Dear Annie: My husband is the youngest of seven siblings. While they are all successful, some are more financially comfortable than others.
Five years ago, the oldest sibling wanted to give their mother an 80th birthday party. She planned a huge party for hundreds of her mother’s friends and neighbors. She rented a party place, hired a band and catered an elaborate buffet and open bar. She then emailed all of the siblings and informed them that they each owed her $1,000.
Annie, my husband didn’t have that kind of extra money. He had recently moved, found a new job and married me, a graduate student. He also pays child support for a daughter and the mortgage on another daughter’s home, as well as our rent.
He explained this to his sister and said he could pay $150. We attended the party and enjoyed ourselves. There was no animosity from the sister about the money at that time. But now she has started making rude comments to my husband and the other siblings via Facebook and email that she is still waiting for my husband to “step up to the plate” and pay the rest of his share.
Is it right for one member of a family to plan an event without consulting the others and then expect them to pony up the money requested? This has caused a serious rift between my husband and some of his siblings.
— Wife of Mr. 15 Percent
Dear Wife: Obviously, your husband’s sister should have discussed the finances with her siblings if she expected them to split the bill. And if she is having a problem with your husband, she shouldn’t be slamming him on Facebook or in group emails. However, she did go through a lot of trouble to plan the party, and for five years, she’s been out of pocket the amount she thought your husband would pay. He doesn’t “owe” her the rest. But in order to maintain good family relations, your husband might speak privately with his sister and ask whether he could contribute whatever additional monies he can afford on an installment plan.
Dear Annie: Please tell the men in your reading audience that women interpret their wedding vows differently than we do.
I finally proposed to my girlfriend of many years. It made such a huge difference in our relationship, which had been floundering a bit. I never realized how hurt she was by my lack of commitment. She thought I didn’t love her enough and told me it made her feel as if she wasn’t a part of my life or a member of my family. She said she felt like a housekeeper with privileges.
Now our ability to communicate and enjoy things together is so pleasurable again. It scares me to think we had almost given up on each other and might have ended up living out our lives apart and unhappy. We men don’t think about the sense of security it gives a woman to know, with legal vows, that a man wants to spend the rest of his life with her.
— Happy and Alive Again
Dear Happy: In all fairness, not all women feel this way. But we are glad you figured out what mattered to your girlfriend and told her so. The inability to commit is a problem we hear a great deal about, so we appreciate your spelling it out for the relationship challenged.
Dear Annie: Please tell “Not Anti-Social or Addicted to the Internet” that fraternal organizations offer a place for everyone who is looking for friendship and a way to become involved and active. If one has a military background, I suggest checking out the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars or one of their affiliate organizations. In addition, there are the Elks lodges, Eagles clubs and Masonic organizations, to mention a few. I belong to the Shriners, and they have a great deal of social interaction.
— Kansas Brother
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