Ask Amy: Partying right now could yield unhealthy surprises
Dear Amy: My brother is turning 30 in two months.
His husband is planning an out-of-state surprise birthday weekend, seven hours away, where he and my brother and their friends will be staying in a large 14-person cabin.
My family (me, my pregnant wife and our daughter) have been given the option of a smaller separate cabin. So have our parents. Everyone has eagerly accepted, except for my family and my parents.
Our governor is imposing more pandemic restrictions. Anyone traveling out of state has to quarantine for two weeks when returning.
My wife and I cannot quarantine for two weeks and miss work.
We also all live within 10 minutes of each other, so the need for a 30th birthday weekend getaway seems unnecessary to us.
My wife and I have conveyed our hesitance, but my brother-in-law keeps telling us how much my brother deserves this extravaganza.
Amy, my brother-in-law has been known to stir the pot and create drama. He has already intimated how disappointed my brother will be.
My brother and I have a shaky relationship, as it is. He could write me and my family off completely over one false move. Writing off siblings runs in my family; both of my parents do not speak to any of their siblings, and my grandparents on both sides didn’t have relationships with their siblings.
I wanted this cycle of sibling discord to be broken in my generation, and not model this same behavior for my children.
Should I risk ruining the surprise by letting my brother know in advance that we can’t come? — Worried Bro
Dear Bro: NO one should be planning ANY kind of group gathering right now. Your brother-in-law knows this, and he will likely either have to cancel or change his plans — or he will go ahead with them, but without you and your family.
Do not equivocate. Do not draw this out. Tell him that you won’t be able to make it to this celebration. State mandates, a baby on the way, quarantine, your family’s health and safety — how many reasons do you need? (These are all reasons, by the way, not excuses.)
The way to deliver a polite RSVP is to respond promptly and to convey your genuine regret at missing the event.
Try this: “My wife and I have gone back and forth many times, because we would really love to be able to come, but we just can’t make it happen. We’d like to send a bottle of champagne to the group, so we’ll see if we can get something delivered to the venue.”
I don’t think you should bother remarking on your brother-in-law’s terrible (and potentially dangerous) judgment. He is an adult and he should know better.
If you don’t want to perpetuate sibling estrangement to the next generation, you should coach your own children to always express themselves, listen to one another, apologize when they are wrong, and to forgive one another.
Dear Amy: Recently, I discovered that my husband cheated on me with a man. He claims that he was drunk and didn’t plan for it to happen.
I want to know if I will ever be able to trust him again. — Unsure Wife
Dear Unsure: I’m very sorry this has happened. It is obviously an important event, calling into question your husband’s drinking, his sexuality, and his fidelity to the marriage.
Your husband’s comment that he didn’t “plan” to cheat on you reminds me of the phrase from the John Lennon song: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” Except, of course, in your husband’s case, it would be: Having sex with men is what happens when I’m busy making other plans. His explanation is lacking, to say the least.
You should both be tested for STDs. And you and he should have very frank and forthright conversations about what is going on with him — and you. A couples’ counselor would help to direct the many strands of challenges here, as well as mediate conversations between the two of you.
Dear Amy: I LOVE your response to “No Mask,” who refuses to wear a face mask during the pandemic.
I work in health care and am ready to tell “no maskers” to be sure to forbid their doctors and nurses from wearing masks next time they have surgery. — Fed Up
Dear Fed Up: The argument over mask wearing is completely topsy-turvy. Your response is just right.