One of my fiance’s close friends, “Mark”, recently moved in to a house on our block. He and his wife, “Sue”, are always offering to watch our children so we can go on a date because we never get the chance. Then when we actually need help, they never follow through. Most recently, a band we like was playing locally on a weeknight and we asked if they could sit at the house after the kids were in bed. Sue has a demanding job, with long hours and on top of that she is pregnant. She said she really wanted to help but it would be too late for her (though she goes into work late the following day). I completely understood and was sympathetic to her, obviously having been pregnant I understand how important/difficult sleep is.
The trouble is this, Mark, once he knew Sue wouldn’t be able to come, refused to do a “solo” gig. He said he wasn’t up to it. That was the only excuse he gave. Although our kids would be in bed and he would literally just have to sit there for 3 hours. This person is supposed to be my fiance’s best buddy, so he was incredibly upset and frustrated that he didn’t come through again.
Now the real question I have is that my fiance and I are getting married in a few weeks and Mark was going to have a bachelor party for him and now my fiance doesn’t want anything to do with it. He says what he wanted was to be able to have a night out with me and he couldn’t because Mark didn’t step up. Mark & Sue have also implied they would want us to babysit when their children are born, and now my fiance says that he will refuse since they have never helped us.
Is my fiance in the wrong for this retaliation or were we being selfish thinking they should babysit on a weeknight? 0403-14
First, I would be very reluctant to have a male solo babysitting children. This is as much about protecting him as it is about protecting the kids. In this era, accusations of child molestation can arise from even the most innocent of situations and I personally would consul any males in my family to not put themselves in a situation where there is no accountability partner with them. So, I can fully understand Mark’s reticence in babysitting solo for you.
Second, people make offers to help because it is a conversational device. It gives the appearance of kindness or hospitality but without the substance. A common one is, “We really should have you over for dinner sometime,” and this never happens. If you recognize it for what it is, i.e. idle babble, you won’t have expectations that are unmet.
I do think your fiance is being petty. It’s one thing to not prioritize favors for someone else as being of utmost importance and therefore have legitimate excuses why you are not available to help because you’ve planned on doing something else that takes greater priority and it’s an entirely different thing to plan on never being available to ever help in any way. The latter sounds too much like, “If he won’t play my way, I’m taking my ball and bat and going home!” Refusing the bachelor party is like cutting off your fiance’s nose to spite his face. He would be the loser in more ways than one. Is he prepared to lose that friendship or create neighborhood drama because he had an expectation that his friend is expected to be a babysitter?