DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I (we’re gay) recently decided to get married, but my fiance and various family members are suggesting that we exclude my 92-year-old grandmother from the wedding. My grandmother regularly shocks people. She says offensive and hurtful comments to everyone to elicit a reaction, regardless of the setting or situation. She loves to call people “fat” or “dumb,” uses female pronouns for my fiance and me, and (our favorite) — lights cigarettes indoors or in restaurants. She’s very “with it” and according to her doctors, exhibits no signs of senility. She was a soap opera actress in the ’50s and ’60s, so we think she just enjoys the attention. My parents have talked to her about her behavior, and nothing has changed. My mother asked that we invite her. I called my grandmother and told her that I want to invite her to the wedding, but that I’m worried about her upsetting other guests. She laughed, and told me, “That’s just who I am, can’t change now,” and made it clear that she expects to be invited. How should I manage this?
DEAR GROOM: Your blow-hard granny has thrown down the gauntlet by declaring her intention to offend others. If you definitely don’t want her there, then don’t invite her (her insults toward you and your fiance are reason enough to exclude her), but if including her is important to your mother, then you should consider it.
You might be able to marginalize Granny enough that you can reduce her from being the offensive center-of-attention, to the rude, eccentric elderly lady who keeps trying to smoke at the reception hall.
Let her know that you actually do expect her to behave differently than usual while at your wedding. Don’t hand her a microphone during the speech-making. Ask a family member or caregiver to take her home if she becomes disruptive.
DEAR AMY: I think I might be dating a liar. We’ve been together for three months. I am 28 and he is 34. I don’t have any evidence to suggest that he has lied specifically to me, but I have seen him lie to other people. He lies to his ex (with whom he has two children) in front of me. She will call and he will deliberately lie about something in order to get her off the phone. These are little lies, like he has something he needs to take care of. He will also call in to work with lies and excuses to get out of shifts. I am conflicted about this because the lies seem small. However, I don’t understand why he feels the need to lie at all when the truth would suffice. It is at the point where if he is late to dinner because work went late, I wonder if he is lying to me the same way I have seen him lie to others. Additionally, because he has lied to his ex about me, I wonder if he is seeing other women and is also lying about that. I don’t really know if I am making something out of nothing. I am worried that if I bring it up to him he will just deny it and then try to be sneakier about it in the future.
DEAR WORRIED: Your boyfriend reflexively lies when telling the truth is awkward or inconvenient. You can assume that his behavior extends to you, as well.
I can almost understand inventing an excuse to get off the phone with an ex-spouse (he needs to take these calls because they have children, but he doesn’t need to stay on the call if it isn’t important). Lying to get out of a work shift, however, is another story. At 34 years old, he should be able to commit to working when he is supposed to.
If you are determined to take your relationship to another level, you should be able to discuss almost anything with him, including this, without fear that the discussion would make his behavior worse.
DEAR AMY: Your response to “Outmuscled” was so sexist. His girlfriend was stronger than he and regularly challenged and beat him in arm wrestling. Why didn’t you tell him to leave this abusive relationship?
DEAR DISMAYED: I pointed out that if “Outmuscled” was a woman, I would definitely tell him to leave. I agree with your implication that this behavior is abusive. If she won’t stop outmuscling him, he should definitely leave.