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His relatives' Christmas cheer goes only so far

November 17, 2009

Dear Amy: Now that I have a loving, beautiful and happy home, I want to share it for one Christmas Eve.

Ever since I announced my intentions, I have had nothing but flak from my four siblings and parents.

They all live between two and three hours away.

They all claim it is too far for them to travel.

Am I being unfair to think that they should be willing to make this trip once every 10 years -- or are they just being unreasonably selfish?

Lonely on Long Island

Dear Lonely: Expecting family members to spend between four and six hours in their cars in order to make the round trip to your beautiful home for Christmas Eve is too much to ask.

(I'm assuming that this invitation is for Christmas Eve alone, and not for spending the night and the following day.)

My (admittedly patchy) knowledge of traffic on Long Island leads me to conclude that if your family members made this trip to your home on Christmas Eve, you might have to deal with some road raging and possibly homicidal Santas once your Christmas party got under way.

I have an idea. Why don't you invite your family to your home during the dark week between Christmas and New Year's? Everyone seems mellower during that period -- the traffic has stabilized, the holiday decorations are still up and a vestige of holiday cheer remains. I hope you'll consider it.


Dear Amy: After three years of marriage, my daughter's CEO husband came home from a business trip and announced, "Marriage is too much work and I want a divorce."

He wants her out now.

He invited his 23-year-old daughter to live with them, with no discussion, even though my daughter contributed to the down payment on this house.

Worried Mom

Dear Worried: Your daughter should not leave her home until she consults a lawyer (unless she is afraid for her safety).

In matters of divorce it seems that possession really is nine-tenths of the law.

Her husband's desire to get his wife out of the home quickly is a red flag. If he wants to separate, then perhaps he should leave.

Her husband sounds like a scoundrel; if he is determined to end the marriage, your daughter's best advice should come from legal counsel.

A lawyer and an accountant will let her know where she stands, what her rights are and what she can expect to happen next.

Send questions to Amy Dickinson by e-mail to or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

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