is in your life.
Tell her that not talking to you is only hurtful to both of you when she should enjoy your happiness with you.
Then show that no matter what others bother themselves about, you’re going to enjoy your wedding day.
My wife and I are always invited to parties at this couple's residence. We also get invited to parties thrown by their parents, brothers, and sisters.
Thankful as we are, there's something bothering us. In the bathroom, there's this note posted exclusively for the guests saying PLEASE DON'T THROW PAPER IN THE TOILET BOWL.
Another note on the wall above the drinks (bottled water, soft drinks, etc.) says PLEASE PUT YOUR NAME ON YOUR DRINKS.
There's a couple of marking pens available placed conveniently next to the pile of paper cups and bottled water on a table!
At parties hosted in their family members’ homes, the same practice holds.
I've always told my wife my discomfort about all this. We’re there in a crowd of adults not children, I always tell her. We are responsible people.
She says not to pay attention to it.
Am I justified for being uncomfortable?
Wondering is fine, turning this into a dispute in your own home is just silly. You’re uncomfortable. She’s not.
So let’s de-construct what this is really about. You find it insulting to you as an adult guest, to be given “orders” about how to behave.
Yet many generous people who’ve held large parties have written me after the events, appalled at the lack of consideration shown by some adults.
Their toilets have been plugged, drinks left abandoned and wasted with only two sips taken, dirty shoes (even boots) not removed at the door, and more…
Their rules of engagement may not be “proper” etiquette in a private home but, a) they’re not personal to anyone with decent manners and, b) they save them from having to stop generously entertaining guests.
It’s a fair exchange.
FEEDBACK Regarding the concerned mother writing to you about her daughter’s common-law partner not being divorced from his first wife (June 24):
Reader – “Aside from future inheritance issues that might arise, I might point out there could be issues with power of attorney.
“As a cardiac surgeon, I have seen decisions about health/medical care and end-of-life matters become very acrimonious.
“It may be possible that the legal spouse turns out to be the one with the right to determine care, much to the consternation of the current partner, who’s been at his side for 15 years.
“Seeking a legal opinion may be warranted as after so many years of separation, perhaps others statutes apply.”
Ellie – Thanks for adding this important aspect of how even a long common-law relationship may be affected, should the partner need a decision about medical intervention and a long-separated spouse claims that right.
The mother needs to urge her daughter to get legal advice.
Tip of the day:
Keep your wedding joy paramount despite any others’ negativity.