Dear Amy: I am a groom-to-be. My fiancee and I grew up eight hours away from each other. My mother and my fiancee are close. Several months ago, my mom planned a bridal shower in my hometown. My fiancee’s family was annoyed, upset and somewhat hostile about this, thinking that my mother was trying to usurp their role.
My mother had assumed that they would also host a bridal shower in their hometown.
They said they have never heard of someone having more than one bridal shower. They were quite vocal with me about it.
My future in-laws have not yet met my mother, who is one of the kindest, most polite people you could ever meet. This was quite hurtful to me.
After planning their own shower, my fiancee’s family has now decided not to have it. They have basically invited themselves to the one my mother is hosting.
This makes things super-awkward, because we don’t have room for them at the venue. We already had to trim the list to fit.
Did my mother violate etiquette by planning a shower? Is there a polite way to tell my fiancee’s family (mother and two sisters) that there is no space for them?
Dear Groom: The most appropriate people to throw bridal showers are not mothers or mothers-in-law, but bridesmaids, or friends of the couple who live in the town where the couple resides.
This current dust-up illustrates one good reason behind this recommendation. But yes, it is fine to have two parties in two different towns.
Yes, your family must find space for these three women at your hometown shower. Even if they were planning their own shower, the polite thing would have been to include and invite them from the start.
It is a shame that this is happening – normally in-laws have to meet personally before they commence the sniping. You and your fiancee need to work hard, and as a team, to establish that you expect people to behave and to respect your various family relationships.
Dear Amy: I have a friend of almost 30 years who has really hurt me.
It started when her Facebook comments started revealing the dirt in her marriage. These comments came out of left field, but I didn’t draw attention to them.
Then her husband made a very public posting on Facebook to acknowledge his wife’s accusations and to say he loved her. I made a supportive comment to his post. He has since deleted his page, so I have no idea how it read or what exactly I said.
Later that same day I texted my friend and asked her how they were doing. I said I hoped things were getting better. She supplied many more unsavory details about his behavior, and I was livid with him. Then she disappeared.
When months passed with no response to my texts, I got worried so I called a relative of hers to find out if she had been heard from.
She replied that I was not to contact her family and that the comment I left on her husband’s Facebook page was misinterpreted by her friends, and they questioned whether I was the person he was sleeping with!
I am furious. She has decided I’m sleeping with her husband because I wrote something supportive to him? Am I in the wrong?
Dear Furious: You are not in the wrong, but consider this a very useful lesson: Never, ever, violate your own marital and friendship neutrality on Facebook. If you’re wondering, the way to express your neutrality on social media is by being silent.
I have a blanket policy never to respond publicly when someone exposes their marital or relationship troubles on social media. No good can come of it. Any comment you make is seen not only by the person you intend to receive it, but by circles upon circles of their friends and connections, with predictable results: Someone who has never met you will dive into a false assumption and your real-world relationship will suffer.
Dear Amy: OMG I almost spit out my cornflakes when I read the letter from “Sam, in Los Angeles, CA” who wondered why none of the women he took out wanted to sleep with him. I knew you would deliver the response he deserved. Thank you for making me laugh.
Dear Fan: Thank you! I’ll be here all week, appearing at breakfast tables throughout North America.
Email Amy at email@example.com.