Dear Amy: My husband “Dave” and I have been together for almost 10 years. Dave is one of four sons.
There have been a number of occasions in which I and other in-law relatives have been excluded from “family photos.”
We have now been married for four years and have a child together. I am still being left out.
This occurred at my own wedding, when to my horror I learned that my mother-in-law had requested a picture from our photographer of only her parents and siblings — without their spouses.
Other times, my mother-in-law will request a “family photo” to include only her, her husband, and their four sons.
I was raised in a family that embraced the ever-changing dynamic of families, where both blood and non-blood members were considered equally.
One of Dave’s brothers is now married, another engaged, but his family still seems reluctant to welcome these changes.
I have expressed my hurt to Dave, and he has talked with his parents, however, the blood-only family photos have not stopped; his mother has just become more discrete about requesting them.
Am I being overly sensitive in thinking a family photo should include all members?
— Feeling Left Out
Dear Feeling: The way I read your question, you and other in-laws are not being left out of all family photos, but you resent the fact that you are not included in all family photos.
I see this differently. I think it is cool when parents and siblings get together to recreate some of their group photos from childhood. And I treasure the one photo I have of my mother and her sisters, taken later in life — just the four of them together (no spouses or children), as they had been in childhood.
It seems that your mother-in-law does this “family photo” thing a lot, and I assume that this symbolizes other ways in which you feel excluded.
I also think that there is sometimes a specific dynamic between mothers and their sons that can feel like an exclusive club, where daughters-in-law are tacitly treated like interlopers.
The best way to counter this attitude is to continue to embody the inclusive values you were raised with, and to make sure your mother-in-law does not extend this exclusive attitude toward your child.
You and your husband are going to have to show his family how to let others in. The next time his mother makes a move, your husband should say with a smile, “Whoa, wait a minute. Not without my sweetheart.”
Dear Amy: My fiancé comes from a successful family with money.
I grew up very poor.
My fiancé wants a large wedding; I only have a handful of people to invite.
He wants to be involved in all decisions, but doesn’t want to talk about the wedding because he believes there’s not much to it.
We aren’t fighting over the things the internet says it’s normal to fight about.
We are fighting because I can’t make decisions without him, but he doesn’t want to talk about the wedding “all the time.”
Should I throw in the towel and tell him to design the wedding he wants?
— Peeved Planner
Dear Peeved: Your fiancé is wrong — there is a lot to planning a wedding, and — as couples have discovered since time immemorial — there are many details to argue about. So. Many. Arguments.
One way to approach this is for you to divide chores and then schedule once-a-week planning sessions where you two discuss the wedding and make decisions together.
You could also hire a wedding planner, who would do a lot of the legwork (although you’d still have to discuss your plans).
If your fiancé isn’t cooperating and is dismissing your efforts to plan the wedding of his dreams and design, then yes — happily let him take over the planning.
Dear Amy: This is some free advice to “C,” who is in love with a sex offender.
If he has tangible evidence to prove he was wrongfully accused, there are resources to clear his name.
I recommend C take some time and read the trial transcripts. She also needs to be aware of his registry level, this is based on potential to reoffend. This effort will help C to make an informed decision.
As for her personal relationships, she has the right to choose whomever she wants as a partner. She does not have the right to put others at risk or force them to accept her decision.
— Midwest Attorney
Dear Attorney: Thank you for the advice.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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