DEAR AMY: My husband turns 50 this year. I wanted to plan something special for him, and booked him for a flight on a WWII airplane. I also arranged for his lifelong best friend to join him. His friend lives across the country, and has just recently become a father for the second time. Knowing that this might be an inconvenient time for him to fly back East, I called his wife first to make sure she would be OK with the idea. I offered to pay for all his travel expenses and for the special flight. We informed mutual friends of his upcoming visit, hoping to plan something for everyone to see one another. A few weeks later, when we asked for his flight information, he informed us that he was bringing his wife and kids, and would be staying with one of the aforementioned mutual friends. He also made alternate plans, substantially reducing his ability to spend time with my husband. I understand his motives, and everyone is very excited to see him, his wife and his kids, but I am deeply hurt that the plans were so drastically changed behind my back. I'm also disappointed for my husband, who was looking forward to a "boys' weekend" and is now in a position of being irrelevant for his own birthday weekend. Should I still be obligated to pay for his travel expenses? Are my feelings of betrayal justified?
DEAR MB: I don't see how this friend bringing his family across the country makes your husband "irrelevant" on his birthday. In fact, the friend obviously thinks so highly of your husband that he is willing to go to the extra trouble to fly his family in, just to show them off.
Ideally you would choose to be inclusive, and you would plan a family party (or "girls' night") during the time the guys are otherwise engaged.
Yes, you should pay for the things you already agreed to pay for. This is your gift to your husband, and if you are thrilled and happy, he will be too.
DEAR AMY: My sister "Addy" was still with her first boyfriend "Charles" when she got involved with "Stan." She left Charles, wound up pregnant with Stan's baby, and ended up marrying him. Stan went from party boy to responsible father virtually overnight. Fast-forward 11 months after their marriage: "Boring" Stan has been kicked to the curb in favor of "Brad." Addy and Brad fast-tracked their relationship, and a year later they were in a new place with a new baby; and yes, Addy is still married to Stan. Needless to say, it didn't work out. Brad is gone and now "Jimmy" is on the scene. Both children are in the legal custody of their respective fathers. Addy tells us she's going to marry Jimmy -- she has known him for three weeks. We've tried to show her how she has a pattern of going after "exciting and new" guys, but she won't listen. I'm angry at her behavior and don't care to hear about her new beau. How do I go forward with her?
DEAR SISTER: Instead of trying to hammer home a lesson that your sister won't heed, you should focus on her health and on the health and safety of her children.
Her behavior is erratic and somewhat reminiscent of someone with bipolar disorder; has she been assessed and/or diagnosed? Does she abuse alcohol or drugs? Can you encourage her to seek treatment? (I know -- probably not.) In the short term, make sure she has access to and uses birth control (an IUD or hormonal implant might be best for her). The most alarming pattern she exhibits is having children with men she meets and then leaving.
DEAR AMY: "Hungry for Decision" described how her boyfriend didn't want to let her parents pay for his meal during her graduation celebration. He could easily offer to pay the tip for the meal -- or treat the table to a bottle of wine.
DEAR NEVER: Good suggestions.