Hippo Manchester
August 18, 2005

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Dear Pinings,

Do I have to go to a funeral with my boyfriend even if I donít know the person who died? The funeral was last week and I went, but we had a big fight about it. I think he just wanted me to go to his auntís funeral because he didnít want to go by himself. I didnít really want to take a whole day off from work to go, and he was angry. My boss was fine with it, but I think I should save those days for days when a family member of my own needs me or if I have a doctorís appointment or something like that.

He thinks I just donít know whatís important in life. I do know whatís important, but at the same time, I canít always be there for him ó sometimes he needs to depend on his family or friends.

Help.

- Funeral for a boyfriend

Dear Funeral,

Thatís a weird signature, huh?

I donít think anyone really ever wants to go to a funeral and there are plenty of people out there who donít. And nope, you donít have to go anywhere you donít want to.

I do think, however, that if your boyfriend asks you to go, itís probably because he needs emotional support, not that he wants you to go to a sad event and experience the sadness with him. And men (sorry, guys) donít always know the best way to ask. Often, they just get mad or try to be manipulative or beat around the bush. Maybe your boyfriend feels that you are the best person to be with him during a difficult time ó that you would know the right things to say or do and that heíd just feel helpless. And often itís nice to go to a funeral with someone who doesnít know the deceased ó because one person can be grieving and the other one parking the car, navigating the trip, getting coffee, etc.

Tell your boyfriend that you will try your best to be supportive, but that you canít be there for every event and he has to be a bit more understanding if you have to say no.

Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers. Contact her via e-mail at sah103@hotmail.com.