DEAR ABBY: I am one of four sisters. Two of my sisters, their husbands and I want to plan a trip to Italy. We do not want to include our fourth sister and her husband. None of us likes him or can forgive how he abused her in the past. For her sake, we tolerate him at family gatherings and holidays, but none of us wants to be with him for an extended period.
How do we plan this trip while excluding our sister and her husband without hurting her feelings or causing a big family blowup? Should we just not mention it? Or should we tell her she's invited but not her husband? Please advise.
- Sis in a Pickle
DEAR SIS: Secrets like this have a way of getting out. It might be a slip of the tongue by one of your sisters or their husbands, or some other relative who knows about the trip.
Surely your sister knows how you all feel about her husband, so it won't be a shock if you tell her she is invited but he is not. Under the circumstances, I doubt if she will join you, and there will probably be hurt feelings. But sneaking this past her would be like trying to smuggle dawn past a rooster, and I don't think it would be long before she finds out anyway.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for nine years. I worked until 2010, and then quit to be a stay-at-home mom to our two small children.
Because I no longer work, I watch what I spend, but my husband never lets me forget that he is the wage earner. When I want to spend money he always says, "What's in it for me?" or, "What do I get?" I feel like this degrades me. Why does he do this to me?
- Stay-at-Home Mom in Georgia
DEAR STAY-AT-HOME MOM: Your husband may say it because he feels stressed or resentful that he is the sole wage earner now. The first time it happened, you should have responded that "what's in it for him" is that his children have a full-time mother, which the majority of children today don't have, and "what he gets" out of it are offspring who have a mother rather than a caregiver raising them.