DEAR ABBY: I was raised that a person's birthday is his or her day to do whatever he or she wants, but my wishes are being ignored by a close friend I'll call Wade.
For the last 10 years I have ignored my birthday and tried to avoid all celebrations. I'll take a vacation alone and have a great time. My family understands how I feel and gives me no grief.
I met Wade five years ago. He's a co-worker who has become a good friend. Wade has made it his goal in life to make me celebrate my birthday. I have tried being nice about the presents and even a surprise birthday party one year, but I really prefer to be left alone. I never told him my birth date. He had access to HR records and found out on his own.
He says I am "rude" for not letting him celebrate my birthday. Other than this issue, he's a great guy. Advice, Abby? -- NON-OBSERVANT IN FLORIDA
DEAR NON-OBSERVANT: Wade may be a "great guy," but he appears to be insensitive when it comes to respecting the feelings of others. Before your next birthday, "remind" him that you prefer not to celebrate or acknowledge it. A good friend should listen and respect the other person's wishes instead of trying to impose his or her will, and don't be shy about saying so.
DEAR ABBY: I am one of four sisters. Two of my sisters, their husbands and I want to plan a trip to Italy. We do not want to include our fourth sister and her husband. None of us like him or can forgive how he abused her in the past. For her sake, we tolerate him at family gatherings and holidays, but none of us want to be with him for an extended period. We also don't think his health would allow him to do a lot of the things we want to do on this vacation.
How do we plan this trip while excluding our sister and her husband without hurting her feelings or causing a big family blowup? Should we just not mention it? Or should we tell her she's invited but not her husband? Please advise. -- SIS IN A PICKLE
DEAR SIS: Secrets like this have a way of getting out. It might be a slip of the tongue by one of your sisters or their husbands, or some other relative who knows about the trip.
Surely your sister knows how you all feel about her husband, so it won't be a shock if you tell her she is invited but he is not. Under the circumstances I doubt if she will join you, and there will probably be hurt feelings. But sneaking this past her would be like trying to smuggle dawn past a rooster, and I don't think it would be long before she finds out anyway.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for nine years. I worked until 2010, and then quit to be a stay-at-home mom to our two small children.
Because I no longer work, I watch what I spend, but my husband never lets me forget that he is the wage earner. When I want to spend money he always says, "What's in it for me?" or, "What do I get?" I feel like this degrades me. Why does he do this to me? -- STAY-AT-HOME MOM IN GEORGIA
DEAR STAY-AT-HOME MOM: Your husband may say it because he feels stressed or resentful that he is the sole wage earner now. The first time it happened you should have responded that "what's in it for him" is that his children have a full-time mother, which the majority of children today don't have, and "what he gets" out of it are offspring who have a mother rather than a caregiver raising them.
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