I need advice on throwing a baby shower for my younger sister. My older sister and I, never close, have now been estranged for two years.
I last extended a dinner invitation to her and she declined. She’s told my younger sister that she’s never attending any family functions again.
For background: My older sister held a Christmas dinner without inviting me, and my younger sister attended. I was very hurt that she didn't refuse to go because I wasn't invited. Yet she’s taking a stance for my older sister now.
Unfortunately, my younger sister’s caught in the middle. She doesn't want me to throw her a shower unless I invite my older sister. I do want her to experience all the joys of having a baby since she struggled for years to get pregnant.
Since I’m the host, do I get to choose who attends the shower (at my place) or since it’s for her, does she get to choose?
I’m also struggling because I feel my younger sister is asking me to put myself out there again. I feel that either she’s ignorant to the pain caused by my older sister or she’s selfish.
Sad Family Estrangement
Family estrangements are always sad and complicated but inevitably are products of the past... sometimes even engineered (perhaps unwittingly) by parents. The parties cling to these slights, each assuring themselves that they’re in the right.
But unless there’s been repeated intentional abuse, the estrangement is usually wrong-headed on both sides.
You don’t mention abuse, but you’re now considering placing your younger sister in an impossible situation. She’s honouring you by asking you to organize the baby shower that’s so important to her.
And she’s not-so-subtly demonstrating that it’s time for you to get past the middle-child position and previous tensions with big sister.
The invitation comes from the happily pregnant sister who’s being celebrated. She wants no part in the divide.
I understand that your older sister has held onto the estrangement, even though you’d previously invited her to a dinner. You were right, then, to do so.
You can’t control her response. But you can rise to the occasion, invite her, and be a normally gracious hostess to everyone.
Don’t make this event a time for total resolution of the estrangement... just a wise step in your own understanding of what matters most.
How do I handle interest in me from someone from my past?
I’m 37 and have had some long, good relationships. But this guy messaging me dumped me six years ago when I thought we had a future.
He lives in a small town a couple hours away and had a demanding job, so we only had a weekend night or two together. I’d sleep over. We got along so well, and were great lovers. But he wouldn’t commit to anything more.
Now, I’ve changed a lot. The pandemic caused me to adjust my whole outlook. I’ve made many new women friends online and they’re very supportive.
I have firmer values on how to treat people and my self-worth is much stronger.
I can’t tell yet if he’s changed at all. We share some laughs but I’m not sure I can trust him again.
Same Old Story?
Trust your instincts. You’ve learned a lot about yourself and won’t accept same-old treatment. Ask him directly why he’s messaging you and what are his goals. Be direct - he was that way with you in the past.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding feedback re: purchase of a pre-construction condo before the couple met, which the man’s considering buying into (May 31):
Reader – “Yes, first get a "Cohabitation Agreement” but I’d strongly advise using the services of a lawyer, or at least a paralegal, not an “online sample agreement.”
“My ex-wife and I had a “marriage contract” drawn up by a lawyer who wasn’t fully reputable, as I discovered 20 years later.
“During divorce proceedings, my wife’s lawyer ripped our agreement apart. Fortunately, my lawyer had more experience.
“I discovered that laws/precedents change. A clause deemed valid when the contract was drawn up could later be deemed invalid. Or the entire agreement could be deemed invalid. Judges offer opinions which under common-law jurisdictions then form basis for future rulings.
“I’d also extend that advice to Wills and Powers of Attorneys. These can become obsolete due to not including necessary clauses to make intentions valid today.”
Tip of the day:
Family estrangements only survive when everyone maintains it. It only takes one party to rise above it.