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Dear Amy: I am close with my niece, who recently got engaged. Her now-fiancé was upfront, by saying he didn't believe in marriage. She was upfront, too, saying that if he ever wanted to buy a house, her name would not go on a mortgage if they weren't married. Not that she would break up with him — she would stay, but she would want a lease agreement rather than put her name on the mortgage.

Recently, he got serious about buying a house and my niece stuck to her guns — either get married or sign a lease. He proposed.

He says his grandparents have to be at the wedding. But they are almost 5,000 miles away and too old to fly, so he is insisting they get married where the grandparents live.

Amy, my niece's father has advanced Parkinson's disease and can't possibly travel that far. In addition, 98 percent of both of their immediate families are being excluded from the wedding held in this remote location because they can't afford to get there.

This business of excluding her father and disenfranchising her entire family from the wedding is unconscionable.

I think he is purposely creating obstacles because he doesn't really want to get married.

My niece has asked me for advice. She really loves him and wants to marry him, but she sees it as a stalemate on the location — I see a reluctant groom. What should I tell her?

Amy says: My perspective about this couple is that they use negotiation, rather than consensus, to advance their relationship. I don't think this is uncommon. However, if this is the way they operate, your niece needs to be prepared for future stalemates, especially surrounding large life events that are already stressful. Have they talked about having children, how to share their expenses or future care issues having to do with their parents?

Her fiancé's choice doesn't seem to honor her or her family relationships. In fact, unless he can suggest or agree to a compromise, his choice seems hostile.

Fortunately for you, this doesn't concern you directly. When your niece asks you for advice, you could be both honest and circumspect, and say, "You two seem to see this as a stalemate on the location for your wedding, but I see it as being bigger than that. Have you had your premarital counseling yet?"

Offender confusion

Dear Amy: I recently received a postcard from the sheriff's department stating that a neighbor is a "registered sex offender."

The notification said his crime was committed 30 years ago and that he failed to register properly when he moved here. It does not state where the original offense occurred.

I've been on a neighborly first-name basis with him for several years in our community and he has always seemed like a nice enough guy. I don't feel threatened by him.

We waved and exchanged a "Hi" yesterday for the first time since I received the notice. I assume he knows his neighbors have received it.

I hate to display my ignorance, but what, if anything, has changed with receipt of that postcard?

Amy says: What has changed is your knowledge that your neighbor committed a crime against another person 30 years ago.

You can learn as much as is legally allowable by using the sex offender database to search your neighbor's record. My own research reveals that there are different designations and "risk level determinations" assigned to sex offenders.

In my state, a person at the lowest risk level will get their name removed from the database after 20 years. Your neighbor might have committed a more serious offense to still be listed. The database might reveal specific details of his crime.

The postcard notification is designed to inform people, so that you may then make your own determination regarding a relationship with this person. After you do some research, the rest is up to you.

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