Author Topic: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?  (Read 9587 times)

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Allyson

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #75 on: January 04, 2013, 08:48:15 PM »
I think it's the frequency or constancy that would decide 'inappropriate' or not for me. If that was everything PDA-related they did for the whole evening and they were engaged with the rest of the group, I don't see an issue. But like everyone here has pointed out--everyone's line is a bit different. While nearly everyone can agree making out is not appropriate, and also agree that getting upset about a couple who briefly touch hands would be way over the top, there's a huge middle ground.

I do know couples who seem to be the attention-getting type of PDA, but I don't think that's always the case. It's as rude to assume that couples are doing it for attention as it is to assume that single people are 'jealous' if they don't like it.

On a side note, I know siblings in real life named Zoe and Zac so this post freaked me out a little. :D

TurtleDove

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #76 on: January 04, 2013, 08:52:04 PM »
Eventually, most relationships progress to the point where the partners feel secure enough that they don't need to touch so demonstratively or at all.

My parents have been married 44 years.  They are still openly affectionate toward each other, even in public.  I think it's great.  It isn't a need for security.  It is an expression of genuine love.

LadyR

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #77 on: January 04, 2013, 10:09:22 PM »
None of that seems inappropriate to me. Honestly, at a gathering with DH's siblings, all of the four couples will partakes in some number of these displays. Same with when I get together with friends, I consider it normal.


Miss Unleaded

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #78 on: January 04, 2013, 10:31:01 PM »
Eventually, most relationships progress to the point where the partners feel secure enough that they don't need to touch so demonstratively or at all.

My parents have been married 44 years.  They are still openly affectionate toward each other, even in public.  I think it's great.  It isn't a need for security.  It is an expression of genuine love.

Agreed.  I've been married for three years, engaged for a two before that and am now approaching 40.  This behaviour isn't dissimilar to how my DH and I behave.  Perhaps not leaning on his shoulder while eating (because it sounds quite awkward) but the rest seems pretty normal to me.  It doesn't really have anything to do with security, it's just a display of affection.  As long as they weren't making out or showing inappropriate amounts of skin I wouldn't consider this rude. 

Since it makes your mother uncomfortable, OP, my advice would be to not invite them back again.  I wouldn't count on them having changed at all.

Softly Spoken

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #79 on: January 05, 2013, 12:27:25 AM »
The thing about PDAs is that you think it's inapprooriate until it is you.

Last year that was me, and looking back on it I feel like an idiot.  :-[ I was twitterpated and I didn't give any thought to how what I was doing looked to anyone else. There is a time and a place.

I've given it a lot of thought and I've come up with a theory about why PDA, even the milder stuff, can make people feel 'ishy' - I call it the "Couple Bubble." When a couple who are in an intimate group setting suddenly focus all or the majority of their energy and attention on each other instead of the group, they are effectively ignoring the people they supposedly came to spend time with. This is rude. The aura of the space changes - suddenly everyone else feels like they have walked in on the couple's private time when in reality the couple has spilled their intimacy into the public space. I think the vibe usually comes from immature/new/"honeymoon" couples who are so high on the pheromones that they kind of forget that they aren't alone. A secure, long-term couple holding hands gives off a way different vibe - they are connected confidently and almost subconsciously instead of being laser focused on each other.

Holding hands and sitting close is fine, but not to the exclusion of all the other people that are there.

I will admit to embracing/cuddling with my then-bf at a party - it was very casual with many little groups, we were both introverts trying to support each other...not making excuses just explaining...but in hindsight we should have disengaged and mingled. It doesn't make sense to spend group time hanging on your S.O. - you can presumably hang on them any time!

IMHO, hanging on your SO while you eat seems really excessive and kind of silly - if you spill you'd get it on them too! ::)

Basically I feel it's the fact that the PDA takes focus away from the group/socialization that makes them inappropriate. If you are swooning all over your new sweetie and ignoring your hosts and other guests, and interrupting them with distracting behavior, you are being rude.

(Ignorance of the law is no excuse but I hope ehell can forgive me, it was my first real relationship). :-\
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JoieGirl7

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #80 on: January 05, 2013, 01:57:06 AM »
I think it would terribly rude to talk to the couple about what they can/can't do in your mother's house.  Just meet with them somewhere else other than at your mother's house.

Hmm, I wonder about this. Certainly there are times when one can, in a polite way, ask someone to modify their behavior in your home, with the option that all of you can meet somewhere else if they don't want to make that modification. (I'm assuming the OP would be a designee of her mother if she spoke to them about it, not that she would be an interfering third party.)

I guess the question is, is "level of PDA" one of those things that can be politely asked about, or not?

It would definitely be easier in some ways to just meet Zoe and Zac somewhere else, at least until they seem to have cooled off a bit on the PDA. But I don't think that's the only polite option. And what if that goes on for months or years, until Zoe finally asks why she hasn't been invited over lately? I think it would be a harder conversation to have at that point.

I don't think its possible to say something in this case without making the couple very uncomfortable.  And if the point is for the mother not to be uncomfortable, I don't see it as an option.
 
It's like, I will bring up this uncomfortable subject and make you feel bad about behavior that you felt was OK because my mother is uncomfortable with it.

I doubt that the OP is Zoe's only lifelong social outlet.  People naturally gravitate towards people they are mutually comfortable with.  I would certainly take offense if someone objected to the kind of PDA mentioned the OP.  It's casting a judgement on behavior and making it known.
 
This is different from saying something like "please take your shoes off" or "please don't stir your tea with a fork, the sound sets my teeth on edge."

These people are in their 30s.  They are comfortable with their level of behavior and the Op and mom are not.  It's like not liking the syntax someone uses or how often they check their phone.  There are just some things about people that you either put up with or find other friends.

It's like saying "I like you but change for me."  If I'm in my 30s.  No, sorry, not going to.

My husband and I are fairly affectionate with each other depending on the level of formality.  I certainly wouldn't feel that sitting in someone kitchen with their mom was a formal event.  And I would find it odd if they were to comment on me touching my husband affectionately.
 
Overt sexual touching would be something that you would bring up right when it happened and say, "please stop that or leave."  If this behavior wasn't bad enough to do that, its not bad enough to bring up with the couple.

pwy a wyr

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #81 on: January 05, 2013, 03:58:18 AM »
Woohoo! I have chocolate cake in the house! I must try this tonight. Added bonus of a houseguest to assess level of discomfort. I will report back tomorrow. (rushes off to get white coat, giant video camera and clipboard)

Hmmmmm

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #82 on: January 05, 2013, 11:35:28 AM »
I think it would terribly rude to talk to the couple about what they can/can't do in your mother's house.  Just meet with them somewhere else other than at your mother's house.

Hmm, I wonder about this. Certainly there are times when one can, in a polite way, ask someone to modify their behavior in your home, with the option that all of you can meet somewhere else if they don't want to make that modification. (I'm assuming the OP would be a designee of her mother if she spoke to them about it, not that she would be an interfering third party.)

I guess the question is, is "level of PDA" one of those things that can be politely asked about, or not?

It would definitely be easier in some ways to just meet Zoe and Zac somewhere else, at least until they seem to have cooled off a bit on the PDA. But I don't think that's the only polite option. And what if that goes on for months or years, until Zoe finally asks why she hasn't been invited over lately? I think it would be a harder conversation to have at that point.

I don't think its possible to say something in this case without making the couple very uncomfortable.  And if the point is for the mother not to be uncomfortable, I don't see it as an option.
 
It's like, I will bring up this uncomfortable subject and make you feel bad about behavior that you felt was OK because my mother is uncomfortable with it.

I doubt that the OP is Zoe's only lifelong social outlet.  People naturally gravitate towards people they are mutually comfortable with.  I would certainly take offense if someone objected to the kind of PDA mentioned the OP.  It's casting a judgement on behavior and making it known.
 
This is different from saying something like "please take your shoes off" or "please don't stir your tea with a fork, the sound sets my teeth on edge."

These people are in their 30s.  They are comfortable with their level of behavior and the Op and mom are not.  It's like not liking the syntax someone uses or how often they check their phone.  There are just some things about people that you either put up with or find other friends.

It's like saying "I like you but change for me."  If I'm in my 30s.  No, sorry, not going to.

My husband and I are fairly affectionate with each other depending on the level of formality.  I certainly wouldn't feel that sitting in someone kitchen with their mom was a formal event.  And I would find it odd if they were to comment on me touching my husband affectionately.
 
Overt sexual touching would be something that you would bring up right when it happened and say, "please stop that or leave."  If this behavior wasn't bad enough to do that, its not bad enough to bring up with the couple.

I believe you can bring up behavior to someone you know makes a host uncomfortable.  If I invited a friends over to my mom's and the friends and I had frequently discussed religion, I would be fine saying that my mom was uncomfortable with religious discussions so in the future we probably shouldn't discuss it at her house. 

LadyL

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #83 on: January 05, 2013, 12:11:20 PM »

I've given it a lot of thought and I've come up with a theory about why PDA, even the milder stuff, can make people feel 'ishy' - I call it the "Couple Bubble." When a couple who are in an intimate group setting suddenly focus all or the majority of their energy and attention on each other instead of the group, they are effectively ignoring the people they supposedly came to spend time with. This is rude. The aura of the space changes - suddenly everyone else feels like they have walked in on the couple's private time when in reality the couple has spilled their intimacy into the public space. I think the vibe usually comes from immature/new/"honeymoon" couples who are so high on the pheromones that they kind of forget that they aren't alone. A secure, long-term couple holding hands gives off a way different vibe - they are connected confidently and almost subconsciously instead of being laser focused on each other.

POD to this. I think there is a very different message communicated by body language in these cases, mainly whether the couple is focused on each other to the exclusion of others, or whether they are being affectionate but with their attention tuned to the group. For example, private conversations, gazing into each others eyes for prolonged periods - eye contact in general being focused mainly on each other rather than the group - communicates an "internal" focus. Their relationship is their primary focus, the group is secondary. It can come across as showing off or just being oblivious to the world.

Things like holding hands or putting an arm around a shoulder, but maintaining eye contact and conversation with the group is a lot less obtrusive to the group dynamic. When LordL and I are affectionate we do so in a way that is sort of in the background, not the foreground, if that makes sense.

The worst I've seen recently was LordL's brother, who had his girlfriend sitting on his lap in an arm chair.  Then she fell asleep. So she was basically napping *on* him with about 8-10 people in the room. Awwwwkkkwwward.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #84 on: January 05, 2013, 12:20:12 PM »
Sitting beside an SO on the couch, even if sitting closely, would be expected.  Even the arm around the shoulders wouldn't bother me.  But 'practically sitting in his lap' would.  Her hand on his knee wouldn't bother me but her hand moving and stroking him definitely would.  (I almost typed 'wood'.  Freudian slip, that.)  A couple of quickly whispered conversations, followed by a quick peck wouldn't bother me but if it affected the flow of conversation in the room, it would.  It would also bother me if there were many instances of whispering throughout the evening.  It would make me wonder why they bothered to show up since they so obviously would prefer to be alone than with the group as a whole.

The whole leaning her head on his shoulder while eating cake would just have me (internally) rolling my eyes and wonder if they'd reverted to high school.
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Gwywnnydd

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #85 on: January 05, 2013, 01:45:37 PM »
Anyone ever read that book The 5 Love Languages? Some people's language is touch. A little bit of physical contact, even if it's just a hand on the knee or an arm around the shoulder, makes them feel safe and loved. Some people are, say, acts of service people. And the little physical gestures are, in my opinion, no less innocuous than the boyfriend fixing a plate for his SO, refilling her drink, going to the car to fetch her sweater because she was cold.

I think this is an interesting point. I'm intrigued by the 5 Love Languages in general and feel like it's explained a lot about the people I know in real life. I wonder if there are sort of "anti-love" languages as well, that really turn off people who experience or even witness them.

Absolutely, someone using a love language that doesn't jibe with your own is a huge turn off.
For example, my ex-DH is very into gift giving as a love language. Well, gift giving scores a big fat zero with me. He would try showering me with gifts, and I would feel disrespected, unheard, and irrelevant. "You're spending money we can't afford, on something I don't need and have no room in our overcrowded house for, not because you think I'll like it, but because YOU want to give me a gift. And now I'm the female-dog because I'm not thrilled to be receiving a gift."

Giggity

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #86 on: January 06, 2013, 09:03:14 AM »
POD , my fiancÚ and I are a very touchy. Couple, and while we do tone it down in company, I would feel affronted if confronted with it.

Two questions:

1. Why is it assumed that it will wear off after a while?
2. Why is it assumed that it's to show off the people that you are with someone?

Because it does, and because it generally is.
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marcel

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #87 on: January 06, 2013, 10:36:40 AM »
POD , my fiancÚ and I are a very touchy. Couple, and while we do tone it down in company, I would feel affronted if confronted with it.

Two questions:

1. Why is it assumed that it will wear off after a while?
2. Why is it assumed that it's to show off the people that you are with someone?

Because it does, and because it generally is.
re 1. I do think it often gets less further in a relationship.
re 2. completely disagree, I have never seen PDA as a way to show off, so I diagree with the statenment that it generaly is.

I have stayed out of this discusion, because I am not American, and I have found that the Dutch opinion of this issue is completely different.

I have never been able to get over it when my ex told me that her parents (Americans in America) told her certain behaviours, which I found comnpletely normal made them uncomfortable, and was considered inaropriate by many people in the US.

Needles to say tat with my cultural background, the people in the OP seem fine, however, if it makes the mother of the OP uncomfortable, she should tell her friends this, so they can adapt their behaviour in her house.
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Lynn2000

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #88 on: January 06, 2013, 01:58:14 PM »
Just to throw in another opinion... I don't think PDA always means a couple is showing off. If it's a new couple, especially if one or both haven't dated much, just being able to rest your head on someone's shoulder or rub their knee might seem so wonderful and novel, because you've rarely had a person to do that with, that it's hard to stop whenever you're together. It's hard to be aware of yourself around others/in public when you're still reveling in the feeling of having someone to do this with. At least, I think this is true for some people. It doesn't make the outcome less annoying; but again, I like to think about the why, as it helps me figure out what to do about it.

I remember, long ago, when my friend Amy had her first serious boyfriend. Fortunately he lived far away so we didn't have the PDA aspect, but she talked about him all. The. Time. I would say 95% of the things she said involved him somehow. Seriously. Anything anyone else said would remind her of something about this guy. "Wow, the weather is nice today." "Oh, Joe was just telling me how bad the weather was in his city..." "Pass the salt, please." "You know, Joe is on this low-salt diet..." And a lot of it was about how wonderful and perfect and amazing Joe was, and how he thought she was wonderful and perfect and amazing. "I talked to Joe for three hours last night and he said I was so smart and funny, and he couldn't wait to see what our children looked like, he hoped they had curly hair like me..." [Where's the "disgusted" face?] Nor did she change her behavior even after increasingly pointed comments from the rest of us. This lasted for the entire six months of their relationship, until she flew out to see Joe special and he dumped her and started dating someone else two days later.  >:( She did learn from it, though, and didn't act that way about any future boyfriends, even the guy she's now married to.
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snowdragon

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Re: Friends' PDAs, versus mother's discomfort. Who is right?
« Reply #89 on: January 06, 2013, 02:05:02 PM »
It's the mother's home, her comfort is what should be the benchmark. If Zoe and her BF can't be in the home of someone else with out making their host feel uncomfortable then Zoe and BF don't come over.  It should not be incumbent on a host to leave so their guest can engage in a way that is out of the hosts comfort zone - no matter what the activity is.