Dear Annie: Today we received a wedding invitation that we were not looking forward to. My husband’s brother is getting married, and we don’t know how to respond.
This brother left his wife and daughter last year after 24 years of marriage. He was having an affair with his bride-to-be. He has made no effort to see his daughter. His only interest is that his ex-wife sells the house so he can get his half of the money.
We have not forsaken our sister-in-law and niece. We helped them as much as possible so they could get back on their feet and heal from this startling event and the subsequent divorce.
We don’t see the brother much, probably twice in the past year. Do we go and say nothing? Do we congratulate him, even though we feel he has done a horrible thing to his first wife and daughter?
We do love this brother and want to stay close, but we don’t like being put in such an awkward position. How do we respond in order to maintain family relations and still live with our conscience? – Upset in Ohio
Dear Ohio: If you want to maintain a relationship with your brother-in-law, you must attend his wedding and be nice to his new bride. She will have some control over which relatives he stays in touch with. But we suggest you keep your congratulations subdued and leave as early as it is polite to do so.
Dear Annie: A solution for those who receive wedding gifts they don’t want is to donate them, unopened and in their original boxes, to their favorite charity for an auction. Most charities hold annual auctions as fundraisers. Such donations usually fetch more than the retail value. Win-win. – A.A., Louisville, Ky.
Dear A.A.: Thank you for the lovely suggestion – although wrapped wedding gifts should be opened in order to check for personal notes that may be tucked inside.