DEAR AMY: For 23 years I was married to a woman who would share a Christmas Eve only with her side of the family — never with mine.
I have since ended that relationship and met and married a wonderful woman.
Now we spend every other Christmas with my family. Alternating works well for us.
Now that I have a loving, beautiful and happy home, I want to share it with my side of the family for one Christmas Eve.
Ever since I announced my intentions of sharing this holiday with them, I have had nothing but flak from my four siblings and parents.
They all live between two and three hours away.
They all claim it is too far for them to travel, and they say I am being unfair to think that they should make the effort to come, while it is only me and my wife that should make the trip to their homes.
Am I being unfair to think that they should be willing to make this trip once every 10 years — or are they just being unreasonably selfish?
— Lonely on Long Island
DEAR LONELY: Expecting family members to spend between four and six hours in their cars in order to make the round trip to your beautiful home for Christmas Eve is too much to ask. (I'm assuming that this invitation is for Christmas Eve alone, and not for spending the night and the following day.)
My (admittedly patchy) knowledge of traffic on Long Island leads me to conclude that if your family members made this trip to your home on Christmas Eve, you might have to deal with some road raging and possibly homicidal Santas once your Christmas party got under way.
I have an idea. Why don't you invite your family to your home during the dark week between Christmas and New Year's? Everyone seems mellower during that period — the traffic has stabilized, the holiday decorations are still up and a vestige of holiday cheer remains. I hope you'll consider it.
DEAR AMY: After three years of marriage, my daughter's CEO husband came home from a business trip and announced, "Marriage is too much work and I want a divorce."
They are both in their late 40s, and this is her first marriage.
They live in a multimillion-dollar house. She has a master's degree and a good job and is working on another advanced degree.
He wants her out now.
She discovered he has been married twice before (she only knew of one marriage). He also was engaged to two women, breaking off the engagements just before the wedding.
Her paycheck went into the joint account, which is now empty.
He invited his 23-year-old daughter to live with them, with no discussion, even though my daughter contributed to the down payment on this house.
— Worried Mom
DEAR WORRIED: Your daughter should not leave her home until she consults a lawyer (unless she is afraid for her safety).
In matters of divorce it seems that possession really is nine-tenths of the law.
Her husband's desire to get his wife out of the home quickly is a red flag. If he wants to separate, then perhaps he should leave.
Her husband sounds like a scoundrel; if he is determined to end the marriage, your daughter's best advice should come from legal counsel.
A lawyer and an accountant will let her know where she stands, what her rights are and what she can expect to happen next.
DEAR AMY: I'm hoping you can help me with birthday advice.
My two girlfriends and I like to celebrate birthdays by going out for dinner together.
Who should pay for the meal?
Should each person pay for her own meal — or does the birthday girl pay for everyone? Should gifts be involved?
— B in the Midwest
DEAR B: You can do this any way you like, but normally when friends celebrate their birthdays by going out, the friends split the check and "treat" the birthday celebrant. Your gift to one another is the pleasure of mutual company — and an annual free meal.
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