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family squabble - advice, please

(46 Posts)
grandtanteJE65 Sun 20-Aug-17 17:36:01

Last year DH and I were invited to my eldest niece’s wedding. At the reception, there was some friendly teasing going on between DH and some of the bridegroom’s relations, all of them giving as good as they got and no-one domineering, or objecting to what was said. Suddenly the bride swoops down on DH and asks him to “pipe down”. No similar request made to the others. DH chose to leave the reception, but asked me to stay on, so as not to cause a really awkward situation. (He felt he wasn’t welcome after my niece’s remark.) No apology since or contact between niece and us.

Now my other niece (sister to bride in the above incident) has invited us to her son’s confirmation – an event that is celebrated here in Denmark with a big family party after the church ceremony. This niece was not directly involved in the incident at her sister’s wedding, but has since hinted that she did not see eye to eye with her sister about it.

DH and I both feel that it might be best if he sends a polite excuse and I go on my own, as my other niece and her husband will undoubtedly be at this party.

I’m in two minds here: if he goes we will both be on tenterhooks in case elder niece is still in a huff, or anything else untoward occurs. On the other hand, if I go alone, it might be seen as an admission that DH overstepped the mark at the wedding. (I don’t think he did, I must say.) If we both refuse the invitation, we feel my younger niece can justifiably be hurt, feeling that the incident with her sister is being taken out on her and her family.

My sister (mother of my nieces) died six months before elder girl’s wedding, so I can’t ask her advice or help. We don’t live in the same town as my nieces so there has been no opportunity to meet “accidently on purpose” and perhaps smooth things over. Accepting the invitation will involve travelling and hotel expenses as well as present and money is tight. I don't really want to spend that kind of money if there is going to be a repeat of last time the family gathered.

BUT I did promise my sister, who died of cancer aged 60, t take care of her children.

The nieces in question are both mature women - the elder married at 40. So we are not talking of young adults or teenage girls.

Please, send me your thoughts and wise comments on this difficult situation.

Starlady Sun 20-Aug-17 17:47:03

First, my deepest sympathies on the loss of your sister.

Second, I don't see why anyone would need to "take care of" 2 mature women.

Third, I don't think you or dh should base your attendance on what happened at your elder niece's wedding. The younger one invited you to her ds' confirmation. If this is something you would usually go to, I think you should both go. Just maybe keep your distance from elder niece, but don't blow off younger niece and her ds because of what happened at the wedding. Not their fault, etc.

Starlady Sun 20-Aug-17 17:51:50

Is it possible that dh was louder than the others? Or that he said something that touched off elder niece's grief about her lost mum? Even talking about a memory of her might do that. If there was anything in his behavior that might have attracted her (negative) attention in any way, then maybe he should avoid that when at the confirmation. If not, then please don't worry about it. This is NOT HER CELEBRATION, this time, so she has no say, anyhow.

Also, what has her relationship been like with dh, overall? Has there been tension between them in the past? If so, that may be why she singled him out. But imo, it shouldn't damage his relationship with younger niece and her ds. Jmho.

mumofmadboys Sun 20-Aug-17 18:01:19

I too think you should both go and be friendly to all parties and make sure DH is quiet and doesn't tease anyone! Hopefully if all goes well it will clear the air and improve relationships.Good luck!

Madgran77 Sun 20-Aug-17 18:05:24

I agree with mumofmadboys

MissAdventure Sun 20-Aug-17 18:08:22

I would go, stay sober and on guard, and use it as an opportunity to set things right, by being impeccable guests.
Please note: I'm not suggesting you or husband were drunk last time!

MamaCaz Sun 20-Aug-17 18:12:40

I agree with the above. You have both been invited by the younger niece, so should not feel that either of you has to decline because of the other niece, and might even upset younger one if you did!

TriciaF Sun 20-Aug-17 20:32:36

I agree with others who say 'play it down'.
Weddings are stressful as well as happy events. Your eldest niece, and the rest of the guests, have probably forgotten all about it.

M0nica Sun 20-Aug-17 20:38:53

Both of you go to the family event. Act as if the incident never happened.

Nannarose Sun 20-Aug-17 21:27:35

I have a close in-law who comes from one of those type of ' joshing and teasing' families. I, DH, and others often don't know how to take remarks that seem very unpleasant to us, but are treated by his family as standard 'banter'.
I try to keep away when this is going on. I haven't ever 'swooped down', but I have sometimes asked him to 'back off' if I think he's about to offend someone. I know that he feels he has to be on his best behaviour at any of our gatherings, and keep his sense of humour to himself.
I love this relative, he is kind and generous. But I thought of him and his manner of relating to people as I read your post.
My own suggestion is to go, but keep interactions quiet and low key, remembering that even people who appear to take teasing in good part, may nevertheless feel uncomfortable. If that is too much to ask, then decline.

Norah Mon 21-Aug-17 07:55:57

We would go as a couple to support the nieces and attend a family event. It may well be that all from a year ago has been forgotten, do leave it alone.

Christinefrance Mon 21-Aug-17 08:17:31

I agree with mumofmadboys as well. Support your niece, enjoy the celebration.

f77ms Mon 21-Aug-17 08:25:12

Both go and behave impeccably , I dislike banter myself and find it passive aggressive , why would anyone do that at a wedding ?? .

Smileless2012 Mon 21-Aug-17 11:09:48

Go together and enjoy a wonderful family celebration*grandtanet*, perhaps when you get back you can let us know how it wentsmile.

Jalima1108 Mon 21-Aug-17 19:48:18

I think you should go and enjoy the celebration.

You could let your DH know beforehand that if you squeeze his hand extra hard he is becoming a bit loud and talking out of turn.
I have done this to DH on occasion, it is less obvious than 'shhh'.

inishowen Tue 22-Aug-17 09:50:07

Maybe he touched a nerve with what he was saying, or what she thought he was about to say. Anyway put it behind you and move on. My DH is a bit loud and sometimes I cringe with the things he comes out with.

blue60 Tue 22-Aug-17 09:54:10

You should both go, and move on from the events at the last gathering.

You may feel awkward at first, but it may be an opportunity to break the ice.

Anya Tue 22-Aug-17 10:01:25

Yes, another vote for mumofmadboys' suggestion.

radicalnan Tue 22-Aug-17 10:03:13

Both go along and enjoy the day. This is a different day and you will be keeping your promise to your sister, which should make you happy.

Have an excuse ready so if you don't feel comfortable you can leave without upset but I am sure it will be fine.

When something awkwards happens we do feel as if it follows us around a bit but honestly, most people won't have noticed last time and will just be so happy to see you.

Coconut Tue 22-Aug-17 10:29:07

Life's too short, so go, stay sober, have fun and draw a line under the incident. Weddings are always emotional and excess drinking often leads to quarrels. Your sister would be happy that you have risen above it all.

win Tue 22-Aug-17 10:54:37

Enjoy the confirmation the two of you, great celebrations in Denmark, they really know how to party. Have fun. An invitation means you are wanted there, and on such an important day it is important to support your family and attend in my view.

Lynnebo Tue 22-Aug-17 11:30:34

Forget the past and enjoy the celebration- don't let the rest of your family down by not going x

MargaretX Tue 22-Aug-17 11:57:19

Perhaps your DH was too loud. Loud behaviour is not always welcome and usually means that too much alcohol has been consumed which irritates those still sober.
I have just attended the confirmation in Germany of my GD and it had a severe dresscode ( me in black jacket and string of pearls) and a behaviour code. Everyone was very polite and although we talked a lot and the children laughed and joked after the church service, we all remained at the table and practiced our good table manners. but it is a serious occasion for the young teenagers.

Jaycee5 Tue 22-Aug-17 12:01:43

I think you should both go. Otherwise, when will be the right time to go and the niece that has given this invitation if he doesn't go to her event but does turn up at the next one. Maybe he was in the wrong or maybe she was but it has to be put in the past and he may as well do it now.

Hattiehelga Tue 22-Aug-17 12:41:50

I think you should both go and if offended niece is there, avoid her unless she makes a friendly move. If neither or just you go to the Confirmation then younger niece could be undeservedly upset. I am sure DH would be on his best behaviour even if he was unjustly treated. Go and have a good day !