Dear Abby: My daughter “Melanie” is very close with a cousin she grew up with. This cousin is getting married in five months, and Melanie will be a bridesmaid. The shower date was announced. Then my son-in-law’s best friend from childhood announced his wedding date. The wedding is on the same date as my niece’s shower.
The events are about four hours apart, so it isn’t possible for Melanie to go to both. She told her cousin she was sorry but she felt she needed to attend the wedding with her husband, who is in his friend’s wedding party. Melanie will attend the bachelorette party in Vegas and all the other events for her cousin.
The bride’s sister is giving my daughter a hard time, saying she “can’t believe” Melanie would miss the shower. Melanie is now afraid she’s jeopardizing her relationship with her cousins, as they have told her how upset they are. I support her decision to attend the wedding and skip the shower. There are four other bridesmaids, and another one is also unable to attend. What would you do, and how can I be helpful to my daughter without causing a bigger rift in the family? — Wedding Drama, Drama, Drama
Dear W.D.D.D.: The pressure your daughter is receiving from her cousins is inappropriate. She isn’t obligated to attend any event she doesn’t wish to, and her reason for skipping the shower is a valid one. She should choose a gift for her cousin, have it delivered and apologize ONCE for being unable to be there in person. Continuing to provide emotional support to your daughter is the best way you can be helpful to her.
Dear Abby: Four months ago, I noticed a lady walking down the street. She was older, and I could tell by her posture she was struggling. I offered to drive her so she didn’t have to walk. It turned out she was walking from a bus stop to a transit bus to catch it for work. She works in a different county than she lives in, so the first bus doesn’t take her all the way.
Long story short, I have been driving this lady to work from the bus stop every morning, picking her up from work and taking her home, picking her up on the weekend days she works, and then transporting her to and from work. (I don’t work on the weekends.) She lives about 10 miles from me. She has not once offered to pay for gas, which doesn’t bother me, but she has recently started asking me for money.
I’ve purchased coffees for her on several occasions and driven her to stores only to find out I’m paying for the purchases. I have picked her up, and without any warning she says she needs to go to other places, too. She doesn’t have a car, doesn’t earn a lot of money, etc. I think I need to stop driving her, but I know I’ll feel guilty because she has no one to help her. How do I end this one-sided relationship? — Miffed in Michigan
Dear Miffed: The woman you have so generously befriended appears to be a bottomless pit. You were kind to her, and she is taking advantage of your generosity. It appears you have work to do on creating boundaries. Tell her you will no longer be driving her and be clear about the reasons. If you don’t, there is no end to what she will ask you for. Trust me, once you draw the line, this woman will manage just as she managed before.