Dear Carolyn: Last year my husband and I got married in a quick civil ceremony, to be followed by a more formal one with all our family and friends at a later date.
His mom and her family hijacked the planning for the civil ceremony. I wanted to keep it simple, with just our parents. I was quickly overwhelmed by their enthusiasm (and, truth be told, touched by it) and the event ballooned to 35 people, mostly my husband's family and his parents' friends. To boot, my parents footed more than 90 percent of the bill. The entire event became a massively stressful ordeal.
Now I am planning the big affair we always wanted, and his parents are nowhere in sight. They have not started planning the rehearsal dinner, offered financial help with the reception, or helped my maid of honor with the shower. My sister-in-law is getting married this spring, and my in-laws hosted a shower for her, enlisted the entire family into helping prepare for the event, and have offered to pay for parts of her wedding.
I understand I already had a wedding. But I made my wishes clear the first time around, and they weren't respected. Now I feel like the celebration I want to have is not as important as another family member's. Am I wrong to feel like I am being slighted by them?
-- Confused Second Time Bride
A: Do you love your husband? Happy marriage? Just checking.
Your in-laws got excited about your wedding. I'm sorry it was the wrong one, and I'm sorry that happened because they didn't respect your wishes. However, you were in a position to insist, graciously, that the civil wedding be for the parents only.
You didn't, and it didn't, which means you've had a celebration, which means your repeat celebration is not as important.
And had the civil ceremony remained small? You would still be getting married when you were already married, which means your repeat celebration is, in fact, not as important.
That doesn't mean your party can't be warm, fun, or meaningful. It just means you made your choices and you got what you got. Tuck your lower lip back in, smile at your in-laws, and enjoy your superfluous cake.
Dear Carolyn: I am studying for my associate's degree and in somewhat of a dilemma. I am in love with the director of education at my school. However, we have a policy against dating between staff and student. I feel a chemistry whenever we are together . . . should I let him know how I feel about him? It would be done very discreetly and no one else will know. I have to do something, I'm going crazy not being able to share my life with him. Time is so short, you have to go for the gusto, right?
A: Go for the degree first, then the gusto. You can endure, it's not a PhD.
Besides -- life may be short, but, if the guy were willing to drop his integrity and professionalism simply because a student declared that she loved him, I expect your affair would be even shorter.
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