Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Bride's brother-in-law letting drama take over her wedding
Q: My fiance, S., and I are getting married this month.
My sister's husband refuses to come to the wedding because our friend, A., will also be at the wedding. My sister and A. dated casually for a few weeks several months before my sister and brother-in-law met. Brother-in-law (BIL) feels that, as my sister's husband, it is "disrespectful" for us to invite A. To explain his absence at the wedding, BIL says he will be truthful — he will tell our parents it's because my sister dated A. And he suggests my parents give the same explanation to their friends (my parents' friends haven't met him yet; 60 percent of my guest list are my parents' friends).
S. and I adore A. We see him about once a week.
I am annoyed that BIL is making my sister feel bad about having slept with someone WHILE SHE WAS SINGLE. Also, I'm annoyed my parents will have to explain to their friends why BIL is absent.
If I'm honest with myself, I'm also annoyed that S. and I are paying for this wedding ourselves so that everyone can have a great time — and, BIL's solution is to have at least a part of the wedding be about, "Why isn't BIL here? Your sister dated A.?" Also, my parents will probably pressure me to disinvite A. Not cool.
I really don't want to cater to this close-to-40-year-old man. But maybe I'm not seeing his side fairly. Could you explain the situation to me so I can see an easy solution?
A: Easy solution: Invite A. as planned, and let BIL carry on with his plan to make a complete jerk of himself.
I'm sorry to say there will be some reflected stupidity in this for your sister. But she chose this guy, and the sooner she sees what he's costing her, the better. Of course you're annoyed by the way BIL is manipulating her, but there's nothing that says she or anyone else has to dance to his childish tune. Meaning — not that I recommend it, of course — your parents are free to explain his absence by suggesting he's home with a horrible rash, if that's what they feel like saying.
So, congratulations, and please don't let this micro-drama take on any more significance than it deserves.
By the way — 60 percent, roughly, of your own money that you're spending on this wedding is going toward wining, dining and entertaining your parents' friends. Feel free to have zero tolerance for parental pressure about A.
Uncharitable thoughts could come back to haunt
Q: Thanks to Googling, I found a picture of my ex-boyfriend and his new wife from their wedding. She has funny teeth and a bad dye job. Am I a bad person for thinking these things?
New York, N.Y
A: No, but you will feel like one if you meet her and find out she's a really cool person.