Carolyn Hax is away. The following first appeared Feb. 2, March 19 and April 7, 2006.

Dear Carolyn: My best friend and I became roommates after college, and I started dating her sister while my roommate continued in a long-term relationship. That relationship has since ended and we've admitted we have feelings for each other. I obviously have to break up with the sister, but is there any way to diplomatically start seeing my roommate? Or do I just have to leave the country and try to forget the whole thing?

— Va.

Va.: Is your roommate even willing to risk her bond with her sister to be with you? This is really her call. If she is, then tell the sister why you’re breaking up with her. Rip off the Band-Aid. Her reaction will tell you what comes next.

Dear Carolyn: I dated a girl for three years before (foolishly) breaking up with her. She pursued me, and I rebuffed her attempts at getting back together. We both started dating other people.

About a year and a half ago I approached her about reconciliation. She was dating someone else seriously, though, and they eventually got engaged.

I saw her about three weeks ago. She admitted, and I quote, that "not a day goes by that I don't think about you" and admits she's still in love with me. She says she loves her fiance but is not IN love with him.

I asked what she was going to do. Her response was that everything — florist, caterer, photographer — has been paid for; her fiance hasn't given her any reason to leave him; and a lot of people would be upset and/or angry if she were to do something drastic.

I have no idea what to do. (I've already ruled out a "Graduate"-like scene.) As bad as I feel for myself, I actually feel worse for her.

— D.

D.: And I feel even worse for the groom. The florist has more say in the rest of his life than he does.

You’re hardly disinterested, but point this out to her anyway.

Then, on the big day, since she won’t have listened, go out your front door, turn toward the wedding site and wave goodbye.

She may have never seriously considered calling off the wedding. If so, you never had a chance. It’s also possible she did mean it, in which case you wouldn’t really want a chance: A person who relies on inertia to make her decisions isn’t strong enough to be a good partner — certainly not for her groom, but also not for you.

At least, not yet; sadly enough, an unhappy marriage could be the butt-kick she needs to learn that a refusal to break up can hurt other people as much as breaking up can, if not more.

But that’s for later, if ever. Now, all you have is her non-courageous non-decision not to not get married. And there isn’t a thing you can do.

Dear Carolyn: My brother is getting married to a great woman, and our family is really happy for them. However, her family is rife with tension, and the wedding seems to be a new opportunity for them to square off with one another. This makes my brother's fiancee unhappy, which naturally makes my brother unhappy. They are vacillating between holding the wedding out of town and inviting only immediate family members, to keep costs and complications down, and eloping, to keep costs and complications even lower.

My husband and I offered to lend them the cost of the wedding package they prefer, and to help with planning. I don't want to place more pressure on them, but I have to admit I hate the idea of not being able to attend my brother's wedding because his fiancee's family can't hold their mud.

I don't know if there's anything else I might do, or if at this point I should just back off and let them make their decision.

— California

California: You should hate the idea that her family’s unhappiness is cutting into your family’s happiness. And then you should say, “Oh, well,” and move onto something else.

It’s exactly this kind of seething about exactly this kind of stuff that, over time, produces exactly the kind of family that makes people want to elope.

You have great intentions; you just want to celebrate your brother, after all, and you’re ready to back that with (sort of) cash. Nevertheless, your offer in itself is pressure, and the couple needs a reprieve from family pressure more than you need a family celebration.

That’s because a wedding is only a day. A big, warm, memorable day — if handled well — but still just a day. A grateful sister-in-law, on the other hand, can be forever. To that end, there’s a third thing you might do: Find it in you to say you’ll support them, whatever they choose to do.

Write to Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com. Get her column delivered to your inbox each morning at wapo.st/haxpost.