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 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?
Amy says: 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 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."
Dear Amy: I had a tiny 12-year-old Chihuahua. I had her for eight years, but a month ago, I gave her to a friend, because I was gone all day and it wasn't fair to the dog.
But now I miss her so much! I'm not away as much as I was — I'm home more now.
Is it wrong for me to ask for the dog back? My friend probably wouldn't give her back anyway. She has already told me how much she adores her, but I'm wondering what you think.
Amy says: I wonder what was really going on that you surrendered this elderly dog to your friend. But yes, at this point, if things are different in your household, you should at least ask if your friend would give her back.
If the dog seems well adjusted to both households, your friend might opt for a sort of joint custody arrangement, where you have the dog during times when she is away, and vice versa.
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