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Plans for extravagant bash give him wedding bell blues

By Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior (that's BONN-yer!) is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and writer. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology focusing on individual and group psychotherapy for young adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression.

Q: My girlfriend and I have talked about getting married next summer. But even though we’re not even engaged yet, she’s become obsessed with the wedding. She has very specific – and expensive – ideas about how everything should be. I’m not excited about marrying someone who would consider spending half her salary on one night. I have to wonder if this is telling me something about our relationship.

A: The “It’s the Biggest Party of Our Lives” versus “It’s a Bloated, Corporate-Driven Waste” wedding war has been around a long time, and I wouldn’t say it’s alarming to have some discrepancy of enthusiasm about engraved stationery.

But this situation has bothered you enough that I think something bigger is going on. So, you need to talk. And you need to ask questions, and listen as respectfully as possible. You’ll find out whether your relationship can rise above these differences. If you can’t agree on what’s supposed to be a celebration of your love, that’s a bad sign in and of itself. So don’t get engaged until you’ve come to an agreement on what a wedding would look like.

Walking into an ambush?

Q: I have been contacted by my younger sister’s therapist because she thinks it would be helpful for me to sit in on a few sessions. My sister has depression and an eating disorder, and has always felt that I am cold to her and that it was impossible to follow in my footsteps and that our parents favored me. I don’t want to keep having this conversation. I’m worried if I do go to a session that it will be setting me up for an ambush.

A: If the therapist is worth her salt and her copays, an ambush is far from what she has in mind. This isn’t Maury Povich.

But since she contacted you, you should feel free to have a discussion with her about your concerns. She might not be able to detail exactly what will be discussed, and she is your sister’s therapist first and foremost, but your sister’s healing would not be served by starting additional fires. I understand you don’t want to keep having this conversation. But if this is the first time it happens on a professional couch, it represents a marked change from the past – and a shot at making real progress in moving past the conversation for good.

Andrea Bonior is a psychologist and author of “The Friendship Fix.”

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