Ask Amy: Sister resents being out of the loop

Dear Amy: I am the youngest of three siblings. I’m in my 60’s. To avoid conflicts with my older sister, “Ann,” I will say “good idea,” but will do things my way, anyway. We live on opposite sides of the country and don’t get along.

My husband and I have a good, happy marriage.

Ann’s marriage is not always as happy, so she may be jealous.

Her husband, “Bill,” and my husband have become very good friends.

Last year, Bill sold a business. I believe he received a substantial amount in the sale. When I asked how much he had received, my sister said she “didn’t know,” but I’m sure she does know.

Bill confided the amount to my husband, but also asked him not to tell me.

I really don’t care how much he received, as their finances are their business. What bothers me is that they now have my husband in the loop and are keeping a secret from me.

When I asked my husband about it he said he is respecting Bill’s wishes. I feel this has driven a wedge between the four of us.

This is not the first secret Ann and Bill have kept from me.

I do not discuss their lives with anybody else, so I don’t get it.

Am I wrong to feel this way? My relationship with Ann and Bill is no longer the same. We do talk but not as often as before.

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When we do talk, she is always distracted and never really listens to what I say.

Is it right that my husband has more respect for Bill than for me?

My husband loves me and takes great care of our family. He is a good man but this whole issue irks me.

How do I move forward?

— Bothered

Dear Bothered: Your brother-in-law’s financial take from the sale of his company is definitely none of your business. You state as much, and yet you obviously believe that you should be told, anyway. You were very eager for this information even before you learned it was being kept from you; now you frame this private financial information as a family secret.

Your husband poked the bear when he disclosed that he held the information that you are so curious about; you might assume that “Bill” asked him to keep this information completely private from everyone — including you — but you interpret this discretion as secret-keeping from you specifically, and I don’t think you should.

I don’t think it’s obvious that your husband has more respect for Bill than for you; it is obvious that you don’t believe in this family’s right to hold this information close.

You might be able to open up your relationship with your sister (if you want to) by admitting your vulnerability here.

Dear Amy: My fiancé and I are both in our mid-20’s. We got married last summer in a small church in our hometown.

The day before our wedding, the minister performing the ceremony scheduled a “walk-through” for 4 p.m. The purpose of this was for us to essentially walk through the ceremony, with us, the attendants, and our folks.

Our minister was extremely clear that this was only for this small group of people, that it would last for 45 minutes to an hour, and that no “plus ones” or other guests should be in the church.

After that, we could move on to the rehearsal cocktails and dinner.

My sister was a bridesmaid. Her long-time boyfriend was of course an invited guest and was invited to the rehearsal dinner and wedding.

We passed along our minister’s instruction and said that her boyfriend should stay behind and meet us afterward for drinks and dinner.

She took this as an insult and while we all got through the wedding, she says she is still mad at me about this.

Should we have allowed him to attend the rehearsal and sit in the back?

— Newlywed

Dear Newlywed: No. The minister’s instruction was simple and valid. You were right to respect it.

Dear Amy: “Mad in Minnesota” are parents of a son whose girlfriends’ parents see them as “bumpkins,” and “regifted” a used fruit basket.

You offered two responses: To say nothing, because that was the “classy” way to handle it, or to include the original re-gifting note into a thank you to the parents.

If you want someone to respect your intelligence, you can’t let them go on thinking they put one over on you.

— Disappointed Reader

Dear Disappointed: Fair point.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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