Dear Amy: My partner of 28 years and I decided to finally marry (at age 70) last December.
Due to the pandemic, the ceremony was conducted on Zoom with just a very few close friends and family members.
Shortly after, I announced our marriage and posted a couple of photos on Facebook.
A week later, I received a call from my cousin, who heard about my marriage from one of her daughters (who saw my post).
She seemed very happy about it and congratulated us.
Since that call, we have not received a gift or a congratulatory card from her or her family.
Months later, it still bothers me.
I have always given my cousin and her children gifts for baptisms, birthdays, engagements weddings, etc.
I am saddened that she doesn’t consider my marriage as important as a straight one. She is very religious, so that might be the reason. However, my partner and I have always been included in all her family gatherings over the years and have always been considered a couple.
My cousin and I are like brother and sister. I think this is why it hurts so much.
Should I bring up my disappointment, or try to let it go?
Either way, I’m sure this won’t end well.
– Hurt Feelings
Dear Hurt: First of all, congratulations!
Now, buckle up, because I want to suggest a counter-narrative.
Here is the letter I imagine your cousin might have sent to me:
“Dear Amy: My cousin and I are like brother and sister! I have always been genuinely happy to include him and his partner of 28 years in all of our family gatherings over the years, including those really important events such as engagements, weddings, baptisms, birthdays, etc.
Last year, he and his partner decided to get married! This is great news; they’ve been together longer than most married couples I know, and at the age of 70, I’d say it’s about time.
I understand that during the pandemic, any in-person ceremony would be out of the question, but imagine how hurt I felt when I learned about this wedding from my daughter, who saw a posting on Facebook.
I called them to congratulate them, but I feel hurt that my closest cousin didn’t bother to tell me about his wedding – even after the fact — and I had to learn about it third hand.”
In short: HELLLLLO. The beauty of a Zoom wedding is that you can include a bunch of people (and you don’t have to feed them)! Why didn’t you include your cousin? Don’t you imagine that she might feel hurt that you didn’t even bother to tell her – afterward? And yet, here she is, picking up the phone and offering a loving congratulations to you both.
No, you do NOT get to feel hurt about this. Share my counter-narrative with your husband, and sort your feelings out.
Dear Amy: I have been with my husband for 20 years.
I have gone out of my way to include my in-laws in all family activities.
We are now able to see them in person because they’ve been vaccinated.
At dinner, they handed me a large plastic bag of pictures (including ones I had sent them) of their grandson.
I have spent quite a bit of time and money on those pictures (all his school pictures, etc.).
I am offended that they handed them back to me, in front of my son, saying, “Oh, we have been cleaning out and we just don’t want these.”
I say this is rude, my husband says it is not.
– Wondering Wife
Dear Wondering: I agree with you both.
If you are not going to keep them, I think it is a good idea to offer photos back to the subject (rather than toss them).
“We’ve made duplicates of these” (or digitized them) is certainly a better way to “frame” this than the way your in-laws did.
I also think it’s a fun idea to give an album of childhood photos, etc., to the grandchild, once they’re older. Parents and grandparents often have these photos, but the subjects of them rarely do.
Dear Amy: I was shocked at your judgmental response to “Sleepless,” the college student whose mother awakened her every morning by running on a treadmill in the next room.
You should have suggested that Sleepless wear earplugs or earphones.
Dear Upset: Yes, earphones offer a possible, and obvious, solution. However, “Sleepless” wanted her mother to do things differently.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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