DEAR AMY: I have a very dear friend who has always wanted to be a mother. Unfortunately, she didn’t find the right partner until recently. She is now over 40 and has undergone several fertility treatments.
Although I am trying to be sympathetic and supportive regarding her situation, I am having a hard time. She and her husband have spent all their savings and taken on debt to pay for fertility treatments, and I think her doctors are being overly optimistic with her (they only get paid when she keeps trying, after all).
Clearly what I think is best for her in this situation doesn’t matter. But I am finding it hard to be a good friend to her because she seems to only want an outcome that is not plausible and is ruining her financially. -- Concerned Friend
DEAR CONCERNED: This couple is going through something where their needs and emotions defy logic. You will not likely be able to influence your friend to make a different choice, nor should you try.
You should communicate to her, “It is really hard to watch you go through this. I want to be the best possible friend to you; what do you need from me?”
She may tell you she just needs someone to listen. If she asks for your opinion, you should be judicious but honest. This couple might receive comfort by attending a support group for people struggling with infertility.
DEAR AMY: The only child of my long-term boyfriend is getting married.
Her father has provided generously for her throughout her life and has given her carte blanche for the wedding. He only wants her to have a good time and a beautiful wedding.
The problem is his daughter is cheap. She is having the wedding midweek in the morning simply to limit the guest list. She has few close friends and does not seem to want anyone on her side to spend much time getting to know the groom or his family. Her mother has refused to speak to anyone on the father’s side for 20-plus years, so she isn’t helpful.
How do I help her understand that she has a duty to her guests? I believe it is selfish to invite people to a wedding that requires them to take time off from work, incur the expenses of travel, lodging, gifts, etc., and not entertain them. I’ve offered to host a bridal luncheon, but she is putting up barriers to it. I don’t get it.
She just wants her guests to see her get married and is not concerned with their experience. This is so different from any wedding I’ve been a part of. What do you think? -- Bothered by the Bride
DEAR BOTHERED: Evidently you have never known someone who got married on a Wednesday morning at the courthouse. This is quite common.
Given the rift in this family (with her parents not on speaking terms) I can imagine the dread with which she approaches this event. If guests who manage to attend the wedding spontaneously decide to go to lunch afterward, perhaps you could pick up the check. Otherwise, stay out of it.
DEAR AMY: Recently you suggested that an eager wannabe bride should propose to her boyfriend by saying, “I’d like to get married in the fall; what do you think of this idea?”
Amy! Right when the pro and college football, basketball and hockey season starts? She should go on a short, unannounced vacation. When she comes back and he asks where she was, she should reply “You’re not my husband.”
Amy, getting a marriage proposal is like selling real estate. Quick and firm offers are more likely to happen if it appears that the property will no longer be available. Conversely, desperate, motivated sellers always have a stressful time closing the deal.
And the one who can “walk away from the table” has the power. -- Voice of Experience
DEAR VOICE: This sort of gamesmanship shouldn’t be employed when it comes to something as important as a marriage, but of course you are right — if you want to “close a deal,” you have to be prepared to walk away.
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