Declining a Destination Wedding Invitation

Your Question

How to respond to a destination wedding that you cant go to? advice on weddings

the advicist

You respond formally, in the same way they invited you, with your regrets, and some sincere good wishes.

So, by mail, if the invitation was mailed; by e-mail, if the invitation was emailed, or verbally etc.

You may send a gift if you wish, but I never think a gift is required.

That’s it.

(If you want actual wording: “Thank you for the kind invitation to your wedding. I am sorry but we will be unable to attend. We wish you all the best for your wedding and the future, and will be thinking of you on x date.”. Amend as appropriate.)

And note from me: I’m off on my holidays! So I won’t be posting for a couple of weeks. See you back here mid October x

My Mother in Law won’t Attend my Bridal Shower

Your Question
My future mother in law doesn’t want to my attend bridal shower. Help!

My Mother In Law Won't Attend My Bridal Shower

the advicist
And? She doesn’t want to come. What are you going to do, force her? (If the answer is yes, I GIVE UP).

Why make someone come to an event they don’t want to attend? I don’t understand the point. They won’t enjoy it. And you will know they’re only there because you made them come.

What are you hoping to achieve? (and if it’s about ‘How it looks’, you have no support from me. Caring about how things look to  these mystical ‘other people’ is responsible for about half the pickles that land in my inbox).

Don’t pressure her, don’t force her, don’t coerce her, don’t guilt her. An invitation was extended, it was declined.

Move on already.

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My Sister in Law Visits DAILY

Your Question
My sister in law comes everyday to our home, because her son stays at our home when he returns from the school, so she comes to take him home. But even when there is holiday and every sundays off course she has to come to our place.

She is good by nature and friendly too. But i just don’t like her coming to our home everyday..  my husband then gets busy with her.. and our life gets disturbed.. and also it becomes kind of too much interference..

Please tell me how to stop her from coming to our home everyday.. without let anybody know.. please help..

My Sister In Law Visits Daily
the advicist

The essence of your questions is: How can I stop my sister-in-law visiting daily, without saying anything to her, or anyone else, and without anyone knowing about it?

That, I’m afraid, is impossible.


You can stop her from visiting daily, but it will involve speaking to her about it. If you are uncomfortable doing that, I suppose you could speak to someone else about it, who could then speak to her. Either way the route to the end result is the same: telling your sister-in-law not to visit so often.

I feel that that is not going to be possible for you, for whatever reason. Are there cultural or religious factors at work here? I feel that there is more I need to know.

I also don’t understand the mechanics of it – it sounds like your household provides some sort of after school care for him. Who is offering this? Yourself? Your Mother-in-law?

Usually I would just say, “It’s your house, it’s up to you who comes to visit!”. I get the feeling this won’t help in your situation. Please tell me more, or let me know that I have got this all wrong, in the comments. Thank you.

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10 Reasons Not To Stay In A Relationship


10 Reasons NOT To Stay in a Relationship

This is Part Two of a question from last week: Please give me some reasons why I should stay in my relationship. I answered with  my 10 Reasons to Stay in a Relationship. And now I’m telling that person what I really think they need to know: why they SHOULDN’T stay in their relationship.

So, here we are: 10 Reasons Not To Stay In A Relationship:

  1. Because they threaten you with what they might do to themselves if  you leave. This person does not need a partner. They need help. Advocate for them, and get them that help and support. And know that their actions are not your responsibility.
  2. Because they threaten you with what they might do to you if you leave. This is way above my paygrade. Get some education, help, knowledge, and support. (Links in the sidebar).
  3. Because you don’t want to admit you’ve failed. You haven’t failed, your relationship has failed. Sure, you wanted it to work out. But who wins if you stay in a relationship just to save face? No-one.
  4. Because ‘what will people think?!’. What does it matter? They only think what they think of you now based on lies and false impressions. So their opinions now are inaccurate anyway.
  5. Because your parents / sister / best friend / first grade teacher tells you to. They are not living your life. They do not get to decide.
  6. Because it’s easier. Easy is good… but it isn’t always best. And actually you’ll be amazed how ‘easy’ a life lived on your terms – and no-one else’s – will feel once you get there.
  7. Because it’s cheaper. Yeah, if you’re living together, it’s hard to divide everything up, and your living expenses will be much higher if you end up living by yourself. You know what? Money is just money. It won’t provide you with the things you’re not getting in your relationship (and if it is… then you shouldn’t stay in your relationship because you’re living a lie, and it’s not fair on your partner).
  8. Because they love you. It’s not enough. You have to love each other. 
  9. Because you love them. It’s not enough. You have to love each other. 
  10. Because you don’t want to be alone. That is a terrible reason. Alone can be wonderful. Especially when compared with living with someone you don’t love and respect.

Has anyone got any more? I think I could squash 8 and 9 into one reason if anyone can give me a tenth?!


Also, there is one major difference between the 10 Reasons you should Stay, and the 10 Reasons you should Go.

With the reasons to stay, I kind of think you need to check every box. Love each other, like each other, respect each other: none of those is enough on its own. You need all of them.

But with the reasons to go? You don’t even need to check two. Any single reason is enough. You don’t need to justify it, rationalise it, explain it away. If you are not feeling it, that is enough reason to end it.
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10 Reasons to Stay in a Relationship

Your Question
Please give me some reasons why I should stay in my relationship.

10 Reasons To Stay in a Relationship


the advicist


Ok, I’ll give you 10. But only if you promise to read what I say afterwards…

  1. Because you love each other.
  2. Because you respect each other.
  3. Because you treat each other well. Not because you ought to, but because you want to.
  4. Because they make you want to be a better person.
  5. Because your life is better with them in it.
  6. Because you support each other, in the bad times, and the good times.
  7. Because you stand up for each other, even when that’s hard.
  8. Because you can tell each other when you’re being unreasonable.
  9. Because you listen to each other, even if you don’t always agree with each other.
  10. Because you want to.

But, you know what I’m going to say. If you’re asking me for reasons, if you are looking for reasons, if you have to be talked into staying, or talk yourself into staying, YOU SHOULDN’T BE IN THIS RELATIONSHIP.

So, whilst I have answered the question you’ve asked, in my next post I’m going to give you the answer to what you should be asking: 10 Reasons Not to Stay In a Relationship.

Has anyone thought of any reasons I missed? 10 seemed like a good round number, so I stopped thinking once I got there. Have I missed anything obvious!?
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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.

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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.

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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!

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