My wife and I are coming up on a milestone anniversary. We have been talking about taking a big trip to observe this.
Recently, my wife was visiting her sisters and started talking about this trip. I’m not exactly sure what happened, or how it happened, but apparently, she said, “Do you want to come?” We had not talked about this being a family trip, and I had thought an “anniversary” trip was for the couple only. One of her sisters took her up on this invitation.
So, now I feel stuck. She reported this to me after it happened — though some time after it had happened. I obviously objected, but I got a lot of, “She’s excited; how do I let her down?” I feel really stuck, and, frankly, a bit betrayed. Any suggestions?
You get back in there and have the conversation you need to have. “I was excited for the trip we planned just for us. Is it OK to let me down but not your sister?” If you don’t want to go on the trip with the sister, then the trip doesn’t happen, though save that nuclear option for after you’ve had a full and calm reckoning, even if it takes several conversations to get there.
There also might be, unfortunately, a reason your wife is looking for a “buffer” to come along on the trip. Only you know the context, and there are certainly other possibilities than this one — including that she’s just a pushover with her family of origin. But you do need to consider that you and she genuinely have different travel preferences and different reasons behind them.
I hope she is strong enough to be honest with you about whatever frailty or doubt she has that led her to invite her sisters. Think about the main possibilities: that she doesn’t want a romantic trip? That she’s a pushover around her sibs? That she babbled the invitation without thinking and can’t handle the awkwardness of taking it back? None of those is easy to admit.
But finding out the truth is the only way forward, and forward is the only way you can go to avoid just backing out of the trip.
My best friend broke up with her boyfriend. They hadn’t been together very long. I think she realized she didn’t have the same feelings for him as he did for her, and he was always really busy with work.
Well, he didn’t believe her on the reason for the breakup and is doing everything he can to make it work. Including emailing me for “advice.” My friend made it clear (I thought) that she didn’t feel strongly enough about him to continue the relationship. She also asked that I respond to him, reiterating this point. How do I do that nicely?
— Concerned Best Buddy
Nicely?! He “didn’t believe her” — there’s nothing nice about that.
Don’t “reiterate this point.” Your friend is the one who has to have the clear last word: “Respect my decision, and stop contacting me and my friends. Thank you.” No one responds from then on.
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