Lifestyle

Ask Amy

The wedding’s a year away, but the nightmare has already begun

wedding rings cutout
Shutterstock/File

Q. My daughter is getting married in a year. The wedding is a long way off, but the nightmares are already beginning.

My daughter isn’t the problem, but my mother is! When I got married my mother informed me it was NOT my wedding, but a celebration she was putting together and therefore she would call all the shots, which she did.

I barely remember any of it because I really wasn’t involved in the planning.

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Now she is starting this with my daughter.

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We live about 2,000 miles away from my mom, at my husband’s insistence. My daughter flew there to check out a grad program and stayed with my mom. While there, mom took her dress shopping and BOUGHT her dress. It is not even something my daughter likes, so I called the shop later, and the dress was canceled.

Right now, my daughter and her fiance want to elope. I’m fine with that but I know my daughter wants a nice wedding with family. I told her that if they want to elope I will support that and we’ll have a HUGE reception when they return.

I feel they are being short-changed, but no one can stand mom’s interference. Trust me, if you knew her, you would know there is no talking to her. What can we do?

Desperate

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A. If there is simply no talking to your mother, then I vote for not talking to her.

Your daughter and her guy should have the wedding they want to have, without interference from her grandmother, or you. So far, you seem to be a prime mover regarding your daughter’s plans — calling to cancel her dress and communicating your own interpretation of what your daughter wants.

So yes, elopement might be the best idea for them, but if they do decide to host a wedding, the couple should not share any details with your mother (nor should you discuss this wedding with her).

They should limit their communication with her to an invitation. They should not accept any money from her (this puts her in a power position), and should only say that they hope she can make the journey to attend the ceremony. If your mother can’t handle this, she might choose to stay home, which I assume might be a relief for everyone.

You seem to have developed survival skills, but not necessarily boundary-keeping skills. I suggest you work on your own boundary setting, and continue to explore the (negative) lessons your mother has taught you.

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Q. I have two cousins — they are sisters, who are not on speaking terms with each other. They are both in their 50s and haven’t spoken to each other for a few years. Their dispute came about after they divided up their parents’ estate. I have tried to stay on good terms with both of them.

Recently, I found out from the daughter of one of these cousins that their mother has terminal cancer.

I’ve been asked to keep this information private, as the cousin with cancer doesn’t want her sister to know about it. I have honored her wish, but it makes me feel conflicted because these sisters may never have a chance to have a better relationship before the one with cancer passes away.

What would you do?

Conflicted

A. I would respect the privacy of the person with a terminal illness — even if I didn’t agree with her choice.

Of course, this places you in a tough spot, and you might want to continue to encourage the ill sister and her family to reconsider her choice. But it is not up to you to try to orchestrate a sick-bed reunion between two people who do not want to reunite.

Q. I was annoyed by “Too Old for Drama’s” proclamation that because she is “a very strong, independent woman,” she has no need for friendship.

I too am a strong, independent woman, with many treasured friends.

Having friends does not make you weak or needy; strength and independence appear in people with three friends, 100 friends or no friends.

No one is obligated to remain friends with someone who takes all the energy and fun from things, but please don’t equate needing companionship with being of weak moral character. It simply isn’t true.

Good Friend

A. I also noticed this person’s characterization, and implication that “strong, independent” people don’t necessarily need friendships.

Having and keeping friends is definitely something that strong and independent people do.

Amy Dickinson can be reached at askamy@amydickinson.com.