Q: It has happened again, another stressful, unpleasant Thanksgiving for me. My husband has out-of-town relatives who fly in using frequent flier miles. They get picked up from the airport on arrival and returned to the airport for departure. They spend a week here eating, drinking and being entertained. NEVER ONCE have they offered to buy any food, help with meals or take us out for dinner. If we go out for a meal, it is always our treat.
They brag nonstop about how much money they are saving, and they could well afford to be gracious. This has been happening for 15 years. They invite themselves. I do NOT enjoy their company. My husband is aware of how I feel but has asked me to tolerate them because they are the only blood relatives he’s in contact with outside of our family.
I am left to do the laundry and cleaning after they leave. They have a nice vacation, and I feel used and abused. How can I get rid of them and still keep peace in the family? — Fed Up With Freeloaders
A: If your husband insists on entertaining these users because of his blood relationship, you should allow him to do it. If you’re feeling magnanimous, welcome them warmly and tell them you’re sorry you can’t spend more time with them, but you are leaving to visit: your grown children, your parents, your dear old school chum(s).
Perhaps when your husband has to shoulder all of the responsibility for those awful people, he will realize the extent to which he is being used and find the courage to tell them what he expects of them the next time they visit. You have suffered enough.
Q: My fiance and I have been planning our wedding for two years. Both of us are working our butts off at two jobs to pay for all the elaborate details. It will, after all, be the most beautiful day of my life.
My fiance’s sister just got engaged and I’m happy for her. But now she’s talking about having her wedding “around the same time as ours” to make it convenient for our distant relatives. My concern is that they’re going to “steal our moment.”
I feel very hurt, but I’m not sure how to approach her because I don’t want to cause conflict. It would make so much more sense for them to be married the following year. On the other hand, it’s their prerogative to do it whenever they want. Am I being unreasonable? — Unreasonable in New Hampshire
A: Every bride — or almost every bride — fantasizes that her wedding day will be the most beautiful day of her life. If your fiance’s sister has her wedding around that time, it will not detract from yours in the slightest, and it shouldn’t be a contest anyway.
Frankly, the idea of sparing the relatives the expense of traveling to a second wedding makes sense. However, if you cannot accept this, then perhaps you should consider postponing your wedding for another year. Look at the bright side: If you do, you will have 12 months of extra income, and your wedding can be even more elaborate.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.