My niece is getting married. Her parents are paying for most of the wedding for 85 guests.
The bride's mother, my sister, is one of five close sisters – three of us in the same city.
We also have five brothers with whom my sister isn’t close.
We sisters have an annual weekend away together and have also taken extended vacations with all or some of us, always including the bride's mother.
The bride also has 19 cousins on our side.
Unfortunately, my sister has a fractured relationship with her daughter, the bride.
Her husband discouraged their relationship. He’d forbid his wife to call her daughter whenever they had a mother-daughter disagreement because he didn't want his daughter more upset.
He and his daughter discuss many issues in person and by text daily.
My sister’s excluded from many of those exchanges.
I believe the bride didn’t ask my sister for help planning the wedding, although her mother did email her some ideas on venues, etc.
Ultimately, the bride's father told his wife that a final decision had been made, with no more discussion.
Her sisters and brothers aren’t invited, except for one brother and wife who are the bride's godparents, and the one sister who the bride's mom sees daily.
My sister is devastated!
How do we handle this?
I want to tell her we understand that she’s hurt and we hurt for her.
I don't know how her husband and daughter can be so heartless. Her family’s very important to her.
How can I/we be cordial to our brother-in-law and niece when this is how they treat my sister and her family?
Your sister’s experienced her husband and daughter’s closer relationship for years.
She’s also put up with them excluding her emotionally.
The wedding invitation list is their open declaration of control and distancing from your side of the family.
Perhaps it was the very numbers and intensity of close connections between sisters that put off the daughter over the years. Jealousy could even have been a factor.
Whatever the reasons, they contributed to mother-daughter tensions. These are common enough, BUT when a father steps in the middle and separates the two, the mother-daughter bond doesn’t get repaired.
Support your sister. Accept the situation, help her get through it with understanding from all her sisters, and say nothing about it to the bride, for now.
I say this because it’s her day, and she’s already been convinced by her father that she’s doing the right thing.
Someday you may have the chance to tell her how devastating this was for her mother… maybe when she’s a mom herself.
I always please my man with oral sex, but he never pleases me that way in return.
It only happens after weeks of fighting about it, yet that means it’s never spontaneous, like I always am with him.
What can I do about this?
Stop fighting over sex. And stop thinking of it as an exchange of services.
If you feel intimate with him and inclined toward giving oral sex, that’s fine. But it’s not a bargaining tool.
Instead, tell him (without anger) what makes you aroused.
If, on his own, he never responds with what he knows you want, think about whether this is the relationship you wish to continue.
Is it an equal partnership in any sense? Or are you always having to be the one to do the “pleasing” in other ways too?
If so, sex isn’t the problem.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man whose wife’s health issues affected their sex life (December 2):
Reader – “Since when is "smelling like alcohol and cigarettes" a sign of infidelity?
“While you were at work late, was she supposed to stay at home alone, as you chose your career and money over the well-being of your marriage?
“Having a drink with her girlfriends and smoking don’t signify the end of a marriage.
“You’re placing all the blame on her for the state of your marriage. No wonder she hardly communicates with you.
“A big house and expensive vacations don’t equate to you working on your marriage.
“That's a total cop-out for your negative contribution. You were distancing just as she was – she did it emotionally, you did it occupationally.
“Own up to your part and get to that marriage counsellor.
“You’ll never accomplish anything in counselling if you’re unwilling to take ownership of your actions.”
Tip of the day:
When close relatives accept stressful relationships, be supportive rather than meddle.