DEAR AMY: My husband and I recently eloped to avoid all of the wedding drama, stress, expense, and hubbub. We are in our 30s, and we are the last of our friends to get married. We did not share our engagement on social media and instead told people if we ran into them in person. This, however, led to some people finding out months later, and then maybe feeling hurt or less important. We chose to elope five months after getting engaged and did not tell many friends. We did not even tell our parents. Since getting married, however, we have not received many congratulations — not even text messages congratulating us. I guess this is because we eloped, but I thought that some of our closest friends would at least reach out or send a card. Am I being unreasonable? Do I want to have my (no wedding) cake and eat it, too? I am usually the friend who throws parties, and now I am feeling a little hurt that not one friend felt the need to celebrate us. Although a few people keep suggesting that we should throw our own party, this seems like tooting our own horn. Did we miss out? Shouldn't people celebrate us?
Married in Kansas City
DEAR MARRIED: What you are experiencing here is the birth of your adulthood. You absolutely cannot have your (no) wedding cake and eat it too. You have no cake to share, no ceremony to share, no communal celebration to share, and only the leaked news of your elopement to share.
You have every right to get married any way you want to, and that includes completely privately and secretly. Many people happily choose to marry privately, and for some — it is ideal.
But when you refuse to be open about your plans — before or afterward — you create a barrier around your personal world.
Your friends and family most likely assume that you two are intensely private people and that you don't want your relationship to be noticed, remarked upon, or fussed over.
If you want to be congratulated, then announce your marriage — either on social media, through a written announcement sent through the mail, or a group email. Include a photo (if you have one) of the two of you on your wedding day. And yes — because you two seem to want to celebrate, you should host a night out (it could be something as simple as a meetup at your favorite bar) to announce your status and allow people to toast you.
DEAR AMY: I dated a guy for a couple of months a while back. His wife died a few years prior to us meeting, but he still referred to her as his wife. It was a little hard to hear — not only because she was dead, but I found out that they were in the process of divorcing when she died. Recently I started talking with another guy who did the same thing. We talked into the late night on our first date and he mentioned his "wife" several times, even though they have been divorced for eight years now. I'm wondering: Should I let these guys I keep meeting refer to their exes as their "wives"? Am I being too demanding in asking them to refer to them as their ex-wife?
DEAR WIFE MATERIAL: Asking a widower to refer to his deceased wife as his "ex-wife" ... lacks compassion — at the very least. Yes, he could have referred to her as his "late-wife," but, according to you, they were still married when she died, so she would not be an ex-wife.
Overall, unless you are in a serious relationship with someone, you really don't have the right to control his verbiage regarding current (or former) family members.
DEAR AMY: As someone who has worked the front desk at a hotel in a metropolitan area for nine years, I would like to offer a response to " Stressed Server." When an unhappy guest is raising their voice and/or speaking abusively to me, I take a deep breath, wait for them to finish their rant and then tell them, " I'm sorry, I don't like the way you are speaking to me. When you can speak in a calm voice, I will help you." It's a good idea to practice this speech at home so you can say it with authority.
Seen It All
Dear Seen It: "Stressed Server" was responding to online ratings, but I appreciate your advice for in-person interactions.