My Parents Excluded Me When I Was Single — Now They’re Doing It to My Sister (Ask Amy Column)
DEAR AMY: I am a 35-year-old woman. I live in the same town as my parents.
My sister lives nearby. She married young, while I traveled and enjoyed the single life.
My parents spent a lot of time with my sister and her husband. They shared dinners, vacations and holidays. I have generally not been invited or included, as these were “couple things,” though I fail to see how Christmas is a “couples-only” event.
I usually just made other plans, and so now I have a great network of friends I spend special occasions with, and consider them family.
Here’s the issue: My sister is now getting divorced, and I am now in a steady relationship.
All of a sudden, the invites are flowing in from my parents. It’s nice to be asked, but the thing is, I don’t really feel any desire to go.
Am I being mean if I don’t accept their invitations? An occasional dinner is OK, but for big holidays I would rather go see the same people I have being seeing for the last 20 years.
Ms. Suddenly Popular
DEAR POPULAR: Declining your parents’ invitations isn’t necessarily mean, although when you do so, you are deliberately refusing an opportunity to connect with them.
On the other hand, not being invited to family gatherings (including important holidays) because you are single … now, that’s also mean.
I’m not a big fan of using “couples-only” labels as an excuse to exclude people. As a veteran single gal, being the only “party-of-one” was no big deal. Like you, I was happy to be with the people that were happy to include me, whether my date was a tall, dark stranger or a full-bodied Merlot.
You don’t mention how your parents are handling your sister’s divorce. Is she still welcome at these events, even though she is no longer part of a couple? I certainly hope so.
Your folks shouldn’t be too surprised if you’re not itching to spend time with them now. Think of this as an opportunity to reach out to your sister. She is going to see how disheartening it can be to experience loss on many fronts.