DEAR AMY: When my fiance and I got engaged, we were extremely excited to plan our wedding. However, the process of planning a wedding has become unbearable, mainly because of my family.
Things have been bad from the beginning. My fiancé and I have been saving for this day and offered to pay for the wedding, but my family was truly offended at the idea. Now they've used their status as wedding financiers to control the whole thing.
We have tried to compromise on what we want, but that does not seem to work. For example, it was important to my family to have a Catholic service, but because my fiancé and his family are not Catholic, we chose an abbreviated service as a compromise. However, my family still insisted on the full mass.
I've been overruled on every detail, including my dress, songs at the reception and which friends I'm permitted in my bridal party.
At this point nothing about the wedding reflects us as a couple. We are so unhappy with how it has been going that we have decided we'd rather just elope. Are we being unreasonable? Isn't our wedding supposed to be about us?
— Wanna Be Runaway Bride
DEAR WANNA BE: The hazard of letting someone else pay for your party is what you're facing now: Your family members, as hosts, are heads of "the party planning committee" and as such are calling the shots.
If you are brave enough to leap into your future by getting married and forming a new family, then you and your fiancé should be brave enough to assert yourselves now.
You two should meet with your parents and say, as a couple, "This is not what we want, so we're going to thank you very much, repay the deposits you've put down and have the wedding we want to have."
Make sure to thank them for their generosity. And then do what you want to do (and what you can afford to do).
DEAR AMY: I'm in my 30s, and my boyfriend of four years is in his 50s. He is trying to control who I talk to, text, have lunch with and am friends with.
He has added anyone I've spent a lot of time with (friends and ex-boyfriends) to the "no contact" list. He is limiting contact I have with a good girlfriend because he is jealous of the time I spend with her.
I cheated on my ex-husband in the relationship before this one. My boyfriend holds my past against me in every fight. Any time I talk to anyone on the no-contact list, we get in a big fight, and he brings it up over and over.
He creeps through my phone, email and Facebook page, and insists I erase certain people.
Recently during a fight, he went and slept with his most recent ex, saying he felt we were "on a break," so it didn't count. Now he wants me to forgive him, saying I drove him to do it.
I don't know what to do. Aside from the jealousy thing, he is a great boyfriend. We have a great time together; we like the same things and are compatible intimately.
DEAR CONCERNED: Your relationship summary could be turned into a sign to be posted in women's shelters everywhere. The title would be: "These are the signs you're in an abusive relationship."
Please, do not say how awesome this guy is, aside from the control, spying, fighting, cheating and "jealousy thing."
You need to leave this relationship immediately. Furthermore, I think you know it. I hope that seeing your cautionary poster in print gives you the courage to go.
DEAR AMY: I was saddened to read the letter from "Michael," whose father bullied him because of his weight.
You can't choose your relatives, but you can choose whether or not to spend time with them. This father is not being loving but instead is taking his own fears and inadequacies out on his son. The dad needs to do a lot of growing up.
DEAR SUSAN: I agree; thank you.
Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.