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

Your Question

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

Hope

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.

heartless

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.

Cancelled

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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A Long Winded Way to Answer Your Own Question

Your Question
Is it wrong to ask my boyfriend to drop his friendships with 2 women he has been involved with during out time together.?

We took a time out Christmas 2012. We had a date for NYE. I had called him and told him his ticket would be waiting for him and hoped he showed up. Later that night I saw him post from Dixon and I knew.. he was with someone. They dated for a month and then we got back together.

He continued to engage in conversations with her and then started up chatting with his ex prior to us. I had had it and broke up with him in Sept 2013.

We dated other people over the next 6 months. I saw him in Feb 2014 and we were right back on. Yes… now I was the one he was texting with while he was sitting next to his new gf. They were breaking up soon he said and I took the bait.

Now, here I sit. Same argument I had a year and a half ago. He won’t drop his flings. Everytime I see them post on his FB it reminds me all over again how I was stood up and he was with her. Yes.. I’m bitter about that. It hurt me. He tells me his “Integrity won’t let him hurt her feelings”. Never mind mine.

I told him … Them or me.. We spend the weekends together. Have an amazing time when we are together. We are a lot alike on many levels but he just wont put these women down. He also won’t allow any pictures, tags or comments about us on FB. He will refer to me as KC.

It’s like he has a different world that he keeps himself single in… while tying up my life for the relationship… Ugggh.. It’s driving me crazy. I love him. I want to believe in him. I try to negotiate with him but he wont budge. He only hides them so I don’t see.

What should I do… If anyone came to me and told me my story I would say dump the guy … He’s not into you.

Serious Side-Eye

Serious Side-Eye

the advicist Ummmmmmmmmm…..

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My Not-Even Mother-in-Law is Ruining My Not-Even Marriage

Your Question

How do I deal with an extremely difficult mother and sister-in-law? I’ve been with my boyfriend for 5 years but have been friends for almost 15 years. His family treats me horribly; we have had many highs and lows in our past. The first 3 years of our relationships they never included me in outings or parties, and my bf would just state that there was no space for me in car or that it was not his decision to invite me etc.

For a year I was not invited to his house after a misunderstanding over Facebook in which my mom posted a silly comment. After his sister, who is 29 this year and still lives with her brother and mom, finally got a boyfriend after 7 years of being single, I began to be included in outings because it was ‘only fair’ since her boyfriend was included in the beginning. Suddenly there was enough space to take him and myself and all the invitation started rolling in.

They still keep in touch with my boyfriend’s ex; and comment on all her pictures and ignore mines. When we go on trips, every single little thing I do bothers them and they complain about everything I say. I have to walk on eggshells at all moments.

I think that is the biggest reason why after 5 years my boyfriend has not proposed to me. He fears that all this fighting and hostility will continue and he does not know how to handle such an overbearing mother and sister. They call him 5 times a day each, need to know everything he is doing at all times. If he doesn’t answer on first ring then they will call me.

How can I handle this? I really love him but I can’t deal with the passive-aggressiveness anymore. I can’t stand to be around them anymore; and I am afraid to even speak for fear of being judged. And I am tired of waiting for him to propose and fear he never will.

Merrygoround of drama

the advicist

I read your letter, and I hear “drama over this, hurt feelings over that, facebook, drama”.

Don’t get me wrong, these people sound like nightmares. But childish nightmares.

Does your hopefully-future-husband see anything wrong in their behaviour? Does he think it’s fine that they call 10 times a day and need to know where he is all the time? Or does he complain to you about it, but do nothing to remedy the problem?

Honestly, either one is a red flag, because either:

1) he thinks their behaviour – interfering in his life, leaving you out – is totally fine and acceptable. In which case, you would be fighting a losing battle from the start.

or

2) he think they are nut jobs… but he does nothing to reign them in, enforce boundaries, and stick up for you. And let me tell you, that doesn’t bode well for your relationship either.

Honestly, I don’t have much advice to offer you, beyond run, which is not what you want to hear I know.

He either thinks their behaviour is fine, or he has no backbone. If it’s the former, you don’t want to marry him. If it’s the latter, he’ll probably never ask anyway.

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The Tale of the Roommate’s Roommate’s Roommate

Your Question
I rent a room off a friend, paying for half the rent on the property, for the last 8 months his friend (a woman) has somehow managed to convince him to let her son live here. Now he’s brought a friend of his over also. They pay NO rent, sporadically pay a bit towards the utilities, and over the course of the 8 months have invaded MY privacy and stolen food from my fridge repeatedly to the point were I keep nothing in my fridge any more.

I have had to even go as far as installing CCTV in my room as they have both been caught on camera looking through the window above my door to see what i own (which I took to the police). He has no where to go, this is why he is supposedly staying here, his friend is not even homeless and has a home and NEVER goes home (at 1st i thought they were gay, doesn’t matter to me if they are or not).

What really gets to me is that i am basically paying for them to stay here and do nothing everyday for the last 8 months, and the tenant is doing nothing about this. I am a chef by trade and cant stand going in the kitchen anymore cos its a dump site full of rubbish filled carrier bags (I will not take there rubbish out/away as it is not mine, I clean up after myself as I go along).

This is now beyond a joke and I can not even move home myself as it’ll take me time to get the funds to do so. what can be done please as I am at my wits end. Thanks in advance for reading this.

Crowded Share House

the advicist

It sounds like this isn’t a great living situation for you. Since you are effectively sub-letting a room, you don’t really have as much say over who comes and goes and what they do in the house as your friend the tenant does.

You may have rights and legal recourse and yada yada yada, but really, is it worth all the hassle? You rented a room here… you can rent a room with someone else who puts better boundaries on who can come and go, and how they have to behave.

I can totally see why you’re upset about it – you are paying HALF the rent, and yet these other people are staying there without making any contribution. But because your friend is really the tenant, you are in a weak position, very much at his mercy.

You could certainly talk to him about all the visitors, and see what he says. But unless he really needs your rent money, you might find he’s not that bothered by what you have to say. It’s ‘his’ place after all.

As for the invasion of privacy and them looking through the window… look, in shared housing you’re never going to get the same privacy as living by yourself, and it’s unreasonable to expect someone you are living with (whether they pay rent or not) will NEVER so much as glance in your room. It’s not necessarily how you want it, I get that, but it’s how it is.

Now if they’re taking that further with ladders and looking into light lenders and things… it’s safe to say that either they are dodgy, or they think you are dodgy. Either way, you don’t want to be living with these people.

I know you say you haven’t got the funds to move at the moment, but I think that’s what you need to work towards. In the meantime keeping your head down, working any extra hours you can get to increase your savings will 1) limit your time in the house getting annoyed about it all and 2) make your moving out date quicker.

How are you at managing cash? I’m going to recommend a program which (though it costs money) is a great way to really focus your spending (and therefore saving). It’s called You Need a Budget (not the greatest name, I don’t think, but honestly, it’s an amazing product).

I use this software myself, religiously. Like I track every single penny I earn and save. The link is an affiliate link, but please know I’d never recommend something if I didn’t use and believe in the product, and think you will find it genuinely helpful.

That link will also give you a $6 discount, if you decide to buy. There is a 30 day free trial available and I would urge you to try it. They offer FREE live classes showing you how to use the software fully, and they are really worth your time – I don’t think I would have ‘got it’ without them, but honestly, this product has changed my finances immensely (for the better).

Anyway, best of luck with everything at home. And, this just occurred to me, since you said your kitchen is gross, any chance you can eat for cheap at work? That would kill quite a few birds with one stone, if it’s possible: less time at home, good for the budget, no need to use the gross kitchen.

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My Wife Won’t Holiday with My Violent Sister

Your Question

I have a vacation coming up, traveling with my wife, my mom and sister to visit my uncle and celebrate his  50th birthday. Other family from other states will also be going.

My wife wants to cancel or is making me chose to go or not go… She hates my sister because my sister is violent and unpredictable towards me and her, so my wife therefore is afraid to travel.

I don’t know what to do. What is your advice?

Should we holiday with my violent sister

the advicist

Violent?

Stay at home.

No, better still, the sister stays at home. Why are you all allowing her to be violent? No, you are not responsible for her behaviour. But if you are prepared to go on holiday with her, and take your family with you, you are certainly condoning it.

I would tell your sister you will be seeing her again until she has had treatment for her problems.

That’s my advice. How do you feel about it?

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Is The Guy I Like Into Me?

Your Question
I really like a guy I worked with. He left a couple of weeks ago and started a new job in a new city last week. I’ve been emailing and texting him since then. He always replies to my texts, sometimes hours later though, but never texts me first.

I asked if he’d rather I stopped texting him so much but he said I could text him when I want, he might not reply till later, but that he was trying to reply to me as soon as he could. I know he’s busy with the move and new job but just don’t know if he likes me or not. He never seems to ask many questions either.

is he into me?

the advicist
First things first, how far away is this new job and city? Like, 40 mins away, or a three hour flight away? Because my answer does depend on that. If it’s close enough by that you guys could regularly see each other, ok. If it’s long-distance well, I think you’re better just moving on. Sure, you liked him, but if nothing ever came of it before, and now he’s not textingtextingtexting, I don’t think this has the markings of a long-distance romance.

Assuming he’s nearby, then sure, maybe you guys could get closer. Perhaps working together wasn’t the ideal environment for blossoming romance.

But he doesn’t sound super interested. That’s not to say he isn’t interested. Just… he’s not giving off the ‘I need to see you!’ vibe… or else you wouldn’t be writing to me.

So I’d just see how it goes. Try making plans to meet up. His eagerness might give you an indication of how interested he really is.

There’s no big either / or here. See if he wants to hang out, if not, oh well. There’s no need for big proclamations.

And if he’s not that interested, don’t fret (I know that’s easier to say than hear). But honestly, if he isn’t that into you, and he’s letting you know NOW, he’s doing you a favour. He could string you along, see you when it suits him, offer you committment and very little fun (since you spend all your days waiting to jump to his whim when he does decide to call). Don’t become his fallback girl just because you want a crumb of his affection. Respect yourself, and know that, if he’s isn’t you, he isn’t the one for you.

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And a note from me: after some upgrades on the site, my contact forms aren’t working. I know this, and I will fix them. But actually… it’s nice not be overwhelmed with questions for a bit, so forgive me if I use this time to work on catching up.

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My In-Laws Were Mean This Christmas

Your Question
I always knew there was something off about my FIL, step MIL, and SIL. It took 7 years for me to figure them out. They were always being bullies to my husband. Standing up for him seemed almost impossible because they felt they were in the right for being bullies.

They take all measures to find out information about him. They go to the extent of making up lies and spreading rumors.

Recently, they started on my kids and I. They are nice to our face. Then call us on the phone and leave nasty voice mails. My SIL says that life is better when we aren’t around. My FIL says that we all deserve to not be a part of this family. I don’t know what we did and neither does my husband. We would go to outings with them and have dinner parties. I thought we were all getting along and making fun memories.

Turns out my step MIL made up stories and said that my husband and I were running our mouth. When we didn’t. We got wind of that information from my SIL, from when she confronted my step MIL about the nasty things that were said about her. I’m assuming my step MIL convinced my SIL that all that stuff my step MIL said came out of our mouth.

We invited everyone over for thanksgiving dinner. They all said that they would show up. Noone came. They all called us to rub it in our face that they are having a great time without us. So then they invited us over for Christmas. We declined. They backfired with “enjoy another holiday by yourselves, its better without you anyways”.

Then they call us again trying to be nice. I’m so confused. My husband and I don’t call them or talk to them. But they try to talk to us. We just don’t want to be a part anymore. we tried to put everything aside for the holidays, but they were just rude again. Like I said earlier my husband and I decided to be cordial and distant. But they seem to not get the hint to just leave us alone.

My husband said they have been that way his whole life. I don’t know if I should confront them or ignore it all together. Things they say to us hurt. They succeed in making us feel worthless. I don’t know. Any advice would be nice. I’m just kind of confused.

Christmas is Over

Christmas is Over

 

the advicist

The first bit of your letter reads very, ‘He said, she said, I never’. And you know what? For all that information to get back to you someone is running their mouth, and unfortunately, with gossip, even if you’re just listening to someone else do it it appears like you are engaging in it.

I’m not saying I never gossip (gosh, how I love to gossip). But I also acknowledge that people are going to gossip about me. And you know what? I hope they make up some fun shit and enjoy themselves! What other people think of me is not that important. 

Sure, I want to be liked (by people whose judgement I trust. There are plenty of people I could not give a care in the world whether they liked me). But I don’t want to be liked by all people, at all times. Even those close to me aren’t going to like me every second of every day. It’s not realistic. And it’s really NOT THAT IMPORTANT.

So I was all ready to tell you to just calm the hell down… and then you came to the part about Thanksgiving. They accepted an invitation and then didn’t show up?

UNACCEPTABLE!! Surely they know the trouble you went to. The shopping you did. The cooking. The table-laying.

If they really gave you the impression they were coming, and then didn’t show, seriously? I’d be tempted to let them go their own way until they got in touch. Who needs hassle like that in their lives?

I say, ‘If they really’, because I’m getting the exaggeration vibe from you. Honestly, did you make what you thought were water-tight plans? Like, ‘2pm arrival for a 3pm lunch’? Or did you say in mid-September, ‘Hey, come to ours for Thanksgiving!’, and then waited around for them to get in touch with you, rather than properly inviting them with specifics? (Please answer in the comments, gah, I really need to know!) (UPDATE: The letter writer replied! See the Comments below)

I totally agree with your decision not to go to theirs at Christmas, given how they have treated you. Them rubbing your faces in what a great time they were having is ridiculously childish.

So ridiculously childish that I’d have a hard time getting worked up over it. It’s like when your 4 year old niece says something mean. She’s only 4! What do you expect? That’s kind of how I’d deal with this. They are SO childish it’s kind of hard to get worked up about it. I’m more inclined to pity them.

Honestly, I don’t think ‘Having it out’ with them will acheive anything. You’ve said yourself that they consider themselves to be in the right by bullying your husband.

What I would suggest is that you:

1) Rise above it. Don’t engage in the tittle-tattling. When sister-in-law says, ‘You’ll never guess what Mom said about you!’, say, ‘Honestly, Kim, I don’t want to hear it. Thanks, but I’m not getting caught up in that drama’. REPEAT THIS LINE UNTIL IT SINKS IN.

2) Tell them clearly and calmly when they have crossed a line, and what action you are going to take. So when they are belittling your husband in some way, you CALMLY say to your father-in-law, ‘I’m not prepared to listen to you talk to my husband in that way. If you continue, I will have no choice but to leave’. Then FOLLOW THROUGH.

Don’t merit their bullying by arguing with them on each point. Do not even accept the premise of what they are saying. Don’t dive in with, ‘No he didn’t!’. Simply state that you are not going to listen to it.

Only put commitments on your own actions (eg I will leave), not your husband’s (eg we will leave) and let him make his own choices. They are his family. He will naturally endure more than you will. Don’t make it a battle for him to pick sides. State clearly what YOU will do, then do it by yourself. If your husband choses to leave too, good on him for setting boundaries with his family. If he chooses to stay, good on him for setting boundaries with you.

3) Regarding the answerphone messages. Listen to them quickly, and if they are just pointless nastiness, delete and move on with your life. Yes it’s horrible. But cutting off relationships altogether is a big step. If you can get along face-to-face as you used to do, and just have to quickly cull your messages once in a while, maybe that’s the easiest and best solution.

Yes, it’s hard to hear people speak ill of you. But if you KNOW in your heart of hearts that they are wrong, and deluded, and honestly, have some bigger problems, it should be like water off a duck’s back. ‘Ah, nonny left a crazy message again, oh well!’.

And in case you didn’t get my first point, which is really my only point, you need to rise above it.

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, as they say.

 

PS. Readers, tell me straight: am I being too harsh today?

PPS. UPDATE: See the reply to my question in the comments.

photo credit: Lynn Friedman via photopin cc

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