Author Topic: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219  (Read 29080 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

poundcake

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1155
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #75 on: December 11, 2013, 08:11:32 AM »
This also wasn't about who is/isn't "established". It was a simple matter of numbers. Aunt can't accommodate more than ____ people, so, in the interest of fairness, she asked that it be closely related family members. I don't see anything rude about that at all.

esposita

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 559
  • If you have the power to make someone happy, do it
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #76 on: December 11, 2013, 08:17:16 AM »
I think the Aunt and Larry were both rude. Larry was rude to push in his latest flame where she wasn't wanted.

But I would find it incredibly hurtful to be excluded from my partner's family gathering because (as many in this thread have stated) unmarried couples don't count as 'family'.

I also thought the rule was that couples count as social units.

I don't think that I've seen that assertion here. I think that many are saying that a man who has just ended his third marriage and a new girlfriend are not an "established" couple.

This is not a couple who has decided that they do not wish to marry and are happy in that situation.

This is a couple who is still in the very beginning stages of getting to know each other.

If I knew that the man I was dating cared so little for an elderly relative that he was shoving me at them and making me intrude on an intimate Thanksgiving celebration... that would be a deal breaker.

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6563
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #77 on: December 11, 2013, 09:11:07 AM »
I think the Aunt and Larry were both rude. Larry was rude to push in his latest flame where she wasn't wanted.

But I would find it incredibly hurtful to be excluded from my partner's family gathering because (as many in this thread have stated) unmarried couples don't count as 'family'.

I also thought the rule was that couples count as social units.

I think you might have missed in the description that Larry had "recently" divorced and wanted to bring his "new" girlfriend. Neither of those adjectives describe someone who is a partner.


artk2002

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12987
    • The Delian's Commonwealth
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #78 on: December 11, 2013, 10:04:06 AM »
A lot of the debate here is around the "social unit" rule and whether Larry and his GF form one or not. This has been debated multiple times here and on Wedding Hells Bells. A few thoughts.

Through the mid 20th century, the definition of a social unit was pretty cut-and-dried: Married or engaged. It's since started to change, adding cohabiting couples and people in long-term relationships. One of the problems is that there is not yet a complete consensus, especially at the long-term relationship end. Most people, though, want to see some evidence that a relationship is more serious than casual. Because there are not  hard-and-fast criteria ("must be at least 22 dates, of longer than 4 hours each") it is up to the host to determine how far they want to stretch the rule. I'm sorry that a couple that thinks that they are established but haven't done enough to convince others that they are, are simply out of luck. They can try to buck social conventions but have to deal with the fact that there are social consequences for doing so.

In the case in the OP, it doesn't sound like anybody (aunt, father or friend) thought that Larry and his GF had met that family's standard of "established." The aunt chose not to stretch the social unit rule to extend to him, which is her prerogative as the host. It sounds like she was sticking to the earlier, well-defined form of the rule;  unsurprising given her age.

It's unfortunate if the GF was put in an awkward position by Larry's behavior, but that's between her and Larry and has nothing to do with the rest of the family. She might think "Great, he really cares for me and will stick up for me against his family" or "Wow, what a jerk, who can't even respect his elderly aunt's desires."
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Lorelei_Evil

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2039
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #79 on: December 11, 2013, 10:14:03 AM »
A lot of the debate here is around the "social unit" rule and whether Larry and his GF form one or not. This has been debated multiple times here and on Wedding Hells Bells. A few thoughts.

Through the mid 20th century, the definition of a social unit was pretty cut-and-dried: Married or engaged. It's since started to change, adding cohabiting couples and people in long-term relationships. One of the problems is that there is not yet a complete consensus, especially at the long-term relationship end. Most people, though, want to see some evidence that a relationship is more serious than casual. Because there are not  hard-and-fast criteria ("must be at least 22 dates, of longer than 4 hours each") it is up to the host to determine how far they want to stretch the rule. I'm sorry that a couple that thinks that they are established but haven't done enough to convince others that they are, are simply out of luck. They can try to buck social conventions but have to deal with the fact that there are social consequences for doing so.

In the case in the OP, it doesn't sound like anybody (aunt, father or friend) thought that Larry and his GF had met that family's standard of "established." The aunt chose not to stretch the social unit rule to extend to him, which is her prerogative as the host. It sounds like she was sticking to the earlier, well-defined form of the rule;  unsurprising given her age.

It's unfortunate if the GF was put in an awkward position by Larry's behavior, but that's between her and Larry and has nothing to do with the rest of the family. She might think "Great, he really cares for me and will stick up for me against his family" or "Wow, what a jerk, who can't even respect his elderly aunt's desires."

POD.  My parents are over 80 and they still see it this way.  I've never married, so it's the Kids' table for me no matter what and I'm well over 40.  I choose to spend my time elsewhere. 

GlitterIsMyDrug

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1120
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #80 on: December 11, 2013, 10:25:03 AM »
I think the Aunt and Larry were both rude. Larry was rude to push in his latest flame where she wasn't wanted.

But I would find it incredibly hurtful to be excluded from my partner's family gathering because (as many in this thread have stated) unmarried couples don't count as 'family'.

I also thought the rule was that couples count as social units.

Partner and I aren't married, and are only recently engaged. However we are an estblished couple. We've been together for 5 years, after the first year or so both our families saw us as a "social unit", we were obviously serious about our relationship at that point. And if one of us was welcomed to a family event so was the other (and in fact when we showed up solo we got grilled about where the other one was).

Larry just got divorced and has a new girlfriend. So girlfriend is pretty new. Thus, not a social unit yet. Eventually maybe, but right now, it's his new girlfriend. New being the key word.

turtleIScream

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 592
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #81 on: December 11, 2013, 10:38:48 AM »
My situation was not exactly the same, but there are some striking parallels, so I thought I would share.

My now-husband and I were very good friends throughout college. I visited his house once with a group of friends, but didn't really know his family at all. Two months before graduation, he broke up with his girlfriend of 4 years, and he and I started dating. We knew right away that we would get married, but of course nothing was official yet. Three weeks after we got together, his grandfather (who I had met once) passed away. We agreed that I would not attend services for his grandfather. It would have seemed too much like I was intruding on family time and trying to insert myself too soon. A grieving family shouldn't need to feel pressure to properly welcome and include a newbie. (obviously, I would not have made it all about me, but his family didn't know me yet to know that I wouldn't)

Clearly, Thanksgiving is different than a funeral. It is a national holiday that people expect to be part of some celebration. And Elderly Aunt isn't dead, or even at death's door. But, because she is looking at a very significant shift in her life, I think the whole family was aware that this Thanksgiving might have a very different feel; while not being mournful, it was not as likely to be as cheery as normal. I am used to holidays being memory-making events, so any new people coming in are adding to the festivities and merriment. In this case, however, I imagine there was more reminiscing and memory-sealing taking place. Adding a new person to the mix, who has had zero interactions with the family, would have completely changed the dynamic. Conversation might have been pleasant, but certainly not intimate.

Larry was rude for trying to change the nature of the event, and doubly rude for ignoring his hostess' request.

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6131
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #82 on: December 11, 2013, 10:43:29 AM »
I think this thread is a good illustration of the fact that different families handle these things differently.  In some families, as some posters have stated, "not married" means never getting to have a plus one - period.  In some families, the more the merrier - I had been dating the father of my daughter mere weeks before his family insisted that I come to Easter - that's just the way his family is.   I don't think there is a right or wrong. 

Again, here, I think the aunt could invite or not invite whomever she wanted and was fine to exclude GFs/BFs/friends.  But I also think it is unreasonable to expect that no one would have a problem with that or be hurt by it. 

As an aside, I sometimes think that the pain that people who have been through divorce feel is discounted by those who have not experienced it, almost as though if someone has been divorced they could not possibly take relatoinships seriously.  In my experience, that is sometimes but most often not the case.

artk2002

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12987
    • The Delian's Commonwealth
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #83 on: December 11, 2013, 10:52:24 AM »
As an aside, I sometimes think that the pain that people who have been through divorce feel is discounted by those who have not experienced it, almost as though if someone has been divorced they could not possibly take relatoinships seriously.  In my experience, that is sometimes but most often not the case.

I don't think that anybody is discounting Larry's possible pain. It's just not up to them to make his pain go away. Only he can deal with that, and he can't deal with it by forcing his latest squeeze on the family in an inappropriate situation.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8640
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #84 on: December 11, 2013, 10:57:30 AM »

Quote
This is really harsh.  My dad wanted his birthday celebration (his  80th) a year ago the way he wanted because he was very ill and he knew he wouldn't have many more (managed 1 more..barely and he was too sick for us to do anything big) and he invited who he wanted.  It would have been rude for one of us to show up with someone he did not specifically invite just because we were dating (and I do not get this woman from the op was his LT gf..just someone he was dating so IMO not a social unit) and said "Well, just because you want a special family only celebration because you are gonna die soon, tough, this is what I want.".  The aunt wanted one last memory in her home with the people she was closest too..not cousin and his latest fling.  If the family knew this was a serious relationship, they could have said to aunt "Hey Cousin and X are really serious so we want her to enjoy Thanksgiving with the family too as she is a part of our family now.", instead even his own father said don't bring her, she is not part of the family.  Also, as it is her house, she can say who she wants to invite and if the invitees don't like the parameters she is setting for the guest list, they are free to decline the invitation instead of taking someones hospitality and throwing it in their face.


For my dad's 80th birthday, he wanted to have dinner with just his kids, not their spouses/SOs or grandchildren.

Sounds heartless, right? But he'd had hip replacement surgery a month before, and was still shaky. Plus, he didn't do well in crowds and seven kids, plus five spouses, plus 13 grandchildren--is a crowd. He was very introverted.

I also think he was remembering his 70th birthday, when my brother and SIL surprised him with a big party with about 60 people. He was overwhelmed, and not in a good way. He did not do well with surprises.

Add in that he was always concerned about making us spend money to see him--some of my siblings had to travel a couple of thousand miles to his hometown. And it would have been more expensive if they'd brought their spouses and children along.

So from the outside, it probably seemed like an odd request. But if you knew my dad, you'd understand the reasoning behind the request. He was not thinking, "How many people can I exclude/make upset?" He was thinking, "How can I get through this day that I know many people will want to celebrate with me and that I want to celebrate with them?" There's a difference.

One SIL kicked up a fuss. Everyone else was happy to make a separate trip to see Dad, or call or Skype with him on the days before or after his birthday.

Larry had choices. He could attend the Thanksgiving dinner by himself. I mean, it's his family, not a bunch of strangers. He should be able to find someone to talk to/have fun with at the dinner.

Or he could have chosen to go elsewhere for the day. Perhaps the GF's family celebration?

But inviting a guest to someone else's party? That's rude.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6131
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #85 on: December 11, 2013, 11:01:01 AM »
As an aside, I sometimes think that the pain that people who have been through divorce feel is discounted by those who have not experienced it, almost as though if someone has been divorced they could not possibly take relatoinships seriously.  In my experience, that is sometimes but most often not the case.

I don't think that anybody is discounting Larry's possible pain. It's just not up to them to make his pain go away. Only he can deal with that, and he can't deal with it by forcing his latest squeeze on the family in an inappropriate situation.

Agreed - Larry clearly handled this poorly.  Some of the comments led me to make my observation, however.

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6563
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #86 on: December 11, 2013, 11:36:36 AM »
I think this thread is a good illustration of the fact that different families handle these things differently.  In some families, as some posters have stated, "not married" means never getting to have a plus one - period.  In some families, the more the merrier - I had been dating the father of my daughter mere weeks before his family insisted that I come to Easter - that's just the way his family is.   I don't think there is a right or wrong. 

Again, here, I think the aunt could invite or not invite whomever she wanted and was fine to exclude GFs/BFs/friends.  But I also think it is unreasonable to expect that no one would have a problem with that or be hurt by it. 

As an aside, I sometimes think that the pain that people who have been through divorce feel is discounted by those who have not experienced it, almost as though if someone has been divorced they could not possibly take relatoinships seriously.  In my experience, that is sometimes but most often not the case.

To me, it sounds like in the past, Larry's family had also been open to hosting a wide variety of individuals. That is why the Aunt had to ask for this years to not include neighbors, friends, girlfriends, and boyfriends.

Larry wasn't being singled out to not be allowed to bring a guest.

Goosey

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1101
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #87 on: December 11, 2013, 11:41:56 AM »
As an aside, I sometimes think that the pain that people who have been through divorce feel is discounted by those who have not experienced it, almost as though if someone has been divorced they could not possibly take relatoinships seriously.  In my experience, that is sometimes but most often not the case.

I don't think that anybody is discounting Larry's possible pain. It's just not up to them to make his pain go away. Only he can deal with that, and he can't deal with it by forcing his latest squeeze on the family in an inappropriate situation.

I'm absolutely discounting Larry's "pain". From what we've heard in the OP, he's not going to be the only single person there (no bfs/gfs) and he hasn't at all been singled out. His entitled attitude in wanting to be the exception to the rule doesn't say "pain" to me except maybe "pain in the rear".

SamiHami

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3270
  • No! Iz mai catnip! You no can haz! YOU NO CAN HAZ!
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #88 on: December 11, 2013, 11:44:33 AM »
There are different kinds of family holiday celebrations.  If it is typical for these certain members of the family to get together for Thanksgiving then that celebration is something that needs to be accommodated for everyone in the family, not just the oldest one who might die at any moment.

If she wants to have a dinner where only family are invited and it isn’t a traditionally shared holiday like Thanksgiving, then she should knock herself out because turning down that invite is not the same as not spending a family holiday with your family because they won’t let you bring your girlfriend.

Audrey Quest, I have to admit I have a little trouble understanding your point of view. You have used quite a bit of charged terminology regarding the elderly aunt, including the bolded. Maybe I just am not getting your logic. The salient points, to me, seem to be:

-Aunt wishes to host Thanksgiving one last time before moving into assisted living.
-Aunt (for whatever reason) has decided she can only accommodate family members at this meal.
-Larry is unhappy with this and wants to bring an uninvited guest.
-Larry brings his uninvited guest to the meal even after being told by other family members not to.

So far, those points are ones we all can agree upon. It would seem to me that Larry has many options:

-Attend alone.
-Not attend.
-Host his own Thanksgiving meal, inviting everyone, but being prepared that they may (and likely will) decline in favor of going to Aunt's dinner.

I would also suggest the following to be correct:

-Aunt is the hostess. She gets to choose who is invited. It is her home.
-It is rude to bring an uninvited guest to any event.

So my disconnect with you is how aunt was wrong to invite family to a family holiday meal or why you think Larry was entitled to bring his uninvited guest. A lot of speculation has gone on here about how he might feel, and while his feelings are important, I wonder why you don't seem to think the aunt's feelings are important as well? Her life is about to change quite dramatically and she probably is sad to know that she will never again host a family holiday meal. Aren't her feelings relevant also? All of your sympathy seems to be on Larry's side and I just have to wonder where that is coming from.


What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

EllenS

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1368
Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest (who was brought along, nonetheless)
« Reply #89 on: December 11, 2013, 12:00:18 PM »
There are different kinds of family holiday celebrations.  If it is typical for these certain members of the family to get together for Thanksgiving then that celebration is something that needs to be accommodated for everyone in the family, not just the oldest one who might die at any moment.

If she wants to have a dinner where only family are invited and it isn’t a traditionally shared holiday like Thanksgiving, then she should knock herself out because turning down that invite is not the same as not spending a family holiday with your family because they won’t let you bring your girlfriend.

Audrey, you seem to be saying that because Thanksgiving is a major holiday, every family member is somehow required to invite all other family members - and anybody else they would like to bring along - to every event?  And every host, of every holiday-themed event, is obligated to allow an unlimited number of "plusses"?
And that only the wealthy, or those with large homes, should invite anyone because they can't accomodate EVERYONE?

That is just not a rule of etiquette. 

If Aunt wishes to exclude Larry, or Larry's girlfriend, or Cousin Susie, or all the left-handed people - she is entitled to do that.  You may not like it, or like her, or think she is being gracious....but she is not violating the rules of etiquette. 

Further to the point about "established couples" - one of the qualifiers of an "established couple", IMO, is that someone else in the family would have met this person before, and hopefully be acquainted with them. Or at the very least, know them by name so that they can recognize who you are talking about when you mention them. I don't see how anybody can be considered a "social unit" if they do not - you know- socialize together.