Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: My brother is getting married soon. My serious, but fairly new, girlfriend thinks she’s not been invited because we’re lesbians, but actually I’ve hidden the invite because I don’t want to take her.
Wow, doesn’t sound any better written down, huh.
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Thing is, I adore almost everything about her! She’s kind, beautiful, passionate, clever … and committed to telling the truth no matter who it upsets. If your hair is unflattering, she’ll tell you. If your husband is screwing around, she’ll tell you. If your father died badly rather than the kind fiction your family have been telling you since you were a child, she’ll let the horrible cat out of the bag — at her cousin’s wedding!
I want my family to get to know her good side better before putting her in a situation where she’s going to risk alienating people.
So do I take her and risk everyone hating her, keep lying and risk her hating my family, or find some marvelous third option?
Some Secrets Are Good!
Dear Secrets: Um. Do you see it? That you’re trying to withhold the truth that her truth-telling is too much?
She insists on bluntness, so give it to her. “I don’t want to bring you because you don’t have a filter. I’m mostly fine with that, but not at a wedding when my family is meeting you for the first time.”
Let her see what “committed to telling the truth no matter who it upsets” feels like on the receiving end.
Plus, tiptoeing around this trait of hers, and your discomfort with it, is the road to relationship hell. If your pairing can’t survive a reckoning with your doubts, then it can’t survive, period.
Dear Carolyn: My husband and I recently moved to a major airline hub and natural stopping point for people driving cross-country. Since we’ve moved, we’ve had way more than our usual rate of houseguests — which is great.
However, we are struggling with how much we are obligated to “host” in situations where it’s ambiguous whether someone is visiting us or using us as a stopover.
Basically, to what extent am I “allowed” to tell a house guest that I really need to get X boring house chore done this weekend?
Dear Struggling: I lean toward wide-open disclosure as soon as people invite themselves: “We’d love to have you. Just one caveat: You’ll be on your own [time period you reserve for yourselves]*. If you’d like us to help you plan some of your activities or sightseeing, let us know.” The guests you invite, you entertain.
Email Carolyn at email@example.com or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.