Loading...
Sending a thanks for the Pitt Emergency Veterinarian Clinic here in Greenville. We are so fortunate to have such...

Stepmother worries husband’s daughter feels entitled to full cost of her wedding

Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax

Loading…

Carolyn Hax

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Q My husband’s daughter just announced she and her boyfriend are getting married, and we are very happy for them. They are planning a wedding that is not out of line with the kinds of weddings their friends have been having, but that we consider over the top. The cost will likely exceed her annual salary.

My husband has been blunt about his intention to not pay for the wedding, but my impression is that my stepdaughter and her husband-to-be think he’s not serious and can be brought around.

My husband and I are on the same page that we would like to give them a no-strings “gift,” which will cover about half of what we think their wedding is likely to cost. We’d prefer they spend the money on something more practical, but recognize they are free to spend it however they like.

My fear is they will not see this (considerable) sum as a good thing, but as an insult.

My husband lost virtually everything he owned in the divorce, but still managed to pay for his daughter’s schooling. Thanks to my savings, we are comfortable now, which his daughter is no doubt aware of, but we are approaching retirement.

As they share their wedding plans with us, I plan to steer clear of any discussion of money, lest I be cast as the evil stepmother, but I’m worried about how the conversation might go. Any suggestions on how to best navigate this mess? — Stepmother

A For starters, please note there isn’t a “mess.”

I went mining for speculation in your letter and hit a (step)mother lode: “will likely exceed”; “my impression is”; “what we think”; “is likely to”; “my fear is”; “is no doubt aware of”; “I’m worried about.”

Nothing has happened yet, besides their planning a wedding and your planning a gift.

Both of which sound lovely.

So, do what is appropriate under any circumstances, but especially lovely ones: Let them handle their business, and you handle yours in as kind and principled a way as you can.

Here, that means: (1) Trust your no-strings gift is the best way to support your stepdaughter within your budget and values; and (2) Recognize you can control only how a gift is given, not how it is received.

None of the contingencies you’re fretting about affects this basic transaction. It’s messproof: You give your gift with full respect and zero guile, and they do with it as they choose.

If they choose to be ungrateful, then that’s terrible — as entitlement always is — but still not a mess for you to navigate. This response to any complaints or pushback is all you need: “I’m sorry to hear that. This is all we’re prepared to give, however, so if you would rather not have it, then we’ll understand.” Again, in as kind a way as you can.

By “you,” though, I mean your husband. It’s essentially your money (generously parted with), but, since you’re a unified front, her father is the much better agent of “no” — or, I should say, agent of “that’s enough.” Kindly not budging is your only play, no matter how she responds.

Email Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

November 11, 2018

Losing a child before his or her first birthday is an unthinkable tragedy for any parent — and unfortunately it occurs too often in North Carolina, where we far outpace the nation in infant mortality.

With over seven deaths per 1,000 live births vs. the national average of fewer than six per…

Anita Bachmann

November 11, 2018

WINTERVILLE — Approximately 300 people gathered in the South Central High School cafeteria recently to celebrate their time as students at Winterville High School. The school, which was built in 1935, has served as A.G. Cox Middle School since 1971.

“The first Saturday in November has…

1107-WHSReunion2.jpg

November 10, 2018

The year is old, the birds are flown.

And yet the world, in its distress,

Displays a certain loveliness —

 — John Updike, from “A Child’s Calendar”

Autumn has once again snuck up upon us, as it always does.

Autumn is known mostly as a time of cooling temperatures,…

1110318mysteryplant.JPG

November 07, 2018

Q Would you please help spread the word about our upcoming event that will celebrate the successes of people in Pitt County who are eating healthy, being physically active and managing their own diabetes.  JS, Pitt County.

A Jackie Sugg MS, RDN, LDN is a long time friend and colleague from the…

Kolasa, Kathy

November 07, 2018

Bateeni Mediterranean Grill & Cafe at 1868 W. Arlington Blvd. in Greenville is a healthy escape for those seeking fresh and delicious food that will keep your taste buds and body fulfilled. They offer an array of authentic Mediterranean cuisine using their centuries old traditions of combining…

Mixed Grill Close Up.jpg

November 05, 2018

Drivers needed

The Pitt County Council on Aging is in need of volunteers to help deliver Meals on Wheels in Ayden and Bethel Monday through Friday. Drivers will provide lunch for homebound older adults. Route delivery takes about an hour. Training is provided. Call 752-1717.

Bell ringers needed

The…

November 04, 2018

North Carolina’s long literary tradition lives on and was celebrated with presentation of the North Carolina Book Awards at the Greenville Convention Center last week. ECU’s Charles Ewen was among those honored.

The awards, held on Oct. 26, are presented annually by the North Carolina…

Charlie Ewen.jpg

November 04, 2018

Why would I ask you to read from a column I wrote almost 30 years ago?

When I read that column, tearfully, at a recent family reunion, I knew I wanted to share it with you, just in case you missed it back in 1987.

That year was one of triumph for my mother.

In 1933 she finished college and left her…

DGMartin.jpg

November 04, 2018

SNOW HILL — It takes a dedicated pit master to grill a 128-pound hog in the middle of a nor’easter. That’s exactly what 12 faithful and talented competitors did last week at the third annual BBQ for Paw fundraiser in Snow Hill.

Thanks to the perseverance and hard work of the cooks,…

1031-BBQ paws2.jpg

November 03, 2018

November's Native American Heritage Month is a look back at the ancestry, traditions and contributions of American Indians. But a new exhibit at the Greenville Museum of Art provides a current perspective of one North Carolina tribe.

“Postmodern Native: Contemporary Lumbee Art,” which…

110218golumbeeart-4.jpg
217 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 22
        Next Page»   Last Page»