Author Topic: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.  (Read 14213 times)

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Betelnut

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #30 on: October 13, 2011, 11:35:50 AM »
I missed my sister's wedding to her second husband because of a similar reason (without the bitterness though).  She unexpectedly got married to her long-term boyfriend between Thanksgiving and Christmas and I had just been in town for Thanksgiving.  I really couldn't afford monetarily or timeless to fly back into town again.  The timing was just not right.

I do think my sister has a bit of resentment because I didn't come back into town for her wedding but I also think she understood the reason.

Sadly, I missed her husband's funeral for exactly the same reason.  I had just been in town and got to see him for the last time when he died of lung cancer a few weeks later.  I simply couldn't afford to fly back, this time with my daughter, for the funeral.

OP--don't go if you really don't want to or really don't have the time or money.  I understand completely how being the odd man out can really hurt.  My family rarely visits me and I do resent it sometimes.   And we all get along well.
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Surianne

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #31 on: October 13, 2011, 11:39:08 AM »
If my sisterís wedding were at almost any other time (excluding a major holiday), I would see what I could do to get there.  Normally, I donít make as big a deal about birthdays either (not that she would know that, as she and the rest barely acknowledge the date anyway Ė but boy, donít you forget hers or the rest).  Iíve worked on that day, attended a family funeral on that dayÖwhatever.  But this time, this day, I want to celebrate it in a way that matters to me.

In that case, if you'd normally try to be there, I think you should do it even though it's near your birthday.  If you want to keep any sort of relationship with your family, saying "I'm not going to your wedding because it's near my birthday" will torpedo your chances. 

Also...don't most adults go to work or funerals on their birthdays?  I'm not sure why you mentioned that as if it were a sacrifice you'd made.  I think it might help you if you understand that many people don't see adult birthdays as a big deal the way you do, so anything you say about your birthday to her will unfortunately come off as quite selfish.

Go or don't go, but don't make it about your birthday. 

Yvaine

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #32 on: October 13, 2011, 11:43:39 AM »
If my sisterís wedding were at almost any other time (excluding a major holiday), I would see what I could do to get there.  Normally, I donít make as big a deal about birthdays either (not that she would know that, as she and the rest barely acknowledge the date anyway Ė but boy, donít you forget hers or the rest).  Iíve worked on that day, attended a family funeral on that dayÖwhatever.  But this time, this day, I want to celebrate it in a way that matters to me.

In that case, if you'd normally try to be there, I think you should do it even though it's near your birthday.  If you want to keep any sort of relationship with your family, saying "I'm not going to your wedding because it's near my birthday" will torpedo your chances. 

Also...don't most adults go to work or funerals on their birthdays?  I'm not sure why you mentioned that as if it were a sacrifice you'd made.  I think it might help you if you understand that many people don't see adult birthdays as a big deal the way you do, so anything you say about your birthday to her will unfortunately come off as quite selfish.

Go or don't go, but don't make it about your birthday.

POD, I think. Admittedly I'm also not a big gala birthday person--I usually do something small--but it's almost always time-shifted. There will be long stretches of years where my b-day falls on weekdays, and if I want to do something out of town or stay up late or if there's a work event, it's just not feasible to do my b-day activity on the actual day. Or the weather will be horrid or I'll have the flu--it's in January, after all.

That said, your sister sounds obnoxious and I don't blame you for not wanting to go, but using a different excuse (such as money) will go over better if the goal is good relationships.

jaxsue

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #33 on: October 13, 2011, 11:47:05 AM »
OP, am I right in my impression that you wouldn't want to attend this wedding no matter when it is? There's nothing wrong with that.

I haven't attended several family weddings (nieces, nephews) but have attended children of friends' weddings. I don't feel guilty about that. It's my choice (and I do always send a nice gift).

Surianne

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2011, 11:52:01 AM »
OP, am I right in my impression that you wouldn't want to attend this wedding no matter when it is? There's nothing wrong with that.

I think her latest post implied otherwise:

If my sisterís wedding were at almost any other time (excluding a major holiday), I would see what I could do to get there.  Normally, I donít make as big a deal about birthdays either (not that she would know that, as she and the rest barely acknowledge the date anyway Ė but boy, donít you forget hers or the rest).  Iíve worked on that day, attended a family funeral on that dayÖwhatever.  But this time, this day, I want to celebrate it in a way that matters to me.

I might be reading it incorrectly, but from that post I get the sense that her birthday is the only reason she's not going.  That's what I take issue with, not the choice not to go.  If it were about money, time, or simply not caring enough about the sister to bother (which is totally fair), I'd feel differently.  But I don't think saying "Sorry, but your wedding is too close to my birthday" will lead to anything but drama and insult. 

Audrey Quest

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2011, 12:00:27 PM »
She doesn't need an excuse at all.
 
She can't exactly hide her birthday from her sister.
 
The question isn't what excuse to give.  The question is whether she is rude for deciding not to go.
 
The answer is that she isn't.
 
It really doesn't matter why.

auntmeegs

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2011, 12:05:03 PM »
She doesn't need an excuse at all.
 
She can't exactly hide her birthday from her sister.
 
The question isn't what excuse to give.  The question is whether she is rude for deciding not to go.
 
The answer is that she isn't.
 
It really doesn't matter why.

I completely disagree, I think that with family the why matters very much and to pretend that it dorsn't is unrealistic.

Audrey Quest

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2011, 12:08:29 PM »
She doesn't need an excuse at all.
 
She can't exactly hide her birthday from her sister.
 
The question isn't what excuse to give.  The question is whether she is rude for deciding not to go.
 
The answer is that she isn't.
 
It really doesn't matter why.

I completely disagree, I think that with family the why matters very much and to pretend that it dorsn't is unrealistic.

So, then you think its OK for her to say "sorry, I have plans for my birthday that conflict?'
 
I'm fine with her saying that.

I don't think the fact that its a family event means that it automatically supercedes the OP own's priorities for what she wants to do, no matter what that is.

buvezdevin

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2011, 12:11:22 PM »
Agreeing with jaxsue.

OP, you mention that you would see what you could do to be at your sister's wedding if it were on another date than around your milestone birthday, *and* excluding a major holiday.  Is the reason for excluding major holidays due to the increased cost of travel in those windows, or because you prefer to celebrate holidays yourself, without traveling to family?  I have no issue with either reason, and am asking only to better understand your perspective on the present matter.

It sounds as though you may "feel" you "should" make efforts to be at your sister's wedding, and are not entirely comfortable not going without a "valid" reason.  If that is so, flip the thought process around so instead of looking for a justification (to yourself or others) of why you won't be there, you ask yourself "why would I be there?"

That isn't meant as a snarky question, but given the lack of any significant visits from or to family over more than a decade, and what sounds like a challenging relationship, or at least difficult communication patterns with your sister, if the sole reason you have for why you would attend her wedding (or any family event) is "because we are related, though not emotionally close, and I would *like* a better relationship"  the follow on question would reasonably be "if I do attend this wedding/event, is there a reasonable hope that the relationship would be aided, or would I be meeting family members desires/requirements, but the relationship to be no better than now - and now is not very good."

I agree with many points made by PPs, just think fully understanding your own "feelings" and expectations will help limit the potential to second guess your decision, whatever it may be, and avoid self doubt, if you are having any.

Also, I definitely agree that it would be better to not mention your milestone birthday as a factor in any decision not to go to the wedding (you may know that's the reason (or not), but stating it is no more necessary that saying "I don't feel like it" rather than "that isn't possible").

And, whatever significance you attach to any birthday, milestone or not, is entirely up to you, no justification needed so long as you are not requiring anyone else to share that sense of significance.  I hope you find a meaningful way to celebrate this, or any event which is of importance to you.
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Surianne

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2011, 12:13:30 PM »
So, then you think its OK for her to say "sorry, I have plans for my birthday that conflict?'
 
I'm fine with her saying that.

I don't think the fact that its a family event means that it automatically supercedes the OP own's priorities for what she wants to do, no matter what that is.

No one has said she has to go.  Some of us just think it's more prudent not to say "I'm not going to your wedding because it's on a day close to my birthday" if she wants to avoid the drama of upsetting her family even more.  It comes off (to me, at least) as a bit petulant and like she's trying to punish the sister for daring to have her wedding near the birthday.

MineralDiva

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2011, 12:15:33 PM »
There is no such thing as using a different excuse that would go over better.  With these people, itís their way or the highway.  There is nothing I could say, unless I agreed to do whatever they demanded, exactly as they demanded, that would be seen as valid Ė regardless of how truly valid it may be.  Knowing that to be the case, as well as the fact that Iíll take heat no matter what I say, Iíve chosen to tell the truth. 

No, the wedding is not ďonĒ the day.  But itís close enough around it, that anything I might want to plan (or anything anyone else may want to plan) would be blown out of the water.  This would also not be the first time that wedding plans made by this person, ended up not happening.  Knowing this also to be the case, Iím going to go ahead with my own life.  If it works out that her day does indeed happen this time, and can be accommodated, great.  Otherwise, we can wish each other well from afar and catch up later.

Amara

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2011, 12:19:24 PM »
OP, it's my opinion that you have the right to have a big "to do" for your birthday if you want. It doesn't matter whether other people think that celebrating on the actual day is unimportant or not. You do. So make your plans and do what is important to you.

I think it's sad that this is likely going to impact her relationship with her sister, but give the background it already has a fair amount of negative history. This one decision won't change all that. The OP should, in my opinion, make the choice that's right for her and be as gracious as possible about declining the wedding invitation. No semi-truthful excuses either. Just a simple "I am sorry I cannot make it" with all the appropriate virtual hugs and best wishes. It satisfies etiquette. And whether your sister decides to be gracious in turn is really up to her.

Surianne

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2011, 12:24:50 PM »
There is no such thing as using a different excuse that would go over better.  With these people, itís their way or the highway.  There is nothing I could say, unless I agreed to do whatever they demanded, exactly as they demanded, that would be seen as valid Ė regardless of how truly valid it may be.  Knowing that to be the case, as well as the fact that Iíll take heat no matter what I say, Iíve chosen to tell the truth. 

No, the wedding is not ďonĒ the day.  But itís close enough around it, that anything I might want to plan (or anything anyone else may want to plan) would be blown out of the water.  This would also not be the first time that wedding plans made by this person, ended up not happening.  Knowing this also to be the case, Iím going to go ahead with my own life.  If it works out that her day does indeed happen this time, and can be accommodated, great.  Otherwise, we can wish each other well from afar and catch up later.

Do what you like, then, if you're not concerned with maintaining a relationship.  I think a simple decline rather than an explanation about your birthday would be more polite and much less hurtful, but I can see there's no changing your mind on this one. 

high dudgeon

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #43 on: October 13, 2011, 12:26:11 PM »
She doesn't need an excuse at all.
 
She can't exactly hide her birthday from her sister.
 
The question isn't what excuse to give.  The question is whether she is rude for deciding not to go.
 
The answer is that she isn't.
 
It really doesn't matter why.

Absolutely, 100% correct.

The only etiquette obligation MD has is to RSVP by the specified date. That's it. It doesn't matter the tiniest bit to etiquette if it's a wedding, if it's her sister, if it's her birthday, or if not attending the wedding will let slip the dogs of war. MD gets to set her own priorities, and if she decides that celebrating her birthday the way she wants to is more important that obeying her sister's imperious demand, then that needs to be respected. Not respecting her perfectly valid and polite choice is in itself rude.

If Sis is enough of an adult to be a bride and a host, then she needs to be enough of an adult to graciously accept guests declining to attend. Yes, even her sister. If it was important to Sis for MD to attend the wedding, then she wouldn't have set a date without talking to MD and making sure that MD was available on that date and would be able to attend, before signing any contracts. If it wasn't important enough to Sis to clear the date with MD in advance, then MD has no obligation to rearrange her life to try to fulfill a commitment she never agreed to.

I think this is one of those examples where people posting about their feelings about their own families isn't entirely helpful. One poster's mother may be a wonderful, loving, honest, fair, respectful, supportive woman. And another poster's mother may be a toxic awful, vicious, lying, disrespectful, abusive female dog. Of course those two posters aren't going to have the same relationships with their mothers and it's silly to try to pretend they do or they should. Mrs. Brady and Mommie Dearest aren't the same person, and their different behaviors are going to generate different responses, at least from healthy family members.



Audrey Quest

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Re: Sorry, I donít want to spend my 50th birthday at your wedding.
« Reply #44 on: October 13, 2011, 12:26:22 PM »
There is no such thing as using a different excuse that would go over better.  With these people, itís their way or the highway.  There is nothing I could say, unless I agreed to do whatever they demanded, exactly as they demanded, that would be seen as valid Ė regardless of how truly valid it may be.  Knowing that to be the case, as well as the fact that Iíll take heat no matter what I say, Iíve chosen to tell the truth. 

No, the wedding is not ďonĒ the day.  But itís close enough around it, that anything I might want to plan (or anything anyone else may want to plan) would be blown out of the water.  This would also not be the first time that wedding plans made by this person, ended up not happening.  Knowing this also to be the case, Iím going to go ahead with my own life.  If it works out that her day does indeed happen this time, and can be accommodated, great.  Otherwise, we can wish each other well from afar and catch up later.

Do what you like, then, if you're not concerned with maintaining a relationship.  I think a simple decline rather than an explanation about your birthday would be more polite and much less hurtful, but I can see there's no changing your mind on this one. 

Surianne, she's already had the conversation.