Dear Margo: Can you give me some guidance regarding how to respond to a strange request?
A friend we see occasionally got engaged six months ago.
He’s quite the social butterfly and has a ton of acquaintances.
A couple of months ago, his fiancee sent an email to 20 friends and acquaintances soliciting money for a surprise 50th birthday party she’s planning to throw him!
I casually ignored the request, assuming she would see the error in her ways.
Well, she didn’t, because she just sent out another request today that reads as follows:
“OK, guys, it’s about that time to start gearing up for the Surprise 50th Birthday Party and roast.
“I really appreciate you guys wanting to help host this ‘Party of the Year.’ The budget comes out to be a contribution of $300 each. (It would have been more if we hadn’t changed the event to a BYOB.) Please let me know when I can expect your contribution; the sooner the better so I can place deposits with the vendors.”
Margo, she is incorrectly assuming that everyone wants to help host.
Can you tell me how to respond to someone who has no manners, not to mention a clue? — Running from the Party
Dear Run: My dear, this girl has more brass than a doorknob factory.
I would simply reply to the request for funds by saying, in writing, that regretfully, you will be out of town (or have a previous engagement).
I have never heard of anything like this, and I am curious to know how the birthday boy would feel if he knew what his idiot fiancee was trying to do to his friends. — Margo, speechlessly
Dear Margo: It’s getting closer to the time when my sweetheart and I planned to marry.
(We are waiting for both his kids to be 21.)
We’ve been in a satisfying relationship for 11 years.
I know I love him and that he’s devoted to me.
Our relationship is warm and easy, with lots of shared fun and friends.
Here’s the “but.” I find him emotionally and intellectually weak, and I worry that I’ll begin to resent him or lose respect for him.
When problems arise (even minor ones), he seems incapable of resolving them by thinking them through.
He becomes an emotional wreck who’s impatient with the process of decision making, which not only doesn’t deal with the issue but puts pressure on our relationship.
I’m aware that the reason I’m so comfortable with him is because I have little tolerance for people who need to be “in charge” (long story, different letter!) and insist on being right.
So do I accept his inability to deal with conflict as being the flip side of a man who doesn’t seek control?
We’re both middle-aged, and life is bound to throw us some nasty curves in the future.
I want to be able to lean on him once in a while. — Looking Forward and Worrying
Dear Look: I would think that 11 happy years would be a good indicator of things to come.
If you knew the numbers of women who tear their hair out because their guys always need to be right, you would give him a big kiss on the top of his head.
You really can’t have it both ways: a guy who doesn’t need to be in charge but is somewhat indifferent to making decisions.
I would settle this issue in your thinking before you marry, and I would dismiss any thoughts of changing him.
(That ain’t gonna happen, because women aren’t reform schools.)
As for the future and potential potholes later in life, he may come through if he has to — and he may not.
If you decide to marry, choose someone (your kids? his kids?) to be your advocate. — Margo, pragmatically
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via email to email@example.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.