Ask Amy: Engagement brings on family snark
Dear Amy: Recently I have become engaged to a wonderful man. We have had our share of ups and downs in our 10-year relationship.
That aside, now that we are engaged, he wants a huge wedding, while I do not. I believe a big wedding is a lot of thankless work for greedy slobs on both sides of the family.
I am estranged from my immediate family, so there would be an awkward and empty place in the proceedings where my family might be if things were different.
He knows I am estranged, (gladly so, especially from my mother, who is highly toxic), but he is still stuck on the idea of a huge wedding.
How can I explain my side without being snide or cruel? — Don’t Want a Big Fat Wedding
Dear Don’t Want: Well, in describing your situation to me you have been both snide and cruel, so unless you can walk back that “greedy slobs on both sides” comment, you two might have a bigger (and much more important) problem than negotiating the size of your wedding.
Given your history and the deeply cynical view you have of families in general (certainly of the two families who might take part in a wedding), I suggest that you and your fiance meet with a couples counselor (you can do this virtually) for some in-depth coaching. In discussing the size of your wedding, you two will be prompted to disclose other, deeper issues that you might have been suppressing — or ignoring — during your long history together.
Choosing to get married is a supremely optimistic act, worthy of celebration. Whether your celebration is tiny or tremendous, you deserve to feel that this next step is right, perfect, and a declaration of the kind of family you want to be a part of.
Dear Amy: A month ago, my friend “Daniel” disclosed to me that he was being abused by his boyfriend, “Edward,” another friend of mine.
I took Daniel at his word and decided to quietly discontinue my friendship with Edward. Soon after this conversation, I learned that Edward was telling people that he was the one being abused, and that Daniel was labeling him the perpetrator in order to further isolate him.
I firmly stand by the idea of believing survivors, but I don’t know how to reconcile that with two opposing accusations.
As if this weren’t enough, the situation has wreaked havoc on my own abuse-related PTSD.
I’m not looking for you to deduce who’s telling the truth, I just have no clue how to start unpacking this. If either Daniel or Edward asks me for further support, what should I say?
What if I reach the wrong conclusion, side with an abuser, and further harm the victim?
How would I even support a survivor facing false allegations, when others believe he’s the perpetrator? — Accusations At Odds
Dear At Odds: I don’t believe it is necessary (or perhaps even possible) to tease out the absolute truth in order to respond appropriately to both men.
You should convey to both: “I’m so sorry this is happening. It is important that you two separate and that you each get individual professional help.”
In order to guard your own recovery, you might not be able to be a consistent sounding board to either man, and pointing each toward counseling will emphasize a boundary that you should maintain.
Dear Amy: I’m glad you are suggesting online games for people to play to keep in touch with others during this pandemic. Please include the game Dungeons and Dragons, which has made a re-emergence in the last few years.
There are many different platforms for people to play online with other people. You can find beginner groups where an experienced game or dungeon master can help you establish your game or even lead your game. There are online videos to teach you the rules and how to play and build characters.
It’s a great way to meet new people, have a lot of fun, and use creative and strategic skills.
Many famous people have been opening up about playing Dungeons and Dragons for years. Even Dame Judi Dench has been known to play while on movie sets! — Elanorel, High Elf Druid
Dear High Elf Druid (I’ve been waiting my entire career to address a letter thus): Thank you so much for your suggestion. If D&D entertains Dame Judi, it should be good enough for the rest of us.