Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Should we have gone to our friend's ex-husband's wedding?

Carolyn Hax on

That's not to say she should (or shouldn't) be angry at herself; her current tantrum notwithstanding, she may long since have reckoned with her part in the marital failure and served her emotional time. I'm saying only that anger turned outward is a lot less complicated than turning it inward, and as such comes in handy for people who aren't ready to face themselves. It's both a convenient distraction from uncomfortable things and a form of self-soothing, where she gets to be right and righteous. And, it's common, therefore always worth considering whenever the feelings don't fit the crime.

This is all to help you understand your friend's reaction better; it doesn't really affect what you do about it, because her not speaking to you (right?) takes care of that. You have two friends who divorced; you chose to stay friends with both; if you regretted that, then you'd need to apologize for it, but since you don't, you don't. You apparently see your choice as fair, so stand by it. I hope for both of your sakes she cools off and retracts her complaint.

Hi, Carolyn:

We are a recently married couple, taking a vacation to New York City with my parents, brother, and his wife. My husband happens to have quite a bit of extended family in the city, so he asked me if we could join his family for lunch. This includes aunts, uncles, cousins, and his mom and sister, who happen to be in town.

I am certainly happy to spend time with them, but I feel awkward telling my parents we will be going to have a meal with my in-laws and they are not invited to join.

In fact, I find it a little rude because I know my family would absolutely invite his family over without a second thought. I know my parents will find it a little rude and unusual as well. It is simply a matter of courtesy and hospitality.

When I mentioned it to my husband that it was an awkward situation, he said my family was welcome to join us all at church. So clearly he does not think there is anything wrong with this.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill, or should I press for my family to be included? -- Uncomfortable

Neither, actually. It is important and it isn't just about this lunch.

The circumstances of your trip have exposed a cultural divide between you and your husband, where his norm is your rude. For the health of your marriage, please point it out to your husband nonjudgmentally, explain how you feel about it, and say you'd like to talk about ways to reconcile it that both of you can embrace.

E-mail Carolyn at tellme(at), follow her on Facebook at or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at

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