Q: My sister, “Dawn,” recently got engaged to a man I detest. They have been dating for two years. I don’t trust him, and I believe he is controlling her. He has lied to me and my parents and has strained Dawn’s relationship with our family by constantly making her choose between him or us.
Dawn worked hard to earn her master’s degree and is now earning a great salary; her fiance has no education beyond high school, constantly switches jobs and uses my sister for financial support.
I have spoken to her multiple times in the past about my concerns, and at one point made it clear that I wouldn’t attend her wedding. Now that Dawn has decided to move forward with the relationship, am I required to go? My parents, despite not supporting my sister’s marrying this man, still plan to attend and are urging me to go. I don’t think I can stomach seeing it. What do I do? — Opposed in New York
A: Go to the wedding. If this man is as awful as you say he is, your sister is going to need all of the support she can get from people who love her. One of the things that insecure, controlling men try to do is isolate their victims. Letting Dawn know that you love her and will always be there for her will make it much harder for her husband to do.
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Q: I am an eighth-grade boy with a sixth-grade brother. He is a nice kid and we get along really great. The problem is, while I am good at all activities from school to sports to games, my brother struggles at everything. I believe he is as bright as most kids, but he knows he has to work harder than I do.
He is very competitive, especially at board games. I can beat him whenever I want to, but occasionally I’ll let him win. The trouble is, he makes such a big deal when he “beats” me. He becomes obnoxious and won’t stop bragging, and it drives me crazy. I don’t want to break my brother’s spirit, but on the other hand, I don’t want to give him a false sense of his abilities. How do I handle this? — Big Brother
A: You seem to be a very nice young man. Please re-read the third sentence of your letter. Then, for a moment, put yourself in your brother’s shoes. You are older, better at sports and learn more easily. Imagine how that must make him feel. When he has an occasional victory, you shouldn’t be resentful if he decides to crow about it. To him it’s a VERY big deal. It may make it easier for you to tolerate if you remember that and keep your sense of humor, because this, too, will pass.
Q: What’s the appropriate response in a social situation when you’re introduced to a person you have met several times before, but they act like it’s the first time? I usually just smile and play along, but now I’m starting to feel like it’s intentional. Am I that forgettable? — Forgettable in Nevada
A: I doubt it. My advice is to be polite. The next time it happens, smile warmly and say, “We’ve met. Nice to see you again, ‘Gloria.’ ” And then move on.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.