Dear Amy: My 29-year-old stepdaughter, “Jamie,” is getting married next year to a man she has lived with for three years.
They are both professionals with good-paying jobs. They own a home.
Some time ago, Jamie emailed my husband (her dad) asking how much he could contribute to the wedding.
She did not tell us where she wanted to get married, or the cost. We are both retired with a limited income, and my husband and I agreed on an amount we could afford. When we told Jamie what we could give her, she didn’t say a word. However, we discovered later that she had complained to her mother (my husband’s ex), who then contacted my husband to berate him because Jamie’s chosen wedding venue is extremely expensive.
We were hurt and confused by Jamie’s behavior, as she had not talked to us first about a wedding budget, or determined what each of us could contribute before she decided on a very costly wedding. We offered to give her more money, although it is going to be a strain on our finances. Since then, we have not heard from her for the past several months, and she has completely left us out of her wedding planning activities. We expect that the only time we’ll hear from her is when she wants a check. The whole thing is rubbing me the wrong way. How do you suggest we handle this?
Dismayed Step-Mom: What you should NOT do is to injure yourselves financially to pay for someone else’s dream wedding. Marrying couples should host weddings they can afford and should be responsible for financing their own weddings. One way to do this is by gathering pledges from their parents, and there is nothing wrong with that. At this point, you have agreed to an amount, you felt guilted into giving more, and that should be the end of it.
If “Jamie” wanted to express her gratitude, or wanted even more money from you, she could attempt to bleed you further by including you in the planning — thus making you an accomplice of sorts in her event. By accepting your money, she is enlisting you as co-hosts, and you should be acknowledged as such (don’t hold your breath).
At this point she is playing her divorced parents off each other. Her father should express his disappointment in her entitled behavior. I hope you and your husband don’t succumb to further financial pressure.
Dear Amy: My son, who I’ve always felt very close to, has started to call me by my first name.
I’m 67, and he’s 40.
I’ve always tried to be there for him. I have loved being his mom.
He loves to tease me, so I didn’t say anything about it for a while, because I knew he would run with it, but I figured he wasn’t going to stop so I asked him to please stop calling me by my first name
I told him that it hurt me and that I felt it was disrespectful.
Well, he still does it and mostly smiles when he does it.
I don’t know what to do anymore. After I’m around him, I usually end up having a good cry.
Is this the new thing? My friends tell me their children don’t call them by their first name. They say they wouldn’t like it either.
What should I do?
Call Me Mom
Call Me Mom: Your son sounds like a mean tease. Taunting your mother and then persisting even after she has asked you to stop is quite an unattractive quality in a 40-year-old man.
You will have to carefully examine your feelings to decide how tolerable this is, longer term, but I suggest that the next time you feel like crying about this teasing, you should not save your tears for your private time. Don’t protect your son from your emotions. Go ahead and cry, or — the next time this happens, if you’re feeling more anger than sadness, then get your coat and leave his presence.
Dear Amy: I loved your advice to “Invisible Wife” to make a video to get her husband’s attention when he was paying attention to his technology instead of her.
It would have been easy for her to sit around and sulk. I hope she takes your creative advice.
Impressed: Thank you! Sometimes, you have to make a “Hail Mary” pass to mix things up and make your point.