Dear Abby: I'm confused. My husband and I received the following invitation in the mail today:
"We Are Having an Anniversary Dinner for
BYRON AND EDITH
(Sorry, you're not invited!)
Instead, we would like you to send an anniversary card postmarked by Sept. 3. The card will be given to Byron and Edith at the dinner to add to the surprise."
Abby, we weren't the only ones who got an "invitation" like this. Have you ever heard of anything like this? Is this something new? I think the people who got these invitations were even more surprised than Byron and Edith will be. — Now I've Seen Everything in Ohio
Dear Seen Everything: No, this is not something new. Social blunders have been happening for years, and this is one of them. How much more diplomatic it would have been had the request been phrased something like this:
"Dear Mr. and Mrs. 'Seen': In honor of Byron and Edith's anniversary, we 'kids' are planning an intimate family gathering. Because you have been treasured friends for so long, we wonder if you would contribute to a 'memory book' we are assembling for them as an added surprise. It need not be long or elaborate — just an experience you have shared with Byron and Edith that was significant. Please send it before Sept. 3. Thanks in advance. — Daughter 'Julie' "
Dear Abby: I'm not some young "chiquita." I'm a mature woman in my 50s. My live-in, "Eli," and I have been together for six years. We were happy, but over the last few months my man has become irritable and lethargic.
I did some snooping and discovered that Eli is up to his neck in credit card debt. His job isn't paying well now, but he continues to live as if his income hasn't dried up. He can't seem to accept that he can no longer afford special gifts for himself, his adult children and me.
Should I tell Eli I know he's paying an ungodly amount of interest and can't pay off his credit cards, or let him continue to drown in debt? I'm financially able to help him, but I don't know how to offer, because Eli won't share his need for it. Even if I did, I wouldn't know what to expect in return if I made the offer. Please tell me what to do. — Concerned for Eli in Kansas
Dear Concerned: Eli's irritability and lethargy could be depression related to his credit worries. Or it could be something else. Try to coax him to talk about what "might" be causing it, and suggest the two of you consult his doctor to be sure there's nothing physically wrong.
If you can't get him to open up, you may have to admit you know about his money problem. However, do not offer to bail him out. Instead, urge him to solve his problem by making an appointment with a credit counselor.
You can help him to find a reputable credit counseling firm by checking with the Better Business Bureau for the debt management companies he's considering. Also, be sure to ask if the company is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. Both of these groups impose "best practices" standards on their members. This will prevent your partner from being exploited.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © Universal Press Syndicate