Dear Amy: My cousin recently invited us (a family of four) to her son’s wedding. We were disappointed that we were seated all the way to the back, near the door, by the exit of the reception hall.
We also noted that quite a few tables in the middle had only two or three people at them (last-minute no-shows).
I was going to let it go, thinking it was probably the bride’s family that arranged the seating. However, my cousin’s daughter is getting married next year and my husband asked me if I could request that we be seated somewhere in the middle.
At the son’s wedding, should we have asked to be moved to the empty seats? For the daughter’s wedding, should I ask her early on to seat us in the middle?
Honestly, I am tempted to text my cousin about it, but I don’t know if I should even mention this at all.
Stuck at the Back
Dear Stuck: Do you realize the investment the wedding hosts made in including your family of four in this wedding? Depending on the type of reception, your presence would have cost the hosting family upwards of $1,000.
Of course, this isn’t about the money. But then, being a guest at a wedding and reception should not be about where you find yourself seated during the meal.
It is extremely ungracious to complain – or even mention – your seating after the fact. Other than asking if it would be possible to be seated at the same table with other friends or family members, it is also rude to ask for specific seating before the fact.
If you noticed seating gaps in more desirable tables during the reception, you might have asked the host, “Would you like us to fill in that middle table?” But even then, grabbing your plates and abruptly decamping for a “better table” is rude to your fellow tablemates, who possibly also felt socially slighted – not because they were seated near the exit, but because they were stuck sharing a table with such an unhappy bunch of complainers.
Dear Amy: I love my girlfriend. She’s the only girlfriend I’ve ever had. In the past, I had attempted to establish romantic relationships with other women, but with my current girlfriend, SHE pursued ME. We met in a college class, and without me making any attempt at contact, she found out my email address and asked me to be her partner for a project. She eventually confessed her feelings for me. That had never happened to me before, and, of course, I agreed to go out with her.
We have been together now for four years.
My girlfriend and I are almost complete opposites in terms of our temperaments, but we get along very well and love each other.
Early in our relationship, my girlfriend expressed a lot of insecurity and jealousy concerning any female friend. This led to me diminishing and then ending some friendships. She would get unhappy if I even quoted a female co-worker.
Lately, she has expressed unhappiness that I enjoy the music of a popular female pop star.
We talked about this a year ago and she admitted that she realizes she is doing this; she also says she understands why her family dynamic growing up has contributed to this, and she understands that her jealousy harms our relationship. I don’t harbor any such jealousy toward her or male friends.
I appreciated her insight, but nothing has changed. I now only communicate with female friends online.
I don’t have the experience to know – but is this a deal breaker?
Dear Secure: Yes, your girlfriend’s jealousy and the way you are reacting to it have already introduced an unhealthy level of control and secrecy. Yes, this is a deal breaker.
Ideally, partners recognize that people interact with (and form friendships with) all sorts of people. In a functioning relationship, both parties can be open, transparent, and generous about all of their friendships.
Dear Amy: Referring to “Hopeless,” whose husband has brain cancer, after caring for my husband who lost his eyesight suddenly, I suggest rather than medication, she should find things that make you (both) laugh!
I found that making jokes and watching comedies literally drained the tension out of my body ... and his.
Laughing made so much difference when in reality there was little reason to laugh.
Ten Years Caregiving
Dear Ten Years: Oh, yes. Laughter is intensely therapeutic. Thank you.
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.