To expect my partner to come to parties with me?(156 Posts)
My husband has begun declining invites to social/family events that he is not interested in.
They are always relating to someone in my life, my friend, my family - last week it was with our son attending a friends birthday party, where everyone else's Dad was there, our son's wasn't, and this week it was my Mum's birthday party but he didn't join me at the family gathering.
His reasons are; last week he just didn't want to go as it was during the day and he said it didn't interest him, e had better ways to spend his day than at a child's party, and that the child's Mum is my friend, not his.
This week he was attending AA (he's an alcoholic) and keeps saying he's not struggling with drink at present but chose to go here instead of to my family party because that's what he does on the same night of the week and didn't want to change it. He could have gone a different night though (they're run every day of the week) and there was no booze at the party as my Mum is also teetotal, so it wouldn't have been a temptation.
I'm feeling like he's increasingly being selfish about not attending anything that just doesn't suit him, which always seems to be anything to do with me!
I am always going to events that he organises though, out of support for him, even of it doesn't interest me.
Am I being unreasonable to look for some of that in return?
TBH I would rather my DH went to an AA meet if he were a recovering alcoholic than a party.
And I have taken my DCs to loads of kids parties where the dads were nowhere to be seen. In fact, i would probably think it a bit strange if I took my DCs to a kids party and dads were there as well as mums. No need really as the party is for the kids to attend, isn't it?
I do think you need to consider his AA meetings as non-negotiable and make sure he can attend them regularly. If it didn't clash, though, I would have liked him to attend a party with me if there was no booze present. How far is he into being teetotal? Do you think he's struggling?
Normally I would say I would expect that too; except this couple invite the whole family and we were the only family with a Dad missing, which we knew would be the case before setting off. They're the kind of friends who add their friends to the extended family, if that makes sense. But I appreciate not all kiddies parties are like that.
So what you were the only family with the Dad missing? Better he missed it to attend an AA meeting than starts drinking again.
Is this a reverse AIBU? Are you the husband?
I would try and get out of a children's party tbh.
I do think his AA meeting was far more important than a party. I hated my stepfather but even I didn't want him to die at 49 due to his alcoholism.
You both need a proper discussion about what is going on.
He's been dry over a year and says he's not struggling but that he goes because he's expected to (by AA people), a bit like investing in his (alcohol-free) future I guess.
I'm obviously really supportive of that, however they run a meeting every day of the week and he goes once a week, so I'd have though he could just go on a different night for a family birthday?! I know he would if it was his own family
No, perhaps I didn't make it clear enough. The kiddies party was daytime and not on AA night, e just didn't fancy it.
It was my Mum's birthday that was on AA night.
Of course I would not want him to struggle with it, the point being that he assures me he isn't currently struggling. I believe him as he's been honest in the past about times he has found it hard going drink-wise.
He's probably not struggling in part because of the AA meetings.
Tbh my dp and I occasionally duck out of social events one is attending that the other doesn't want to. It's not that big a deal.
Does he do other things with you as a family? Given the option I would rather dump and run with kids parties if I don't have to stay. Can't bear hanging about making polite conversation with people I barely know.
XH often missed family stuff as he worked shifts but I know that even if he hadn't been working he would have tried to avoid them. It wasn't the only anti-social side of him, or the only unreasonable thing he did. If this is part of a bigger picture I can see it being a problem, if not then I'd let it slide tbh.
It seems to be happening with increasing regularity, and not always to do with parties, just any socialising that is for couples but of no interest to him (i.e. my family/friends and not his).
If it were just the two isolated incidents I gave in this post, I wouldn't have felt the need to create the thread. But it does seem to be a worrisome lack of interest in anyho socially that doesn't interest him, but that people are noticing his absence because it isn't really expected.
That's a fair point that he is probably not struggling because of the AA meetings. I do appreciate that. But I bet he'd swap nights if it were a night for one of his friends or family!
If you feel he is using it as an excuse more often than not I can understand why you would feel arsed off.
Can you talk about it to him? Not in a "you going to AA meeting is xyz" but more a "you don't seem to want to spend time with my family (who are technically yours too) or my friends anymore...why's that?" kind of way?
I worked in rehab and if you can make an excuse for one thing, it makes it easier for another. He is right to go to AA and do it on his set night.
However, it sounds like there is another issue. He will go to any of his family things but not yours (or the kids'). Is it just the two times or is this a pattern?
Putting my alcohol counselor hat on... is he finding socialising without alcohol difficult? These things can creep in. Did he drink to cover any social anxieties?
If you're an extrovert (like engaging with other people, enjoy parties and thrive on getting your energy from others) than it might be quite difficult for you to understand your DH's point if view if he's an introvert (likes quiet time, doesn't thrive on large gatherings, finds it difficult to enjoy socializing in large groups often). Even without being a recovering alcoholic I would find attending lots of parties quite challenging. I have had to work hard on this over the years because I know it sometimes can appear that I'm unfriendly when really in just not comfortable in social situations. Might that be the problem?
Yes I think talking to him constructively may be a good idea - I was kind of putting out the feelers here first though in the Mumsnet sounding board!
It does seem to be an ever increasing trend, and that's why I was getting concerned.
It's fair to say he's been socially shy without the cover of alcohol in the past, but these are people he knows.
Not just that, but he also has been saying recently how much he's bee enjoying his newfound freedom of being able to easily chat to complete strangers, and how he feels this is a new development for him. And i am so pleased he is feeling more socially able, but that makes it feel a but worse that he will try his newfound freedom on total strangers more easily than on people he already knows and who already think the world of him without him having to work hard at it!!!
The total strangers didn't know him drinking, though. The family, I assume, did. That can make things difficult.
BTW I have a DH who avoids social occasions involving my friends and family like the plague. Literally, actually he gets 'sick' conveniently before we have to leave.
My pil literally have one "do" after another.
Everyone's birthday Easter etc.
I Used to go to them all but loathe most if them and resent the time spent attending them.
So now I just go to the if ones and dh goes on his own.
You said yourself they are occasions for your family, he just doesn't want to go.
I take the point about him not being known as a drinker by strangers, didn't think of that but it dies make sense.
Not attending the birthday of your wife's parent does seem a bit if an affront though. My Mum has done a lot for him all year round, and I'm not saying that in a "he owes her" type way, simply to show they have a good relationship.
For those of you who say you wouldn't go either, don't you think there's a place for 'giving' to your partner by joining them at their parents birthday celebration, rather than leading such separate lives like this?
atrcts - several people with experience of alcoholism have already said on this thread that going to the AA meeting is a priority, that it is important to keep it on the same night to get the habit and routine because it is such an important thing. It is, as someone else said, about not finding excuses. Yet once again you are fixated by the fact that he didn't come to your mum's birthday party. The two things clashed. Your OH was RIGHT to prioritise the AA meeting.
My DH goes to AA weekly. It's something that took a good while to face up to and get help for so I wouldn't ask him to cancel it for anything.
If anything at this early stage if I suggested he did he probably would. If your DH is at the stage where he is prioritising it and doesn't want to cancel I'd be pleased about it and even though you wanted him at the party I wouldn't mention it.
It could make matters worse to make him feel bad for going to AA as then he can't win. If he was drinking you'd be unhappy and if you're still being unhappy with him then it could be seen as a reason not to try so hard to stay sober...
Ok thanks guys - I've explored it from all angles and can see that I have got to suck it up, be a lone ranger socially, and be grateful he isn't drinking (which I am!).
Sometimes it can take a while to really figure out where I stand and I have nothing to compare it to, as I have never known anyone personally who is living with an alcoholic and so am just finding my way through like he is.
I am really surprised at this thread - I go to sunday lunch at my mother in law's not because I'm deseperate to catch up with her (we have little in common) but to keep my husband company and show up 'as a family'. He does the same with my parents.
And when it comes to social events that revolve around children then either you get a fair share of them on and off or you both go together - it's not really fair that it's always 'mum' who does these things if both of you would prefer not to.
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