DEAR HARRIETTE: I had to postpone my wedding because of COVID-19. Just a week before it was scheduled, my city stopped issuing marriage licenses. We had people coming from all over the United States and even a few family members from overseas. Now it’s all gone to hell, and we’ve had to cancel. We lost a bit of money from the venue because of the late notice. I get it. They have to survive, too. But now I don’t know what to do. We have no idea when we will be able to get married now. Should I bother setting a new date or just wait until later on in the year to see what happens? I need to tell my guests something. -- New Wedding Date
DEAR NEW WEDDING DATE: I’m sure you don’t want to hear this, but the safest solution right now is to postpone your wedding indefinitely. It is risky to book a venue now when we are unclear as to when the quarantining and travel bans will end. You don’t want to risk losing another deposit because you chose to place a hold on a space and may have to change that as well. Of course, if a venue is willing to be flexible and work with you on your date without penalizing you if it has to change again, you may want to stake a claim. I would push it out until the end of the year, though, so that you have the best chance of things being settled and clearer as to what we can and cannot do as a culture by then.
I’m so sorry for this delay, but I will say that a marriage that lasts undergoes many hardships. Sadly, yours has started even before you officially say, “I do.”
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I have been fighting like cats and dogs for months. I was planning to break up with him at a specific time when we got word that we couldn’t go to restaurants and that we had to stay home. Now we are both in our separate homes. Sometimes when I talk to him, he is nice. Other times, he is his same nasty self. I know we should break up, but I hate doing it over the phone or via email. I don’t want to wait, though, acting like everything is OK until we see each other. Who knows when that will happen? Do you think I should talk to him on the phone or write him a note to say it’s over? -- It’s Over Now
DEAR IT’S OVER NOW: The most sensitive way for you to break up remotely is to speak to each other. Choose either to have a phone call or some kind of face-to-face call. You can use WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom or some other technology that allows you to see each other. That’s the most intimate remote option.
Tell your boyfriend that you have something important you want to discuss with him. Set yourself up in a space where you are comfortable and at ease. Be direct and compassionate. Tell your boyfriend that you have been thinking about this for some time, but that circumstances have made it impossible for you to talk in each other’s company. Tell him that it’s over and that you want to break up in the most thoughtful way possible. Talk about your reasons if he wants to know. Be definitive that it’s over before you get off the phone.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)