Dear Annie: My husband and I are planning a big party to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Sadly, two sisters are all but ruining the event. They are both close friends of mine, but they are feuding with each other. I did not send out online invites but rather traditional paper invitations. Through the grapevine, I heard they are both inquiring about whether the other was invited.
We just want a peaceful, fun party and do not want to get dragged into their fight. How can I avoid their turmoil? It is already casting a shadow on our party.
— Sister Squabble
Dear Sister Squabble: Congratulations on 25 years of marriage! That is no easy feat, and it’s a wonderful thing to be celebrating. Hopefully, it will be a drama-free evening. Speak with each sister before the party and tell them to leave their baggage at the door and put their party hats on.
If they’re unable to do that, or if they become defensive, then tell them they are no longer welcome. It’s your party, and it’s you and your husband’s day. You’re both entitled to set the code of conduct for behavior.
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Dear Annie: Every day of my (now ended) marriage, I’d look up at the sky like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and ask, “How long is forever?”
I never realized I was doing this until a time came when I saw that my marriage had essentially ended. We were like old shoes that didn’t fit.
Not wanting to be a quitter, I had to reckon with how to “grow on.” Then the phrase came to me, kindly and thankfully: “Forever lasts as long as forever lasts.”
Not to be cute — but grounded — that worked for me. I was able to control my mind and make adjustments in my life. Not that my marital unit understood, agreed or cared.
It’s tough when our emotions rip us away from our minds. Knowing the value of being able to use your mind and act on your thoughts is a powerful tool. I highly recommend realizing over deciding.
— Forever Lasts as Long as Forever Last
Dear Forever: Thank you for your letter and your insights into what the word “forever” means. Good luck!
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Dear Annie: Today, I opened my newspaper, and I was happily surprised to see that you posted my letter. I just wanted to say thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful reply to me. It meant the world to me.
— Empathic Daughter of a Narcissist
Dear Empathic Daughter of a Narcissist: I encourage you to write a book. Your letter has touched many people who are trying to navigate life with a narcissist.
In fact, a recent column had a letter by someone whom your column very much touched.
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— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her debut book, Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie, features favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette. Email your Dear Annie questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.