Steer Clear Of Wedding With Hostile Relatives
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I've had a difficult relationship with my half-sister for over a decade now. After much pestering from her, I finally admitted the reason I don't talk to her father anymore (a mixture of abuse and general dislike of him as a person). I've also let her know that I am on the autism spectrum and am nonbinary.
Each admission has been met with claims that I'm either making it up for attention, or a blunt I don't really care about stuff like that. In terms of coming out, it's not an ideal reaction, but better than many of the alternatives.
The issue now is that she's asked me if I want to come to her wedding, which is also my own five-year wedding anniversary.
I do want to see her and support her on her big day. But she doesn't respect my pronouns or believe me when I tell her the reasons I don't want to see these relatives, who have ranged from creepy -- a grandfather telling me at 10 that I looked sexy the one and only time I ever wore a two-piece bathing suit -- to downright abusive -- forced affection, like being pinned down on the floor until I agreed to hug.
Further complicating things is that I'm not out to family members, despite having gone by my nickname since I was 12 and my wife having transitioned since our wedding.
My wife doesn't want to go to the other side of the country because she hates traveling, and I don't want to go spend a weekend as a girl who is told to forgive my relatives for things they have never apologized for, simply because it's the right thing to do. I also don't want to explain who I am to people who haven't bothered to contact me since I was 13: Yes, I'm on the autism spectrum. No, I'm not confused; I can be both asexual and polyamorous. Yes, that's my name, and no, having pronouns on my profile page isn't a joke.
Is there a good way that doesn't involve invoking COVID to gracefully tell my half-sister I cannot attend? I'm her only sibling, and I know it hurts her that her family is, in her words, broken. At the same time, I don't know if I can go through a weekend of pretending to be a girl, when I'm not and never have been.
GENTLE READER: If COVID will not do, perhaps you can upgrade your wife's travel reluctance to a similar health concern. Unfortunately, your only other options are to try again with your sister or endure the family's scrutiny and misinformation.
It is with irony that Miss Manners therefore suggests illness as a far safer alternative.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: If one receives an engagement announcement, should you assume you are invited to the wedding? Should one send an engagement gift as well?
GENTLE READER: While doing the latter may well influence the status of the former, neither transaction is mandatory.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)
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