I Don’t Want to Invite My Friends’ Husbands to My Wedding—and Other Advice From the Week

Slate publishes a lot of advice each week, so we’re pulling together a selection of our favorites. Here are a few of the most compelling questions from the week and links to hours of advice reading. This week: deciding on wedding guests, snarky mothers-in-law, dating after divorce, and more.

It’s Not You, It’s Him. I (32F) just got engaged to my partner (37M). Yay! We are on the same page about wanting a domestic destination wedding with our immediate families and a couple of our closest friends. The two friends he’s inviting are unmarried, and though they both have partners we like, we do not plan on inviting their partners and both feel fine about that decision. The issue is that the two friends I’d like to invite are both married… and I don’t like their husbands. They’re fine, but I only have cordial relationships with them, and I don’t really want two men I barely know at my micro wedding alongside our 13 nearest and dearest loved ones. Is it OK to not give a plus-one to a married wedding guest?

She’s Not Relaxing for Me: My husband and I are in a particularly exhausting phase of parenthood/life right now: I returned to work fulltime a few months ago; he has some big work projects; it’s our kids’ first winter in daycare so we’re all constantly at least mildly sick; the 1-year-old is teething and sleeps horribly when that’s happening; the 2-year-old seems to have had a sleep regression … just the perfect storm of high stress, low-sleep conditions for us all. We’re making sure to prioritize us each getting some good chunks of kid-free time each week to do whatever it is we want. My husband usually goes to the gym or his friend’s house to watch football and has regularly scheduled meetings/events for a community organization he’s in, and I usually go running, to my book club, or just get a coffee and hang out somewhere quiet. He also recently had the chance to go on a 4-day/3-night work trip that is basically just a big socializing event and we made sure to make that work for a more extended break, and we’re working to figure out something similar for me to include at least one overnight.

My husband tends to invite his mother over when I get out, which I would have no problem with, if she didn’t make snarky comments about me “taking a break from motherhood” before/after. She’s always saying things about how it must be nice to just go sit outside and read a book and that she hopes her son is getting the same kind of relaxation opportunities that I am, but it wouldn’t seem so since she never sees him out of the house. I do sometimes want/need help while my husband is out, but I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear I don’t seek it from her when I do, instead having one of my friends or our teenage babysitter come over. She’s always very careful to say these things when my husband isn’t around, as she knows he wouldn’t like hearing them. That’s pretty much how our relationship has always been—she’s sweet as can be when he’s around then much more cutting once he’s out of earshot. I’d like to tell my husband I don’t have a problem with her coming over when I’m out, but I’d like her to be gone by the time I come back to avoid these interactions and give him a general idea of what she’s saying. Is that a reasonable ask?

The Eldest Millenial: I’m recently divorced and considering dipping my toes into the dating pool again. I was with my ex for 21 years before we split, and he was my first and only sexual partner. The last time I was on a date or made out with someone who was not my ex, George W. Bush was in his first term as president, only 45 percent of Americans had cell phones, and 34.3 percent of people still used dial-up internet. I have approximately 6,254 questions, but I’ll stick with one.

I have TMJ, and it makes giving head pretty painful. I can tease for a minute or two, but after that, my jaw aches. If I keep it up (haha) for too long, cue the headaches and needing to eat soft food for a day or so. Honestly, I’m too old to put up with a day of pain for a sexual activity that I don’t enjoy on its own merits. So, how and when do I tell possible partners that oral is off the table? (I’m not expecting them to go down on me if I can’t return the favor, for what it’s worth.)

A total aside, but there’s a Garfunkel and Oates skit about not knowing how to give a hand job because you were a late bloomer who went from kissing to penetrative sex and sort of skipped all the steps in between. I laugh too hard at it out of recognition. What do I do?

Chronically Cheap: I’ve recently found out that I am considered cheap by my family and they have been judging me for it. It’s true in some senses. I don’t spend a lot on gifts, but I also am struggling financially due to a chronic illness. My family does not see that as an “acceptable” excuse because I had a job while sick. That job was one of those unicorn jobs where I was hired to do far more work than I actually had. Because of that, I had a flexible schedule and could work around my illness. I was laid off and since then have, admittedly, not tried to find another job, but that’s because I’ve been working on my health, which is slowly improving.

It bothers me that my family thinks this, but what bothers me the most is that my sister chose to be in a similar financial position to pursue her dream of being an artist and doesn’t even give presents at many events (I always do, even if it’s something small). Yet, she is one of the people complaining about me, too. Finances and lack of family support are huge sources of stress for people with debilitating chronic illnesses. I don’t really know what to do with this information but I just feel so much anger at how selfish these people are being. How can I move past this?

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