DEAR AMY: I have a niece in her mid-20s who is planning to be married in the fall.
Her fiance seems to be a nice young man but is very attached to his family and also to the small town where he grew up. They are planning to live with his parents after the wedding.
Does this living arrangement put added stress on newlyweds establishing themselves as their own family, or does it usually work out all right? -- Anxious Aunt
DEAR ANXIOUS: Everything puts added stress on a couple in their first year of marriage. Everything.
The concern I would have as a family member is the idea that the husband in this scenario seems to be dictating the living arrangements. Your niece should have an equal say in this. If she isn’t a small-town girl at heart, she could have a tough time.
This sort of arrangement can work out, depending on the culture and values of the individuals involved.
Everyone involved should build and respect boundaries, and the younger husband should be prepared to advocate for his wife if there are problems.
The younger couple should save money for their own place, be helpful around the house, keep their arguments to themselves and try to take the long view of this arrangement.
Couples who share core values have the hugest success rate in marriage — even if they have very different temperaments.
DEAR AMY: My sister introduced me to a co-worker of hers a couple of years back. We hit it off and started dating. After about a year he broke up with me. This all ended up being fine — he is much more of a friend type than a boyfriend type.
He since has moved out of town but he and my sister have remained in touch. I didn’t think this bothered me at first because I am over him, but now I realize that I’m jealous of their friendship. I understand that they were friends first, but I was in a relationship with him. We were closer.
My sister has been in a romance of her own for a very long time so I have no suspicions about her and my ex, but still can’t help but feel cheated. My ex and I are on good terms and will text every now and again but my sister is in touch with him more often. He’s even invited her to concerts and other events in his new city.
Shouldn’t he be closer to me? Why does she get to have this continuous relationship with him?
My sister and I are very, very close but I’m having trouble talking about this. I know that my relationship ended with him a while ago but I still feel that she should be more sensitive to me. Am I wrong? Should I tell her how I feel? -- Sensitive Sister
DEAR SISTER: This falls squarely in the category of “things you need to get over.” You have no exclusive claim on a relationship with this person. Your jealousy is unbecoming.
Your sister knew him first. They were friends first. Friendship frequently trumps failed romances.
DEAR AMY: My aunt and uncle, who celebrate their 25th anniversary in a few months, are hosting a party in a rented hall. They have decided to sell tickets and have a cash bar with a lunch of cold cuts, etc.
I am having a hard time deciding whether to attend. I feel that if you can’t afford to invite people to your anniversary and you have to charge people $10, then maybe you should not host one. Is this proper? -- Wondering
DEAR WONDERING: I agree that this is somewhat unconventional, but your relatives might see this event as something of a family reunion, where asking participants to cover the cost of the party is more common. You should also recognize that if other family members were hosting this event in your aunt and uncle’s honor, you might not mind being asked to defray the cost.
If you can afford it, you should attend — but only if you can keep your criticism to yourself. When it comes to family, suspending harsh judgment is a positive family value.
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