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Author Topic: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?  (Read 11407 times)

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« Last Edit: June 10, 2012, 12:10:07 PM by Horace »


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Re: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2011, 12:31:32 PM »
I think your feelings are reasonable. You wanted to spend time with him and now you're finding out it wasn't as high a priority for him as it was for you. That's disappointing!

But ... your plans sound casual and it doesn't sound like him spending a few hours with these family friends (a rarer opportunity than just hanging out with you) will mean that he can't come over to be with you later, or spend the next day with you. I do think that relationships are about give and take, and giving him a few hours to do something unusual that he'd really like to do would probably be the nice thing to do in the long run.

I don't think canceling extremely casual plans is all that rude, but I think blanket statements about such things are dangerous because there are lots of different nuances and feelings to consider each time.

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Re: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2011, 12:45:45 PM »
I disagree that the plans were casual.  If I was having my SO over for dinner, I would have been planning the meal and had the groceries bought by now and maybe even done some prep work for the meal.  To have that cancelled at essentially the last minute, I'd be pretty annoyed.

If this were an isolated incident, I would say you are being a bit unreasonable.  But this is a pattern.  Time to have a discussion about your expectations when you make plans together and for SO to have a discussion with his parents to ensure he is informed of plans that involve him.
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Re: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2011, 01:15:07 PM »
I agree with both of the above.  It depends on the plans I guess.  Sometimes me having my man over for dinner means I'm Cooking, other times it means I'm Ordering Pizza.

But essentially i agree that it is about give and take.  i would be annoyed but this would not be "my hill to die on".  he doesnt get to see these people much.  I would just let it go personally
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Re: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2011, 01:37:00 PM »
I definitely think in general its rude to cancel plans for 'better' plans, and I agree it was rude for his parents to makes plans for him without telling him (although in some families that's the 'cost' of living at home) but what I think is the rudest is how he presented it all to you.

He just basically told you things were changed, completely ditched you essentially last minute and then put the emotional onus of it all on you, expecting you to say it was ok.  I bet you would still be disappointed but a lot more understanding if he had instead called you immediately and said something like "I am so sorry but can we change Friday around a bit?  My parent's friends are in town and I never get to see them and they will be over tonight.  I know we had plans to have dinner at your place but perhaps we could change it to dinner with my parents and then dessert at your place?  I know its last minute and it changes everything around but I rarely get to see these people and I only just found out about it.  I promise I'll make it up to you though."

This would be asking not telling, this would be including you instead of ditching you, and this would be recognizing the emotional onus is on him to make it up to you and take responsibility for the changed plans.  I know for me, no matter what it would bum me out, but my suggested scenario would tick me off a lot less!


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Re: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2011, 01:51:03 PM »
From what I understand from the OP, the boyfriend didn't actually cancel the plans with her, he brought up the family-friend visit and waited to see if hbandtr4eva would allow him to back out of the dinner with her.  She did not, and then he tried to guilt-trip her.  I'm still not clear as to whether he ultimately did say, "Sorry, but this family dinner has to take precedence" or if the OP has put her foot down.

I don't see a problem with him posing the dilemma to the OP.  What I do have a problem with is the guilt trip afterward.  If the boyfriend told his folks that he had plans and the parents pressed him to cancel, then I also have a problem with that - but if he even remotely said, "Well, I have plans with hbandtr4eva, but I can probably get out of it" then I absolve his parents of wrongdoing.  Unfortunately we don't know what BF told his parents, and it's likely that hbandtr4eva doesn't either, if the conversation didn't happen in her presence.

In general, when my husband and I were first together and he had something come up that conflicted with plans we had together, he'd bring it up to me and if I didn't excuse him (which I'm generally cool with if said plans were not something structured involving something like tickets - I'm pretty flexible, really) then the subject was closed.  He wouldn't push the issue, which I appreciated.

In the situation described by the OP, and let's say that I planned to cook, and the groceries are already bought, and my boyfriend presented me with this conflict, I'd explain that it would not be possible to move dinner but that I would be willing to compromise by releasing him from our evening afterward so that he could meet the family and friends for dessert and coffee - I'd probably even be willing to shift the dinner hour a bit earlier to accommodate.  A bit of compromise isn't a bad thing.


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Re: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2011, 01:55:31 PM »
I think that in general, yes, it's rude to cancel because of a "better offer".   I also think you're justified in your feelings of anger and frustration.

Personally, I think your BF's parents are the ones mostly to blame for this.  They did not tell him ahead of time that they had friends coming to visit with him and he was expected to be someplace.  First, as an adult, he should have much more knowledge/coordination in something like that. 

But, your BF was also rude.  While I kind of don't fault him for deciding to see friends that he doesn't get to see often, his method of telling you was wrong.  It's not on you to make this ok for him.  He's the one backing out.  Is there a reason why the two of you couldn't just rearrange your plans a little bit and work in this visit while still spending time together?  If I were him, I might have asked my parents if you could have dinner with all of them, then he could visit, you guys would have your dinner and you could still go shopping the next day.

Also, I don't think this is a conversation best had via text.  Why didn't he call you?


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Re: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2011, 02:10:26 PM »
I've been in a similar situation to your SO - my parents would often make commitments for me and then expect me to honor them regardless of what other plans I may have made for myself.  As I lived with them and there is a cultural expectation of obedience, I did end up having to change or cancel plans against my will.  But here's the thing - I was always extremely apologetic, embarrassed, and aware that I was doing something bad and causing inconvenience for my friends (who thankfully were understanding of my situation).  Your SO seems aware that his actions aren't quite the thing, but doesn't seem to mind the effect it has on you.  He wants the understanding without any of the remorse.  Not cool.  If this is a pattern, I think there needs to be a discussion about this and/or in the future, you guys should talk in person or on the phone when an issue comes up.  A lot of things can be obscured or misunderstood when texting.


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Re: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2011, 03:29:14 PM »
This would have been a perfect time for the SO to grow a polite spine and refuse to attend the family dinner citing a prior commitment that he can not break. That, or making sure you are invited to the dinner which would have been a less than ideal compromise but better than just canceling plans with the OP. It's unfortunate, but his parents did not check with him before making arrangements for his evening. If they had done so, the entire disagreement could have been avoided.

So the OP is perfectly justified in feeling upset over the incident.


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Re: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2011, 07:42:32 PM »
I think this is one of those situations where everyone being clear about their feelings would've been better. If he had said, "I really want to see these family friends, I never get to" or "My parents will give me a really hard time if I don't do it", then that's two different situations.

I think when he asked you about his dilemma, instead of saying you wouldn't make the decision for him (though I absolutely understand why you did say that), you could've said something like, "Well, I've already bought food for tomorrow and was really looking forward to seeing you. To be honest, I would be really disappointed if you didn't come--is there any way that you could come over a bit later and we could still do dinner?" That way he knows *exactly* how you'll react and can't accuse  you of 'giving him permission' and then being grumpy about it later.

I think he was inconsiderate, though I also understand his perspective. My boyfriend and I sometimes have similar issues--we have plans to stay in, but casual ones, and then someone calls and it's obvious he wants to go out. I feel badly saying 'no you can't!' but equally I hate doing the 'oh, it's fine' when it's obviously not fine. And, sometimes it is fine! Sometimes I'm just as happy going out as staying in (and if the invite is just for him, just as happy playing video games and having a me night while he goes out). But sometimes I really was looking forward to our night in. So I figure I owe it to both of us to be really clear on how I'm feeling.


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Re: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2011, 11:35:18 PM »
How would this play out once you married him?


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Re: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2011, 12:26:32 AM »
I think since you told him the decision was up to him, you shouldn't blame him if he does end up choosing the family dinner. Although he should give you his answer as soon as possible.

Also, I know you said your boyfriend wouldn't think to ask his parents to include you, and you would never invite yourself, but I personally don't think it would be so bad to say to him "Any chance I could join your dinner? I'd like to meet your friends. Although I will totally understand if your parents would prefer it to be just your family."

I also agree with what posters have said about breaking plans for people you don't see very often. You stated you and your BF don't live together, but I'm assuming that as a couple, you still spend most (if not all) Saturday nights and Sundays together? I also assume that these family friends are people who your BF doesn't get to see very often? If these assumptions are correct, I'd personally give him a pass, just this once.

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Re: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2011, 01:44:05 AM »
I hate changing plans too and totally understand your feelings and why you are upset. He is being disrespectful, you are understandably hurt and annoyed.

But, you really need to tell him how you feel about something when he asks you. Direct, honest communication is essential. When you don't express your feelings, you can't really expect someone else to determine them either.
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Re: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2011, 03:04:24 AM »
To answer a few questions:

~The reason this took place by text instead of phone is because it was late, from about 10pm til about 12am and he didn't want to disturb his parents by talking on the phone.

~I work Mon-Fri, he works Mon, Tues, Fri, Sat so Friday night was not an option as he is up at 6am on Saturday morning and I have to be up at 7am on Monday.

 he did not cancel the plans with me but instead told me about the family dinner and began mentioning how he felt bad missing it but felt bad cancelling on me too.  I told him that the decision was up to him and I wasn't going to make it for him.  Whether he meant to or not, it came across as him trying to guilt trip me into saying I was okay with it which I didn't do. 

And then you tried to guilt trip him in exchange by saying that it was his decision, but really meaning that you wanted him to tell his parents that he was coming to your place instead.

That was the time when you should have told him that you had already bought the stuff, so it would be best if he still had dinner at your place.   Or offer a compromise - you have dinner at his place, but later so that he can visit with the family friends for a while first, say.

I do think that when you have a solid relationship and good communication with your SO, the rules are a bit different than for random social engagements. I trust that my husband will only play the 'get out of plans free' card when he's got a good reason, and in turn he trust that I'll be upfront if changing plans is *not* okay, and understanding when it's possible.

And it is a reality that when you still live with your parents, sometimes there can be command performances for social engagements unless it's been clearly established that you keep a social calendar that's unrelated to your parents', except by prior request. So that's something he needs to work out with his parents, in general.


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Re: Cancelling plans within a rel[color=black]ationship[/color] - rude?
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2011, 05:41:56 AM »
On eHell you'll often hear people say:   "This is a relationship issue not an etiquette issue"  ...and although in this case it's both, I do think you need to keep that in mind.

In a relationship the whole "never cancel for a better opportunity" doesn't apply as strictly.  Because the fact is, in life, unexpected obligations do arise - and your romantic partner is supposed to be supportive of that.  For example, if DH told me his boss had come to town and asked him to stay out late to work on a project / meet about something, that would supercede any dinner plans DH and I might have.  Assuming of course this wasn't some kind of dodgy pattern of neglect/excuses!     DH and I went through a lot of this in our early relationship (juggling commitments, he balancing his life with wanting to be with me), and the key is to be understanding of the other person's perspective.  If they're not being considerate enough then you must let them know.  But you also must be considerate yourself and ensure you're supporting them. 

Nobody here can tell you whether what your SO did was ok or not.   Your feelings are absolutely valid either way.   But the reality is that we don't know whether he is behaving ok or not, because it's part of a broader context.  Three possibilities, off the top of my head are that he's:

a) a momma's boy who will always put his family first
b) a jerk who doesn't care about your feelings
c) a lovely guy who is just trying to balance his commitments and relationships like anybody else, and hoping his SO will understand and support him.
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