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Girlfriend Not Invited to T-Day

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half. Last Thanksgiving I invited him -- and he attended -- my family's get-together. Of course, I invited him again this year.

However, his rich sister and brother-in-law are treating his family to Thanksgiving dinner at a nice restaurant. I was not invited.

My feelings are hurt, but I'm not sure I'm justified in feeling that way. Should I just get over it since I'm not actually a member of their family? -- UNINVITED IN MISSOURI

DEAR UNINVITED: If you're smart, you'll be gracious about this. While it would have been nice if the sister had included you, you and your boyfriend are not engaged -- and the sister may have wanted the dinner to be "strictly family." As the hostess, that is her privilege.


I love reading 'Dear Abby' and mostly agree with her advice, but this one left me fuming!   If we say it's good etiquette (and proper) to invite all those in relationships to weddings, no matter the longevity, how is it ok to NOT invite them to holiday events?  If I was this girl, I'd be extremely hurt, and seriously question my relationship with my boyfriend if he agreed to this farce and didn't spend Thanksgiving with me.


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Re: Girlfriend Not Invited to T-Day

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    This is BS. She should have been invited.
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    Wow total BS indeed! I'd be pissed, and what the heck with the BF for not vouching for her? I can't imagine my BF being okay with me being snubbed like that.

    Formerly martha1818

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    Dear Abbey I am disappointed in you.

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    Total BS. I would hope the BF would decline.

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    *eyeroll*

    I wonder how she would respond to this if it were a same sex couple who can't get married... No ring, no bring? Really? 

    Not everything hinges around marriage. People are in all types of relationships now and I think the safest bet is to simply not take it upon oneself to judge. 

    Does anyone remember a long time ago when someone posted to the E board about the guy who was in a poly relationship and wanted to bring multiple girlfriends? I can't even remember what our advice was on it, but it was definitely an interesting question.
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    So I can say for a fact that on Etiquette Hell (where I lurked and decided not for me because you can't cuss or make sex jokes, and lets face it that's like 90% of my personality) they actually do advocate that you need to be married, engaged, living together, or in a relationship for a "significant amount of time" before expecting invitations as a social unit. They'd probably say that since it's only been a year and a half, it's fine to exclude her, though no one will actually define a "significant amount of time". 

    That was one of the things that always bugged me when I lurked over there. 

    Though I would tell the girl to just be gracious about it, because ya know, taking the high road and all. Not that the brother's sister is in the right. Just because sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut, then to try to prove someone else is wrong.
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    Am I the only one who read this in the voice of a 13 year old girl? I know that's probably unlikely; but I read this as a middle/high school relationship and I don't think I'd blame the sister in that situation..

    However after reading everyone's responses, I think the writer should have been invited if they are actually adults.
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    MagicInk said:
    So I can say for a fact that on Etiquette Hell (where I lurked and decided not for me because you can't cuss or make sex jokes, and lets face it that's like 90% of my personality) they actually do advocate that you need to be married, engaged, living together, or in a relationship for a "significant amount of time" before expecting invitations as a social unit. They'd probably say that since it's only been a year and a half, it's fine to exclude her, though no one will actually define a "significant amount of time". 

    That was one of the things that always bugged me when I lurked over there. 

    Though I would tell the girl to just be gracious about it, because ya know, taking the high road and all. Not that the brother's sister is in the right. Just because sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut, then to try to prove someone else is wrong.
    That's not all all what the regs advocate on the E board. The message is: "if someone has an SO, they must be invited by name (not 'and guest')".

    SS definitely try to implement rules in order to exclude SOs and save money, but the regs shut them down on a regular basis.
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    MagicInk said:
    So I can say for a fact that on Etiquette Hell (where I lurked and decided not for me because you can't cuss or make sex jokes, and lets face it that's like 90% of my personality) they actually do advocate that you need to be married, engaged, living together, or in a relationship for a "significant amount of time" before expecting invitations as a social unit. They'd probably say that since it's only been a year and a half, it's fine to exclude her, though no one will actually define a "significant amount of time". 

    That was one of the things that always bugged me when I lurked over there. 

    Though I would tell the girl to just be gracious about it, because ya know, taking the high road and all. Not that the brother's sister is in the right. Just because sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut, then to try to prove someone else is wrong.
    That's not all all what the regs advocate on the E board. The message is: "if someone has an SO, they must be invited by name (not 'and guest')".

    SS definitely try to implement rules in order to exclude SOs and save money, but the regs shut them down on a regular basis.
    I'm pretty sure I've seen @MagicInk over on the E board here.  I think she was referring to THIS website.  @MagicInk, yes?  No?  


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    Yes @levioosa is correct, @southernbell, it's a separate website all together. They have a forum as well.

    Though there are less sex jokes on our E board, it's mostly just because they don't work over there, not because they aren't allowed.
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    pinkcow13 said:
    This is the issue my best friend faces in her relationship. She invites her BF to family gatherings, but she is not always welcome by his family. Last year, his parents arranged a birthday dinner with the family, but excluded her. Luckily, he stood up to his parents and told them that if she were not invited, he would not be attending. They insisted that it be family only, and he did not attend. His mother did not speak to him for days. She is now starting to allow my best friend in, but it's too little too late.

    I think it is an incredibly fucked up move to do that. You never know who your child or family member will end up with, and when they ARE engaged and then married, they won't easily forget the snub. It is just so stupid to me that some people feel that they can judge someone else's relationship, and snub people that they deem not worthy enough. Get off your fucking high horse.
    This.  I just can't imagine ever having a child and they being in a relationship and then saying - 'you're SO of a year and a half is NOT family so is not invited.'    But then again, I've been lucky enough to be part of a family where as soon as you become a unit (aka are BF/GF) your SO becomes part of the family.    I mean really, who thinks their sh*t don't stink enough to the point they feel they're justified to have a 'family-only' gathering?
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    MagicInk said:
    So I can say for a fact that on Etiquette Hell (where I lurked and decided not for me because you can't cuss or make sex jokes, and lets face it that's like 90% of my personality) they actually do advocate that you need to be married, engaged, living together, or in a relationship for a "significant amount of time" before expecting invitations as a social unit. They'd probably say that since it's only been a year and a half, it's fine to exclude her, though no one will actually define a "significant amount of time". 

    That was one of the things that always bugged me when I lurked over there. 

    Though I would tell the girl to just be gracious about it, because ya know, taking the high road and all. Not that the brother's sister is in the right. Just because sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut, then to try to prove someone else is wrong.
    This.  And just because her BF may go to the dinner without he does not mean that he isn't sticking up for his GF.  I think if H and I (if we weren't married or engaged) were in this situation I would tell him to go, even though I know he would be pissed about my lack of inclusion, but sometimes it is best to just take the high road.

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    A coworker of mine has been married to her husband for 30ish years. she was telling me the other day that she was never allowed at his family's Christmas dinner because it was family only and you had to be married to be considered family. Well, the first year they were married she was very excited to go and though tit must be some grand dinner and very lavish. She said it sucked. 

    If you are in a relationship, 30 years or 3 days, you should be included. 

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    Yuck. 

    I guess as far as advice for the person writing goes, Abby is correct: be gracious. Get over it (in public). But re: the hosts and "their prerogative"? Boo!

    Abby'd probably tell this same "rich sister" that she is right to be offended when the letter writer inevitably declines to ask her to be a bridesmaid at the future wedding.
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    This baby knows exactly how I feel
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    There is so much to that letter that we don't know. How big a family it is, whether the hostess of this dinner is generally a bitch, if the boyfriend even cares whether his girlfriend is invited or not.

    Strictly speaking, the sister can invite who she wants. No one has to like it, or her. I can't see how it would hurt to invite the girlfriend, but maybe the family doesn't like her. Maybe she isn't of their religion, and they want to discourage the relationship. Maybe the girl herself is a bitch.

    Too little information for a hard-and-fast conclusion.


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    Ok, I just have to put out a different perspective here for thought.

     I know we have said that girlfriends and boyfriends should be invited to weddings, and so this is the same sort of idea, but what if it were a very small wedding, in the home or something, and it was going to be just be immediate family. No one else's significant others were going to be invited. Just strictly family to witness it. I don't think just because someone is dating soemone they are therefor to be invited to any and every family event.

    Now I still understand why she might wish she was invited, and feel they have been together long enogh that the sister shold have invited her as well, but I feel like it's a bit of a streach to say that a family celebrating thanksgiving together must follow the same rules as a where other none family members are being invited.

    But I admit, I could be wrong.
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    Seriously this no ring not bring shit is just that.. SHIT. I mean my H (bf at the time) was invited to my big 21st birthday bash that my family threw. I mean that's when he met most of them. He has been with me at EVERY family G2G since we started dating. He has always been welcome with my family and honestly that has really fostered the amazing relationship he has with my family. 
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    I guess I have a UO here...

    In my family boyfriends/girlfriends aren't invited for the holidays, and none of them have gotten bent out of shape about it. Until FI and I got engaged, I would never even ask to bring an SO to Thanksgiving dinner. Holidays for us are strictly family; that's just the way our family operates. Every family is different. Maybe his sister wanted to host an intimate family dinner for just the parents and siblings. I personally think that's reasonable. If it was a big event where everyone was invited except for the writer, then yeah, that would be shitty - but we don't know that from the letter.

    I will say, the way she threw in that her bf's sister is rich kind of rubbed me the wrong way, like because they have the money she is entitled to dinner on their dime.
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    The girl should have been invited.  The BF should have stuck up for her, and if his sister did not want to pay for her, he should offer to pay for the GF's plate.  Either way, the girl should be at that Fancy Restaurant with them!
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    blabla89 said:
    I guess I have a UO here...

    In my family boyfriends/girlfriends aren't invited for the holidays, and none of them have gotten bent out of shape about it. Until FI and I got engaged, I would never even ask to bring an SO to Thanksgiving dinner. Holidays for us are strictly family; that's just the way our family operates. Every family is different. Maybe his sister wanted to host an intimate family dinner for just the parents and siblings. I personally think that's reasonable. If it was a big event where everyone was invited except for the writer, then yeah, that would be shitty - but we don't know that from the letter.

    I will say, the way she threw in that her bf's sister is rich kind of rubbed me the wrong way, like because they have the money she is entitled to dinner on their dime.
    @blabla89  So you simply don't spend the holidays with your SO?   Aren't they your nearest and dearest?     When my now DH and I started dating the first major holiday was approximately 4 months after - even then it wasn't an option for us to be apart on that day.   It's a day to give thanks for all you had - you bet your a$$ we were thankful for our families and each other and wanted to spend that time together sharing in that joy.   I just don't understand how, on the biggest days/holidays of the year, you'd want to spend it away from someone who is supposedly so important to you.  
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    LakeR2014 said:
    blabla89 said:
    I guess I have a UO here...

    In my family boyfriends/girlfriends aren't invited for the holidays, and none of them have gotten bent out of shape about it. Until FI and I got engaged, I would never even ask to bring an SO to Thanksgiving dinner. Holidays for us are strictly family; that's just the way our family operates. Every family is different. Maybe his sister wanted to host an intimate family dinner for just the parents and siblings. I personally think that's reasonable. If it was a big event where everyone was invited except for the writer, then yeah, that would be shitty - but we don't know that from the letter.

    I will say, the way she threw in that her bf's sister is rich kind of rubbed me the wrong way, like because they have the money she is entitled to dinner on their dime.
    @blabla89  So you simply don't spend the holidays with your SO?   Aren't they your nearest and dearest?     When my now DH and I started dating the first major holiday was approximately 4 months after - even then it wasn't an option for us to be apart on that day.   It's a day to give thanks for all you had - you bet your a$$ we were thankful for our families and each other and wanted to spend that time together sharing in that joy.   I just don't understand how, on the biggest days/holidays of the year, you'd want to spend it away from someone who is supposedly so important to you.  
    I never said that I wanted to be away from my SO, nor do I think you're correct to imply that this somehow shows that my SO wasn't important to me. If your DH chose to spend Thanksgiving with your family, would you say that he wants to spend it away from his family? No, of course not.

    I've always celebrated the holidays with my SO in one way or another, and it's always wonderful and joyful. I've brought my SO to many family functions. But my family's Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations have always been just the parents, grandparents, and siblings, and I'm okay with that.
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    blabla89 said:
    LakeR2014 said:
    blabla89 said:
    I guess I have a UO here...

    In my family boyfriends/girlfriends aren't invited for the holidays, and none of them have gotten bent out of shape about it. Until FI and I got engaged, I would never even ask to bring an SO to Thanksgiving dinner. Holidays for us are strictly family; that's just the way our family operates. Every family is different. Maybe his sister wanted to host an intimate family dinner for just the parents and siblings. I personally think that's reasonable. If it was a big event where everyone was invited except for the writer, then yeah, that would be shitty - but we don't know that from the letter.

    I will say, the way she threw in that her bf's sister is rich kind of rubbed me the wrong way, like because they have the money she is entitled to dinner on their dime.
    @blabla89  So you simply don't spend the holidays with your SO?   Aren't they your nearest and dearest?     When my now DH and I started dating the first major holiday was approximately 4 months after - even then it wasn't an option for us to be apart on that day.   It's a day to give thanks for all you had - you bet your a$$ we were thankful for our families and each other and wanted to spend that time together sharing in that joy.   I just don't understand how, on the biggest days/holidays of the year, you'd want to spend it away from someone who is supposedly so important to you.  
    I never said that I wanted to be away from my SO, nor do I think you're correct to imply that this somehow shows that my SO wasn't important to me. If your DH chose to spend Thanksgiving with your family, would you say that he wants to spend it away from his family? No, of course not.

    I've always celebrated the holidays with my SO in one way or another, and it's always wonderful and joyful. I've brought my SO to many family functions. But my family's Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations have always been just the parents, grandparents, and siblings, and I'm okay with that.
    @blabla89 But when do you make that leap to where he's part of your family?  Does the marriage certificate make him part of the family?  What if you never get married and live joyfully together for 20-years, does that mean he never gets to come to those gatherings because you never got the signed document?  
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    Maggie0829Maggie0829 member
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    edited November 2014
    blabla89 said:
    LakeR2014 said:
    blabla89 said:
    I guess I have a UO here...

    In my family boyfriends/girlfriends aren't invited for the holidays, and none of them have gotten bent out of shape about it. Until FI and I got engaged, I would never even ask to bring an SO to Thanksgiving dinner. Holidays for us are strictly family; that's just the way our family operates. Every family is different. Maybe his sister wanted to host an intimate family dinner for just the parents and siblings. I personally think that's reasonable. If it was a big event where everyone was invited except for the writer, then yeah, that would be shitty - but we don't know that from the letter.

    I will say, the way she threw in that her bf's sister is rich kind of rubbed me the wrong way, like because they have the money she is entitled to dinner on their dime.
    @blabla89  So you simply don't spend the holidays with your SO?   Aren't they your nearest and dearest?     When my now DH and I started dating the first major holiday was approximately 4 months after - even then it wasn't an option for us to be apart on that day.   It's a day to give thanks for all you had - you bet your a$$ we were thankful for our families and each other and wanted to spend that time together sharing in that joy.   I just don't understand how, on the biggest days/holidays of the year, you'd want to spend it away from someone who is supposedly so important to you.  
    I never said that I wanted to be away from my SO, nor do I think you're correct to imply that this somehow shows that my SO wasn't important to me. If your DH chose to spend Thanksgiving with your family, would you say that he wants to spend it away from his family? No, of course not.

    I've always celebrated the holidays with my SO in one way or another, and it's always wonderful and joyful. I've brought my SO to many family functions. But my family's Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations have always been just the parents, grandparents, and siblings, and I'm okay with that.
    When H and I were just dating (not engaged) we spent holidays at our respective families.  We still saw each other on those holidays, like once dinner was over we would get together, but the actual meal was family only.

    Now once we got engaged and my parents moved down to Florida things changed, but I would have thought it was weird for me to not be with my family on Thanksgiving or Christmas when H and I were just dating.

    ETA:  I may not have thought it was that weird if my parents had moved away a lot sooner, but since I was still living with my parents it would have been odd to get dressed and then leave all my family to go to his family and vice versa.

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    blabla89 said:
    LakeR2014 said:
    blabla89 said:
    I guess I have a UO here...

    In my family boyfriends/girlfriends aren't invited for the holidays, and none of them have gotten bent out of shape about it. Until FI and I got engaged, I would never even ask to bring an SO to Thanksgiving dinner. Holidays for us are strictly family; that's just the way our family operates. Every family is different. Maybe his sister wanted to host an intimate family dinner for just the parents and siblings. I personally think that's reasonable. If it was a big event where everyone was invited except for the writer, then yeah, that would be shitty - but we don't know that from the letter.

    I will say, the way she threw in that her bf's sister is rich kind of rubbed me the wrong way, like because they have the money she is entitled to dinner on their dime.
    @blabla89  So you simply don't spend the holidays with your SO?   Aren't they your nearest and dearest?     When my now DH and I started dating the first major holiday was approximately 4 months after - even then it wasn't an option for us to be apart on that day.   It's a day to give thanks for all you had - you bet your a$$ we were thankful for our families and each other and wanted to spend that time together sharing in that joy.   I just don't understand how, on the biggest days/holidays of the year, you'd want to spend it away from someone who is supposedly so important to you.  
    I never said that I wanted to be away from my SO, nor do I think you're correct to imply that this somehow shows that my SO wasn't important to me. If your DH chose to spend Thanksgiving with your family, would you say that he wants to spend it away from his family? No, of course not.

    I've always celebrated the holidays with my SO in one way or another, and it's always wonderful and joyful. I've brought my SO to many family functions. But my family's Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations have always been just the parents, grandparents, and siblings, and I'm okay with that.
    When H and I were just dating (not engaged) we spent holidays at our respective families.  We still saw each other on those holidays, like once dinner was over we would get together, but the actual meal was family only.

    Now once we got engaged and my parents moved down to Florida things changed, but I would have thought it was weird for me to not be with my family on Thanksgiving or Christmas when H and I were just dating.

    ETA:  I may not have thought it was that weird if my parents had moved away a lot sooner, but since I was still living with my parents it would have been odd to get dressed and then leave all my family to go to his family and vice versa.
    @Maggie0829  I understand this if you were respectively invited to each others houses, but instead decided to each stay at your own families because of tradition, the meal times were the same so it was easier to split-up, etc.   What I do not understand is the idea that an SO would specifically NOT be invited to a holiday gathering because 'they're not family and holiday gatherings are only for family.'  Understand the issue I'm having?
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    LakeR2014 said:
    blabla89 said:
    LakeR2014 said:
    blabla89 said:
    I guess I have a UO here...

    In my family boyfriends/girlfriends aren't invited for the holidays, and none of them have gotten bent out of shape about it. Until FI and I got engaged, I would never even ask to bring an SO to Thanksgiving dinner. Holidays for us are strictly family; that's just the way our family operates. Every family is different. Maybe his sister wanted to host an intimate family dinner for just the parents and siblings. I personally think that's reasonable. If it was a big event where everyone was invited except for the writer, then yeah, that would be shitty - but we don't know that from the letter.

    I will say, the way she threw in that her bf's sister is rich kind of rubbed me the wrong way, like because they have the money she is entitled to dinner on their dime.
    @blabla89  So you simply don't spend the holidays with your SO?   Aren't they your nearest and dearest?     When my now DH and I started dating the first major holiday was approximately 4 months after - even then it wasn't an option for us to be apart on that day.   It's a day to give thanks for all you had - you bet your a$$ we were thankful for our families and each other and wanted to spend that time together sharing in that joy.   I just don't understand how, on the biggest days/holidays of the year, you'd want to spend it away from someone who is supposedly so important to you.  
    I never said that I wanted to be away from my SO, nor do I think you're correct to imply that this somehow shows that my SO wasn't important to me. If your DH chose to spend Thanksgiving with your family, would you say that he wants to spend it away from his family? No, of course not.

    I've always celebrated the holidays with my SO in one way or another, and it's always wonderful and joyful. I've brought my SO to many family functions. But my family's Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations have always been just the parents, grandparents, and siblings, and I'm okay with that.
    When H and I were just dating (not engaged) we spent holidays at our respective families.  We still saw each other on those holidays, like once dinner was over we would get together, but the actual meal was family only.

    Now once we got engaged and my parents moved down to Florida things changed, but I would have thought it was weird for me to not be with my family on Thanksgiving or Christmas when H and I were just dating.

    ETA:  I may not have thought it was that weird if my parents had moved away a lot sooner, but since I was still living with my parents it would have been odd to get dressed and then leave all my family to go to his family and vice versa.
    @Maggie0829  I understand this if you were respectively invited to each others houses, but instead decided to each stay at your own families because of tradition, the meal times were the same so it was easier to split-up, etc.   What I do not understand is the idea that an SO would specifically NOT be invited to a holiday gathering because 'they're not family and holiday gatherings are only for family.'  Understand the issue I'm having?
    I get it.  In the my instance H nor I were ever invited to each others respective family dinners until we got engaged.  I think that was primarily because each family knew the other family was having their own thing or just didn't feel the need to extend an invitation because if one of us had said that we would like to bring the other for dinner our families would have been all "cool, whatever."

    But I guess if your family has a set tradition of only family for holidays then I could see an invitation not being extended.

    But in regards to the OP, the sister may not even realize what she is doing is rude.  There have been many times where people on here do not think it is rude, or would bat an eye at not inviting someone's SO because they aren't engaged or married thus not family.  Not saying that is right but some people just think differently.

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    danamw said:

    There is so much to that letter that we don't know. How big a family it is, whether the hostess of this dinner is generally a bitch, if the boyfriend even cares whether his girlfriend is invited or not.

    Strictly speaking, the sister can invite who she wants. No one has to like it, or her. I can't see how it would hurt to invite the girlfriend, but maybe the family doesn't like her. Maybe she isn't of their religion, and they want to discourage the relationship. Maybe the girl herself is a bitch.

    Too little information for a hard-and-fast conclusion.


    It doesn't matter how many people are invited, how much of a bitch the sister is, what religion anyone is (seriously?) or who likes whom. It's rude to exclude the 18 month girlfriend.

    Still, Dear Abby isn't an etiquette columnist. Yes, the sister was rude, but that doesn't help the letter writer. All she can do is grin and bear it. Luckily, the writer's parents seem to be more inclusive and welcoming to the boyfriend. 

    I will say, if my husband's family had treated me that way before we were engaged, I wouldn't be busting my ass right now preparing my house for them to spend Thanksgiving weekend.
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    Okay, this letter to Dear Abby has been on my mind and now I know why. I posted before that there was too much left out of the letter, but now I know why it was still bugging me.

    This guy wants to dump this girl. The letter doesn't say she was told by anyone but him, that she wasn't invited. She invites him to her family T-giving, but he says no, I am going to my family's party, my sister is paying, you aren't invited. He gets to blame his sister, hey, he's innocent.

    They had a nice time with her family last year but since then, he has cooled off. Logically, if anyone is cooling off of their SO, they better not spend a holiday with them and their family.

    "Of course I love you sweetheart! I can't come to your Thanksgiving party this year, my family is having a thing! You are not invited! What can I do? My sister is a bitch!'

    I wish we could find out more. But this explanation feels right to me.

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