Dear Amy: My niece lives 10 states away and is getting married.
Her invitation stated that my 17-year-old son was invited only to the wedding ceremony — not the reception.
I told her that we would not be spending thousands of dollars (flights, hotel, rental car, gifts) for a 15-minute ceremony.
Her response was, “You can come, and he can sit in the hotel.”
I said that we were still not coming. And (I told her), “By the way — that was so rude.”
Now her parents are angry, and others in the family are weighing in.
We’re still not going to this wedding, as I am still not going to make my son sit in a motel room.
How do I make this situation better?
— Irate Aunt in MD
Dear Irate: You state that you want to make this situation better, but you don’t outline your definition of “better.”
Might I suggest an afternoon at Six Flags?
Although anyone could understand your concern regarding your son’s exclusion, your brusque response (“We won’t spend thousands of dollars for a 15-minute ceremony”) would not inspire the bride to change her mind. For that to happen, you would have had to ask a question, (“We’re coming such a long way; is there any way you can include ‘Danny’ in the reception?”) versus stating a declarative.
The bride’s response to you indicates that brusqueness may run in the family. (She could easily have said, “This was a tough decision for us, but we’re having a strictly over-21 reception. We realize that this creates a problem for you.”)
You could try to turn this around by changing your tone from one conveying how insulted you are, to its more polite version: “We’re so sorry we won’t be able to make it to your wedding — but we hope you have a wonderful and joyful day. We regret having to miss it.”
Dear Amy: I have a mostly pleasant relationship with a lovely woman, age 48. She’s divorced with two children in their late teens, and I’m a divorced 55-year-old self-employed builder. My son is 22.
We’ve been seeing each other for four months.
We agreed at the outset that neither of us was looking for a live-in or “permanent” relationship, and both just wanted something relaxed, pleasant, and with each retaining our own space.
We get together about three to four days/nights a week for a movie, to cook together and sometimes to go fishing, which we both enjoy.
We also happily engage in our own separate hobbies and pursuits.
The first time we met, I told her that I’m a long-term sober member of AA. I don’t like to be around people who drink. I also explained that, alcohol aside, I also detest events like weddings, parties, group outings and so on.
After a couple of months, she started to express disappointment and irritation that I won’t go to her friends’ dinner parties, group functions and outings.
She was extra-miffed that I would not attend a huge 300 person 50th birthday celebration for her very closest girlfriend.
She says that I am “supposed to do these things if I’m her boyfriend.”
Now she has taken things to yet another level, pushing me to attend her niece’s large destination wedding.
This is beyond a joke to me, and I’m now ready to bail.
She thinks I’m rude, mean, and overall the bad guy for declining.
I asked her why she wants me around if my introversion and personal boundaries don’t suit her, but she cries if I suggest that she’d be better off with someone who is more social.
I feel she is not respecting my boundaries, whereas I do believe that I respect hers — but am I missing something here?
Dear Introvert: You aren’t missing anything.
It’s easy, in the first blush of attraction, to agree to almost any parameters.
Your girlfriend thought she could be happy with yours, but now she has flipped the script.
This seems like a very basic incompatibility. You should acknowledge that this is tough on her, but you are who you are, and you can’t change for her.
Dear Amy: I am truly shocked by the number of queries you receive about people going “no contact” with family members. You tend to encourage it, while I think it’s a tragedy.
— Full Contact
Dear Full Contact: People who have endured years of abuse should liberate themselves from their abusers. But yes, I agree that when people choose this over dispute resolution, it is a tragedy.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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