I Can’t Get Married Because I Need a Tummy Tuck, and other ways to Bury The Lead

Your Question

what to do, what to do.

My fiancé and I were going to elope in 2017. Reasons for the
late date:
-finish paying his child support
-get some funds behind us and not dip into our mortgage
-parents aren’t paying
-lose more weight (already lost 40kg)
-have a tummy tuck
-look like a beautiful bride

Why elope?
-OMG where do I start?
-Don’t want to offend the ones I don’t want to invite
-His mother has a way with words and we “HAD” to invite certain
unrelated people to our very small engagement party
-Our Engagement party was full of children (3 children per single
parent) we catered our engagement party around so many children (lunch
time barefoot bowls) instead of an evening of elegance and couture
-Children will not even care or understand why I am wearing white, but
how do you NOT invite them without offending the parents (your
-We asked his 15 yr old daughter to take photos during the engagement
party, she disappointed us. There were no photos. She was only
interested in her facebook, texting and ipod with earphones.
-His mother has told us his neice wants to be my bridesmaid. Cute
right? and said she couldn’t coz I already have 5 bridesmaids. Errrr
I haven’t chosen anyone yet and she already had my 5 picked out!!!
What the hell?
-My parent paid for my sisters wedding, but wont pay for mine. They
say because they are retired. I get that. But funny how I had to pay
double the amount of board than my sister. Sense a feeling of
-His Brother in law and sister are feuding with rest of the family.
BIL is a complete asshat.
-have lots of acquaintances and only a handful of close friends

So anyway, somewhere along the line, we decided when the time comes,
we will invite both parents only so they can see us get married (its
my first marriage)

Plans have now been thrown out of kilter. My dad has been diagnosed
with cancer. He is rapidly deteriorating. He wont be able to travel to
the destination in mind (Australia to Hawaii), nor will he around in
2017 let alone be able to walk me down the isle.

Im not ready financially, physically and am time poor to organise a
dream wedding.
I only want to be married once, and I want it to be perfect.
This quickie wedding wont be “what I want”, but will be done just
for my dad.

What to do, What to do….
Got any suggestions?


the advicist


Firstly, let me say that I am so so sorry to hear about your Dad’s illness. It’s a terrible disease for everyone involved. Hugs.

Now I’m going to be real with you. There are two facts: you want your Dad to be there (of course you do). You’re Dad won’t be able to be there much longer.

So you have only one option: you plan the best wedding you can, under the time constraints you have.

It is not fair. I know that. But it is what it is. Fighting it will only lead to sorrow and regrets.


My solution would be for you to have the small wedding you envisaged – just your fiance and yourself, and both sets of parents, but locally instead of at a destination.

I would hope your extended family and in-laws would understand given the circumstances, but if you worry they won’t, invite your four guests out for lunch, and spring the ceremony on them on the day. Kind of cruel, but if it needs to be done, oh well.

There are a few more things I need to address, even though I think they are kind of red herrings given the circumstances with your Dad.

1) The tummy tuck.

Seriously? Seriously?! Either you haven’t been reading for long, or I’m doing a bad job of making my feelings known. Here we go, THINGS THAT ARE NOT REQUIRED TO GET MARRIED:

– An engagement ring, diamond, large, small, sparkly or otherwise

– A trim waistline

– A big fancy dress

– A big fancy car

– Anything that you can proceed with the words ‘big’ and ‘fancy’.

– Bridesmaids / Groomsmen

– Photographers

All you need are two people, legally entitled to be married, and wanting so to do, and a person who, legally wherever you are, can make that happy, plus whatever other legal requirements need to be met in your jurisdiction (banns, licenses, fees, witnesses etc).

I’m not saying many of the above aren’t nice. I’m not saying your a bad person for wanting them.

I’m saying if you and your fiance want to be married, and you want your Dad to be there, get on with it. I’m sure he couldn’t give a flying f*ck how much you weigh, in comparison to the thought of not being there to witness it.

2) Your step-daughter.

She’s 15. Seeing a parent remarry can be a very hard time. Cut her some slack. I think you were naive and kind of imposing to give her the responsibility of the pictures given that you obviously cared about them. If you were making up a non-job to make her feel important, well again, she’s 15, not 8. If you thought you would get a free photographer out of it, that’s a lot of pressure to put on a 15 year old. If you just thought she’d enjoy it because she loves a selfie, but you misjudged the situation, ok. It’s not going to be your last error as a step-parent.

Because you know that’s what you’re signing up for, right? I know the child support part is going to end, but I hope to god the actual ‘support’ part doesn’t. She’s not just a court order that needs paying off, SHE’S A CHILD, A HUMAN BEING. I’m hoping you have a profound understanding of that, and it was simply lost in the bullet point.

Again, I really am sorry about your Dad. This is going to be a difficult time. But you will end up married to a wonderful man, and a beach holiday in 2017 might be a great way to celebrate and recuperate. Whether you lose the weight, or not.

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I left my ex now he won’t talk unless he’s saying hurtful things

Road closed

the advicist
He’s your ex, why are you talking to him?

It’s over. And it sounds like you decided that. There is no need to talk to him*, whether he’s saying nice or nasty things. The end.

(*If there are kids involved, IGNORE THIS WHOLE ANSWER, AND WRITE IN AGAIN).

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On Differing Parenting Styles

Your Question
My sister-in-law has an authoritarian parenting style (which I don’t agree with).

I bite my tongue and try to honor her wishes, because I don’t believe it’s my place to tell her how to raise her kids (and I would want her to show me the same respect when I become a parent).

However, it is getting harder and harder to meet her often unreasonable demands. My husband and I try to plan fun things for her kids to do when they come over, and my SIL says no to every single one. Only SHE can decide what they do when they spend time with us.

I’ve reached the point where I’m terrified to do ANYTHING with my niece and nephew, because no matter what age appropriate activity we plan (and we always check with her first) she still gets pissed off, says no, and dictates how we spend our time together. No matter what healthy snack we choose to serve (again, we always check with her first) she says no and dictates what to feed them and how much.

She’s like this with EVERYBODY, including both sets of grandparents. How do I handle my sister-in-law’s controlling parenting style?

Junk food
the advicist

I guess you just accept they are her kids and move on with your life.

Sure it’s annoying when people do things you wouldn’t do. But… you can’t control her. And maybe, one day, you’ll be pleased when she honours your wishes with your children, even if those instructions are, ‘Have fun and eat what you want!’.

Honestly, it’s not worth wasting your time trying to change her. And your niece and nephew will grow up and become more autonomous, and maybe one day relish having an auntie who’s a bit more laid back than mom. Or maybe they love the structure, who knows.

My point is, you’re wasting your time railing against it. Enjoy the kids within whatever parameters she sets. Go with the flow. Heaven knows those kids need one chilled out relative on their side.

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Smug Marrieds

Your Question
So I have been struggling with the fact that I am the only girlfriend not married into my boyfriends family. I feel that the other girls hold that over my head and in a way rub it in my face.

I don’t know what to do. To make everything worse our personalites are very different so going out and doing something really isn’t an option. I am just fed up with people putting their relationships and themselves first just because they are married. I just don’t know what to do.


the advicist

Well, a couple of things come to mind.

1) Have you and your boyfriend talked about marriage? Are you generally on the same page about whether you want it, when you might want it, and whether it might be with each other? This is kind of crucial information.

2) In what ways are they rubbing your face in it? You may just be projecting. If you are desperate to get married, and getting no indications from your boyfriend that it is going to happen, you may just be over-sensitive to the subject. Are they like, “Oh if you were married you’d understand”, every ten minutes? Do they still go on about their weddings as if they were just married, but actually, it was years ago?

Or are they just saying “my husband” in conversation, and you’re like, OMG, does she have to keep mentioning that he’s her husband?? In which case you may be being over-sensitive because, well, that’s just what he is, so describing him that way is simply a statement of fact.

3) Even if they are super-annoying and all, “my husband, my wedding, my honeymoon”, oh well. Hopefully if and when you tie the knot they’ll be just as excited for you. Either way, it doesn’t actually have a bearing on your relationship with your boyfriend, which is the crux of all this. Even if you think they are doing it to annoy you, rise above it. There’s nothing to be gained by being combative, and you’ll just come off as bitter and petty, regardless.

4) What do you mean “going out and doing something”? Why would you need to do anything with or about your maybe-future-sister-in-laws? This problem is between you and your boyfriend. If you want to get married it’s him you need to talk with, and deal with, not his family.

PS. Yes, the title is a Bridget Jones reference.

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Cancelling a Wedding Venue

Your Question
Should we cancel the wedding venue we have paid a deposit to book and change venues? I still want to marry my amazing fiance but I am freaking out about how much the wedding will cost us.

We have talked about having a small low key wedding and we still have 55 people on our wedding list we want to invite but it is just so expensive having it at the current venue. I feel sick about the cost and am losing sleep. we have joked about eloping but I don’t want to do that.

I feel like I want to get married in a garden and go to a small venue and have dinner with everyone and just have a good time at a much smaller price tag. Do you think we should just cancel our venue and forget about the deposit and move on and organise something that is more “us” and less about what we think everyone else will like?

I also feel like we have been organising the wedding for everyone else and not how we really want it to be. 5704698555_0885c9eed1_b

the advicist

Cancel. The deposit is gone. If you carried on just to ‘save’ the deposit you’d be throwing good money after bad.

Are people pressuring you to have a larger wedding than you’d like? Saying you feel as though you are “organising the wedding for everyone else” is kind of vague.

Make sure you’re not imagining their expectations. Has anyone actually said something? Or are you planning the wedding that you think they think you should have?

Because guessing what other people are thinking is a fool’s business.

It sounds like a garden wedding and a restaurant you like afterwards will be perfect for you, your fiance and your budget. I hope you have a really wonderful day.

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The Advicist Is Taking A Holiday

I can’t pretend it’s ‘well-deserved’ because we all know I have been slacking around here lately.

Enjoy the sunshine if you have it! x

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Should I send a Card to Someone who Cancelled their Wedding?

Your Question

Should I send a card to someone who cancelled their wedding?


the advicist I rarely advise AGAINST sending cards. I mean, a card is just a way of telling someone you are thinking of them. And it’s a nice way at that – because it arrives at leisure, without expectation of reply, or even engagement.

During a difficult time, who hasn’t let the mail pile up? That’s the joy of a good old fashioned card – they can read it when they want to, rather than when the sender wants them to.

I’d go for something simple, a blank notecard without any message already printed on it. Just let them know you are thinking of them.

PS Maybe I’m just going soft but, awww, it’s really nice of you to think to send a card.

PPS Wow, I’ve been having all kinds of site admin issues. So sorry for the inconvenience. Don’t worry, if I decide to stop writing I will definitely let you all know. 

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My Childless Sister-In-Law

Your Question

 I hate being ignored by my sister in law and mother in law. Me and my husband have been together for 14 married for 9 and have 2 daughters. My one sister-in-law was going through a separation with her husband but they ended up staying together.

During those 5 years I promise you it seemed like she was using my oldest as a security blanket. I don’t mind my daughters having sleepovers but I want to enjoy them on weekends also even if we’re just sitting in the house. Btw sleepovers have dramatically decreased since her husband is back in the picture.

At one point she was picking up my daughter not asking us but asking my daughter who was what 7-8-9 at the time and just taking her for sleepovers. I got fed up so the next time she had asked to have her I told my husband no because we had church the next morning at 9:30 and its just a pain. I like to leave to church as a family not wait till one gets dropped off and so on. Oh no she flipped she was crying. She called me up and was like how could you do that you know I’ll do anything for my nieces they’re like my DAUGHTERS. ..and at one point all I said was that well they’re my daughters. She didn’t like that too much I mean they are (mind you she can’t have any of her own).

We have a small birthday celebration every year for her. How about when my birthday came around nothing was mentioned to me especially when she’s always on FB and I guess that day she wasn’t or when they paid and took my daughters on vacation but couldn’t tell me what time they were coming back she kept saying oh I dunno I have to check my email that was my fault though even though they paid for it they’re my daughters.

We’re not close but we’re not mean to each other most of the time I don’t address the many other things that happen but for the sake of peace I don’t say anything. I guess i’m looking for acceptance and approval in a perfect world I wish we could get along more and that my sil, mil would stop thinking the world revolves around them. My husband isn’t their servant anymore.


the advicist

Humour me a moment. Let’s do a little experiment. Sit back and re-read your letter, now you haven’t seen it for a few days. Read it slowly. Tell me what you think.

Because I was kind of with you, until I got to the aside, ‘Mind you, she can’t have any of her own’.

1) Could you be any more condescending about it.

2) Wow, heartless.

Maybe she is closer with your daughters because, sadly, she is unable to have children. Or maybe not.

But either way, let’s try to have a little love and understanding, huh? The woman clearly enjoys the company of children… and yet she cannot have any. Since you clearly love parenting, I would think you could muster up jsut a little EMPATHY for that situation.

I’m not saying she should pick your kid up without asking (EVER. That is not acceptable to me). I’m not even saying you ‘owe’ her lots of time with your kids. I am saying you OWE HER SOME COMPASSION when you speak of what she has dealt with, and the circumstances she is in.

As for everything else. One word: Boundaries. Get some, stick to them.

If you don’t want her picking your daughter up without asking you first, clearly and calmly say so. She won’t suddenly realise this is unacceptable unless you tell her. 

No need to be mean, or snarky, just clearly communicate what you expect and hold her to it.

Oh, and once you’re over 10 years old, it’s ridiculous to complain about not getting a birthday party. And especially to then cry, ‘But she got one!’. If you feel she doesn’t appreciate the party you throw for her, don’t throw it again. If you are just throwing one for her, so she will throw one for you (and then you can or do get upset when she doesn’t) GROW THE HELL UP.

Actually, that kind of sums up my answer. Grow some compassion and grow up.

(I will give you some points for often getting on with things without making  a fuss for the sake of the peace. You clearly have a modicum more maturity than I have been giving you credit for).

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The Ex-Husband Allies with the Ex-Mother-in-Law

Your Question
Am I doing the right thing stopping my daughters contact with her father because of MIL?

[NOTE FOR READERS: my answer is very short, you may want to skip right to the end. Also there is a site update there too, if you’re interested.]

I will try my hardest not to bore you with details as it would literally go on and on so instead probably easier to write a brief timescale.

1)ex husband is a waste of space, a compulsive liar and a sex addict. we separated as he had slept with over 100 women during our marriage including whilst I was pregnant.

2)ex husband has 4 children. 1 with his first partner who stopped contact with him and his entire family when their daughter was 4 and it has never resumed. A set of twins with his ex wife and a daughter with me.

3) I embarked on a relationship with my ex and was dating for around 6 months and was totally in love and under his spell when I discover that he was still in a relationship with his ex wife. broken hearted (his ex and me) he had to choose – he chose me. we married and went on to have our daughter.

4) enter MIL. Crazy, opinionated stubborn woman who disowned my ex (for the second time) and sided with his ex.

5) remained this way for 6 years with me sporadically receiving vile texts off this woman blaming me for everything and openly telling anyone who would listen that I was a dirty whore and how I will never be a part of her family.

6)over time i hoped things would settle – it never did. she remained as venomous and as determined to not have a relationship with my ex or me.

7) my daughter was born she wanted no part in it. She never acknowledged her and even wrote on my dil(they’re divorced) that he was being disrespectful to his ex’s ex wife by posting a picture of my daughter and ordered him to take it down.

8)0 over the years I extended the olive branch, i became the ‘bigger person’ I would send her photos and letters off my daughter, invited her to birthday party’s and christenings each were refused. my ex and his mother were extremely hostile towards each other and my ex and I fell out over it several times as he could not understand why I was making such an effort,

9) we eventually agreed for the sake of our marriage and sanity that we would accept defeat. we both agreed that his mother was never to be a part of our daughters life. she hasn’t had anything to do with her for the first 2.5 yrs of her life.

10) a few weeks after we split up my ex was back in contact with his Mother, fast forward 15 months they are best friends again. my ex decided without discussing with me to re introduce our now 3 yr old to his mother and not only that, but leaving my daughter for extended periods of time with her whilst he was working etc.

11) i spoke to ex about this and I stated that if she is now to be a part of her life I would like to meet her and speak with her
(we have never ever come face to face or spoke to each other -ever) i wanted reassurance that she is genuine, that she will no longer be disrespectful about me or towards me. This was refused by my ex and refused by his mother!!

12)so i made it clear that i do not want my daughter having contact with her whilst this is the case. he told me that i do not tell him what to do or who she sees and cannot see. therefore I have stopped all contact and he has accepted that and plans on taking it to the court. The next thing he did was stop my maintenance as he thinks this ‘punishes’ me.

I’ve read that I cant really stop him introducing her to who ever he wishes because he has parental responsibility but surely a court would understand my need to simply meet with the woman and be reassured that she has the best interest for my child?

I am at a loss!!

Caught in the middle

the advicist
Me too. Honestly, this is way above my pay grade. You need legal advice. The end.

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PS. So sorry the site has been down for a few days. The good news is I outgrew the hosting package, yay! Too much traffic = good problem to have. The bad news is this means more costs for better hosting, and I’m not sure I’m prepared to pay for it. So… some tough decisions ahead, hence the sporadic posting. I will keep you informed.

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Can I Cancel a Wedding Nine Days Out?

Your Question My fiance and I are supposed to be getting married in 9 days. It’s supposed to be a small backyard wedding BBQ type of thing. We just started planning about 5 weeks ago and my mom completely took over everything.

I should also mention that I’m a full time student, taking 5 summer classes (so a whole semester condensed into 6-8 weeks), and looking for a full time job. And we have a toddler. My fiance and I just moved in together about a month ago and since then our financial situation has changed a little bit and we are barely making ends meet, so we have absolutely no money to contribute to the wedding. I’m also freaking out about my fiances pending deployment, which is why we don’t have the usual year to spend planning and saving for a wedding.

Over the past few weeks I have gotten more and more stressed and depressed about our wedding because it’s nothing that I wanted. My mom makes all of these decisions, buy things, invites people, and then asks me my opinions AFTER she done it. She criticizes everything that I say I want and makes me feel so crappy. Every few days my mom does or says something that upsets to the point that I am bawling, and my grades are slipping.

My fiance is upset that my feelings keep getting hurt, and we have both been talking about cancelling the wedding and going to the courthouse.I’m to the point where I don’t even want to speak to my parents anymore. I’m not even excited for the wedding…I’m excited to be married to this wonderful man, but everything else sounds awful.

I have 4 Bridesmaids who all have non-refundable dresses so we would have to pay them all for the dresses, which would be around $350 (clearing out my savings account). We already paid a deposit to the officiant but it was only $45 so we’re not too worried about that. My parents have put down a deposit at a rental place for chairs and things like that, which I’m assuming they can’t get back. And the groomsmen would each be out about $20 for deposits they put down for the tuxes.

There are also guests from out of town who have already made travel plans and everyone has taken time off work.

With the wedding only 9 days away is it too late to cancel the wedding? Does it make me an awful person if I don’t want this wedding? It is selfish of us to cancel now? I just don’t want to be miserable on our wedding day.


the advicist Usually, I’m all like, “if you don’t want the big wedding, don’t have it!”. But nine days out…

Look, if you said, “I’m not sure I want to marry this guy, but the rentals are paid for”, I’d say, SERIOUSLY, take the hit on the rentals, it’s WAY EASIER than a divorce.

If you had even a hint of doubt about the marriage in your letter, I would counsel you to absolutely not go through with the wedding.

But. You’re sure about the guy! You want to marry him! The wedding, at this point, is a means to an end.

To cancel it now would put a lot of people out – not just your parents, but all those guests who have taken time off and booked accommodation because they are excited to see you get married.

Cancelling now might do some serious damage to those relationships, whilst not saving you much stress.

I’m not one for doing things because they make other people happy, when they make you unhappy. But in this case, by cancelling THIS wedding, you would get some satisfaction, yes, but you would still need to organise a court house, and you would miss out on the joy of seeing all those people happy for you. And even if you’re really annoyed with your Mom now, you don’t say that you are unhappy with the guest list, even if you didn’t necessarily hand write it.

Refunding the dress money, ringing round and cancelling everything, dealing with your Mom’s emotions (honestly, if she’s THIS invested in your wedding she is going to go NUTS when you say you want to cancel), won’t save you stress. If anything, it will create more.

The wedding is planned. Sure it might not be exactly what you would have planned, but you know what? You didn’t have the time or the money to do it. You want to be married… and here is a wedding that has been planned just for you.

Relax. It’s only 9 days. Don’t get involved in things your Mom is taking care of. Seriously. If there’s stuff you’re not happy with, accept in the spirit of, “Well, someone cared enough to organise all this for me!”.

And if some of it’s really bad, just tell your friends, “I’ve been snowed under. My Mom did everything. Crazy-tacky, huh? But she really enjoyed herself and we are very grateful”. Live that attitude for nine days, and marry the love of your life. Yay you! Congrats.

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