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So my girlfriend and I have been going out for about 4 years now (yei?). It's never been the easiest roller coaster ride (and at times I feel like it still is), but we managed to scrape by. We have our share of feuds, but I guess the lingering issue revolves around that of plans involving the family.


Here's the situation:


Easter's around the corner. My family has this annual celebration, and my girlfriend has had the pleasure of attending it for the past 2-3 years now. This year, however, her mom scheduled a dinner to celebrate her (the mom) graduation from her Master's. I was invited to go, but there was one problem: the dinner falls on Easter Sunday.


I asked my mom for permission, but she reminded me about the family commitment to the Easter tradition. I told my girlfriend about this, and she got mad and was, by all accounts, disappointed in me. Which was not the first time to happen.


Somehow I don't understand why she acts so negatively towards this, but she's hinted that it was usually because I never reciprocated the efforts she made enough (You know, she comes to spend Easter with my family, but I don't spend it with hers?) I don't see my sister and her boyfriend ever have a feud about something as simple as this; that the other couldn't make it due to familial commitment.


It's silly, I know. But I always seem to disappoint my girlfriend in situations like these. Am I in the wrong for not convincing my mom to let me attend her mom's graduation dinner to which I was invited? Problem is, the reservations are counted and my girlfriend already said I wouldn't be going.


I'm at a loss how to understand this situation...

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I don't think parents should make it difficult for their children in this way, ie putting pressure on them to attend family events when there is the other partners side to consider also. It's unnecessary to put their children in that awkward situation. Silly of the mother to schedule a graduation dinner on Easter Sunday, too. She could have made it any other day. People should be more flexible. Why put obstacles in the way of couple's relationships? I wouldn't do it to my children. It's better to keep things harmonious.

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On balance if it were me then I would probably go to the dinner celebrating your gf's mother's masters degree and make my apologies to my family. Easter dinner comes every year and you can make it to next one hopefully. I think you do as a couple try to keep things balanced in that way especially if you don't go to these family get-togethers very often. Like you said it is a fairly simple issue and not really worth fighting over.

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I don't often recommend couples counseling most of the time there is really only work to be done with one and I think couple's counseling often is a way to defer responsibility for one's own actions but this may be one of those rare occasions where it might be helpful. If you do get couple's counseling, narrow your focus on what you are trying to accomplish and learn the skills you need to resolve conflicts but try to leave all the other baggage out of it.

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