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No Invitation To This Family Dinner

This happened to me a number of years ago, but I still wonder if there was a breach of etiquette, or if I was just overly sensitive at the time.

When I was thirty, I joined an internet dating site and met a young man online called “Jack”. Jack was only 25, but he and I clicked almost immediately and began corresponding. He lived in a city on the other side of the country, but after about two months we decided that, as things were progressing well, it would be good to meet in person. For various reasons, it made more sense for me to visit him, rather than vice versa, so I booked a ticket to visit for five days. I was staying with a friend in that city, and planned to spend one day solely with her, but the understanding was that if things were going well, Jack and I would spend the majority of the remaining four days together.

Although Jack and I felt we might be a good match, his family (especially his father) did not agree, which was an issue as he lived at home with his sister and parents. Firstly, they did not approve of the five year age gap, or the fact that I “needed” to use the internet to find a boyfriend. (Of course, the same might be said of Jack, but they did not see it that way!) At the time, I was working full time as a teacher assistant while doing some postgraduate study: although my salary was sufficient for me, I made much less than Jack did as a nurse at a private hospital, which also concerned his parents. Thirdly, I am vegetarian and Jack was not – another point of concern. Finally, it was suggested that I was not very “athletic”. This confused me initially: while it is true that I do not enjoy team sports, and am not good at them, I do enjoy active pursuits such as cycling, swimming, multi-day hikes and fun runs. It eventually became clear that “athletic” was a euphemism for “attractive” and I can’t dispute that. I’m afraid that I am quite average – neither ugly nor beautiful – in the looks department.

Despite this opposition, Jack met me at the airport and after the expected nervousness, we found that we got on very well indeed. That afternoon, however, his father called and told Jack that he was expected home that evening for family dinner, which meant Jack, his parents, his sister and his sister’s boyfriend. I was not invited. I could tell that Jack felt uncomfortable at having to relay this, but he did not want to upset his parents. So he dropped me back at my friend’s place and went home as instructed. Assuming I would be busy, my friend had already gone out, so I spent a lonely evening.

Was it rude of his father not to invite me to dinner? Was it rude of Jack to take me back to my accommodation early and leave me there? Or was it a perfectly reasonable thing to do?

(For the record, Jack’s family did invite me over to dinner a few nights later, and went to the trouble of making a vegetarian dish specifically for me, but sadly they continued to disapprove of me. After offering to help with dinner, for example, and being told that no help was needed, I took my hosts at their word; but apparently I should have made a second offer, as my failure to help was considered rude. Perhaps it was. In any case, the relationship ended a few months later, largely in part to the family’s disapproval.) 0126-14

Jack was not ready for a committed relationship as evidenced by his still living at home and that he could meekly acquiesce to a summons to appear for family dinner.  He was not yet an independent man but was subordinate to his father.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lkb October 12, 2017, 5:34 am

    I am sorry this happened to the OP. It clearly was not meant to be. But then, that’s what dating/courtship are about, isn’t it?

    I must admit I was a bit concerned by our dear Admin’s comment, “Jack was not ready for a committed relationship as evidenced by his still living at home…”
    Many people live “at home” (I.e. with their parents) beyond age 25 and/or until they marry. It is not necessarily a sign they are not ready to commit. It can be for practical/financial reasons, family reasons, or it could be they are happy with their current arrangement and see no reason to change. Who are we to judge.

    • TracyX October 12, 2017, 8:38 am

      “as evidenced by his still living at home and that he could meekly acquiesce to a summons to appear for family dinner.”

      That and is an important part. Its not the living at home but the living at home together with him following the parents orders so easily.

      I think the OP was lucky to learn quickly just what she was possibly getting into with Jack. She may have never been able to get him away from his controlling family. And I wonder if all the disapproval was told to the OP by the family or 2nd hand from Jack? If 2nd hand, was it really the family’s opinion or just Jack’s?

      • lkb October 12, 2017, 1:19 pm

        I agree with your comments but I did not want other readers to simply stop at the first part of the sentence.

        An additional thought unrelated to that particular part of the story — we also don’t know the whole story. Perhaps the family dinner had already been in the works and Jack had forgotten or there was some other reason why the OP was not invited. Or, as most people here have said — Jack’s family was rude and Jack was indeed not ready to commit.

        Some things are just not meant to be.

      • B Lew October 13, 2017, 5:09 pm

        Also, isn’t it super rude for him to relay his family’s opinion of her?

    • Darshiva October 13, 2017, 2:31 am

      Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with living at home, regardless of age, for a variety of reasons. The problem is that an adult needs to be free to act as an adult, and make their own schedule, and not meekly submit to whatever social arrangements their parents make for them.

      If it was a standing dinner arrangement, the son should have scheduled his visit with the OP accordingly, telling her at the beginning of the day that he had to leave at X time, because he had a standing appointment. If it was not already arranged, before he met up with OP for the day, and they just called him home for dinner, he should have told them that he already had his own plans for the night, but thanks for the invitation, anyway.

      Also, beauty is subjective and personal, and if HE liked her, what difference could her personal appearance possibly make to his family? It’s not their business if she looked different than THEIR visual aesthetics. When it comes to looks, only two people’s opinions matter: Your own opinion of yourself, and your lover’s opinion of you. That’s it.

      He wasn’t ready to commit, not because he lived at home, but because he lived under their rule, when it wasn’t their business.

    • Tara October 18, 2017, 1:22 pm

      If you’re an adult living at home, you are still an adult. I had no curfew and no rules to follow when I lived at home at 22. All my parents asked was I leave a note telling them when I left and when I might be back. This could be days later if I was spending the weekend at my boyfriend’s house. They certainly couldn’t have forced me to come home in the middle of a date for something as silly as dinner.

  • Marie October 12, 2017, 6:07 am

    Jack is a nurse with an income and he lives with his parents. You spend time and money to travel to him. If he didn’t bother to buy you dinner, that was a clear sign he wasn’t as invested as you were. Like Jeanne said: not ready for a relationship.

    It wasn’t rude not helping with cooking by the way. You asked, they declined. I don’t like people in my kitchen when I’m cooking, so I will decline those offers from guests as well. If they wanted you to help, they should have said yes.
    A long time ago I was also considered rude in a similar manner. I offered to help when dining with the family of my then boyfriend, but it was declined. Later I was told by my then boyfriend that the family didn’t like me because I didn’t help. When I protested I offered, he told me that it would have been considered normal to not ask, but just start to pick up trays and help out, that was a natural way to do it. They thought it was weird that I asked and so they declined?!
    With my own family, yes. But not with a strange family I’ve met twice. I wouldn’t like them barging into my kitchen if the roles were reversed. Weird people. That relationship didn’t last long either.

    • admin October 12, 2017, 7:33 am

      And blaming it on the father is a great way for Jack to weasel out of the relationship without looking like a schmuck or being involved in a messy confrontation.

      • staceyizme October 12, 2017, 3:24 pm

        I hadn’t considered that Jack might have “bailed” on the level of commitment implied in having someone travel to meet him! If so- WHAT a weasel!

    • GrainneG October 12, 2017, 6:39 pm

      ‘A long time ago I was also considered rude in a similar manner. I offered to help when dining with the family of my then boyfriend, but it was declined. Later I was told by my then boyfriend that the family didn’t like me because I didn’t help. When I protested I offered, he told me that it would have been considered normal to not ask, but just start to pick up trays and help out, that was a natural way to do it. They thought it was weird that I asked and so they declined?!’

      And I’m one of those who think it’s rude to start helping someone without asking if they need help first.

      Your ex-boyfriend’s family are arseholes.

      • Marie October 13, 2017, 1:11 pm

        GrainneG, if you are from the Netherlands, we may have dated the same guy! 😛
        I was told by him it was clear that I was an only child, since I wasn’t adjusted to “family life”. I’m so glad I got older and a bit wiser.

        I’m glad you got out of that relationship and that family!

        • NostalgicGal October 13, 2017, 9:29 pm

          “I’m sorry but I don’t read minds. I asked, I was told no, and no is supposed to mean no? If it doesn’t then you better make it plain up front.”

          I don’t play that game. I asked, you said no, I respected what you said. If you meant otherwise you should say so plainly. Most are still polite enough to follow that format.

    • NoviceGardener October 13, 2017, 12:56 pm

      I agree with you. When I protested I offered, he told me that it would have been considered normal to not ask, but just start to pick up trays and help out, that was a natural way to do it. And just how were you supposed to know that? Every family has a different way of doing things, and I find it far more odd that your then-boyfriend’s family were apparently so insulated that they just assumed you would behave in exactly the way they expected. The “natural way to do it” is to behave politely, which you did.

      With my own family, or with close friends, it’s natural to us to just start helping, because we know each other’s systems. If I’m a stranger in someone’s home, I don’t start leaping about at the end of dinner, plonking used plates in inconvenient places, etc. I ask “may I help you clear?” or something similar. If they say yes, great. If they say no, I’ll leave them to it. I hate it when people start messing with my system, so I wouldn’t impose the same on others.

      • SJ October 14, 2017, 12:58 am

        Yep. In fact I would find it super annoying and invasive if someone just started helping without asking if I needed it. In other situations, not cooking, I’ve had to ask people to stop helping because they were going about it in a way that didn’t serve what I was trying to accomplish.

        • Rebecca October 15, 2017, 2:40 am

          I can’t stand it when people start “helping” without asking and giving me the opportunity to say no thank you. I had a lady offer me a ride when she was leaving my place and I was also leaving (but planning to do so a few minutes after she left). I initially said no, that’s OK, as I need a minute or two to do this and that. Pack up my laptop, unplug a few things, that sort of thing. But she said that was ok, she could wait, so I gratefully accepted the ride. But then she “helped” me do what was only going to take a minute if I just did it myself. It really threw me off because I have a set routine and if I deviate from it, I might forget something important. She was in there, “do you need to unplug this? How about your laptop cable, I’ve got that…” I like to go about things systematically in my brain in order to make sure I have everything and her going about and doing things ahead of me was annoying and didn’t save any time at all.

  • Wild Irish Rose October 12, 2017, 8:12 am

    Gotta go with Admin on this one. As Lkb pointed out, living at home with his parents doesn’t necessarily indicate that he isn’t ready for a committed relationship. However, watching while his family treats OP rudely and failing to intervene IS such a sign. At 25 years of age, Jack should have been prepared to remind his parents that he is an adult and can manage his own relationships, thankyouverymuch. OP, in my opinion, you dodged a bullet here. It’s one thing to be close and respectful to your parents; it’s another to capitulate to their disapproval of someone they’ve just met.

  • Melissa October 12, 2017, 8:53 am

    I think Jack was pretty rude for telling the OP how much his family disapproved of her. I also think in this case, living at home with his parents does show his immaturity or inability to cut the apron strings. He is obviously not just getting started in a new career at an entry level position, and he is very obviously still dependent on his parents, more than financially. In fact, solely being financially dependent on the parents would probably be better, because at least that will hopefully have an end date; emotional dependence can last forever!

    I don’t think the family was necessarily rude not to invite OP for dinner that night; however, if you know your son has a guest coming from out of town, it’s rude to demand that they neglect their guest in favor of a dinner with the people they live with and see everyday (I’d probably have a different opinion if it were a dinner for a special occasion, but that still should have been planned in advance). They should have either invited OP or let Jack off the hook for that dinner, so that he could be a gracious host.

    My conclusion is, Jack’s family seems awful, but Jack seems just as awful as them, for allowing himself to be controlled by them, and for going back and telling OP how much they disliked her.

    • Anna October 12, 2017, 12:12 pm

      I agree. The family had no obligation to invite the OP.

      BUT. Apparently, the OP was privy to all of the negativity coming from the family, and I assume it had to be Jack that was disclosing all of this. Instead of managing his family dynamics himself, he made their disapproval OP’s concern. Maybe Jack didn’t feel he could disobey his father when told he was expected for dinner, but he laid that out in such a way as to make OP feel unwelcome. OP was JACK’s guest, and it was his responsibility to show hospitality, and if he found himself unable to spend that evening with her, the least he could have done was be a bit kinder. “OP, I’m so sorry–I know we had planned to spend the evening together, but something has come up with my family and I’m not able to make dinner,” would have been a lot better than “My dad is making me come home, and said you aren’t invited, even though my sister’s boyfriend is. Sorry!”

      I’d guess that a lack of manners and a lack of maturity on Jack’s part is what happened here.

  • JD October 12, 2017, 8:54 am

    I don’t blame OP for feeling put out that she was not invited to the family dinner. They knew OP was in town to visit him and get to know him, yet scheduled an evening meal that specifically excluded OP, and he went along with it. Rude of them. It was not rude of OP to not help after having asked and been refused. That whole family sounds rude. Consider that an escape.
    Re: the age difference. I have several happy couples in my family in which the wife is older than the husband, one wife being older by five years. Pooh on age difference.

    • NightSky October 12, 2017, 12:40 pm

      Right?? I didn’t even get the hang up on the 5 year age difference. Not a huge difference at ALL and if it was the guy that was 5 years older, no one would blink an eye. I also know several people whose wives/gfs are older, one by 12 years. Which again, no one would think odd if it was the guy. Can we please be free of this outdated idea already???

  • PJ October 12, 2017, 9:34 am

    I disagree that living with his parents meant that Jack wasn’t ready for a relationship. There are many good and very responsible reasons an adult would do so.

    Where Jack went wrong was in being double-booked. She should not have made a commitment to LW for dinner that evening if he was already committed to have dinner with his family. If this was a ‘commitment’ that was thrust upon him with no warning by his parents, then there’s a whole different problem altogether! I don’t think his family was obligated to invite LW to dinner at all.

    In the end, it didn’t work out. It could be that the parents are never going to see anyone as ‘good enough’ for their Jack, or it could be that they understood his preferences and character quite well and knew that these differences between LW and himself were going to doom the relationship. Since some of it seems awfully superficial, I’m guessing it is more of the former rather than the latter!

    Oh, well, live and learn. At least this was over before those people became LW’s in-laws!

    • Dee October 12, 2017, 10:29 am

      PJ – I agree with you that the family wasn’t obligated to host OP. But I do think both Jack and OP are/were too immature to have an adult relationship. OP and Jack planned to spend four days together, if things were going well. Where would they have spent those four days? Jack doesn’t have his own home, so if OP assumed she could spend at least some of the time at Jack’s family home, without an invitation from the owners of that home, then that’s quite an entitled attitude. Jack’s family wasn’t dating her; they had no obligation to even meet her, if they didn’t want to. And did OP’s friend agree to be a free hotel for OP, or were they both assuming OP would spend those four nights with Jack? Again, Jack can’t issue an invitation for her to stay at someone else’s (his parents’) house. Lots of assumptions on the part of OP, none of which make any sense given that she knew how Jack’s family felt about her.

      Jack can’t set the rules for his parents’ house. If he doesn’t like those rules then he is free to move out. While it would have been nice for Jack’s family to want to get to know OP it ultimately is not their business who their son is dating. But Jack dragged them into the relationship (on a constant basis?) by giving all that info about OP for his family to critique. How would they have known all those things about her if he hadn’t told them? Either he considers his relationships his to manage, alone, or he’s still looking for others to manage and approve of his relationships, like when he was younger and mom arranged his playdates with kids she thought were acceptable.

      OP and Jack seemed to want to ‘play’ at being adults without actually being adults. In that way, I don’t blame the family for thinking this relationship was a bad idea. The issues they had with OP were superficial but perhaps they were going on instinct, in which case I agree with them.

      • Jared Bascomb October 12, 2017, 7:24 pm

        Lots of assumptions and judgments on your part here, Dee.

        It’s perfectly possible to spend the better part of four days in neutral/public places. OP says that Jack lived in a city, so there are surely some attractions/activities they could enjoy during the day without sitting in Jack’s family’s parlor (under the watchful eyes of a chaperone?).

        It’s also possible for OP and Jack to spend an evening together — dinner, a play or movie — and then going back to their separate lodgings to sleep. OP would presumably be able to enjoy some 1:1 time with her friend/host at breakfast before the host departs for work.

        All that said, I agtee that *Jack* doesn’t sound mature enough to have an adult relationship.

        • Dee October 13, 2017, 12:15 pm

          Sure, they could have had their days planned, although since OP says everything hinged on whether she and Jack were getting along well enough it DOESN’T sound like things were planned all that much. But nothing is mentioned about the nights. So, she tentatively was spending just the one day with her friend, maybe, and then coming back for the nights, too? And that the friend was a default place to be – if OP and Jack got along, OP would not be at the friend’s; if Jack and OP did not get along, then OP WOULD be at the friend’s. That sounds to me like the friend was considered more of a hotel than a person OP specifically wanted to visit. That’s just using the friend. A very immature attitude.

          Or was OP planning to spend nights with Jack? But Jack doesn’t have his own home and it doesn’t sound as if OP had an invitation from Jack’s family to stay, so … OP leaves that ‘bit’ of info out, the nights, which is at least 50% of the time spent on that vacation. Either she expected free bedding at her friend while not planning to spend time with the friend or she expected to stay with Jack despite not having received an invitation from the parents. Both are indications of her immaturity.

          The only option that makes OP look better is if she booked a hotel for the three/four nights she was not with her friend. But since OP doesn’t mention that, and since she does point out that she isn’t flush with money, it doesn’t seem to have been part of the plan.

          • Ergala October 14, 2017, 8:13 pm

            Dee, if a friend needs a place to stay because they are meeting someone in my town, I have zero issue with them crashing at my place.

            Also, not everyone feels the need to get physical immediately upon meeting for the first time. I wouldn’t find it weird at all if the OP and Jack hit it off yet refrained from needing “private” time at night.

            I will say, his parents are absolutely ridiculous. And I would never ever treat someone whom traveled across the country to meet MY child with that much contempt.

          • Jared Bascomb October 15, 2017, 8:19 pm

            Ergala responded to you better than I would have.

      • Ange October 12, 2017, 7:49 pm

        “I was staying with a friend in that city, and planned to spend one day solely with her, but the understanding was that if things were going well, Jack and I would spend the majority of the remaining four days together.”

        I got the impression from that the OP had accommodation with her friend for the duration but would be spending her recreational time with Jack. That doesn’t have to be done at anyone’s home, they could have spent the days exploring the city. I’m not sure why you assumed any of the other arrangements you posited were even considered by the people in the story.

    • Liz October 12, 2017, 11:29 am

      I agree. I lived with my parents until I was 30. Because I couldn’t afford my own place and living with others would have made me absolutely miserable. I paid rent, had my own “chores” and responsibilities, and generally got along with my parents. I also was in a long distance relationship. I knew his parents as his sister and I were friends, which is how we met. She then stopped talking to me.

      FF a few years later, and his sister was getting married and I was invited to both the shower and wedding, both out of state. I didn’t travel for the shower because there was some sort of family party for the HC the night before, and my BF wasn’t quite sure if i was invited. Not sure who the host was, how the invite was conveyed, but he didn’t know if I was included, and didn’t want to “rock the boat” by asking. So not wanting to sit in the hotel alone, while he was at the party, I declined to go.

      In this case, Jack did seem a bit immature; if i were him, and my parents dictated I come to a family dinner, without someone who had come a distance to see me, I would have told them sorry, we have plans.

    • lakey October 12, 2017, 11:44 am

      OP traveled across the country to visit with Jack. The family may not have been obligated by etiquette to invite her to a family dinner, and Jack may not have been obligated to say “no” to his parents, but letting her spend the first night alone was not nice.

      It isn’t just a matter of his living at home with his parents, it’s a matter of his being so easily influenced.

    • GrainneG October 12, 2017, 6:43 pm

      Jack giving in to his father’s wishes to return to a meal where his girlfriend wasn’t invited means he’s not ready for a relationship.

      I’m wondering if he’s living with them because he can’t afford a place of his own or he’s so under his parents’ thumb that they aren’t allowing him to move out?

  • Shalamar October 12, 2017, 9:44 am

    I agree with the comments so far – Jack needed a backbone. My grandmother made it very clear that she didn’t like or approve of my mother; my dad married her anyway. My mother-in-law has never been warm to me; my husband’s attitude has basically been “If that’s the way she feels, too bad.”

  • Yarnspinner October 12, 2017, 12:50 pm

    Ugh. A former in-law would always pull the “I don’t need help in my kitchen” routine with me. I would offer to help and she would say “No, my sisters and I have an instinctive knowledge of what to do in a kitchen, we don’t need more people in here.” I would stay around on the fringes to help out if something came up and they needed an extra pair of hands. They would tell me I would only be in the way. Okay. I tried to help by cleaning up the table. Nope, I didn’t understand the flow of the work. So I sat down with the relatives and chatted.

    Naturally I heard from my mother a few days later about how upset the former in-law was that I was so lazy didn’t get off the couch to help in the kitchen. I left a Me Sized hole in the roof when I went through it.

    OP, you dodged an enormous bullet. Even if Jack was perfect for you AND committed to the relationship, you would have found yourself picked at and plucked at forever after. But it sounds like he was using his family’s dislike of you to excuse his own bad behavior. And, if we are exploring all the avenues, I would guess that they may have liked you just fine (I mean, they actually went to the trouble of making the vegetarian choice for you–that shows SOME empathy). Jack may have been feeding you a line about them…and if he was telling you stories about his family that weren’t necessarily true, I can only begin to imagine what he might have been saying about you!

  • staceyizme October 12, 2017, 1:37 pm

    Agreed! This seems like more of a relational dynamic issue than an etiquette issue “per se”. Jack should have warned you that his parents could be difficult and, if he planned to acquiesce to their demands for priority in last minute scheduling, he should have had a back-up plan. (Meet later for coffee? Call after the meal and visit by phone while planning your itinerary?) The parents don’t seem to be very kind or relatable people in this narrative. Demanding, judgmental, prejudiced and controlling don’t seem like terms too harsh for them. But- Jack was your host. He was the one you came to see. Any breach of etiquette was primarily his responsibility.

  • Lerah99 October 12, 2017, 1:40 pm

    My mom was laid off from her job at 58 right when the economy took a nose dive.

    She wasn’t having any luck getting another job and was afraid she’d lose her house.
    Since her mortgage payment was significantly less than the rent on my 2 bedroom apartment, I bought out of the remainder of my lease and moved home to cover the bills.

    Now she’s 66 and her social security is only $750 a month. Certainly not enough to live on. So we still live together so I can cover the mortgage, power, water, cable, cell phone, property taxes, homeowners insurance, food, etc…

    Does being single in my mid 30s and living with my mom put a damper on dating – sure.
    Does it mean I’m not ready or mature enough for a relationship – no.

    If I liked a woman or man and my mom didn’t – she would need a really compelling argument to even mention it. More than just “S/He doesn’t make much money.” or “S/He’s 5 years older/younger than you.”

    It would need to be something like “Ummm, s/he has fresh gang & prison tattoos and asked me what my computer is worth. I don’t feel safe allowing him/her into our home.”
    Or “This is awkward, but I’ve actually dated him/her. And it creeps me out that now they want to date you too.”

    And if my mom did lose her mind and decided to say something nasty and inconsequential about the person I was dating, I would absolutely make it clear that while she was welcome to her opinions, I was not open to hearing or entertaining her petty criticisms.

    Frankly those rules go both ways. If my mom brought some guy home, and I thought he was kind of a jerk but not dangerous, I would keep my mouth shut. It’s really not my business.

    • BellyJean October 12, 2017, 4:45 pm

      You’re awesome, and an amazing kid. I am sure that your mom appreciates what you’re doing very much. This isn’t the typical, “still living at home” situation (1 – not “still”, 2 – you’re supporting your mom/family) – you stepped up, in a huge way. Major kudos.

      • Lerah99 October 13, 2017, 9:20 am

        I’m working full time and taking a two senior level math classes for my stats degree at the local university. My schedule often starts at 6am and I don’t get back home until 8:30pm or 9pm.

        This morning, my mom got up at 5am today to make me a hot breakfast before I went into work.
        She had also made a chicken ceasar salad for me to take for lunch.

        All because I’d been so exhausted last night, I headed right to bed without making my own lunch for the next day. She thought I could a use a little pick-me up after a hectic week.

        She watches my dog all day while I’m at work. She takes care of most of the housework (dishes, vacuuming, etc…)

        So there are absolutely benefits to the arrangement for me as well. I don’t want it to sound like I’m some sort of martyr. It has its challenges. But it also has it’s benefits.

  • Kay_L October 12, 2017, 3:21 pm

    Too many people in the relationship!

  • Starstruck October 12, 2017, 8:38 pm

    I must say , sounds like you dodged a bullet.
    His family sounds very controlling and yes they were very rude to not allow you a seat at family dinner after they were aware you traveled all that way to visit him. Thank your lucky stars it didn’t work out . I can imagine a lot of unpleasant experiences with these people had you stayed together

  • Claire October 12, 2017, 9:26 pm

    “I can’t play any more. Daddy says I have to go home.”

  • Darshiva October 13, 2017, 2:28 am

    I absolutely hate it when people say “No,” when they really mean, “Yes, but you have to force the issue, because I will not use my words or own my true feelings on the matter, and if you guess wrong, I will hate you forever and think you are stupid and rude.”

    Yeah, I hate that.

  • Marozia October 13, 2017, 4:55 am

    Just as well you didn’t get far with Jack.
    Sounds like his family would’ve disapproved of any girl (younger, older, bigger, smaller, athletic, non-athletic, etc.,)
    It’s not you, it’s his family.

  • Just4kicks October 13, 2017, 5:31 am

    When I was 17 and a high school senior, I was introduced to a friend of my best girlfriend who was a 24 year old man.
    Being very young and stupid, I fell in love with this man and we were together for almost three years.
    I know….I know, dumb.
    Long story but my folks obviously HATED him with the fire of a thousand suns and kicked me out when I refused end the relationship.
    Now that I have four kids, one of them a daughter who is 14, I am horrified thinking what my own parents went through.
    Anyway….during these three years I was welcome to come home for Christmas, my boyfriend was most definitely NOT.
    I wouldn’t go if he wasn’t welcome.
    My bf didn’t have a good relationship with his own mom as she cheated on his father years ago and ended up marrying the man she was cheating with.
    Christmas rolls around and we are planning a quiet holiday for two at our apartment when out of the blue, his mom calls inviting him to Christmas dinner.
    He was surprised but happy!
    He was just about to decline (because of me–his 17 year old gf) when his mom said “Your sisters have told me all about your lovely girlfriend and we would like you BOTH to join us!!!”
    I was so touched as was he, and it was truly a wonderful Christmas eve supper.
    Not one person made any snide remarks, and everyone got us beautiful thoughtful presents.
    Even though we eventually went our separate ways a few years later, and I repaired my relationship with my own parents, I will always remember what a wonderful night that was.
    I was so homesick, (my own bad choices, I know) and his family literally welcomed me with open arms and hearts and no judgment.

    • Lanes October 14, 2017, 9:29 am

      I assume there was more to your “bad choices” than simply having an older boyfriend.

      I met my husband when I was 16, and he had just turned 24. The only reason we didnt date immediately was my protective brother (who worked with him) told him he wasnt allowed, and out of respect for my brother, he didnt make a move.

      We eventually dated 4 years later and obviously got married (2 lovely kids now too).

      Age gaps are irrelevant, unless it breaks a law!

      • Just4kicks October 16, 2017, 5:05 am

        Oh, believe me….there is a lot I left out of my story!
        My folks were in constant contact with our local police who said 17 was the age of consent in our state.
        I was an idiot, I take full responsibility for the whole situation.
        And yes, I learned the hard way my folks were correct on every point about this man being bad news, to put it mildly.
        I was “in looooove”, and no one was going to change my mind.

    • sillyme October 17, 2017, 12:51 pm

      Stop blaming yourself.

      Most parents know that the best way to bond a teenage girl to a love interest is to object to said love interest. The more vehement the disapproval, the stronger the bond.

      Your reaction was regrettable from your point of view (probably because you’re kind-hearted), but very normal and even predictable. Their behavior, while coming from a well-meaning place, was also a factor.

      • Just4kicks October 18, 2017, 3:37 am

        Thank you for the very nice comment!
        All these years later I DO still feel guilty for putting my folks through hell.
        The tables have turned and when I say I “ran away” my folks now say “No….we kicked you out, and could’ve handled it better.”

  • Srl2005 October 13, 2017, 12:56 pm

    The best advice my mom would always tell me when a romantic interest didn’t work out was “sometimes rejection is God’s protection.” I’m pretty sure this is a common saying as I’ve heard it many times over from other people. While you will never “really know” what happened, it sounds like you are better off. Most people put their best foot forward in hosting company or meeting someone for the first time so your story makes me wonder “if this is them on a good day…what does a bad day look like?” Further, would you really have been really happy in not only having a man not being ready for what you are about but then to have little to no support from his family? I’d just chalk this up to this not being meant to be.

    P.S.: Never call yourself average….the person you talk to the most your entire life will always be yourself…so make the conversation something good! 🙂

  • LEMon October 13, 2017, 2:29 pm

    It bothers me how much detail she had about why his family didn’t like her and how specific their problems with her were. There was only one source of information for them since they had never met her, and only one source of information for her to learn all this since she had never met them: Jack. And this really give me a bad set of thoughts about Jack who couldn’t not share all this back and forth. This is such a big red problem flag that the rest of the story just seems to flow from it.

    Jack was very immature based on just the information going back and forth.

  • sillyme October 17, 2017, 12:46 pm

    I think I married Jack.

    This all sounds soooo familiar, with regard the family’s behavior and disapproval. Even the story about going to the parents’ for dinner when you weren’t invited sounded familiar.

    Yep, I may not have married THAT Jack, but I married A Jack.

  • Rinme October 19, 2017, 3:18 am

    What Jack’s family did or said is irrelevant – the problem is that he relayed it all to you, which is absolutely inappropriate at that stage of the relationship

    It’s quite obvious this guy doesn’t run his own life. You’re lucky to have dodgwd that bullet!

  • AJE February 16, 2018, 8:17 am

    I’ve been there. A family disapproving for really weird reasons that eventually break up the relationship. However it would be much harder for these things to die if the young man involved stood up for himself or removed himself from the situation of snide remarks