I’m a male, 29, from a large family and close with all my cousins.
Recently, my girlfriend and I announced our engagement and set our wedding date six months ahead.
Almost immediately, my closest-age female cousin announced that her boyfriend and she had already secretly decided to get married.
She said they’d already booked a destination wedding just five months ahead.
I was taken aback. But my fiancée suspected that this was a rushed decision to upstage our wedding.
Sure enough, all the relatives began planning for the Caribbean island getaway.
Also, two aunts asked to organize a double shower for the brides, and another relative suggested one big engagement party for both couples.
But my fiancée feels that joint events would take away from her special feeling as a bride, and also make her own family feel second-rate with my family dominating.
She’s suggested that we skip my cousin’s wedding, which I know would cause a huge family rift.
What do you suggest we do?
Groom in the Middle
Get out of the middle; your loyalty is first to your bride.
You must decide together how to handle the situation, and also recognize and weigh potential consequences of that decision.
Take the higher ground and resolve to NOT accuse your cousin of upstaging.
Instead, attend the wedding and enjoy every aspect of being away among family fun.
Plan your own wedding exactly as you would’ve before this news.
As for the “destination” timing, consider it an opportunity to relax in the sun for a week before revving up for your own event.
If your cousin truly pushed her wedding ahead of yours purposefully, she’s an insecure woman which some of your relatives must already know.
Your bride, by carrying on without comment, can demonstrate what healthy confidence looks like.
My friend has an incurable life-shortening degenerative neurological disorder. Treating symptoms is unsuccessful.
She’s been approved for medically assisted death fairly soon, but doesn’t want to tell her adult children.
The doctor who interviewed her and approved the death procedure stated that the children should be told.
I agree, so that everyone can say their goodbyes and perhaps not be as badly scarred by the death.
My wife tells me that she’ll tell the friend’s adult children when the time is nearer. I agree even if it negates my friend’s wishes.
Would telling the kids be an invasion of privacy, by butting into someone else’s life?
If your ailing friend had written me asking if she should alert her adult children to her imminent passing through medically assisted death, I would answer her with a definite Yes.
However, she didn’t ask me or you or your wife.
Meanwhile, there’s a long-standing tradition that people be granted, if at all possible, their own last request.
The ill woman knows what she wants, and a medical professional (who has a strict procedure to follow when approving this process) has agreed that legally ending her life is a decision that she’s entitled by her condition to make.
Her grown children can surely already see that the end is near.
But it’s no one else’s right to tell them what she doesn’t want them to know (nor talk her out of going ahead).
The only caveat is whether, in her jurisdiction, there is a legal requirement for the closest family member to agree.
If not, your wife should not alert the children against your friend’s wishes.
FEEDBACK Regarding help for a bed-wetting grandson, ten, whose mother thinks seeing a doctor or being wakened by a bed-wetting alarm will traumatize him (June 27):
Reader – “As a former bed-wetter and mother of three bed-wetters, what finally cured me, two siblings and my children was a mechanical alarm which wakes the child/person when urine hits a pad underneath them.
“It takes about two weeks for the brain to learn to react and wake the person.
“With no physical cause evident, my mom tried every method from salty bacon and no water before bed, to elixirs, wearing diapers (still at 15!), waking us several times during the night, etc.
“I’m in my 80s now but remember the humiliation of being unable to go for sleepovers, visit relatives, etc.
“And the great happiness of being finally cured! I used it on my children from about ages five-to-seven, when I felt they were capable of it.”
Tip of the day:
From Michelle Obama in 2016, about responding to others’ negative behaviour: “When they go low, we go high.”