Dear Amy: I have an extended family member whose son is gay. He has been in a relationship with his live-in partner for many years.
I have visited them on several occasions, and have always had a pleasant time.
There has been some talk recently about the two of them getting married. Although I wish them both the best, should I receive an invitation, my beliefs preclude me from attending.
One or both of my younger siblings may attend, thereby representing the family, but I worry that by not attending I will damage the relationship with my relative.
If I were to attend, I would feel like a hypocrite, and the thought of going against my core values is at odds with my fondness for both this relative and his son.
Have you any thoughts, suggestions or advice?
— Man In a Quandary
Dear Man: It seems hypocritical (to me) that your core values sanction — or at least tolerate — a homosexual relationship with two men cohabiting, while you cannot tolerate these two sanctifying their loving relationship through the more legally permanent and meaningful state of marriage.
But your values are your own, and you have the right to interpret these values — or their source material — any way you want.
If you don’t want to attend this wedding, then don’t. I don’t suggest that you raise your objections to this union before or after the wedding — just RSVP that unfortunately you won’t be able to make it, and wish the couple all the best.
It’s their day; don’t make it about you.
If you decide not to sit in judgment of this couple, then your relationship with these family members shouldn’t be adversely affected. I hope you’re capable of that.
Dear Amy: My fiancée and I have been engaged for four years.
Admittedly, this is longer than I originally would have liked, but outside factors such as our long-distance relationship, COVID, and moving across the country together have continually delayed the wedding date.
While my fiancée and I have been able to accept these delays, it has clearly irritated my mother.
As a result, she has continually poked and prodded about our wedding plans. At best, her interference is exhausting. At worst, it is hurtful.
The most recent incident has made me question how to balance my relationship between my mother and my future wife.
Over Thanksgiving, Mom compiled a list of all the family members’ birthdays and distributed it at dinner.
My fiancée was the only person at the dinner without her name on the list.
When I asked my mother about it, she told me, “Well, you’re not married, so technically she’s not part of the family.”
Being left out upset my fiancée, and it hurt me to find out that my mother would purposely exclude my life partner just to make a point.
What, if anything, can I do to address this snub and to make the woman I love feel like part of the family?
— Long-term Engaged
Dear Engaged: Your mother’s choice to exclude your partner from a list of “family members” was deliberate and unkind – especially since she unveiled this list at a holiday event where she knew your partner would be present. Wow.
I would interpret this as unkind and passive-aggressive, and you should push back with an emphatic and very honest reaction that you are hurt, disappointed, and embarrassed.
A couple of points you might want to make are: This woman is your significant other. Your life partner. When — or if — you have a wedding will be up to the two of you. You should insist that your mother respect your partner, and yes — consider her as a family member.
You might also emphasize that here you are, trying to find the kindest path into your family for your fiancée so that she will feel comfortable and included. Your mother’s choice didn’t exactly lay down the red carpet.
In terms of your fiancée — you might convey to her that your family, like all families, is complicated. People make mistakes and disappoint one another. Emphasize that you two are a team and that you’ll tackle your highs and lows together.
Dear Amy: I was intrigued by your response to “Doting Dad,” who wanted to be transparent about his resources and estate with his adult children. I really liked your suggestion that people who have wealth should use their resources during their lifetimes, rather than leave it all behind.
Dear Appreciative: This should only be done with very careful estate planning.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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