Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend and I decided on a wedding date that was convenient and would have great romantic meaning. The wedding is abroad, and we traveled to make arrangements.
My older sister has been trying for over a year now to get pregnant. She said she was almost sure she was pregnant (it turned out she wasn’t) and asked us to change the date. I said no because we had already paid deposits and I like the date.
She is very upset and she thinks I am wrong and selfish. I think the same about her request. She gave me a big wedding gift (so I can help pay for the wedding) so I think she thinks I must change the date.
We have always been very close. How can we move past this? – Sister
We in the advice wing of the newsroom don’t often get to say this, so I’ll enjoy it while it lasts: Follow the money.
When your sister thought she had a long-hoped-for due date that conflicted with your wedding date, your response – to the very person who apparently made your wedding-abroad-on-a- date-of-great-romantic- meaning possible – was “Tough.”
The fact that she’s actually not pregnant does not, as you suggest, prove the wisdom of your brush-off. It only makes it sound even more tone-deaf.
Would it even have been possible to change your date to accommodate your sister? Maybe not; maybe the change fees would have been so prohibitive that “Tough” was the only practical answer.
However, for a sister who gave generously and is probably teeming with extra hormones, the loving response would have been, “I so want you there. Let me make some calls.”
Please recognize, and admit to your sister, that you were too quick to dismiss the idea of rescheduling the wedding – because of course her presence meant more than a symbolic date … yesss? Then ask her what, in a perfect world, she wants of you. Then, again, hear her out and don’t “no” her out-of-hand – even if you end up not changing a thing.