Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Ending relationship by e-mail isn't a good idea
New York: Is it okay to break up with someone by e-mail if you think the actual conversation will involve lots of tears? I promise to keep it really short and not to criticize him. It would not be a surprise — we've been having this conversation for a while. I just don't think the alternative (my bursting into tears) will be very productive.
Carolyn: I think it's important that he knows you're not dumping him lightly. You might be able to talk me out of this, but I'm leaning toward sloppy displays of emotion over expediency.
I think I need to clarify that: You can talk me out of it if you can make a credible case that you're doing this to make it easier on him. If it's to make it easier on you, I'm not budging.
E-mail Break-Up Girl: I'm an idiot. I just thought how I would feel if he decided to break up with me by e-mail, and it put the whole thing in perspective. I can't do that to him. I'll suck it up.
Carolyn: Good then. But don't be so hard on yourself — an idiot would have gone through with the e-mail.
Changing chosen members of the wedding party
New Wedding Question, I Promise!: I was supposed to get married last December, but midyear we canceled the wedding and worked some things out. We had already asked people to be our groomsmen/bridesmaids before we canceled.
We have decided to get married this December. Would it be completely wrong to change any member of the wedding party? We haven't seen two of them in nearly a year and they live in the same city. We have grown closer to two other people in this time (both of whom we've known for a few years).
We want to do the right thing. And, no, we can't just add two more people because it would be a little awkward to have not-so-close friends stand up with us. But we'll deal with awkwardness if that's the right thing to do.
Carolyn: I would just go without a wedding party. It's hardly a necessity to have one, and not having one would solve your problem without making even a little bit of a mess. That would officially be a new wrinkle on the wedding question.
Anonymous: Re: Wedding: But what if she wants a wedding party? I know there's a movement to tamp down the industrial wedding corporation, but can't we leave just a little bit of room for people to have the wedding they want, even if that wedding — horrors! — includes bridesmaids?
Carolyn: (Ow! Ow! Forehead already sore.)
I prefer "bridal-industrial complex."
And I'll happily wave the ruched silk flag for wedding parties, but in this case, the wedding they want has been overtaken by events — which include a postponed wedding and a change of heart about their choice of attendants. Grownup people do not keep insisting on getting what they want when faced with evidence that the price will include needless mess or hard feelings. It's just not that important to get one's ceremonial druthers.
Good match, good marriage. Everything else is just so much buttercream on the cake.