Must I go to this wedding?
November 6, 2011 12:47 PM   Subscribe

No seriously, do I reaaaaally have to go to this wedding?

Hi y'all,

Lately I seem to be using Metafilter for posts that involve personal drama. My thanks and apologies in advance. I will try to keep this as brief as possible. :)
Here's the (unfortunately) necessary backstory: Several years ago, I had an extremely brief, casual thing with a guy I'll call J, who started as a friend. It began with a drunken hookup, and we both gave actually dating a try after that, but it didn't quite work. I was feeling particularly lonely and working through my feelings over a recent breakup, but J was sweet and very persistent about giving things a try. One of these attempted dates was a big dinner party at which I was, well, his date. At said dinner party, we both met a girl whom I'll call K.
Soon after this party, the two of us had an awkward conversation where it became clear that, after about a month of casually seeing each other, it wasn't going any further. Not long after that, it got back to me that he had already started seeing K and seemed pretty into her. We had not agreed to be monogamous, so he had not done anything wrong. However, I will admit to feeling a tiny bit ... funny that I had found out about it secondhand? Weird that I didn't realize he basically made a move on K right after we all met? It was a pretty complicated and confusing time for me in general. Either way, I moved on pretty quickly - not worth staying upset about, to me.

However, as soon as they began dating, K has behaved pretty rudely to me. She demanded that J cut back on his contact with me and actually made very passive-aggressive comments to me in public about my clothes on multiple occasions (eg "Oh, bless your heart, is THAT what you're wearing? I wouldn't even know where to FIND something like that!" I'm a Southern girl ... I know passive-aggressive bitchery when I hear it. :)
I have done absolutely nothing to interfere in their relationship and have maintained calm in the face of perceived cattiness. Now, I am dating the most wonderful boy in the world, who (of course) is very good friends with J and was even his roommate for a period of time. (Tis a small incestuous circle I live in. I'm used to it.)
K has grown less and less rude, gradually, as it became clear that my BF and I are very serious and we have since moved to a different state together, but it's still pretty frosty. Now, the kicker: J and K are engaged (mazel tov!) and have invited both of us to their wedding.
My BF is a loving, loyal guy who wouldn't think twice about flying places (the Midwest, in this case -we are in the Northeast) for a wedding to be there for his friends. It's one of the things I like most about him. However, lately I have been putting myself out to go to weddings with him and his friends when, frankly, it has been very inconvenient and expensive for me, a stressed and poor new grad student. He gets so very upset at the thought of not having me with him at weddings and similar events that I have, up until now, given in.
However, the idea of shelling out to fly to the Midwest AND for a gift for this particular couple makes me feel ... annoyed. And overwhelmed. I already feel strapped for funds and time - we both are invited to a LOT of weddings, and I am trying to learn to set boundaries for myself, to prioritize the people and things that are most important in my new life as a student. (I have been to weddings of exes before ... not a problem. But usually I've been friends with the bride too!) It's the combination of inconvenience and awkward history, I think, that makes me hesitate.

Of course, one of those important people is my BF, whom I really do love and want to accommodate. He is already assuming that we are going, and I don't quite know how to say, "Honey, I am poor, and the bride hates my guts and is only inviting me because of you, so wouldn't it be better if you went solo to this one?" I know he would get pretty upset. Am I being unreasonable? Should I just suck it up and endure the weekend without causing a fuss? My BF and I are a good team - I'm sure we can come to a reasonable arrangement.

Thanks so much for reading. :)
posted by bookgirl18 to Human Relations (15 answers total)
"Honey, I am poor, and the bride hates my guts and is only inviting me because of you, so wouldn't it be better if you went solo to this one?"

This sounds like a great place to start. Personally, I would not attend. Your boyfriend sounds like a great guy. He'll manage without you this once.
posted by phunniemee at 12:51 PM on November 6, 2011 [38 favorites]

If he really wants you to go, he can pay. Otherwise, it's unfair to bankrupt you to avoid a few days' separation.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:53 PM on November 6, 2011 [9 favorites]

No seriously, do I reaaaaally have to go to this wedding?

posted by ian1977 at 1:01 PM on November 6, 2011 [7 favorites]

There's no reason for you to attend a far-away wedding for anyone; that's what the "regrets" part of the RSVP card is for. Your boyfriend can attend stag, take another date (a sister or a cousin, but of course!), or pay your way to go if he insists you attend with him.
posted by xingcat at 1:05 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Normally I'd agree with you: why go if the bride hates you and has to invite you to be polite? I personally think your boyfriend could suck it the hell up for a weekend. But I'm mean and not dating your boyfriend.

But if it is a Big Effing Deal with your boyfriend that you always go as a package deal, to the point where he gets Very Upset multiple times when you've previously discussed your not going to a wedding ...well, what it's going to boil down to, I think, is: Is it more important to him that you go or more important to you that you don't? Is it worth dealing with his Upset to not have to spend the money to be in K's presence when neither of you want to be there together, or will it be easier on you to just suck it up and go rather than Upsetting the boyfriend? Will boyfriend get over your not going or keep pouting about it afterwards?
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:13 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

No, you do not have to go to this wedding.

"Dear BF, you know I have gone to a lot of weddings with you because you want me to, and I have been happy to do so. But this takes a lot of time and money, neither of which I have a lot of, and the bride and I do not like each other, and I am going to decline this invitation. I hope you have a wonderful time!" He may elect to go without you, or he may elect to not go, but this is entirely his choice.

Now, maybe he'll offer to cover the costs if you go, which you will or won't be happy about. I'd recommend deciding if you want to go given that it will only cost you time, not money, before this conversation.

You should think up how you will respond to his comments, but it's okay to stand your ground and say you don't get along with the bride and you don't have enough time, and you are not going. If your group of friends is that incestuous, he'll know lots of other people to spend time with.
posted by jeather at 1:18 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

No, you don't have to go. And you can look at this refusal as a trial run for something you will need to negotiate with your significant other for as long as you're together: dealing with conflicting obligations (and sense of obligation).

Your boy may not be all that enthused to go either. A lot of people initially react to wedding invitations as obligations. In the vast majority of cases they really aren't. If you've never been half of the wedding couple you may not realize just how little time you get to spend with any given guest.

So decline and do it with confidence. You can say flat out that the bride really doesn't care for you and why. Or you can simply say, with completely honesty, that you're not doing anyone any favors by making them spend money to host you at an event you're not interested in attending.

If your boy REALLY wants to go and really wants you with him then that's another story - that's about supporting your partner in their desires. But you shouldn't feel reluctant to say that it's not something you want to do. He's as obligated to consider your dis-inclination as you are to consider his desires.
posted by phearlez at 1:49 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

No, you don't have to go. This is an acceptable boundary to have, and your boyfriend should respect it without getting upset - it's certainly no reflection on your relationship with him, but your relationship with the couple getting married. You don't have the funds or the desire to share their special day, so why should you?

If you really want to go to be there for your boyfriend, that's your decision to make. But you don't have to.
posted by sm1tten at 2:00 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'm not clear on whether your bf is really friends with these people independently from you. If he's not, then he shouldn't feel obligated to go either. Why not say, "Hey, it would be stressful for me to go to this. Why don't we save our money and put it toward going somewhere together sometime soon?"
posted by hermitosis at 2:31 PM on November 6, 2011

>>I don't quite know how to say, "Honey, I am poor, and the bride hates my guts and is only inviting me because of you, so wouldn't it be better if you went solo to this one?"

As is almost always the case on AskMe, the best way to say what you are asking how to say is to say it how you are presenting it here. "Honey, I am poor, and the bride hates my guts and is only inviting me because of you, so wouldn't it be better if you went solo to this one?"

Maybe I'm just an old fuddy duddy, but I feel that being honest and straightforward with people is the best and most effective communication style in these matters. Your boyfriend is a grown up. He should be able to handle this conversation.
posted by J. Wilson at 2:38 PM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]

Normally I do read everything, but here I am i a rush. Let me empower you: the answer is NO, you do not have to go. I think the only have tos in wedding attendance land are (non-estranged) parents, children, and siblings. I say this as someone who just skipped the wedding of a very old and beloved friend. We've grown apart the past few years, we'll grow together again, and there were SCORES of others there to celebrate. Do what you like!
posted by skbw at 4:27 PM on November 6, 2011

You don't have to go. However, this--so wouldn't it be better if you went solo to this one?--is the wrong approach.

Don't make it about convincing your boyfriend that it's a better idea for him to go alone. Make it about telling him that based on a few factors (you're low on funds, stressed out from school, and not super close to the couple), you've decided not to attend. Be clear and honest about this: we both are invited to a LOT of weddings, and I am trying to learn to set boundaries for myself, to prioritize the people and things that are most important in my new life as a student.

You don't need to attend this wedding. You do need to communicate honestly with your boyfriend about the way your approach to prioritizing weddings differs from his.
posted by Meg_Murry at 5:19 PM on November 6, 2011

The issue almost seems more about establishing a clear understanding with your boy that couples do not spontaneously combust if one of them goes somewhere without the other.

"I'm broke, I'm super-busy, and the bride hates my guts. I'll send them a card. If you want to go, go! I'm sure you'll have a great time. If anybody asks, you just pull the sad face and say soberly, 'She couldn't make it.'"
posted by canine epigram at 6:19 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

Setting boundaries is part of a relationship, including boundaries about what kind of socializing you're willing to be involved in. If he's Wonderful Guy, he should be ok with that. You don't need to apologize, or ask have power in this relationship too.

Reverse the situation. Your buddy is getting married, but your boyfriend isn't their biggest fan and doesn't want to go. Would you be miffed and try to guilt him into going, or just shrug and say "Ok sweetie! See you in three days!"

Don't expect less of him then of yourself.
posted by emjaybee at 6:59 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

I've been thinking about this question for more than an hour now.

If you trust J and K, and then your BF - don't go.

If you do not trust J and K, then GO.

Sometimes bad people are poison. By default, they can sully a good thing. If you have a Good Thing with your man, and you don't trust these folks - GO.


I don't think your guy will be untrustworthy, but it is the subtle mind-bombs that people place in the heads of others, just negative thoughts. These two don't sound so hot. I would not want them around me, or my husband, just because it might create an unnecessary bit of drama in my home.

My husband and I (and most successful couples I know) avoid folks who are High Drama. If High Drama involves J and K, then you both go to support each other, or neither go.

At some point, it is about you both and what you have - social obligations be damned! Your relationship and happy home are the only consideration. We don't EVER put ourselves out for those that don't mean others well. We just don't. Even if they are "nice" to one or both of us. people who don't treat the majority of the folks in their life well have NO place in our world. And especially now that we are new parents. We have no room for drama or meanness.

This is a good policy to adopt as a couple.
posted by jbenben at 8:38 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

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