DEAR AMY: I was close to some friends my age growing up, but I haven’t seen or talked to them in a long time. Life got in the way.
A few years ago, their mother (“Jane”) accused their father (“John”) and my mother of having an affair, solely on the grounds that they had to work together on some church functions.
This accusation had no basis in reality. They never met outside of the church environment and only shared the occasional phone call to coordinate on church events.
Since then, John has stopped talking to my mother and both Jane and John have been spreading nasty rumors about my family.
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I’m getting married next year, and as I was extremely close with their kids growing up and have no reason to burn bridges (other than our parents dislike for one another), I have always thought I would invite them to the wedding. However, my father informed me that I am not allowed to invite anyone from that family, due to the situation between the parents.
I am inclined to ignore his request and invite them anyway since I’ve never personally had issues with them. But since my parents are fronting some of the costs for the wedding, I wonder if I am obligated to accommodate. I’m sure the friends would feel aggrieved at not being invited, so I’m not sure how to best defuse the situation. Help, please!
DEAR CONFUSED: I assume you are interested in inviting only the children (not their parents) to your wedding. However, you say you have not had even a conversation with these childhood friends in a long time. Keep this in mind as you decide whether to go head-to-head with your folks.
If you decide to proceed with the invitation, this is worth a deep – and calm – conversation with your parents. Explain your reasoning and listen to their response. If they attach conditions to their wedding funding (which is their right to do), you will have to make a choice about how to proceed.
Your obligation is to realize that they have some leverage, should they choose to use it. Their obligation is to realize that this is supposed to be your wedding. Accepting their money may cost you some autonomy.
DEAR AMY: My fiance and I have been together for nearly five years. Our relationship is solid, but my mom keeps trying to persuade us to break up. I’m an only child, and my parents’ relationship is on the rocks.
I love my mom, but I feel like she is destroying my relationship with her because of how she treats my fiance. She’s even gone so far as to tell him to his face that she “likes him as a person, just not as a boyfriend” for me.
The rest of my family seems to love him.
My fiance does not like spending time with my folks because he always feels unwelcome. I’ve tried to talk to my mom about this, and she just talks about how he and I should break up.
Please help me figure out how to salvage my relationship with my parents, without sacrificing the man with whom I have chosen to spend the rest of my life.
Torn in Two
DEAR TORN: When parents disapprove of your choice in partner, to the extent of serving up passive-aggressive personal swipes, they run the risk of enacting an age-old dance that will damage their relationship with you (and your partner).
You should behave respectfully but firmly toward your parents. Remind your mother that she isn’t marrying your guy – you are. She doesn’t get to choose your friends or your spouse for you.
DEAR AMY: I’m responding to the letter from “Angry Widow,” who had learned after her husband’s death that he had been cheating on her with a married woman. You should suggest she have her doctor run a bank of STD tests. She needs to know now if her husband gave her a disease. And if he did? THEN she has a reason to contact the other cheated-on spouse.
DEAR MARY: Good point. Incidences of STDs are up sharply among older people.
Write Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.