I’m engaged and I’m very excited. My grown daughter will be my maid of honor, and I’ve already chosen all my bridesmaids. My sister is the problem. Her new boyfriend (she goes through a lot of them) makes my daughter uncomfortable. He has repeatedly tried to add her to his social media accounts, some of which contain disturbing sexual content.
I told my sister that even though I want her in the wedding, my daughter comes first, and he won’t be able to be near us or participate. My sister, predictably, took his side. She insists that I’m unreasonable and that he’s a nice guy, even though she’s only known him for three months. I am wrong?
— Bride in Texas
You are not wrong; you have your priorities in order. If your daughter intuitively feels that her sister’s boyfriend of three months makes her uncomfortable, her feelings should be respected. Keep your weapons and, if necessary, be prepared to stand in for your sister at the wedding feast.
My son and his wife struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic. He lost his job. My wife and I supported them during this period by paying their mortgage and most of their living expenses. He has recently started a good career-oriented job.
However, his wife recently discovered that he has been secretly spending beyond his means for years on “toys” and that, unbeknownst to her, he has decimated his savings and racked up substantial debt. When she confronted him, he said he had a “spending addiction”. To top it off, they have a pandemic baby, our granddaughter. We are out of judgment. What should we do?
– not made of money
What should you do? Stop opening your wallet. The real question is: What is your SON going to do about it? If he’s really addicted to spending beyond his means (people are sometimes known to try to deal with depression by shopping), he needs more help than you can give. If he wants to regain control of his life, he should consider joining Spenders Anonymous (spenders.org) or Debtors Anonymous (debtorsanonymous.org). Both are 12-step programs for individuals who are in the same situation as your child.
My longtime friend is bipolar. She refuses counseling but takes medication. While I try to be compassionate and encouraging, she has turned into a complete drama queen. If she has a headache, she’s sure it’s brain cancer. If she has a fingernail, it will undoubtedly require amputation. She excels at constant whining. I can’t just turn my back on her, but sometimes I get tired of “poor me”. Am I being a horrible friend?
— I have my limits in California
Not. From his description, his friend is not only bipolar, but may also suffer from hypochondria. Since you find her complaints stressful and aggravating, you have the right to ration your exposure to her behavior.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
This article originally appeared in The Providence Journal: Dear Abby: Wedding Planning Leads to Confrontation Over Sister’s Boyfriend