Annie's Mailbox for Feb. 11, 2011: Disagreement over wedding guest list

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Dear Annie: I have some concerns about the guest list for my daughter's upcoming nuptials. She has always been budget conscious, and I appreciate her attempts to keep the guest list to a minimum, but it's created a problem.

She and her fiance initially decided to limit the guests to those 18 and older. Unfortunately, this would have excluded her first cousins, plus some of her fiance's close family. I suggested setting the age at 12 and above, thinking this would appease all family members and we wouldn't have to worry about little ones disrupting the ceremony or distracting their parents. However, this resulted in a sizable disagreement, and she now has decided to include all children.

I would like to share this wonderful event with my extended family and included my aunts, uncles and first cousins on my portion of the guest list. My daughter revised the list to exclude my uncle and most of my cousins. She says she is close to only one of my cousins and eliminated the rest. I explained that it is inappropriate to include one cousin and not the others, just as it is wrong to invite my father's sister, but not his brother.

These disagreements are causing a great deal of unhappiness, and I don't know how to keep the peace for everyone. Please help settle this.

— Distraught Mother

Dear Distraught: Who is paying for the wedding? If it is your daughter and her fiance, they get to determine how many guests. They can, however, give you a specific number of invitations, allowing you to make the necessary decisions about your relatives. We agree that, barring a feud, she should invite both her great-aunt and great-uncle, but the bride's mother's first cousins are a different story. If she is close to only one, she does not need to invite the others. If you want them to attend the festivities, perhaps you could offer to pay the excess costs involved.

Dear Annie: My stepdaughter is 22 years old and still living at home, although she stays with her boyfriend several nights a week at his sister's apartment.

Last week she came home to take a shower and dress for church. Her boyfriend stayed in her bedroom while she changed clothes. I am very uncomfortable with this behavior at our house.

I know she sleeps with him at his sister's place. I feel like a hypocrite going to church and not standing up for what I believe in my own home. I have repeatedly asked her father to talk to her about having boyfriends in her bedroom, but he will not say anything. Since this is his adult child, do I have any authority to demand that she not have men in her room? After all, this is my house, too. I really want to approach this properly. Can you help?

— Not Comfortable

Dear Not Comfortable: You are in a tough spot. You can ask your stepdaughter not to bring men into her bedroom, but if her father says it's OK, you are out of luck. We suggest you talk to your husband and see if you can get him on the same page. Then you can tell her, "Your father and I would appreciate it if you would not bring your boyfriend into your bedroom." Make sure he backs you up.

Dear Annie: "Sweet Sue" said she was involved with a married man. It isn't only young people who have this problem. I met a 71-year-old married man at a senior center. He was supposedly in the process of getting a divorce. We hit it off right away and got along so well that I moved him into my home because he told me he couldn't stand staying with his wife one moment longer. He said he loved me and wanted to be with me forever.

He stayed one month, then slept with his wife, packed his suitcase and left. I cannot believe the lies this man told me. Young people aren't the only ones coping with the beautiful and blissful world of love and romance.

— Still Hurting

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