Baby Care

My wife’s parents are pressuring us to have a second wedding

Dear Prudence is Slate’s advice column. Submit questions here. (It’s anonymous!)

Dear Prudence,

My wife and I eloped during the pandemic, and our small, personal wedding was perfect for us. But her parents are now pressuring us to have another wedding or at least a reception. I know how much money and planning goes into these events—I’ve worked in the wedding industry, and I didn’t enjoy how similar all the weddings felt. It might be my wife’s parents’ only chance to have a wedding party for one of their children, as their other adult child is asexual and aromantic. I hate crowds and I’d rather save for a house, but I feel obligated. And my wife has a lot of friends I know she would want to invite, so then I would feel like I should invite all my people, too. And we want to have a kid soon! What should we do?

—Two Weddings Too Many

Dear Two Weddings,

Do not plan and pay for a second wedding that you already know you’ll hate because someone else asked you to. Please.

It’s too bad that in our culture we only feel like we’re only allowed to have celebrations for certain occasions—to the extent that people will try to re-celebrate the very same partnership a few years later just because they want a party! It doesn’t make any sense! If your in-laws are in the mood for a big, fancy gathering that centers and honors their family, they should absolutely have one. But they can do it without roping in you and your wife and making you dedicate a year of your life to planning. Encourage them to have a wonderful, formal, lavish joint 70th birthday party or 50th anniversary party—or, hell, a 68th birthday party or 34th anniversary party. They’ll get their event, on their terms, hopefully with all their children present. They’ll get to do all the planning. You’ll be able to show up and celebrate for one day and avoid getting sucked into the wedding industrial complex. And you’ll still get to buy a house!

We want to hear about your online dating problems!

For a special feature, send us your online dating horror stories and questions about app etiquette you’ve always wanted answers to. Submit your questions anonymously here.

Dear Prudence,

I carry treats on walks because my dog needs them for various training issues (heeling, listening, etc.). We often see other dogs at a nearby park, and become friendly with some. I’m always happy to give the other dogs treats if their owners are OK with it (I usually take extra just in case), but sometimes there are owners who never return the gesture, even though they also have treats. For example, one will let her dogs bother me incessantly for treats, weakly protest, “X, stop begging,” but when she gives her own dog a treat, she does so secretly, crouches down and turns her back, and palms the treat like a card shark as if she doesn’t want me to or my dog to see. She never offers my dog a treat. Is this weird behavior or should I just get over it?

—Sharing Is Caring

Dear Sharing,

As I always make sure to mention, I’m not a pet owner and I’m sure readers will correct me if I’m wrong so check the comments. But the behavior you’re describing doesn’t strike me as weird at all. It might even be considerate to take measures to avoid tempting strange dogs with treats? My thinking is this: Pets have all different diets and health issues. Who knows which dog is dairy-free or gluten-free or on a low-calorie diet? Maybe this woman whose dog begs you incessantly for treats is thinking, “It’s so annoying when he does that when he’s supposed to be out here playing fetch. I don’t want other owners to have to deal with it.” Just like I wouldn’t pull out a bag of Skittles next to someone else’s kid, I probably wouldn’t put someone else’s dog in a position to ask for a biscuit, if I didn’t know whether he was allowed to eat it or not. That said, since you’ve been sharing your snacks, you’d be well within your rights to tap your fellow dog owner on the shoulders and say, “Hey, can we have one?”

Get Even More Advice From the Dear Prudence Podcast

Dear Prudence,

I have a low-stakes etiquette question. I’m not lactose intolerant, but I am sensitive to foods that are rich in dairy (causing a few hours of discomfort to slight pain/nausea). My best friend is actually severely allergic to dairy. An ice cream place in our area just started selling dairy-free ice cream, and it’s amazing, we’ve been a couple of times together already!

I went by myself today, and when I asked for the “dairy-free chocolate,” the server went to scoop it out. I noticed she was going to the main freezers when usually they had gotten the dairy-free from the back. I was debating whether to ask, “This is dairy free, right?” I decided against it as I know how frustrating it is when a client second guesses your work, and when I tasted it, it was dairy free. My question is, if I think a food server gave me the wrong order/misheard my order in a different setting, should I double-check even though I’m not severely allergic? Worst case scenario I have some short-lived stomach issues, and I don’t want to butt in on their work when I can deal with a mistake. What’s the protocol here?

—Scary Dairy

Dear Dairy,

Lie, lie, lie! This is your permission slip to lie. You have a legitimate interest in avoiding physical discomfort which means you can’t just trust the attention to detail that might be present as an ice cream shop worker finishes a long day dealing with the public, an annoying manager, or any number of personal issues. You are really thoughtful and want to avoid coming off as questioning their work, but the answer isn’t to risk poisoning yourself. It’s to be very nice and apologetic. Here’s what you say: “I am so sorry to make a big deal about this, but I have an extremely severe dairy allergy. Could you possibly double-check for me that that is the dairy-free ice cream? Thank you, again I really apologize for being annoying. That makes me feel so much better. ” And then leave a good tip!

Dear Prudence,

My husband is an incredibly talented musician who sometimes plays local gigs at bars. He and I also are both very successful professionals each earning well into six figures and are grateful to be very comfortable financially. My question is about accepting tips when he plays. Sometimes when he’s onstage people will toss a few dollars at him. He smiles politely but it makes him a little uncomfortable. Last night someone asked for his Venmo information because they wanted to tip him. He told them he really didn’t want a tip (in a super nice way) and they seemed offended. Is it better to just graciously accept unsolicited tips or politely decline? My thought is just to accept it and let it add up and donate it, but my hubby feels really awkward about taking people’s money. We’re really not sure what is the best approach here.

—Tipped and Confused

Dear Tipped,

Type up a little sign that reads, “I’m playing for fun! No tips, please! Thank you for listening. Anything donated will be redirected to the local food bank/animal shelter/my favorite political campaign/the wait staff.” Take your pick. Prop it up in front of him.

Dear Prudence,

I was first diagnosed with endometriosis at 18 and believed I was infertile for 17 years. My ex-husband and I split after several heartbreaking miscarriages and failed rounds of IVF pushed our marriage to the breaking point. However, I came to terms with being infertile, and I find that I actually prefer being single—it allows me to focus on my job, which I love, and I’m the “cool aunt” to all of my friends’ children. I also have casually dated and had friends with benefits, but after my divorce, I realized I didn’t want another committed relationship. A few months ago, I matched with a man on Tinder, “John,” who was in town on a work trip for a few days. We met for drinks, ended up sleeping together (with protection), and agreed that this wasn’t more than a one-time hookup. However, the condom must have failed because I very unexpectedly discovered I was pregnant (after taking a test as a last resort because I was so food-sensitive and nauseated). Based on everything my doctors had told me, this was an anomaly, yet when I went to my gynecologist, I learned that I was already at 14 weeks, twice as far as I had gotten when I’d miscarried in the past, and that the fetus was healthy.

I decided to keep the baby. I have a house in an area with great schools, make more than enough to support a child, and will receive generous maternity leave. I already love my baby so much, and still can’t believe that this actually is happening. But when I tried contacting John, the only possible father, he didn’t respond. His WIFE responded, saying that she had found his Tinder and was “keeping greedy hoes away from” her husband. I truly did not know he was married and had no interest in keeping in touch after what was supposed to be a night of casual sex, so I told her that this was a complete surprise to me, but that she needed to talk to her husband because he had gotten me pregnant, and while I was fine with him not being in the picture, he deserved to know.

Her only response was to curse me out, accuse me of baby-trapping, and say that she wouldn’t be spending her money on my “bastard.” When I showed this conversation thread to my friends, they advised me to stop there and keep my baby away “from a cheater and a victim-blamer.” I am frankly disgusted with John—I do NOT condone cheating and I’m angry I was fooled—but he has a right to decide how much of a role he wants to play in his child’s life, right? He is not on Instagram but after some Googling, I did manage to find his work contact info, and I am agonizing over whether or not to call him. What do I even say? Part of me wants to be mature about this, but I’m also really tempted to let him have it for sleeping around and lying to me. Is there any way forward that will minimize the potential harm that my child could face in the future? I mean, there’s no script for telling your married one-night stand that you’re pregnant. I don’t want John or his wife in my child’s life, but I believe that it’s also unfair to keep this a secret.

—Dear John, You Suck, I’m Pregnant?

Dear Pregnant,

Forget about John for a minute. Congrats on the baby! Let’s make a plan for you to raise them without any support from your co-parent. It is great that you have generous maternity leave, a good salary, and access to great schools, but taking care of a kid is hard, even for people with all of these privileges and an in-house partner. Many women before you have done it alone and I have no doubt that you’re capable, but the goal is to struggle as little as possible. So I want you first to marshal all the support you can. Make that your first priority. Do some Googling and poking around on social media for groups with names like “Solo parents” and “Single mothers by choice.” Join as many as you can. Read and observe. And then start to make connections and create relationships that can lead to day-to-day and emergency support. Talk to your good friends and family members. What help can they commit to during the end of your pregnancy? For the first six weeks? The first three months? After that? Who can come to your home and stay with you? Can you afford an au pair or a nanny? Start interviewing.

I want you to reach out to John when and only when you feel like you have a good plan in place, for both the practical and emotional needs that will come with raising a child on your own. That way, you’ll be sure you’ll be on solid footing, feeling as confident and secure in your choice as possible, when you make the call. And you’ll be prepared for whatever unkind of selfish response he might have. Yes, I’m telling you to call John at work. Not even really because he “deserves” to know. But because once you share the news, your job is done, your conscience is clear, and the ball is in his court. It’s unlikely that he’s going to seek out a relationship. Checking the conversation off your mental to-do list will allow you to start your single parenting journey without any regrets. Oh, and by the way, you don’t have to “let him have it.” You need to conserve all the energy you have for motherhood. Plus, something tells me his wife has probably taken care of that for you.

Classic Prudie

I am a single father to a 6-year-old, “Jane.” I lost my wife last year. The house behind mine belongs to “Kelly,” a single mom in her late 30s. Jane has befriended Kelly’s kids, but Kelly wants to be friends with me to an embarrassing extent. She comes over to ask for “favors” dressed up in tight clothes and high heels. I have stopped fixing things because she will crowd me and make suggestive comments.

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button