I’m not a big reader of Advice Columns . But today in the Calgary Sun, there was a question that caught me, and some other people’s eye as well.
A person named Disapproving (Note, real name may NOT be Disapproving) wrote to Amy Dickinson and wrote this question.
DEAR AMY: One of my female family members — unmarried and in her 50s — recently disclosed to our large family that she has been having an affair with a married man for 30-plus years. They met while she was in college (he worked at her university), and he has one adult daughter. He is in his 70s.
Her announcement was prompted by the recent death of his wife. Now they are public about their relationship, attending family weddings, sending gifts, etc., as a couple.
Shortly after their relationship became known openly, she announced that they were engaged. Their wedding and her bridal shower are both being planned. My family and I have already been asked to save the dates.
She is an adult and is free to make her own choices; it’s really none of my business. My dilemma is this: I do not want to be a part of the shower or the wedding. I feel that while the intent is for these events to be a celebration, they are a disrespectful spectacle; their infidelity is now public only because his wife has passed away.
I don’t want to take a dramatic stance in any of this. I just want to avoid it altogether. Any suggestions? — Disapproving
Amy’s response was this.
DEAR DISAPPROVING: If you want to avoid drama, then you should also avoid harsh judgment. If it is possible for you to forgive your relative for her decades-long involvement in an extramarital affair, you should do so. You presumably don’t know the circumstances behind this affair and — spun differently — your relative seems like someone who has been profoundly patient. Would you wish to deny her the fullness of happiness now?
It is quite easy to decline an invitation without making a statement designed to ramp up the drama. You simply respond politely that you will not be able to make it to the festivities. You do not need to supply a reason.
However, please realize that life is both short and complicated. People sometimes make baffling choices. But the legitimizing of a relationship between two consenting and legally available adults seems like a good thing, even if you don’t approve of how they got there.
You can read her column here.
Do you Agree or Disagree with her response? What would you do if you were in this situation?