Giving a second reason you can’t go negates the first reason you gave

Dear Carolyn:

Loved your advice to just say no to a destination wedding ( That may work with a friend, but how about a sibling? We’re getting pressure from the entire family. Not only can we not afford a trip like this, but it is to a country we do not consider safe for us or our children. Any advice?

— Also Blue

It works for a sibling, too, even though the expectations are typically higher and the disappointment more acute. Those two factors point to pushing your boundaries a bit more than you might for a friend, arguably, but not even family can tell you how to spend your money — particularly money you don’t actually have.

One caveat. The moment you mention a second reason you can’t go, you negate the first one. So, when you dropped that bit about safety, you basically told me, OK, it’s not really about money — you’d scrape it together for a more appealing destination.

That, in turn, tells your family you’re staying home by choice, but trying to pass it off as necessity. Mealiness is the death of a confident stand.

And, further, a “not safe” judgment flirts with xenophobia; if the destination is not on the State Department’s warning list (, then you’re making your own statement about the people and/or culture, one that directly contradicts the couple’s assessment of the people and/or culture.

Translation: There are just two right answers here, “No we can’t” or “Yes we can.”

Dear Carolyn:

My fiance and I have been engaged since October and since then we’ve taken on many challenges: buying and renovating a house, planning a wedding and moving in together for the first time. In addition to those challenges, the topic of finances and chores has been a constant argument.

My fiance makes three times more than I do and currently pays the mortgage and taxes. I pay food and utilities and I also have three times more debt than he does.

He believes that because I make less, all chores (excluding mowing, but including weed-whacking, weeding, etc.) should be my responsibility. I’ve expressed to him that although I make three times less, I do in fact work 40 hours a week, come home and cook, clean on the weekends and am miserable because I haven’t had time to do anything for myself. Keep in mind, he golfs four to six days a week.

Is there a proper way to broach this topic? Every time I do, he brings up our financial inequity, and it’s getting me nowhere but exhausted and upset.

— Stressed & Exhausted

You broach this topic with cardboard boxes and the best attorney you can afford.

And a therapist, to help you figure out why you didn’t walk away from this domestic indentured servitude the moment he proposed it.

Leaving might bankrupt you, but staying will break you. He is building his contentment on your misery, saving the best cuts of life for himself.

Get out, get well, and don’t give yourself to anyone ever again who doesn’t also give himself to you.

Email Carolyn at [email protected], follow her on Facebook at or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at

(c) 2015, Washington Post Writers Group


Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax

Syndicated Advice Columnist
Advice Columnist Carolyn Hax takes your questions and tackles your problems.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.