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Is avoiding family parties okay?


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I'm a 34M and, the older I get, the more I avoid family gatherings.

I'm happy going to anything that is about my immediate family, but I find other relatives (cousins, aunties / uncles) increasingly difficult.

I've always been seen by family & relatives as being quite childish for never having been in a serious relationship... and *everyone* except for me is married and has kids, all my cousins do and I feel like the odd one out.

I moved to another city and haven't been to a family gathering in years (unless its for my parents or sisters).

Recently my cousin invited me to her wedding and I can't bear the thought of going. To make matters worse there'll be a few people from my school there who never used to particularly like me when I was younger (because I was shy / quiet).

Would it be wrong to simply RSVP 'no'? I feel bad but, I doubt it'd be a massive loss to my cousin either TBH

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Dont go if you dont want to go.  I too hate family gatherings, nothing worse than a room full of people you dont want to be around!  Say NO to the wedding, send a nice card, wish them well, and find something else to do that day.

Just because you are related to someone doesn't mean you have to like them or want to be around them.

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Agree entirely and I was there for many years as the only single one -got married at 42, my sister got married in her 20s and was older than me but the comparisons were made, etc..  With the comments.  I was going to write that it's different if you have kids and your kids are deprived of seeing family just because you don't feel like going.  Maybe consider reaching out one on one to cousins you do like and getting together separately.  

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2 hours ago, rr88 said:

Would it be wrong to simply RSVP 'no'? I feel bad but, I doubt it'd be a massive loss to my cousin either TBH

An invitation is not a subpoena, so sure you can RSVP "no". However you may make friends or meet women there if you go with the right mindset.

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3 hours ago, rr88 said:

 

Don't attend against your will.  RSVP 'No Thank You.'  Either postal mail a wedding congratulations greeting card and / or text a reasonable amount for an online VISA gift card ~ if you wish. 

You are under no obligation to attend and if none of you feel close to each other in particular, I don't see the reason for attending this wedding. 

Like you, I don't attend events if I'm not feeling the love and if I've had painfully bad or negative experiences with certain family members.  I prefer not to bother and live my own quiet, peaceful, SAFE, SECURE life. 

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Is your family close? I'd consider making a brief appearance at your cousin's wedding to keep the peace of your family (provided your family is the nice kind). Plus, you never know if you could meet someone interesting there.

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11 minutes ago, greendots said:

Is your family close? I'd consider making a brief appearance at your cousin's wedding to keep the peace of your family (provided your family is the nice kind). Plus, you never know if you could meet someone interesting there.

It depends whether a brief appearance is appropriate - typically it's not -you can leave before the entire party is over but especially if you have to travel there it's not nice to rsvp and have them pay for your plate then not stay for the party. 

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Don't place yourself in a situation you don't want to be in or at.  Why make yourself uncomfortable?  Why create an awkward situation for yourself? 

I always feel that if I'm socializing, I want to be happy, extremely comfortable, relaxed and have a good time.  I can't do that if I'm with people whom I do not like, admire nor respect.  If I've had negative experiences with certain people, I prefer to stay home where I feel safe, protected and get to do what I want on my terms. 

You have complete freedom to do what you want and don't feel guilty.  Be good to yourself because no one will do it for you.

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12 hours ago, rr88 said:

I'm a 34M and, the older I get, the more I avoid family gatherings.

I'm happy going to anything that is about my immediate family, but I find other relatives (cousins, aunties / uncles) increasingly difficult.

I've always been seen by family & relatives as being quite childish for never having been in a serious relationship... and *everyone* except for me is married and has kids, all my cousins do and I feel like the odd one out.

I moved to another city and haven't been to a family gathering in years (unless its for my parents or sisters).

Recently my cousin invited me to her wedding and I can't bear the thought of going. To make matters worse there'll be a few people from my school there who never used to particularly like me when I was younger (because I was shy / quiet).

Would it be wrong to simply RSVP 'no'? I feel bad but, I doubt it'd be a massive loss to my cousin either TBH

No, nothing wrong with saying no. Say you’ll be out of town if anyone in your immediate family wonders. 

I don’t see why others would regard you as childish if you don’t have a relationship. If you’re tending to other issues or matters, your life is preoccupied with something else. Nevermind with the standards others place on you and let go of that insecurity. Be mindful of your own life and do things the way you feel is right to you.

As long as you treat others with respect and keep your meetings brief with the ones you don’t have much in common with there’s little reason for anyone to find fault with you. If you happen to see anyone in passing or in other family gatherings be nothing but pleasant and engaged and move on/leave early or send them your well wishes. People have lives also and aren’t going to remember everything accurately about you especially if you’re not close. Let them be and think of you as they will.

 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Rose Mosse said:

I don’t see why others would regard you as childish if you don’t have a relationship. If you’re tending to other issues or matters, your life is preoccupied with something else

This was the assumption people made of me when I was single in my 20s and 30s.  I presumably was living a "wild and crazy life" with tons of "freedom" and no responsibilities. Not everyone but it's why I also disliked certain family gatherings and avoided school reunions too. So hurtful. (And it couldn't have been further from the truth -I had tons of responsibilities, I often was in a serious relationship on top of that, intense career -same for my husband who was single till we married in our 40s - he cared for his aging parents, traveled all over for his career -was there for so many of his friends and relatives, etc.)

Edited by Batya33
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On 7/2/2022 at 1:22 PM, Wiseman2 said:

An invitation is not a subpoena, so sure you can RSVP "no". However you may make friends or meet women there if you go with the right mindset.

I agree. The more I age, the easier it's been for me to challenge my younger perceptions of persecution and decide how meaningful, exactly, I want those to be.

How much do I want my youthful sensitivities to rule my adult life, my relationships with family, and the good times I can otherwise enjoy with people who I DO like?

Most bullies are messed up and fearful themselves, so my adult lens has allowed me to reduce them to the pathetic Wizard of Oz characters they once were, even while I remain open to the idea that they may have grown and evolved to some degree, just as I have.

More importantly, I feel empowered to have taken back my place in my family without so much as a cross word exchanged with those who I once viewed as such a menace.

You may want to show up just to represent yourself as part of your immediate family and make them proud. They've got your back, and you've got theirs.

Resiliency is a life skill and a worthy goal.

Head high, no matter what you choose to do.

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I'm going to go with the others and say to respectfully RSVP no.  

I've done that.  I'm like you I'm the only one in my family that isn't married and I don't have any kids.  Some of my family is shocked that I live by myself!! 😂 I'm like you I don't enjoy being looked down upon for what I consider a silly reason.

What makes it easy to not be around them is living 7,8 hours away from most of them.  I haven't been around a lot of my family for awhile now.  I have a cousin who lives 4,5 hours from me and we have never gotten together since they moved in the state. 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for all the replies, it's reassuring to see I'm not the only one in this position.

I may have painted a bit of a bad picture of them in my OP... they're not *that* bad really, but some of the words of some of them (my parents included) made it clear that they are so disappointed with me being single and it's put me off going to family parties for life because I know what will be going through their heads.

They've not said anything about it in years but that makes no difference as far as I'm concerned

Perhaps there is that chance that I could meet new people / women if I did go, but I feel it's pretty unlikely and I already have ways of doing that through my hobbies and social life currently.

Edited by rr88
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