Gransnet forums


Family gatherings overload AIBU

(90 Posts)
Nagmad2016 Tue 04-Aug-20 14:17:44

My DH and I do not have children. We lead active lives living in the countryside and prefer to spend our time with animals and country matters. Living a distance away from the rest of the family was more by design than chance. Our lives have centred around each other and our many friends and we enjoy travel and live a good life. However, my SiL insists on inviting us, at every opportunity to their family get togethers, children's parties, anniversaries, Barbeques, any and every event. I suffer from social anxiety and have suffered from Menieres disease most of my adult life, leaving me hard of hearing and with a short attention span. My DH and I lead a quiet life and find these events very tiresome as we have little in common with most of the family and do not particularly enjoy children's parties, and all that they entail these days. I dread receiving an invite and am finding it more difficult to come up with reasons not to go.
My DH feels obliged to attend, but I am getting to the point where I just don't want to be manipulated into going by his forceful sister. I am at the age where I feel I should be allowed to say no, without feeling pressurised to do so. Is this so unreasonable of me?

Rosalyn69 Wed 05-Aug-20 14:40:50

I don’t go to family get togethersvexcept once a year pre-Christmas. That suits me fine. I’m not sociable. Not everyone enjoys big get togethers and shouldn’t be made to feel bad for not enjoying them.

Sheila11 Wed 05-Aug-20 16:14:29

That was a bit harsh Grandma KT!

I think Nagmad you should tell the family about the Menderes disease, explain your,can’t cope with big family gatherings, assure them all you love them dearly and then you will feel free of the obligations.
I do feel in the Autumn of our lives we should be allowed to do what we want to. Our generation have spent so many years doing what is expected of us and the ‘ right thing’ and the youngerS do what they like from birth these days.
Do what you want - but tell them the reasons.

Sheila11 Wed 05-Aug-20 16:14:51

Sorry, menieres

Toadinthehole Wed 05-Aug-20 16:27:14

I haven’t read all the responses...but you’re both adults, just say ‘no’, for heaven’s sake. As parents of four grown up children and soon to be seven grandchildren, we love all the family stuff, and the last thing we would want is people being with us under duress. They may not like it either if it becomes knowledge for them. Apologies if this has come up in the past posts. You might find they’d guessed you didn’t want to be there, but no ones saying anything. We’re all too old for this. Just tell them.

grandtanteJE65 Wed 05-Aug-20 16:31:25

No, you are definitely not being unreasonable.

I suggest that you tell your SIL that due to your hearing loss you find it very tiring to go to parties, so you no longer feel you can accept her invitations.

If your husband enjoys these events, then that is fine, but he should be able to appreciate that you would prefer him to go without you.

We no longer accept invitations from my late sister's children, as they quite frankly only invite us when they want something and then don't bother to be polite.

It is hard to say no, but it get easier once you have done it for a while.

H1954 Wed 05-Aug-20 16:50:30


Who’s insisting she attends? hmm

my SiL insists on inviting us

Hardly the same thing, and certainly not bullying!

Ok, "manipulated into attending by his forceful sister" that's bullying in my opinion!

Rachand Wed 05-Aug-20 16:55:45

I understand we’re your coming from, but family is family at the end of the day. Perhaps you could limit acceptance of invites to twice a year - and never a child’s party! Plus you need to tell your SIL this and why it’s hard for you, but are happy to see them every six months. Life is about give and take. Good luck

littleowl Wed 05-Aug-20 17:04:12

You are not being unreasonable at all. It is nice to be invited but you do not have to accept. You can decline the invitation in a nice way. Explain that for health reasons you prefer to give it a miss and send a hand written card and thoughtful present instead.

Rowsie Wed 05-Aug-20 17:58:00

It may be that your family feel they should include you as you do not have children of your own. Why don't you have a quiet word with them and tell them how you feel. You can say you would love to be kept up to date with how everybody is doing but do not feel able to attend all these gatherings.

Nannarose Wed 05-Aug-20 18:07:21

I think you have lots of good ideas here. I do think you need to talk to your DH.

It may be a bit morbid (sorry) but he may find them important if you should die first.
I do think that an explanation of Menieres would be helpful, and would he go on his own? Explaining may feel a little uncomfortable, but people who don't know about it can't see the difference between a small group of understanding friends and a big gathering!

I have had experience of a family member who having turned down invitations for years, suddenly began to turn up after his wife died. I don't think she had a long-standing illness (we never asked). I know that he appreciated being able to pick up with people again.

I am also one who offers invitations in the expectation (and even hope!) that they will be turned down, but I want the family to know we think of them.

Tanjamaltija Wed 05-Aug-20 21:16:18

You are not obliged to give a reason as to why you don't want to / can't go, for the simple reason that you are not obliged to go. I do not go to places where I know I would feel uncomfortable - my husband goes, or does not, as it happens.

ForeverAutumn Thu 06-Aug-20 08:18:04

We're invited to lots of events. In our younger days we used to love gatherings and parties and catching up with family or friends but we have changed as we have got older and enjoy now living a quieter kind of life. Your SIL probably understands this and invites you because she doesn't want you to feel left out if you hear of events that she hasn't mentioned to you. My SIL will always be a party person and invites us to many things, we decline most of them but she is a nice person and invites us out of duty probably!

Clevedon Thu 06-Aug-20 08:48:52

You have the right to say you don't wish to attend. Maybe pick a few to show willing? I too have suffered from anxiety and when it was particularly bad with panic attacks, people did understand. Good luck. Oh and definitely would not be going now during the pandemic!!

Shropshirelass Thu 06-Aug-20 08:49:30

If you don't want to go don't feel that you have to, you don't have to explain yourself either. Invitations can be accepted or declined.