Dear Annie: Recently, our 11-year-old daughter visited her 14-year-old cousin for the weekend. When she came home, she told us that her aunt and uncle went to a neighborhood party, and she and her cousin went to bed in separate rooms. During the night, my brother-in-law came back alone and went into our daughter’s room, pulled down the covers and asked her to pull up her nightie. She refused. She said he stood in the window huffing and puffing for a while, but eventually left. She was terrified and did not have the presence of mind to yell for her cousin.

When we were told about the incident, my husband refused to mention it to his sister, saying “nothing actually happened.” I am very upset, and my daughter was traumatized. What do you think we should do? — Frustrated and Angry

Dear Frustrated: “Nothing happened” only because your daughter had the fortitude to protect herself. If your husband will not discuss this with his sister, you should. She may say your daughter is lying, or her husband will use drunkenness as an excuse. Nonetheless, it is important that you support your daughter in this.

Commend her for reporting it to you and reacting appropriately, and empower her by teaching her how to deal with the possibility of similar incidents in the future. If she is still traumatized, please get counseling for her. Your brother-in-law should understand that you could choose to report his behavior to the police.

And needless to say, your daughter should not sleep at her cousin’s again, nor should she be around her uncle without others present.

Dear Annie: In a few months, I am marrying for the second time. I have an old high school friend who is trying to build her business as an event planner. She insisted I hire her to do my wedding, and under her relentless pressure, I agreed. Now I regret it.


My friend has no experience in event planning. She is eager to learn and wants to build her clientele. But I don’t feel comfortable having her do that at my wedding. When I married the first time, I hired a professional event planner with amazing skills who did a phenomenal job. I would love to hire the same woman again. How do I tactfully handle this? — In a Mess

Dear Mess: Your friend should not have taken advantage of your vulnerability and bulldozed her way into your wedding. Although it is possible she would do a lovely job, it is more important that you feel confident that someone is handling the details of the occasion.

Go back to your friend and tell her as nicely as possible that you have changed your mind. Let her know you appreciate her efforts on your behalf, but you want her to be a guest at the wedding, not an employee, and you would be uncomfortable hiring a friend. Acknowledge her disappointment, and understand that she may become angry.

But please do not back down, or you will regret it from now until the day you marry — and possibly beyond.

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