Couple planning wedding want to keep haters away

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I have begun planning our wedding for next year. We have both been married before, so family doesn't think we should have a "big" celebration. Mom actually told me that it can't be as special as my first one.

While lying in bed the other night, we were discussing how to address people's opinions because we don't want our wedding day to be full of people complaining about being there, choices we made regarding our celebration and thinking they need to give us a gift. We would like to include a "disclaimer" saying something like, "If you're not truly happy for us, stay home!" I realize that etiquette would not allow us to do it. Do you have any suggestions for our situation? -- OUR "BIG DAY"

DEAR "BIG DAY": Many couples today have been married more than once. Your mother was correct when she told you this second wedding should be more low-key than the first. Rest assured that no one will attend your wedding who doesn't want to be there because attendance is not compulsory.

I'm glad you recognize that the "disclaimer" would be inappropriate. If you prefer your guests forgo giving you a gift, convey that by having someone else deliver it verbally -- such as your mother or members of your wedding party -- when guests call to ask where you are registered. The wording should be: "They only want you to share in their happiness on this special day. No gift is expected or required."

DEAR ABBY: I have been married more than 40 years. We are now retired and moved to a small town a few years ago. My problem is my husband does almost nothing to help out around the house. I do the housekeeping, shopping, cooking, bill paying and most of the extensive outdoor upkeep. Although I was the primary breadwinner during our marriage, my husband thinks his "work" is now over.

He watches TV all day long, but when he does want to get out and do something, it must always include me. I'm sick of his face at this point. I'm sure I'm short-tempered at times because everything falls on my shoulders. When I ask him to do something or offer my "two cents," he accuses me of nagging and won't talk to me for days.

I hate this life! I don't think he would go to a marriage counselor because he feels I'm the problem. I think I want a divorce, but I don't want this lazy bum to get half of everything I've earned and saved. Help! -- IRKED IN IDAHO

DEAR IRKED: You have my sympathy, but you created this "monster" by tolerating your husband's laziness and controlling nature all these years. Because he won't talk to a marriage counselor doesn't mean that you shouldn't. It's important you learn coping skills to deal with his passive aggression, which is what the silent treatment is. If a licensed therapist can't help to relieve the pressure on you, then make an appointment with a lawyer to discuss what options you may have short of divorce. I'm crossing my fingers that you have some.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 28-year-old male who is still a virgin. I always wanted to be intimate with a virgin female for my first time, but I have never met one. I've had opportunities for sex but refrained because she wasn't a virgin. The older I have gotten, the harder it has become to achieve my dream of being someone's first and sharing this wonderful experience together. I doubt there are any virgin females my age left.

I know I have missed out on an important aspect of life that so many others have had. Should I start dating younger women, or let go of my fairy-tale first-time fantasy and have sex with just anybody, knowing I'll regret it? Or should I hold out longer and wait for another virgin to come into my life? -- FAIRY-TALE DREAM

DEAR FAIRY-TALE DREAM: Consider pushing the pause button on your fantasy until the pandemic is under control, and do nothing that you know you'll regret. Before going forward, figure out why sex with another virgin is so important to you. Once you have the answer to that, consider what you have to offer a girl like the one you fantasize about. Many virgins are saving themselves for marriage. If you are willing to wait until marriage to fulfill your fantasy, you may find what you're looking for. (Or not.)

DEAR ABBY: I am 55 and recently started dating "Paul," a 54-year-old man. His 26-year-old daughter, "Andrea," lives with him. My problem is, she invites herself along on our weekend getaways, small trips, etc. He tells me he knows it's a problem. Andrea is a college graduate working for her dad's company, but she has no outside interests, no social skills and she's afraid to talk to people one-on-one. She also doesn't care about her appearance.

Paul doesn't know what to do. His daughter doesn't want to live with her mom, and he's trying to get her acclimated to being her own person and independent. I suggested a life coach. He knows he enables her to a certain extent. Other than this issue, our relationship is wonderful. Please help. -- THREE'S A CROWD IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR THREE'S A CROWD: It should be obvious that Paul's attempts to help his daughter not only haven't worked, but may have contributed to her problem. She needs professional help for her severe social anxiety. Start with her physician. Her doctor or insurance company can refer her to someone qualified. Her father should insist upon this, rather than continue to enable her.

DEAR ABBY: I was cheated on by my ex-husband. Since our divorce, I am interested only in married men. I have been to therapy, but I can't seem to shake it. I hit on married men because I don't believe all men are faithful. Is this unhealthy, and what can I do about it? -- NOT RIGHT IN THE NORTH

DEAR NOT RIGHT: What you're doing is definitely unhealthy! You didn't mention how long ago your divorce happened, but hitting on married men may be your way of ensuring that you won't become so deeply involved your heart is broken again. Perhaps you will be less inclined to continue these liaisons if, before starting another one, you take a moment to consider their effect on the wives and children involved.