DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I married into an affluent family, and I love hosting dinners for my in-laws.
My gay brother-in-law, who is my favorite person, always asks if he could bring his lover, who everyone knows is with him for the money. My brother-in-law is rich and has been vocal about being generous with his lover because he is lonely.
My issue is this, his lover is not very well-mannered. Each time he comes to my home for dinner, he acts like he has not eaten for days. He behaves in a way that causes me annoyance, and I end up resenting hosting the family.
It has come to the point where I get anxiety each time I think about it. What should I do? Should I stop inviting my brother-in-law or be honest and say, “Do not bring your lover”? --- ANXIOUS HOSTESS
DEAR ANXIOUS HOSTESS: Even though you have multiple issues with your brother-in-law’s choice of lovers, he is, unfortunately, it seems part of the package deal for large family gatherings if you want to avoid hurting your brother-in-law. Think of how you’d feel if one of your relatives invited only you, and not your husband, to a family party.
Whether or not your brother-in-law’s clueless about his lover’s social shortcomings, if his companion makes him happy, then it might be best if you continue to simply and graciously grin and bear his presence in your home.
Since your anxiety seems to center on large dinner parties, I don’t see why you shouldn’t arrange time with just your favorite brother-in-law, without his companion. Make it the type of get-together that would be less conducive to having his unpopular other half along. I’m thinking intimate, immediate family meals, or outings doing something both he and you enjoy, and at which a third wheel would be awkward.