I sent Save The Dates. Can We Still Elope?

Your Question Hi, We got engaged in 2012, we spoke about what we would want for a wedding before we got engaged and we both liked to elope or something small. So once engaged the questions started when, where and how. I bought up the subject of eloping with my family, they were fine and said they would support us.

When the subject of eloping was bought up with his family didn’t go down to well. My future father-in-law was like I want to do what makes you happy but said he would prefer a day celebrating with friends & family. Long story short wedding is booked and is eight months away, I freak out daily about everything, where are people going to stay, there might not be enough accommodation, what if not body comes (we are only having a smallish wedding of 50 people or so).

I feel like I want to cancel and run away, we have sent out the STD cards so feel now we are trapped into doing this. My FI said its fine and I should not be stressing it will all work out and I should not be worried about everyone one else they will sort themselves out if they want to come. Am I just nervous or do I really want to run away and get married. I love My FI and want to spend the rest of my life with him but I don’t know if I want the WEDDING.


advice on weddings

the advicist

Ok. Let’s take a deep breath.

I know this feels huge at the moment, but honestly, you can handle this.

I would say, ‘Cancel the wedding and elope!’, since it’s what both of you want (and I totally think that is a great option). But it also sounds like it would come with a lot of stress of it’s own. Especially if part of what’s stressing you out is all the questions. Because nothing gets the gossips going like a cancelled wedding, even if the marriage part is still on.

(Gosh, not that I think you should run your life around what gossips think! I just have a feeling you are idealising running away, and thinking that will solve EVERY problem. Whilst it will solve a good chunk of your problems, it will also create some new ones, and you can’t properly assess your best next move unless you acknowledge that, work out what those problems are, and decide which set of problems you prefer: those from the planned wedding, or those that come from cancelling that wedding).

Anyway, longest ever sentence aside, I have a suspicion that going ahead with THIS wedding will be the easiest thing. It sounds like it’s mostly planned, it’s not huge (although I do appreciate that if you want four people at your wedding, fifty feels pretty huge), and the end result is the same: you marry the man  you want to marry. (Congrats, by the way).

So let’s take each problem one at a time:

Where People Will Stay

You’re worried about guest accommodation. Don’t be. These are grown ups. They have gone to weddings before. They have gone on vacation before. They are perfectly capable of choosing somewhere to stay, booking it, and getting there. Leave them to it, and go paint your nails or something.

Who Will Come

Do not worry about no-one turning up. Seriously. I know we all have that sinking feeling 10 minutes after a party was supposed to start and no-one’s there. But you know what? In my experience someone always turns up.

And anyway, worst case-scenario: you turn up, your fiance turns up. Since you wanted to elope, isn’t this pretty much actually your dream scenario? So it will work out either way. Trust.

(Also, people will turn up. Just in case that last sentence had  you cancelling chair rentals or something).

(And, chair rentals are over-rated. If they have chairs available for free, use them.)

You’re Just Nervous

Which is fine. Indeed, healthy. I still support your decision to elope, if that’s what you want. But what I really want is for you to see to things you are worried about are NOT things you need to worry about. Don’t waste the next few months stressing about things that are not your concern (and seriously, where people stay is not your concern. Unless you’ve invited them to stay with you).

As a wise woman I once knew used to say, “You’ll die if you worry, you’ll die if you don’t. So why worry?”

Disclaimer: I know, easier said than done etc. But honestly, with practise, you can make this true (and if you can’t, I would really recommend CBT).

My Sister-in-Law is a Liar (and Bonus Free Childcare Rant)

Your Question I don’t like my sister in law baby sitting as I don’t trust her or really like her that much. She is very sly and scheming nothing that comes out out of her mouth is true. We just don’t like each other.

When I tell this to my partner he just flips big time to the point he walked out on us. We are together for now but this issue always rears its ugly head and I refuse to back down as I just don’t trust her or her judgement.

How can you trust someone who lies openly to your face? He is always trying to get her to look after the baby when I am at work or sometimes won’t tell me she is looking after the baby until after she has arrived.

My Sister in Law is a Liar

the advicist Is it really worth losing your partner over her?

Really. It doesn’t matter who is right, who is wrong, who lied to whom. If you and partner split up because of this, I have to think you weren’t made to be a team. And also, who won then, huh?

A sister-in-law is someone who is in your life. But why has she got so much power over you and your relationship?

I get that you don’t like her. It’s ok. You didn’t marry her.

Why don’t you trust her to look after the baby? Because she’ll do things a little differently from you? Because she’ll let him watch cartoons? Or because she lets him play with her matches while she smokes a joint?

What I’m trying to say is: How realistic is your perception of risk? Do you have a real reason not to feel right leaving your baby with her? If so, defend that line. If she is an unsafe babysitter, and your husband still wants her to look after your kid to make his life easier, he isn’t fit to be a father.

But if she just loads your kid on candy and lets him watch TV because, hey, she likes letting him have treats and she is doing you a favour, you need to calm the f*ck down. If you want him to only watch cartoons that improve his French and eat quinoa and organic green beans, sorry, you’re going to have to cough up for an over-priced nursery place and stop taking advantage of your relatives for free childcare. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, you can’t accept free childcare from family, and then complain that their service isn’t comprehensive enough. It makes you an ungrateful jerk.

photo credit: GViciano via photopin cc


Is It Bad to Ask Bridesmaids to Buy their Dresses

Your Question Is it bad to ask bridesmaids to buy their dresses?

Who should pay for bridesmaid's dresses

the advicist I don’t if I’d say ‘bad’. Personally, I wouldn’t, and didn’t. Since I was specifying the dresses, I felt it was only right for me to pay for them.

However, I know this varies. It seems most of my US readers do expect bridesmaids to bear the cost of their attire. If this is the case, I would urge you to choose something in a sensible price range. I’d specifially concentrate on purchasing dresses that don’t require alterations.

I asked my bridesmaid for their dress size, and purchased each of them a dress in that size. Did they fit? Of course they did. These people wear off-the-rack clothing every day of their lives. (I did check the return’s policy, but actually, I couldn’t have my girls try them on as two were overseas until the week of the wedding. So I risked it, and, whaddya know? When people give you their correct size, stuff fits).

Anyway, my point is, alterations for bridesmaids dresses are, in my opinion, just a way to make money. Totally unnecessary, though if you want it, and you can afford it, whatever.

As an aside, yes, I did have my wedding dress fitted. It was a heavy gown, it made it fit perfectly on me. My husband also had a suit made. It was amazing, but even I would never assume that just because I’m being a bridesmaid I -need- that level of customisation. Hell, I didn’t need it as a bride, it was purely a lavish want that we were lucky to be able to afford.

Also, have you looked into renting dresses? This might be a great idea if you want to keep the cost down. Little Borrowed Dress offer just this service, and it looks great (although I haven’t used them, and can’t vouch for them. I have no relationship with them, and am just highlighting a service I think my readers may find useful. If anyone has used them, please let us know how you found it in the comments, thanks!)

Finally, as for ‘They’ll wear them again’. No, they probably won’t. And if that’s your main concern just let them choose a dress – any dress – that they want to own, without interference. Then, they probably will wear it again. Like how your regular guests chose (and therefore, pay for) something to wear for your wedding.

What I don’t think you should do is specify and dress, and then ask them to pay for it. Or, tell them to choose a dress, and then tell them you hate it. Oh yeah, that’s been done before.



My Boyfriend Talks to his Ex

Your Question I’ve recently gotten into a new relationship . I trust my new boyfriend and all but he still talks to his ex. I mean I posted on his facebook a picture saying I miss you baby and he commented I miss you too babygirl! And his ex liked what he commented. Now should I be worried about this? Should I tell him to stop talking to her or not? I’m so confused.

Ready to pounce
the advicist


Oh, it’s like you guys don’t even read this website. We all know what I think about Facebook? Don’t we? Surely we do! I think it’s fun. I also think it’s a waste of time. But if you’ve got the time to waste, and you’re not, say, skipping work or ignoring your spouse, why would I care how you spend your time? Do what you want. But don’t come to me complaining about what people do or don’t do about your boring status updates and photos. Because you know what? Even your Facebook friends barely care, I really don’t care. You cannot judge people, or relationships, by Facebook.

Now you certainly can judge people who are being dicks. By that I mean people who:

  • Only use Facebook to complain. About boyfriends, or co-workers, or traffic, or public transport running late. They are boring whingers, and they are even less interesting in person than they are online.
  • People who only use Facebook to brag. There is a fine line between showing your best side, and straight up old-fashioned bragging.

That aside, you cannot judge someone’s actual life from their facebook page or interactions. Nor can you judge their motives in contacting your boyfriend. Maybe they are just friendly! Maybe they want him back! It’s really hard to tell. So, long story short, I have no idea if she’s trying to get him back. But… SHOCKER! That’s not what matters. What matters is does HE want to be gotten back. Sure, you could tell him to stop talking to her. But I think that would be pointless. He either likes her like that or he doesn’t. He is either committed to you, or he isn’t. You can either trust him, or you can’t.

You can’t just trust him around certain people. That isn’t trust at all; that’s control.

If they were left alone in a room together, would you trust him not to fall for her advances (assuming, hypothetically, that she is making some, because I am far from convinced of this)? If not, I would suggest that you cannot trust him. But emphasis on the YOU. YOU don’t trust him. That is totally different from him being untrustworthy. But it is also all that matters when you are in a relationship with someone. If you can’t trust him, you need to walk away. Either because:

  1. Your gut is right, and he is not worthy of your trust. Or
  2. You’re the jealous type, and he doesn’t need that.

If, on the other hand, you find it hard to trust anyone, that’s something you need to work on. Because you’re never going to experience genuine closeness without it, and because no-one wants to be stuck with someone who is questioning them (even silently) all the time. Seriously, if you can’t trust anyone, you need to work that through, with a qualified professional, before you start entangling yourself with other people. If you do the work, you will thank me for it.

photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc

How Can I Get this Girl to Talk to Me?

Your Question
I am 23 years old male, I like this girl in college that i want to talk to and see where things go.

The problem is she’s not my friend and she’s not in my class so it’s almost impossible to initiate contact or have an excuse to talk routinly.

I am just asking is it okay to just text her or catch her on facebook telling her i want to see her,or that i think i like her and want to make a date….?

i know about her enough that i am confident that if i approache her in the correct way she will surely agree to go for a date.I am just not sure how should i do this.the situation is fragile and i don’t want to freak her out or make a wrong impression about myself as she doesn’t know me that well and she’ll be surprised or suspecious i asked her because I’ve been around her long time ago and never showed interest in her what so ever untill now.

I know that asking her out on internet sounds cheesy,but she’s my first girl that i ask out in my life, so on person i might become cold feet, clumsy, and start babbling,which is an advantage for facebook that i can organize my thoughts and will be more confident even if i speak spontaneously which what i tend to always be.

Asking a girl out at college

the advicist Firstly, I feel for you. Approaching people, especially when they can reject you, is a scary thing to do.

But my first thought is: if you don’t know her well enough to talk to her:

  1. What makes you “confident that if i approache her in the correct way she will surely agree to go for a date”? How have you got that impression when you don’t know her to talk to?
  2. How do you know you like her and want to go out with her? This may just be a lusty-crush, for want of a better description. Most true romances come out of knowing someone a tiny bit, and wanting to know more. And more. And more. And that has to start with something, and it has to be mutual. If you don’t know her well enough to talk to her… I’m not sure you know her well enough to fall for her on anything more than a superficial level.

Asking her on the internet could go one of two ways. Yes, it could give you the time to sort out your thoughts, and word things perfectly. But that could also contribute to making you look creepy. A message from someone, out of the blue, who you’ve never really spoken to, asking you out? I don’t want to be harsh, but as a woman, I can tell you, that can come across as creepy.

Now a guy approaching you in person, can definitely come across as creepy too. But there is much less chance of that, because it looks more conversational, less stalkerish. And babbling? Trust me, that can be very cute.

Tips for talking to her:

  • Do it in a busy place. Don’t wait until she leaves her friends and walks off alone, that may make her uncomfortable, and definitely can come across as creepy.
  • Just start with small talk. ‘Great lecture!’, ‘nice weather’ or ‘I read that book! It’s great / bad / boring’. Try not lead with anything about her looks. That can come across as creepy too. A neutral subject – class you’ve been to, book she’s carrying etc is a good place to start.


I hope this might help. And I hope you don’t take all my ‘don’t be creepy advice’ the wrong way. It’s just, when you don’t know a girl that well, but you know you want to date her, that can come across that way. You’re a nice guy, I just want to make sure she sees that. Good luck!

photo credit: umjanedoan via photopin cc

On Whether to Leave A Good Person Who Just Isn’t Enough

Your Question Dear Advicist, I am trying to decide whether to stay in my marriage or dissolve it and I am feeling a lot of self hatred. I married a man I dated for a long time because I believed that he was a very good person and was good to me. We get along just fine.

I had been in relationships where I had loved and lost, and because those relationships always ended, I believed that that ‘love’ feeling was lust, and wasn’t truly marriage material. However, the man I married I did not ‘lust’ after but I did have some attraction to start. I told myself this will grow with time, and it did not. I care about him very much, but I have no physical desire towards him and my guilt is rotting my stomach.

I feel as if I have committed a horrific sin; however, now I am 47, childless and regretting it more than you can fathom, and hating my reflection. Can I live through this? How? Please – I beseech you, help me.

The Grass Is Always Greener

The Grass Is Always Greener by The Road Not Taken

the advicist
It’s common for lust to fade over the years. It’s common to wonder ‘what if’. It’s not common (no, actually it is, but I wish it weren’t) to hate yourself.

Please get some counselling. It sounds like there are lots of things you need to talk through.

Also, remember that when a marriage fails – and millions have done before, and will in the future – it was the marriage that failed, not the people in it.

You made the best decision you could at the time. You thought this man would be enough for you, and make you happy. It turned out not to be the case. Knowing then, what you know now, you might have done things differently.

But if you had, you may have been in a different marriage wondering if this man you let pass you by was actually the key to your happiness.

Do you see what I’m getting at? Regrets are pointless, because there is no way of knowing whether, if you  had chosen the other path, that one would have turned out perfectly either. So you’re comparing real-life with a fantasy. And that’s never going to be a happy comparison.

So, the first thing to do is to acknowledge you make a mistake and forgive yourself for it. Seriously. You had information at your disposal – that previous lusty relationships had fizzled – and you made the best decision you could: that the long-haul should be with someone whom you like, not just fancy.

It wasn’t necessarily a bad decision, or the wrong decision.

You are where you are now, so stop looking at the past, and start looking forwards.

Daydream about what you want your life to look like in 5 or 10 years. In those fantasies, are you with your husband, enjoying life together? Or are you living by yourself, perhaps in an apartment, surrounded by things you love, with interesting hobbies and a full social life, but protective of your space and alone time and living by yourself?

Think about what you really want out of life. Yes, the past few years might not have gone as you hoped. But all  you can do is make your next decision a good one. Work out what you want, and make a plan to make that happen.

Instead of this being a failure, making you view yourself as a failure, this could be the start of a big adventure. Here you are, with no kids to worry about, free to make your own choices and pursue your own happiness! Embrace it.

photo credit: rady one ツ via photopin cc

Should I go to my Sister’s Destination Wedding? I have Kids!

Your Question
Hi there! My sister is having a wedding abroad in Italy this fall and she really wants me to go. I have the gift of a family friend’s miles to get me there, and can room with my parents, so it’s essentially a free trip.

The main problem is that I have little kids at home and my husband really doesn’t want me to go (and refuses to go himself and leave our kids at home).

We can’t afford to take the kids and really don’t want to anyway. I am conflicted and don’t know how to break it to my sister that I can’t go. I don’t want to blame it all on my husband and strain the relationship he has with my family. I just don’t see an easy way out of this dilemma. Help!

Destination wedding in Italy - should I go?

the advicist

To be honest, I don’t see why you can’t go. Your husband can’t ‘manage’ for a few days with the kids alone? Then he had no business having kids!

It’s a free trip. It’s a big family milestone. You need to give me some better reasons as to why your husband doesn’t want you to go, or I just can’t even fathom this dilemma.

photo credit: j0sh (www.pixael.com) via photopin cc

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou


Forget my Guide to Becoming More Than His Fallback Girl. Maya said it all.


(If anyone knows of a proper credit for this image, I’d really appreciate it. I saw it on the Tumblr of fantastic singer-songwriter Leddra Chapman, and haven’t been able to find anymore out using Google. Thank you).

Cheat Sheet: How to Tell if a Guy Is Interested in You

It’s been a while since I did a Cheat Sheet. I’ve had a few questions lately about whether or not a guy is interested. I’ve been telling people they ought to just know from the signals. Well, what signals? 

Signs That a Guy is Into You

  1. He wants to spend time with you…
  2. …Even, and especially, when he ought to be elsewhere: catching a bus, going to work, at a meeting.
  3. He makes plans to see you. Again. And Again.
  4. He makes excuses to touch you: ‘Come here, look at this’ *arm grabbing*, or the classic, ‘Oh, you have fluff on your sleeve’.
  5. He shows off in front of you. Showing off is not necessarily attractive, but, in this context, kind of endearing?
  6. He wants to tell you about himself. The REAL stuff. Not the surface stuff he tells everyone else.
  7. You want to tell him about yourself. And you feel like he is good enough to hear it. (Trust your instinct on this one. Never force intimacy. If you don’t want to share yourself with someone, your bullsh*t meter is probably doing you a favour).


Signs That Might Confuse You Into Thinking A Guy Is Into You

When they lean in for a kiss. Sorry girls, but sometimes, they just want your body. Don’t confuse Lust with ‘Into You’. It’s nice when they co-incide. But unfortunately it’s not a requirement. And before you all tell me I’m a sexist for publishing this, the only reason I have done it with these Genders, in this direction, is that I am a girl, and I can tell when a guy is into me. I cannot tell when a girl is into me (well, either that, or none ever has been. I’m upset about it either way). And I’d love to do Signs a Girl is Into You, but I don’t know if I’m that self-aware? A lot of this can simply be reversed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a guy could see signs I didn’t know I was giving off. Do you have anything to add to the list?

Should We Cancel Our Wedding and Elope?

Your Question
My fiancé and I are planning a wedding in August of this year and we are thinking about canceling and eloping.

To start off: I don’t like planning, or hosting parties, I hate being the center of attention, and while I can appreciate a lot of cute wedding stuff, I could care less about planning my own. I was never a girl that dreamed of her wedding and I got engaged to be married to the man of my dreams, not to have a wedding.

We originally wanted to have a small ceremony, with our immediate family only, but his mom insisted that her brother be there. We could tell that his mom really wanted to have a larger wedding with all the extended family and friends and everything. And in thinking about that we wanted our other aunts and uncles (who we are much closer to) to be there as well.

I figured that if it was really that important to her then why not throw a party? I didn’t want to burn any bridges with my soon to be mother-in-law.

Problem is, we only have $5,000 from my parents (who have made no demands of us and have instructed us to do whatever we want with the money) and we are now trying to plan a wedding for 75-100 instead of a small ceremony and dinner for 16.

This is immensely stressful for me and my fiancé because in order to save money we have to do everything ourselves, and we are still finding it hard to make ends meet. We don’t make much money to begin with and would rather spend more on a nice honeymoon for the two of us to start our married life together with something meaningful and memorable to us.

Instead we are at each other’s throats about the wedding and money, and the feeling that keeps coming up is that neither of us wanted this to begin with. This is not the wedding we had envisioned. At this point, we have set a date, reserved a venue, and booked a cabin for his family to stay in while they are here. We have not sent out invitations, and have only told people informally.

We would be out maybe $500 at the most. We are worried that his mom may be disappointed or embarrassed to tell people that we are canceling the wedding. Also, we feel bad for people we have asked to be in the wedding. (to our knowledge, no tickets have been purchased) We were thinking of asking our immediate family to elope with us, not telling anyone else, and then afterwards sending out announcements that we couldn’t wait and got married. Is this crazy?

village hall wedding

the advicist  You can throw a wedding for $5000. Hear me out before you call me crazy.

You rent a hall. I mean a church hall, a local community building, a scout hut. It takes some looking around, but there are plenty of places available to hire for cheap. Just think of buildings other community groups use. Anywhere near you to do a keep fit class? A knitting group? A mother and toddler group? Where do they meet? Enquire, and get some prices. (It probably won’t be that pretty, but you said it yourself: you’d rather spend your money on other things than a fancy wedding).

Think about how to feed a large group of people on a reasonable budget. Cook-out? Would be alright asking some people to bring a dish and do a pot luck? Pizza? (Note on pizza: if you find a good local restaurant, it can be a lot ‘nicer’ than your standard takeaway. A few green salads on long tables, dinner = done.)

I don’t know if these are the kind of suggestions that you are after. But it sounds like you think there are two options:

1) Elope

2) Blow a fortune on a wedding.

I’m here to tell you you can use the $5k given to you, and nothing else, and do it. It will take more planning (and I heard you when you said you didn’t enjoy it. I just wanted to put another option out there).

If you feel, for whatever reason (I’m thinking in-law expectations, since this whole wedding sounds like a very kind attempt to get them on-side) that a $5k wedding ‘won’t do’, you have some more options:

a) Tell the in-laws you were going to have the big wedding, but on reflection you can’t afford it. (Bear in mind they may  offer to contribute. Have an answer worked out between you and your fiance before you raise this.)

b) Go ahead anyway. Which sounds a bit pointless. It’s not the wedding either you, or the in-laws want.

c) Elope.

None is pain- or hassle- free, I’m sorry to tell you. You just have to pick the least worst option. Welcome to adulthood. 

photo credit: amandabhslater via photopin cc