DEAR ABBY: I am engaged to be married, and I’m over-the-moon excited. My grown daughter will be my maid of honor, and I had all my bridesmaids picked out. My sister is the issue. Her new boyfriend (she goes through a lot of them) makes my daughter uncomfortable. He has tried repeatedly to add her to his social media accounts, some of which contain disturbing sexual content.
I told my sister that while I want her in the wedding, my daughter comes first, and he won’t be allowed to be around us or to participate. My sister has, predictably, sided with him. She insists I’m unreasonable and that he’s a great guy, although she has known him for only three months. Am I wrong?
-- BRIDE-TO-BE IN TEXAS
DEAR BRIDE-TO-BE: You are not wrong; you have your priorities in order. If your daughter intuitively feels your sister’s boyfriend of three months makes her uncomfortable, her feelings should be respected. Stick to your guns and, if necessary, be prepared to replace your sister in the wedding party.
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DEAR ABBY: My son and his wife struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic. He lost his job. My wife and I supported them through this period by paying their mortgage and most of their living expenses. He has recently started a good, career-oriented job.
However, his wife recently discovered that he has been secretly spending beyond their means for years on “toys,” and that unbeknownst to her, he has decimated their savings and accumulated substantial debt. When she confronted him, he said he had a “spending addiction.” To top it off, they have a pandemic baby, our granddaughter. We are at our wits’ end. What should we do?
-- NOT MADE OF MONEY
DEAR NOT MADE: What should you do? Stop opening your wallet. The real question is: What is your SON going to do about this? If he’s truly addicted to spending beyond his means (people sometimes have been known to attempt to cope with depression by shopping), he needs more help than you can give. If he wants to regain control of his life, he should consider joining Spenders Anonymous (spenders.org) or Debtors Anonymous (debtorsanonymous.org). Both are 12-step programs for individuals who are in the same situation as your son.
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DEAR ABBY: My lifelong friend is bipolar. She refuses to get counseling but does take medication. While I try to be compassionate and encouraging, she has morphed into a complete drama queen. If she has a headache, she is sure it’s brain cancer. If she has a hangnail, it will undoubtedly require amputation. She excels at constant whining. I can’t just turn my back on her, but sometimes I have had my fill of “poor me.” Am I being a horrible friend?
-- HAVE MY LIMITS IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR HAVE: No. From your description, your friend is not only bipolar, but also may suffer from hypochondria. Because you find her complaints stressful and aggravating, you have the right to ration your exposure to her behavior.