Dear Amy: A very dear friend of mine has agreed to marry what she “believes” is the man of her dreams.
She is a 31-year-old Christian woman who has lived in a small community all her life. She and the man she has chosen to settle with dated for only a year prior to him “popping’ the question.
He lives an hour and a half away in the city. The only time they see each other is every other weekend, plus some time with their families during the holidays. They have spent a lot of time sending text messages to each other during the course of their relationship.
At first I thought he seemed like a nice, well-rounded guy. But I also felt as though something was “off.” Initially, I thought it appeared he was “forcing” his way into my friend’s life.
Recently, I ran into her fiance in the jewelry store — the store where he purchased her engagement ring. I observed his behavior. He was frustrated and somewhat irate when speaking with the customer service representative. What shocked me the most was when he commented on purchasing the warranty for a $300 ring. He made a cheeky comment to the clerk: “I guess you get what you pay for.”
When he saw me, he told me he was having the ring “repaired” because the stone kept falling out.
My friend would be devastated if she found out how truly frugal this man is, and how little he spent on her engagement ring.
I am torn as to what to do. Their wedding date is approaching and I don’t know if I should be sharing this encounter with her.
Either way, I will be heartbroken. It will be hard to let her marry a man who is claiming to be something he’s not. But I don’t know how she would take hearing this bad news from me.
All I want is for her to be happy. — True Friend
Dear Friend: You are not a true friend. You are a busybody. None of the behavior you cite is unusual. I’m not sure why you find it so alarming.
When the fiance saw you, he openly told you the truth about why he was in the store. This does not make him a cheap cheat, but a guy who bought a modestly priced ring, who expects the stone to stay in place.
I suggest that you should really anchor to your friend’s happiness, and keep your opinions to yourself.
Dear Amy: A few weeks ago, my brother and I were visiting our mother (who lives near extended family, more than 1,000 miles away), when she fell and broke her hip.
We called the paramedics and got her to the hospital immediately. However, we were subjected to verbal abuse and name-calling from family members living close by, who accused us of not watching her.
She had gone to the bathroom when she fell.
Mom is now in a nursing home, and it doesn’t look like she will ever come home.
Normally, my brother and I visit at Christmastime. We can visit Mom at any time, but would rather not go at Christmas this year, because we would rather not see the verbally abusive family members, who have not apologized. Any suggestions? — Upset
Dear Upset: As someone who has cared for (and about) elderly family members, I want you to know that a person can fall and break a hip virtually anywhere, and under almost any circumstance. As a physician told me, “People fall and break their hips in hospitals, too.”
The wrong response here would be for you and your brother to curtail your own movements and choices because of what other family member might do, say, or think.
If you want to see your mother, then see her. If you want to see her at Christmastime, then visit her then.
Don’t tolerate name-calling, don’t be intimidated by invective, and don’t expect an apology.
Dear Amy: “Disconnected Father” was a divorced dad who corrected his teenage son’s bad language, and the son retaliated by refusing contact with him for the last year.
You pointed out that parents and teens in the same household also have these problems, but they are so magnified when the parents are divorced. I hope this father doesn’t give up on his son.
I was a pretty awful son when I was a teenager, and I’m glad my dad didn’t give up on me. — Grateful
Dear Grateful: Sometimes, parenting is equal parts patience and persistence.