You need to be honest with her and share everything you just shared in your letter to me while you express heartfelt regret over your inability to participate in her wedding. Any friend who makes you feel guilty or any friendship that is damaged because you quite literally cannot afford to be in/ attend her destination wedding — especially given our current economy — is not a friend or friendship that was truly genuine anyway. While certainly being disappointed, a good friend will understand your financial limitations and be grateful that you share in her good news even if you can’t be with her to celebrate in person. If you can afford to, I’d certainly send a nice gift and a very thoughtful card, and be very proactive and interested in seeing photos of the wedding afterward. If you live in the same city, or close enough to visit relatively cheaply, it would be a nice gesture to cook dinner for her or do something else to show her you care. And if one of the jobs you’re hoping for comes through, and you suddenly find yourself with enough money to attend a destination wedding, ask your friend if it is too late to squeeze you in as a guest. Definitely do that before advertising a big purchase or vacation, as is often a temptation after getting a new job. If you’re using finances as an excuse to miss your friend’s wedding, nothing would end your friendship faster than her hearing about you doing or buying something expensive.
Don’t mistake being controlling and manipulative with being “clingy” or “needy.” Today, your boyfriend may have a problem with you having lunch with a friend or spending the evening alone; tomorrow or next year or that day he hopes to marry you, it may be your job he has a problem with or the way you wear your hair or what you’re wearing. This is a serious red flag. Any guy who gets so upset when you want a little time to yourself or with your friends has issues, and you need to tread very carefully. Tell him in no uncertain terms that he does NOT have a right to tell you how to spend every night of your life or whom you can eat lunch with and if he keeps it up, your relationship is over. And then stick to your word! If he continues to try to control your life, you need to MOA. No guy — no guy — has the right to tell you how to live your life, no matter how much you think you love him.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.