Dear Annie: Balancing budget and bliss
Dear Annie: My wife’s nephew got married about four years ago. It was a destination wedding at a beautiful tropical location. My wife is very close to her sister, so there was no question that we would attend. No expense was spared. We added a week to our family vacation. All of our children traveled with us, and we are a larger than average family. We pushed the limits on our budget, but we had fun.
The rub: the marriage lasted three months!
Now the same nephew is engaged again, and another extravaganza is planned. I don’t want to hurt my wife, and her nephew is a good guy. But it seems that everyone has forgotten the last foray into wedded bliss.
We are now retired and live on a smaller income. And I don’t see us being able to afford anything like that again. Two of our own kids were married recently, in a much more modest fashion. HELP! — Old Curmudgeon
Dear Old Curmudgeon: The first step to not being an old curmudgeon is to recognize when you are acting like one. The fact that you signed your letter in this way puts you halfway there.
That your family had fun during the last wedding is priceless. Spending quality time with family is money worth spending, regardless of how the first marriage worked out. As for your nephew’s second wedding, you know that it is important to your wife.
You also know what a wonderful experience it was for your whole family last time, so I would suggest going to the second wedding. But don’t stay for the entire week and try and book early to get the best deals.
Try not to compare your children’s weddings with your nephew’s. Everyone has different ways of celebrating the gift of marriage. Comparison is the greatest thief of joy.
Dear Annie: When I was married, it was an unhappy one. Instead of counseling, I had a total of 14 different affairs within a few years. I got help from therapy for sex and love addicts. I understood where I went wrong.
Now, I’m dating one guy. The other day, when we were watching TV, he said that “sex addict” is a made-up term. I didn’t say anything because I never told him that part of my past. Should I tell him? I think people would look down on me, so I’ve never told anyone.
I know he would look at me differently, and probably he’ll think that I would cheat on him. So far, I have made it sound like I haven’t been with a lot of men. I’m 55, by the way. Sex love addiction is real, and therapy did help me. Should I still keep it a secret? — Too Much Info?
Dear Too Much Info: We are only as sick as our secrets. You are in recovery and have received treatment for your addiction. Tell your boyfriend about your past. If he is really the one for you, then he will love and accept you, blemishes and all. Vulnerability can be contagious. Now that your relationship is opening up, be prepared for him to reveal some skeletons in his closet, too.
If you are still in touch with your therapist, you might benefit by bringing your boyfriend to a session, so you and your therapist can paint a more complete picture of what happened and how you have changed. Vulnerability and honesty are pillars to eventually building the house you would like to have in an honest and loving marriage.