RSVP — And Keep Your Mouth Shut!

By Wendy Belzberg

Published May 23, 2003, issue of May 23, 2003.
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While going over our calendars for the next few weeks recently, my husband informed me that that coming Sunday evening we would be going to a Harvard Hillel dinner and that the Monday of Memorial weekend we are to attend a bat mitzvah. I should add that Labor Day Monday is slated for a family wedding — the family being that of my husband’s former in-laws. Is it really necessary for me to suffer like Job, or can some sort of divine intervention be anticipated?

— Desperately seeking (extended) family vacation

* * *

If you think you’re entitled to take a pass on at least one — if not more — of the above events, consider me divine: I hereby grant you dispensation for not attending events numbers 1 and 3. The Hillel dinner sounds like a worthy cause, and your husband could easily have represented you both at this event.

As for your husband’s former family, what does this have to do with you? Moreover, we are past the day when husbands make plans and expect their wives to fall into line behind them. We may not yet have passed the day when spouses make command performances, but there is always hope.

(A note to readers: I have an ulterior motive for printing this question. For all immediate family members and cherished friends who think everyone on this planet would like to celebrate your simcha on a holiday weekend, you are dead wrong. There is nothing so selfish as scheduling an event on a rare long weekend when families would rather spend the day with their children, far from airports and interstates, in their pajamas. But I digress.)

My brother and sister-in-law invited me to a party at their home, on one condition: that I not tell any other family members that I was attending. They said they were handpicking the list and neither my parents nor other siblings had made the cut. I want to go, but I don’t feel comfortable being asked — implicitly — to lie. What do I do?

— Split on making cut

* * *

Is short-term enjoyment really worth long-term duplicity? I don’t know what relationship you have with the rest of your family, but if this feels uncomfortable to you, you have your answer. If not, don’t hesitate. There is no rule that says have one, have all. And there is nothing duplicitous about being choosy. Can’t you imagine throwing a party and inviting only certain member of the family? It has been known to happen, and without ruffled feathers at either end.

My best girlfriend is recently divorced. She is now dating a man who by all accounts is less than ideal. I have been told by several sources that he cheated on his first wife. I have once told my friend what my due diligence has unearthed. The relationship appears to be getting more intense by the day. Should I tell her again?

Bad news bearer

* * *

She may have questionable taste in men, but she is not hard of hearing. You have done your duty. Now shut up. She is a grownup. You may want to pay off your due diligence team now, or simply hand your friend’s phone number directly on to them. Time to cut out the middleman, especially middlemen bearing ugly news.

Write to “Ask Wendy” at 954 Lexington Avenue #189, New York, N.Y. 10021 or at

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