No Matter How Thin You Slice It, There Are Always Two Sides To The Bologna

by admin on March 2, 2011

I am writing this on behalf of my boyfriend, let’s call him Pete, who experienced a series of grave etiquette mishaps. His best friend from college, Tom, who also served as Best Man at his wedding, announced his engagement two weeks before Pete ended his marriage. During the two weeks after the announcement, Tom asked Pete to be his best man and Pete accepted.

Over the next couple months, Pete moved out of the home he shared with his ex-wife. Tom was fully aware that Pete no longer lived there. But every time he came to town he insisted on visiting the divorced couple’s old home with his fiance. He would call Pete, from his ex wife’s home, and inquire as to why he was not present. Pete thought this was strange but carried on preparing to be Tom’s best man. Pete was also friends with both the groom and bride-to-be on Facebook. He could see very plainly that they were very enthusiastically planning their wedding. As the months passed, Pete heard less and less from Tom.

A couple months before the wedding, Pete received a call from his ex-wife. She received an invitation addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Pete. She wanted to know how they should go about responding. Pete was floored that nearly a year after ending his marriage his best friend would send an invitation for both him and his ex-wife to his old house. Pete was never invited otherwise. He also never heard anything further about being in the bridal party – let alone being the best man.

Pete, still wanting to honor his relationship with Tom, found the couple’s registry information online. He bought the couple a gift and wrote a very sincere note of congratulations which he signed by himself. He drove the three hours to the wedding ceremony. He dropped his gift off on the gift table at the reception. He said his hellos and gave his congratulations to the newlyweds and left. He didn’t stay at the reception because (a) he had not technically been invited and therefore had not RSVPed and (b) his ex-wife was there and insisted on interacting with him as if everything was OK.

A few months later, the bride’s facebook status said that she was relieved to have completed all of her thank you cards. Predictably, Pete never received one. He is unsure if they simply didn’t send one or if they sent it to his ex-wife. It was also possible that the couple, who is staunchly religious and clearly disapproved of Pete having left his wife, decided not to accept the gift. Whatever the case, Pete never heard anything about it.

About six months after the wedding, Tom called and invited Pete to a luncheon for his birthday (which also happens to be Pete’s birthday). Pete and I drove three hours to attend this luncheon. Upon arrival, we quickly realized that it was a not a luncheon but Tom, his new wife and his parents having lunch at a chain restaurant. The lunch was awkward but Pete tried to make the best of it. Tom and his wife spent a deal of time talking about the get together they’d had at their house the day before with a group of their friends. As we were leaving, Tom was getting something out of his trunk and there, amongst a bunch of crap, was the gift Pete left at their wedding.

Furthering our dismay, the couple invited their parents back to their house to hang out since they’d driven half an hour to be there. Tom told Pete that he would invite him back to spend more time with him, but that there wasn’t any parking at their house. Pete has been to the couple’s apartment multiple times and there was plenty of parking. Tom also mentioned that their apartment was too small for company which was strange given that they’d just had a gathering there the day before. If they didn’t want us to come, they had no reason to invite Pete to make a 6 hour, round trip, drive in the first place.

I feel like there is more to this story than meets the eye because the actions of Tom and his wife are those of people purposely shunning someone from their social circle in response to behavior they cannot reconcile or condone as appropriate.  Why?   Did Pete end his marriage to his ex-wife in order to be with his mistress?

OP, you wrote that Tom “invited Pete” to a luncheon with no mention or indication that the invitation was extended to you as well.   If you tagged along with Pete to a luncheon date you were not initially invited to attend, I can definitely see the hosts turning down the hospitality temperature to the freezing zone.

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

SevenDay March 2, 2011 at 8:13 am

I don’t necessarily “read” into it that Pete left his wife in order to be with his mistress/date the OP. It’s not mentioned why he got a divorce, only that he did and that he is now with the OP. There is a small point with the luncheon invite and the OP’s attendance, but that does not excuse all the other etiquette blunders Tom and his wife committed.

First of all, they should have sent a thank you card, if Pete’s gift was tagged as being from Pete. (Perhaps they sent the card to Ex-Mrs. Pete?) If you are truly unhappy with someone’s choice to divorce their wife and move on to build a new life, you have a choice of either including them in your social life, or NOT including them. Not doing it halfway as Tom was doing — inviting Pete piecemeal to this event or that one.

Even I cannot understand why Pete was invited to this luncheon with Tom’s family, except to perhaps rub it into Pete’s face that he was being seen as less important than others. (I think Pete got that message long before the luncheon invitation). Honestly, Pete should just let Tom and his new wife go. They sound like real “winners” and not people I would want to socialize with anyway.

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lkb March 2, 2011 at 8:33 am

I agree that we don’t have anywhere near the full story on this one. At any point, did Pete ask Tom what was going on? At any point, did Pete (Best Man that he is) contact Tom to ask how things are going and what he could do to help with the preparations. (Just curious, who did act as Best Man on the big day?)

I’m wondering if Tom and his family thought the OP was the reason for Pete’s first marriage for breaking up and that’s why the cold shoulder.

I’m confused about the wedding invite: First OP said Pete was invited (albeit via the ex-wife’s address), then the OP says “(a) he had not technically been invited and therefore had not RSVPed.” Umm, well, yes, technically he WAS invited (he is still “Mr. Pete” but without a Mrs.” — just incorrectly). He still could have (should have?) RSVP’d as the intention was there, and it could have been a great point to clarify matters.

Do Tom and his wife live in the place where Tom spent his bachelor days? (I noticed that OP had been to their home “multiple times”. If that’s not the case then they had been in touch with him in that six months since the wedding so there could have been an opportunity to clear the air.)

I’d love to hear more of the story.

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admin March 2, 2011 at 8:48 am

IKB,

Precisely. Pete *was* invited, the intent by Tom and bride to invite was obvious but Pete stands on a technicality and declines to indicate he’s attending the wedding and then follows through with not staying for the reception. This whole scenario sounds like a massive misunderstanding with everyone assuming bad motives.

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David March 2, 2011 at 8:55 am

If an invitation inviting me to an event is not sent to my address but instead sent to a place where I do not live and the person sending it knows I do not live there and I am no longer affiliated with the person who does live there, am I really invited?

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SHOEGAL March 2, 2011 at 9:10 am

Don’t any of these people “TALK” to each other? There appears to be very little genuine communication. Why wouldn’t Pete call up Tom as ask him point blank about all this? I find that weird.

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Amber March 2, 2011 at 9:15 am

I do see a massive misunderstanding, but I think it’s presumptuous to assume that Pete cheated on his wife and that then led to Tom’s shunning Pete. I have a coworker who has a VERY religious family, and it took three years and much resolve to convince them that no, she was NOT Mrs. So and So anymore and she never would be again. So stop sending her ex-husband birthday cards at her address, and stop using the same invitation to invite both to the same event. There are plenty of religions that ban divorce, and some hardliners can be less than compassionate about a marriage that ends. Plus, girlfriend doesn’t mention being in the picture at all until 6 months and around two years after the divorce. She doesn’t mention being around during the time of the reception to witness the awkwardness. Implying that she’s “the other woman” is not in any way fair.

Call this a misunderstanding, sure. But don’t deny Tom’s crassness in refusing to acknowledge a major change in Pete’s life due to his personal feelings about divorce. Getting a joint invite a YEAR after an ended marriage from a relatively close friend is not appropriate.

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Just Laura March 2, 2011 at 9:19 am

I’m confused.
Pete received in invitation with his name on it (wrong address, but right name and he did receive it). He didn’t RSVP, but went to the wedding anyway.
No wonder he was replaced as Best Man. When he didn’t stay for the reception, I can see where his friend Tom’s feelings might be hurt.

I am also confused as to why Pete is invited to visit Tom & wife/family, and why the girl friend came along as well.
Furthering our dismay, the couple invited their parents back to their house to hang out…

They are perfectly within their rights to extend after-lunch invites to whomever they please, and I don’t think there’s a problem with inviting their parents back. They can’t choose family over friends? The parents are probably older folks, and would like to rest before driving back to their respective homes.

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Michelle P March 2, 2011 at 9:27 am

I agree that there’s probably more to the story, but I respectfully disagree with Admin that that justifies the behavior of Tom and his wife. They should not have sent an invitation to Pete to his ex’s house, they should have sent a thank you note for his gift, and whether the OP was invited or not, they should have been hospitable at the luncheon. They specifically called Pete and invited him to lunch, they should not have spoken about other plans with others later that Pete and the OP were not invited to. Tom knew Pete and his wife were divorced, and whether they liked how it happened or not, they need to decide if Tom is still friends with Pete or not.

I agree with @Sevendays; it sounds like they want it both ways.

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ket March 2, 2011 at 9:32 am

“Tom was fully aware that Pete no longer lived there. But every time he came to town he insisted on visiting the divorced couple’s old home with his fiance. He would call Pete, from his ex wife’s home, and inquire as to why he was not present.”

This is the part that bugs me. Why would Tom, knowing that the couple were divorced and Pete no longer lived there, call and expect to visit with him at his ex-wife’s house? I don’t understand that at all. Was he in denial about the divorce or just trying to stir up trouble? What did the ex-wife think of this? I agree with previous posters, there has to be more to this story.

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Typo Tat March 2, 2011 at 9:47 am

This story has more holes in it than Swiss cheese. The luncheon and gift-in-trunk situations probably have a deeper context, otherwise they’re too bizarre.

Pete’s behavior at the wedding, however, was childish. He should have TALKED to his friend.

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Jillybean March 2, 2011 at 9:57 am

Admin – I respectfully disagree. Inviting your “best friend” to your wedding by sending the invitation to a home he no longer shares as part of a couple invite with a wife he has left more than a year ago is NOT inviting Pete. I don’t know what I’d call it, but it’s not an invitation. And it’s not standing on a technicality, it’s standing on principle. Tom knew the OP wasn’t with his ex anymore. He knew he didn’t live in the home anymore. Tom was clearly making a statement but it wasn’t one that had anything to do with friendship. The invitation was the height of rudeness and I can’t believe you’d call that a “massive misunderstanding.” When Pete moved out of his house and put in motion the end of his marriage, you think perhaps Tom thought he was on vacation?

I have no idea why Pete wouldn’t have called Tom on his behavior to clear it up ahead of time, and I have even less of an idea why he would have accepted an invitation to anything else from Tom. I agree that their is likely more to the story, but on the surface, based on the information provided, I would say that Pete is better off without these so-called friends.

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Louise March 2, 2011 at 10:05 am

I have lots of question about this story. I feel huge chunks of information are missing, because none of it really makes sense.

Why didn’t Pete ask Tom what was going on? “Why are you calling from my ex-wife’s house?” “What’s with the joint invite?” “Hey, am I still going to be best man?” I would have thought that if you’re close enough to be a guy’s best man, you’re close enough to ask those kinds of frank questions.

If the couple is staunchly religious and disapproved of Pete leaving his wife, why did Tom ask him to be best man? Or did Tom not find out about the divorce until it happened then faded away to show his disapproval? But if Pete and Tom are close enough to elevate each other to best man status, did Pete not tell him when he was going to file for divorce?

I really can’t think of a reason why you would reject a wedding gift from someone then invite him out to lunch months later. Unless maybe you think the gift is bad luck because it came from someone who is divorced — in which case why are you still carrying it around in your car?

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Ugh March 2, 2011 at 10:32 am

Everything about the other couple’s actions screams to me of them not knowing about the circumstances behind the divorce at first and then learning them and not liking them. The fact that Tom knew that Pete didn’t live in his house anymore and yet still went to visit at his former home, makes me think that he didn’t want to visit Pete at his new place because someone that he didn’t want to see was living there.

And just because you decide your marriage is over, doesn’t mean you are instantly divorced. You are still technically Mr. and Mrs. Pete until the ink is dry on the divorce decree, which may be why the invitation came to Mr. and Mrs. Pete.

Or perhaps the invitation is worded to Mr. and Mrs. Pete as another way to indicate that someone is not invited? The same with inviting Pete to lunch but upon seeing that someone had accompanied him, cooling off and not inviting the couple back to their place. Tom wanted to see his friend and didn’t want to see someone else.

That’s something that bugs me under any circumstance – inviting a friend to lunch and them turning up with their significant other. I invited YOU, my friend, to lunch. You can’t live without your boyfriend/girlfriend for the duration of a lunch?

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jenna March 2, 2011 at 10:36 am

I refuse to speculate on the reasons for Pete’s divorce or Tom’s actions because there is not enough info to do so…

…but I wonder why on Earth Pete didn’t sit down with his now ex-friend and speak frankly. This is exactly the sort of situation where you invite your good friend out for coffee or to your place and have an honest, straightforward discussion with questions that require direct answers (not that you can force anyone to give you a direct answer but you can ask direct questions). The fact that Pete at no point seemed to even try to clear the air is mystifying to me.

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vanessafawley March 2, 2011 at 11:00 am

Um…I agree an invitation was sent but is it proper etiquette to send an invitation to someone’s estranged wife and expect them to get it? It seems to me like this may not be the full story but also like you, Admin are filling in the holes as you see fit to make your own judgement.

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Wink-n-Smile March 2, 2011 at 11:02 am

Do none of these people have telephones? Face-to-face conversations are better for clearing up misunderstandings, but with a three-hour one way drive, a telephone call will do.

TALK TO EACH OTHER, PEOPLE!!!!

Please excuse me for shouting, but gee, willikers! They should have cleared this up the first time Tom asked Pete why he wasn’t at the ex’s house. And if he continued, he should have cleared it up each time, for about 3 times, and then bonked Tom with a clue-by-four – “If you continue to deny my separation and divorce, I’ll have no choice but to deny your marriage. What’s it going to be?” At least everything would be out in the open.

Tom and his wife’s behavior was heinous. Pete’s behavior was spineless. No one can walk all over you without your permission.

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Counselorm March 2, 2011 at 11:13 am

I agree with the host of this site — is sounds like a misunderstanding gone awry with assumptions. The issue with communication is that everyone assumes it is the other person’s issue. My brother used a communication chart that showed what a speaker says and all the steps in between to a hearer’s interpretation to demonstrate how many places a message can get muddled (I believe it was 5: sender, encoding of message, noise, decoding of message, receiver). Unfortunately, when emotions are high (a divorce, a wedding, best friends) too often no one just stops and asks themselves if the message has been muddled and, if so, what can be done to fix it. We also often expect someone else to take the initiative. Whenever you ask, “who should try to fix this,” you should always answer “me” unless you have done everything reasonable to do so and/or your efforts are more likely to cause damage than repair.

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Orwellian March 2, 2011 at 11:22 am

It sounds like the engaged couple didn’t approve of the divorce; I’ve had friends go through a divorce and, believe me, it is mentioned in the course of conversation. Over a year passed between Pete leaving his wife and the wedding. Showing up time and time again at the ex-wife’s house to call the ex-husband at his new home and later sending the invitation to the wife’s house really makes it seem like Tom was against the divorce. The fact that the ex-wife showed up at the wedding and wanted to act like there wasn’t a problem hints that she wasn’t the instigator of the divorce.

I don’t think that getting married means that you are excused from any non-wedding responsibility. If your friend leaves his wife and files for divorce, he needs some attention. If you think he’s wrong to leave the wife, you do have the right to tell him (and face the consequences) but just fading away is cowardly. If you ask someone to be your best man, you have to tell him if you don’t want him to be best man any more.

“As we were leaving, Tom was getting something out of his trunk and there, amongst a bunch of crap, was the gift Pete left at their wedding.”

That his gift was in the trunk months after the wedding is telling. Whether the OP was the mistress or not, the friendship appears dead in the water.

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livvy March 2, 2011 at 11:30 am

I’m thinking that all of these moves were an attempt by Tom to try to get Pete to reconcile with his Ex. Perhaps they wanted to show how much THEY loved Mrs. Pete, and how their social world revolved around the marriage Pete left. The fact that Mrs. Pete showed up to the wedding, and was prepared to act “as if everything was ok”. They may have even been allies of the ex Mrs. Pete. Even the final lunch sounded like it was supposed to be an “intervention” of sorts, ruined by the addition of the unwanted (and presumably socially shunned) OP.

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livvy March 2, 2011 at 11:31 am

I meant to say that Mrs. Pete acting like everything was ok was a sign that perhaps she too, wanted to get back together with Pete as well, and was working in connection with Tom.

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Shayna March 2, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and make a huge assumption, which may or may not be wrong, and that is that Pete left his wife for, or because of, another woman. If that’s the case, then I can see why Tom and his wife would not want to acknowledge the divorce. I’m not saying that’s right, because ultimately no one knows the reasons for Pete’s marriage breaking down except Pete and his ex-wife, but I do know of many Christians who, when they disagree with something because it goes against their faith, choose to bury their heads and not accept or acknowledge that it’s going on. And I do know this applies to more than Christianity, too, but I speak from that viewpoint because I was raised Christian.

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Elizabeth March 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I’d love it if OP cleared up a few things. Could the divorce have been seen as his fault? Were the engaged couple also close with his exwife? How hard did he try to fulfill his bestman duties? (that is a big one.) I mean, the bestman usually helps with the guy’s end of the planning, plus the bachelor party and tux fitting. What happened when he contacted the groom about these things? Did he explain during the gatherings at his old house that the reason he was not there was that he did not live nor wish to be there?

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NotCinderell March 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm

It’s not an etiquette violation to end a friendship. If, in fact, Pete did do something horrible that the OP has conveniently omitted, then it would have been totally within Tom’s and his wife’s rights to never speak to Pete again, and even to tell him why. This isn’t a clean case of ending a friendship, though. Assuming that the OP’s story is accurate, even with omissions, it appears that Tom did continue to initiate contact with Pete while making sure to treat him like a second-class friend. This is seriously PA and rude behavior.

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Mrs. B March 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

In regards to the wedding invitation fiasco:
I know it’s not the correct way to do things, but I have been a bridesmaid in a wedding where I never received a formal invitation. I guess she figured that since I was involved with planning I didn’t need that piece of paper. Also, it is pretty clear that Tom has some sort of relationship with Pete’s ex-wife, so it could be that he wanted to make sure she knew she was invited and figured Pete would be there anyway since he was standing up for it.

Either way, there is a lot of miscommunication going on here, so IMHO everyone who said, “Talk to each other!” is 100% right.

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NotCinderell March 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Also, and I’m well-aware that this may propel me into “interesting assumption” territory, I’ve found that there are people out there who act as though ending any relationship for any reason is wrong. If Tom is one of those people and Pete initiated the divorce (for any reason), then it’s possible that Tom views it as Pete doing the wrong thing by his ex, even if the relationship wasn’t working and neither of them were happy, and even if Pete did not end the relationship because of another woman. Also, if Tom is one of those people, he could bizarrely see his PA behavior of refusing to acknowledge the split between Pete and his ex and hanging on to Pete as a friend even though he was constantly sendin signals that he was not interested in a friendship with Pete as ‘doing the right thing’ by Pete by ‘sticking by him.’ When Pete does the inevitable, to stop having contact with Tom because of his odd behavior, Tom could blame it all on Pete again for ‘turning his back on his friends.’

I’m aware that I can’t prove that Tom was acting this way, but I have met other people who acted this way, so even if the OP isn’t lying or omitting anything, the story is still plausible.

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LovleAnjel March 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I agree with other posters – Tom and his wife seem to be close friends with Pete’s ex-wife. She was invited to the wedding, they chose to hang out at her house and invite Pete to join them there. We don’t know how long Tom was dating or engaged to his wife – they could have been friends with the ex-wife for years. For some reason they chose “her” side during the divorce, but did not want to appear to be choosing sides (thus continued invitations to visit). When the choice became obvious, Pete rolled back his friendship, including his Best Man duties, did not RSVP to the wedding, ran in, dropped off a gift, and ran out.

Again, this should have become a conversation that cleared things up early on. Better to hear your friend say, “We think you’re a jerk for divorcing sweet Rose” than let the passive-aggressive spiral out of control.

My question – was Pete’s wedding gift still in its wrapping paper when he saw it in the trunk?

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AS March 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I agree with the admin that there seems to be more about the story. But I respectfully would disagree the assumption that OP might be the “mistress” because of whom Pete left his ex-wife. That is a big accusation.

As other posters said, I am not sure though why Pete doesn’t speak to Tom and try to clear things up. Maybe, as the OP said, Tom and wife are just very conservative couple to whom divorce is a cardinal sin. Or, maybe they just don’t get along with OP. Or maybe they are still in denial. Whatever is the case, talking can help. If Tom and wife believe that Pete should not have divorced his ex and hence they don’t approve their relationship with OP, Pete might want to rethink the friendship, as otherwise it is disrespectful to his current partner, viz., OP.

Not accepting the divorced status of a person reminds me of one of my mother’s cousin, a story I really want to share. My mother was in an abusive relationship for several years before she moved out and eventually divorced her first husband. Then she met my father, and married him after 5 years of dating. The said cousin, let us call him“S”, was well aware of her new relationship status, and he has even met my father several times (we live in different parts of the town, and hence don’t meet up too often). After several years, S’s daughter was getting married, and he thought he’d invite my mom. He sent an invite to the address we were living in, but with my mother’s ex’s last name! (This was when I was around 15 years or so; so mom was married to dad several years at that point). My parents were appalled, and mom sent in her regrets, with the correction that her last name is .

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Goldie March 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I agree with NotCinderell’s take on this. I, too, found Tom’s behavior throughout the story extremely PA. If you think your friend did something so heinous that you should end the friendship, then by all means, end the friendship. If you think you should continue the friendship, then continue it. But don’t try to do both at the same time, it’s just weird and mind-boggling. Sounds to me like Tom was concerned about keeping up appearances – see, I still visit him (at his ex’s house), I sent him a wedding invite (to same house), I do not judge. Yay me!

To the commenters wondering why the OP joined Pete for the lunch – it was Pete’s birthday. He probably wanted to be with his GF on his special day! And, I agree, it’s an interesting birthday luncheon when birthday boy #1 is expected to show up alone and birthday boy #2 arrives flanked by his whole family. I agree with Livvy, looks a lot like an attempt at an intervention. (Really curious about why Tom brought Pete’s gift to that lunch. Hard to believe he’d been carrying it around for six months.)

If you ask me, it’s time for Pete to delete those two’s Facebook accounts from his friend list and move on. Old childhood/college friends grow apart and go their own separate ways all the time. It’s the nature of life. Also, agree with everyone else that said Pete should have had a talk with Tom as soon as the “invitation”(?) showed up in the mail.

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AS March 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm

PS…
Adding to my previous comment, I am surprised that the Pete did not call up Tom to find out what is happening to his best man’s duties. It is possible that Tom was offended about Pete not asking him anything about the wedding.
Also ( it sounds weird) – did Tom know that Pete’s divorce was final? I know Tom is the best friend and it was about a year, and all. But there is a possibility that Pete did not tell Tom explicitly that the marriage to Mrs.Ex-Pete was over, and he was just trying to reconcile Pete and ex as apparently he knew both of them (was the best man and all). If he knew well, Tom is to be blamed for the invite.

It seems Tom invited only Pete to the lunch with Tom’s parents. It would be awkward if OP also went along, especially given that she probably doesn’t know even Tom well.

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Virg March 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I have to disagree with the Dame that Tom’s actions fit with someone shunning. It fits with someone who’s in flat-out denial. Tom called Pete from his ex-wife’s house, wondering where he was. Did he truly not know about the divorce? It’s forgivable once, due to ignorance. The next time it happened, it’s not. On top of that, sending an invitation for him to his ex-wife a year later isn’t shunning behavior, it’s denial again. Add the missing thank-you note (which I assume went to the ex-wife but would be a misstep even if it didn’t since it never got to Pete), and it seems that Tom’s new wife is sailing the same river.

The way I see it, Tom (and his wife) can accept the divorce, ignore it (bean dip it when it comes up), shun Pete for it or confront him about it, but they don’t get to pretend that it didn’t happen and get an etiquette pass.

Virg

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Breanne March 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I was thinking along the same lines as livvy, perhaps Tom was in consultation with the ex-Mrs. Pete to try and patch things up. For all we know ex-Mrs. Pete could’ve asked Tom to call from her house to try and get Pete to come over so they could talk. Since the OP obviously doesn’t know the reason behind Tom’s strange behavior we can’t assume that the reason is rudeness for rudeness’ sake.

” It was also possible that the couple, who is staunchly religious and clearly disapproved of Pete having left his wife, decided not to accept the gift.”

If it was so clear that the couple disapproved of Pete leaving his wife there must’ve been some other communication going on, because it’s not particularly clear from the story. And the way Pete started slinking around after he left his wife makes me think he was guilty about it. Religious or not, leaving your wife is serious business and should certainly garner the disapproval of friends if done for the wrong reasons. I agree with the other commenters that there must be more to the story here.

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Fox March 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm

The entire situation is bizarre, but it sounds to me like everyone did a lot of presuming without speaking up to clarify the situation, perhaps intentionally. Why Pete would agree, without question or comment, to drive to a “luncheon” with these people three hours away is beyond me. It seems as though showing up with OP in tow may have been what cost him the invite for further socializing, but honestly, what was he supposed to do? Tom and wife expected him to drive six hours, round-trip, on his own? Or should he have brought OP along and then told her to go entertain herself while he had lunch with his friends? I suppose Pete should have asked if it was alright to bring OP, being such a long drive, but honestly for a birthday “luncheon” (I’m sure he was expecting more mutual friends to be there), the idea of having to ask permission to bring a SO kind of rankles me. I know, know, it’s important for making reservations and all that, but.. if they’re FB friends, I suspect that Tom knew full well that Pete had a new girlfriend, making his invite for one even more calculated. It almost sounds as though this were some sort of bizarre test which Pete failed.

And while I agree that you are not obligated to invite everyone at an event to the “after-party,” you should be discreet in your invitations. I find it the height of rudeness to announce that you and your favoured guests are going to go do such-and-such activity, but Other Guest isn’t invited.

Frankly, I don’t care why Pete and his wife divorced. If he cheated and his friends were put off by that, then they should have either discussed it with him or just quietly cut him out of their entourage (though telling him why still would have been nice). But nothing warrants the sort of behaviour described here – dropping by the ex-wife’s house then calling him to ask why he wasn’t there? WHAT? Had I been the ex-wife, unless I was close friends with Tom or his fiancee, I would have told him point-blank to stop showing up at my house looking for his friend. (Though I imagine they must have been friendly for her to attend the wedding.) I don’t care how strongly you “disapprove” of divorce, you have no right to act like such a life-altering event never happened and continually rub salt in your “friend’s” wounds by sending his mail, etc. to the ex’s house. Ugh. Honestly, given the weirdness and apparent lack of ability to communicate exactly what his problem was, maybe Pete should be grateful Tom is out of his life. Friends who would rather give you the cold shoulder than tell you when you’ve done something to hurt or offend them typically wind up being way more stress and hurt than they’re worth. No one is psychic. You have to speak up if you want to resolve a problem. If you don’t, then I can only assume you don’t really want a fix, you’re quite content to stay angry.

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Enna March 2, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Unless Pete’s ex wife was being “firendly” in a nasty way why is an issue? She could have been amicable – showing (infront of a newly wedded couple who may or may not be snobby) that divorced couples can get along – “till death do us part” may not be in a marraige sense for everyone but could mean “we are firends for life, we will alwasys have had the closeness.”

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Abby March 2, 2011 at 3:06 pm

According to the OP, Tom knew Pete was leaving his wife and asked him to be best man anyways. Which means either Tom didn’t hold it against him, or he was hoping Pete would change his mind. It is also possible that after the announcement, some additional details came to light about Pete leaving that changed Tom’s mind about him.

From what I can tell, Tom turned a blind eye to the whole thing and kept pretending the couple was still married. Or, at the very least, if the couple wasn’t still married, they would still act like it as far as Tom was concerned- having joint visits, attending his wedding together, etc. That seems pretty weird, but I agree Pete could have called Tom and said, listen, you’re a great friend and I want to be there for you, but ex and I are no longer together and can’t act as though we are.

Also, while sending the invite to Mr. and Mrs. Pete knowing the couple is divorced is passive aggressive and rude at best, Pete WAS invited , and WAS informed of the invite, something I am sure the ex Mrs. Pete shared with Tom. Tom was rude to not follow up with Pete regarding his invitation to be Best Man, but nothing was stopping Pete from calling Tom either to clarify.

I will definitely speculate that 1. Tom is still close to ex Mrs. Pete, 2. OP was not invited to the birthday lunch and the rest of the group was dismayed to see Pete brought her.

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Submitter March 2, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Hi. I am the submitted of this story.

“Tom” was well aware that I would be attending the luncheon prior to our arrival.

And no, “Pete” left his wife because the marriage was failing, not because of a mistress.

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admin March 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Tom being aware of your attendance at the luncheon is completely different than Tom inviting you to the luncheon.

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Louise March 2, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I find it hard to believe Pete left his ex-wife for another woman. It says in the story that, at the wedding, “his ex-wife was there and insisted on interacting with him as if everything was OK.” How many people would act like that if their significant others cheated on them (or wronged them otherwise)? Had the ex-wife done her best to keep the divorce a secret and was striving to keep up appearances? Pete certainly wasn’t. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Regarding Pete’s invitation to the wedding, whether it was a stupid mistake or a deliberate message, I still think he should have addressed it with Tom. Did he try to talk to him? Did he leave even a voice mail that said, “I’m not comfortable being the best man anymore”?

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Submitter March 2, 2011 at 4:09 pm

@Elizabeth

Could the divorce have been seen as his fault? “Tom” was aware that “Pete” was unhappy in his marriage for at least months before divorce was complete.
Were the engaged couple also close with his exwife? The engaged couple were friend’s with the ex-wife through “Pete” and were not close.
How hard did he try to fulfill his bestman duties? (that is a big one.) I mean, the bestman usually helps with the guy’s end of the planning, plus the bachelor party and tux fitting. What happened when he contacted the groom about these things? I will admit that Pete was not as proactive about fulfilling his best man duties as he could have been. The few times he asked, he was brushed off.

Did he explain during the gatherings at his old house that the reason he was not there was that he did not live nor wish to be there? Yes, he explained that he did not wish to meet up with him at the old house, but Tom insisted.

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Xtina March 2, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I really don’t understand this story. There are just too many rude and passive/aggressive actions here that I can’t even outline them all.

They made a mountain of problems out of things that could have been cleared up simply by communicating more directly with one another. I have a hard time believing that Pete couldn’t simply ask Tom what was going on, to clarify instructions, or even about the present that was in Tom’s trunk (side note–isn’t that weird? The gift was there for months, and never removed, never opened, or never acknowledged). As for the couple refusing to acknowledge Pete’s divorce, why didn’t Pete speak up? Why didn’t Pete’s ex-wife speak up? Was there some plot afoot to try to get them back together, that everyone was in on but Pete? There is just an awful lot of nobody saying anything in this story–there has to be more we don’t know.

Not that Pete is fully to blame here–I think Tom and his wife’s actions were equally rude and mysterious–they are all evenly yoked, but if I were Pete, I would have certainly not allowed Tom to treat me that way.

One of the weirdest things for me is how Pete was asked to be the best man, agreed, and then the whole thing wordlessly fell apart–Tom never told Pete one way or another what Pete’s status was (very rude), and Pete allowed it to happen without a word to Tom about it, then just didn’t show up to fulfill his duties as best man (also rude).

ARGH!

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bees March 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Is the Edame trying to get us to re-calibrate our credibility meters.?

The gift still in the trunk sounds vaguely familiar as does the unwelcomed attitude at the luncheon.
Maybe irrational people follow the same patterns but so do many works of fiction. Several previous posters have commented on logic flaws in the flow of the story. I love the Mary Sue (fictional pen) and shenanigans call outs.

I often think the OP in some situations really longs to have the approval of the hellions and puts on a show of umbrage and dismay. Those I choose not to comment on. When there are stories that seem completely make up -I think we should call out those folks-help them improve their writing skills.

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Merry Mrs March 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm

When would someone keep visiting someone at their former spouses home and continue to invite them as a married couple. When they are conspiring with the Ex wife to get them back together. I can’t imagine letting my soon to be ex spouse entertain at my home , unless I REALLY wanted to spend time with my ex/soon to be spouse. So I think it may have been one big giant etiquette violation (interfering in their marriage or lack there of) rather then a series of small ones. It sounds like OP was a surprise add on to the luncheon so her presence may have thrown off the plans for the day.

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lkb March 2, 2011 at 6:04 pm

@Submitter:
I noticed you only answered a few of the many questions we’ve all been asking. I find that interesting.
Of course, you don’t have to tell everything to us, who are complete strangers. (But then, why submit it at all?
I think there is still too much unexplained in this story. Things don’t add up.
I hope all parties concerned can find happiness. It’d be nice if Tom and Pete and significant others (including exs) can find peace and happiness (and perhaps even patch things up). I wish you well.

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Wink-n-Smile March 2, 2011 at 6:18 pm

If Tom and his wife didn’t accept Pete’s gift, due to their disapproval of his divorce, they should have immediately *sent it back*. You don’t get to keep a gift for years and then “not accept it.”

They probably sent the Thank You note to “Mr. and Mrs. Pete” at Pete’s ex’s house, and figured they were done. Heck, they probably sent a note thanking “Mr. and Mrs. Pete” for BOTH of their lovely gifts, since the ex probably gave a gift, too.

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PrincessSimmi March 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Y’know… I believe this story… because I’ve seen most of it happen in real life. People refusing to accept divorce. People leaving gifts in the car because they can’t be bothered to deal with it so they pretend it’s not there. And people deliberately including and then excluding people to show their ‘disgust’ with them and their lifestyle. Maybe you need to spend some time with my family.

OP – time to give Tom the flick, methinks.

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Wink-n-Smile March 2, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Thanks, Submitter!

So, Pete DID explain, but Tom insisted. Pete DID ask, but Tom brushed him off.

Yeesh! And not even close to the ex?

Tom baffles me. At least Pete tried. Tom seemed determined to be wrong.

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Miss Raven March 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I agree that there was a lack of communication happening here, but Tom sounds like a passive-aggressive loser who wants way too much control over his friend’s life. At some point someone needed to tell him that his opinion on the matter could be that Pete and his ex shouldn’t be divorced, but it won’t change the fact that they are. It sounds to me like his opinion was that they weren’t divorced. Your opinion could be that the stars shine green in a yellow sky, but it won’t change the fact that they don’t.

What Pete needed was his buddy to be his buddy during what was probably one of the most difficult times in his life, and he ended up confused and mistreated. You don’t accidentally invite your best man and his ex-wife as a couple, to the address of the home they used to share. Best case scenario it’s hopefully sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong, worst case it’s near-criminal denial. I don’t care what my opinion is of the divorce. The person standing next to you at the altar is always one of the most important people in your life. You don’t invite their ex-spouse.

Suppose Pete and his wife weren’t on friendly terms? He may have never even heard about the invitation. If you send someone’s mail to a place that you know they no longer live, you are not sending that person anything. You’re sending it to someone else, or if that person is polite, back to yourself with a return to sender stamp on it.

As for the luncheon, Pete was asked to drive six hours round-trip to Tom’s birthday lunch on his own birthday. OP may not have been directly invited, but if Pete called up his friend to say, “Hey it’s also my birthday, it’s a long drive and I’d love to spend it with my wonderful girlfriend,” and Tom had a problem with this, seriously, screw Tom. If he had a problem with it and didn’t say anything in advance (but showed it later), he’s just passive aggressive and it’s his own fault. If he did say something in advance, I honestly wouldn’t have gone. Who needs that kind of friend? “Sorry, I know it’s a long drive and it’s also your birthday, but your significant other isn’t welcome.” Say WHAT?

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Sarah Jane March 2, 2011 at 8:21 pm

REGARDLESS of the reasons for the divorce, Pete was, in fact, living SOMEWHERE ELSE, and to send him an invitation to ex-wife’s home was OUTRAGEOUS.

A person who refuses to accept a friend’s divorce is a person who refuses to be a true friend. The divorce was about Pete and his ex-wife, not about Tom.

That being said, I don’t know why on earth Pete didn’t clarify with Tom the wedding issues well in advance of the wedding. I also for the life of me can’t understand why he’d want to travel to Tom’s luncheon after all the wedding nonsense. Is he a glutton for punishment?

Someone mentioned that perhaps a person’s strict religiosity would prevent them from accepting a gift, but to “not accept” it means you don’t accept it. You give it back.

People are assuming that the OP was not invited to the luncheon, and maybe that’s true, but let’s face it. It was Pete’s birthday, too. Perhaps when Tom invited him, Pete said something like, Well, it’s my birthday, and I’m spending it with OP, so maybe Tom reluctantly said, Hey, bring her along. We don’t really know how that went down.

It is utterly unfair to assume that the OP had anything to do with Pete’s divorce.

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Goldie March 2, 2011 at 9:23 pm

If the OP really and truly was not invited, that makes the situation even more bizzarre. If someone told me to leave town for a whole day on my birthday, and told me (or hinted) that I was not allowed to bring my SO along… on *my* birthday… I would’ve sent my regrets and celebrated my birthday quietly at home with my loved ones, and let the person that invited me celebrate their birthday in any way they’d like, with *their* friends and family.

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Caros March 3, 2011 at 4:22 am

Ignoring all of the events up to, and including, the wedding….

What sort of a friend would invite you to a luncheon on your own birthday, expecting you to travel for 6 hours, to spend what amounts to the majority of your own birthday day without any of your own special people and, to top it all, unceremoniously hands back a gift that was specially chosen for a very special occasion? This (if I’m reading correctly) without any explanation as to why.

Would anyone else accept that from a ‘friend’? Would anyone else invite a friend to spend their birthday only with themselves & not including any of that friend’s loved ones?

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RMMuir March 3, 2011 at 9:05 am

@admin

There may be a difference, but has that not been discussed before? If the person invited gets in touch and says, “would you mind if I brought along my partner?” and the host has agreed, is it not the host’s duty to make them feel welcome?

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Lizajane March 3, 2011 at 10:36 am

Not saying the OPs story is/is not true. But this sort of thing really does happen. My husband’s grandmother invited his ex-wife and her new husband to a Christmas dinner (not on Christmas day) and not us. Why? Because she wanted to see her great-grandchildren (my husband’s kids with his 1st wife).

Did not go over well with me or my husband. He made it clear to her that she could invite whoever she wanted to her home, but that she had made a huge mistake with her grandson and new granddaughter-in-law and that he did, by the way, have visitation with his kids.

She and I got along alright in years to come, but I was never close to her like I was his other grandmother, who wound up spending alot more time with her great-grandchildren because of that closeness.

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livvy March 3, 2011 at 11:16 am

I share lkb’s reaction to the submitter’s responses. In particular, the comments regarding the reason’s for the divorce : he left because “the marriage was failing, not because of a mistress,” but note, she doesn’t specifically say that she wasn’t dating him at the time….just because the “mistress” wasn’t the REASON for the divorce, doesn’t mean there WASN’T a mistress.

I apologize in advance to the submitter if this is not the case, but I’ve heard this rationale a million times from women who date married men, “he’s really unhappy in his marriage,” or “they haven’t been really together for a long time.” It’s classic justification. Regardless, that doesn’t give Tom the right to be such a passive-aggressive jerk about his treatment of Pete. If he disapproved, he should have said so clearly, and avoided these mysterious manoevers.

It’s also possible that the OP didn’t hear the full story from Pete – who is going to tell his girlfriend “Oh, Tom hates you, and spent hours trying to get me back together with my wife.”

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