Dear Carolyn: My fiance and I have planned our wedding for May 2. My mother passed away from cancer in June of last year, and this wedding was seen as an event that we thought would bring great joy to a year that has been filled with so much sadness.
My fiance’s father has also been battling cancer, and he just took a turn for the worse this past weekend. His doctor is giving him only a few days left to live. We are all just devastated by this, particularly my fiance and I, who just went through this last year with my mother.
I am struggling with the idea of having our wedding two months, or possibly even closer, to the death of my fiance’s father. This is supposed to be the happiest time of our lives, but we will not be far removed from his death on our wedding day.
Is there any decorum for this type of situation? I feel like we should cancel the wedding, even if it is something we’ve both dreamed about.
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I’m sorry. Grief makes it hard to imagine joy.
At least, it does for a time. Then, at some point, one that can’t be planned for, it lifts enough to make room for a complicated range of emotions. You probably experienced this yourself when you lost your mom, the odd jaggedy phase where your ability to laugh returns but the urge to cry remains. It’s when you’re sure anyone viewing you from the outside has to believe you’ve gone nuts.
This phase would be a fine time for a wedding, I think. Why not? Laugh and cry and embrace life hard.
I’d add “decorum be damned,” but weddings even a week after a death are not indecorous when the death itself is — for lack of a better way of saying it — not an insult to the natural order of things, or when the ailing loved one insists you carry on as planned. A couple can state that the deceased would have wanted things this way, and a loving community will nod in agreement and bring extra tissues.
What matters here is whether you want your joy this messy, or whether you want more time. It may seem otherwise, but even nine weeks out, you don’t have to decide anything now. Just be present for his father and for each other. My best to you both.
Dear Carolyn: I recently began dating a friend of a friend of mine, and after a great start, we’ve hit a snag. Our routine consists of me initiating communication 90-plus percent of the time. After several requests for her to reach out to me some of the time were ignored without explanation, I am now at a loss on how to confront the issue.
I have no issue with playing the traditional “man” role and pursuing/courting a woman, especially in a new relationship. But I don’t feel comfortable being the ONLY one who calls/texts/initiates dates/pays.
I ended the last several calls and dates with a pleasant, nonjudgmental, “Give me a call tomorrow; let me know how your day went” or “Let’s talk; call me when you get home and get settled in.” She offered no resistance but didn’t follow through. So I haven’t heard from her now in several days.
I don’t think it’s healthy for me to engage in mind-reading or what I call “relationship CSI” … but I would like to know what’s going on. Part of me wonders if I should just move on until she’s ready to talk to me, if ever. What do you think?
“Relationship CSI” is a waste of time (unless you make a killing in syndication).
Reciprocation is important to you. It is something she doesn’t provide, even though you asked her for it specifically.
So now you have only one thing to do, and that is to decide which is more important to you: reciprocation, even if it means not dating her or anyone else till you get it; or her companionship, even if it means receiving it only on her one-way terms.
That’s it. Too often in early dating, people try to determine a reason for X behavior in hopes it’s a reason they can somehow change. But this is chasing shadows. Take people as they are — as in, decide on that next date, and the next, based not on promise but on the fact of what they provide and the fact of your enjoyment of it. “Would I like to see her?” Yes/No. “Would I like to contact her?” Yes/No. That’s it. It runs counter to the human taste for speculation and intrigue, so it takes some getting used to, but it also makes a kind of sense that becomes hard to resist.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at washingtonpost.com.