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To expect my partner to come to parties with me?

(156 Posts)
atrcts Tue 20-Aug-13 00:03:35

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?

manfalou Thu 22-Aug-13 14:47:41

I would encourage him to the AA meetings... every night of the week if needs be! Making such a massive change in his life with regards to alcohol is bound to make changes elsewhere too.

My Mother died from alcoholism, she never admitted it so maybe give a little slack until he is totally out of it himself... he's doing really well!

differentnameforthis Thu 22-Aug-13 14:41:26

I'd be pissed off, taking a new baby and a small child to a BBQ full of families and my DH not there because he said he 'has better ways to spend his time'.

I've done it. Several times, for various reasons. I can't say that it bothers me to be honest.

Parents have coped with babies & small children for years, parents do it the world over. Sometimes the older one gets left a little while when mum or dad has to deal with nappies etc, but it really isn't the end of the world.

differentnameforthis Thu 22-Aug-13 14:39:31

I think if he can manage to cope with his family social events, its pretty poor that he doesn't go to other events.

I don't. Equate it to being ill. I can happily be with my family when ill, but I don't want to be with dh's.

It's a level of comfort.

Also, op, perhaps he doesn't want to go as doesn't want to be questioned about his sobriety, perhaps he will feel judged, talk about.

We can sit here & guess until the 12th of never, but you will never know unless you talk to him.

GladbagsGold Thu 22-Aug-13 14:36:00

I think if he can manage to cope with his family social events, its pretty poor that he doesn't go to other events. I'd be pissed off, taking a new baby and a small child to a BBQ full of families and my DH not there because he said he 'has better ways to spend his time'.

differentnameforthis Thu 22-Aug-13 14:25:21

He's newly sober. He has not long started attending meetings.

Perhaps he needs to learn who he is without the alcohol to prop him up? He may feel that he cannot do this socially with friends/your family.

No matter how familiar he is with friends & your family, perhaps he doesn't feel now is a good time to be working out who he is in front of them (especially at a children's party). Being social at home, he is still in his comfort zone, can retreat if needs to, probably can do this in his parents house too, not so much in his in laws or in public.

Some one touched on him drinking at social occasions without your knowing, which is entirely possible, most (all) alcoholics hide their drink. So perhaps socially, it is just too hard/too triggering for him at the moment.

cafecito Thu 22-Aug-13 00:54:10

I agree with FredFred and sooty

FredFredGeorge Wed 21-Aug-13 18:23:40

TwoStepsBeyond I agree there are occasions when the kids would miss out by not going, but they aren't occasions where both are forced to go - they're times when one of the parents has to go, and they can be swapped off while the other does more productive things.

That wasn't the suggestion for the thread - visiting your parent etc. aren't such occasions.

ilovesooty Wed 21-Aug-13 17:56:34

Fair enough Francesca.

TwoStepsBeyond Wed 21-Aug-13 16:34:13

ILoveSooty no, he wasn't an alcoholic but he did have other issues which he used to get out of anything that didn't appeal, but then conveniently got over them when it was something similar that benefitted him.

I know there are several layers to this situation, I'm just trying to say that whatever the cause of the problem, if the end result is that OP is feeling isolated and wishing her DP was more involved he needs to listen. His needs are important but he's not the only one with needs in the family.

Sorry OP I think I introduced the soft play in response to someone else's post, as an example of when many mums would rather not have to be involved with kids' parties, but you can't always say "I don't want to go, so I'm not going" - you do it anyway because the kids will enjoy it.

With your family party set-up there is even more reason for your DP to have been there I agree.

atrcts Wed 21-Aug-13 15:12:33

Where does soft play come into it? It wasn't soft play!!!!! That would have been much easier and not obvious that my husband wasn't there, and much less need for other parents to keep bailing my little boy out!

FrancescaBell Wed 21-Aug-13 14:57:22

Maybe you need to accept that lots of families like spending time together as a whole family unit?

But this has got nothing to do with the party the OP has described, which was an event for adult friends and children. Her husband was the only parent not in attendance, when he had no other clashing arrangement.

FredFredGeorge Wed 21-Aug-13 14:53:30

If you believe parties are obligations, then they should be split, and not both parents going that's grossly wasteful of time, and completely pointless to put both of you out when it could be only one! You certainly don't need 2 parents to watch your child at a soft play, indeed it would be a lot better if there was only 1.

MonstersDontCry Wed 21-Aug-13 14:24:50

YANBU. My DPis like this too and it pisses me off. If he knows my family are coming round he always goes out. Im always getting asked where he is and I have to make pathetic excuses for him. I'm always doing things I don't want to. For example, tomorrow, we are driving 3 hours with a toddler and a new-born to visit his overbearing aunty. I really don't want to go, but I will as it will look odd if I don't.

Although I do think you are being unreasonable about the AA meeting/your mums birthday. Maybe he likes to see the same people every week for support.

FrancescaBell Wed 21-Aug-13 14:21:53

I'm not misquoting you ilove but telling you the impression I'd gained from your posts.

In fact I agree that it's impossible to say how every alcoholic will behave in recovery, precisely because people are individuals with their own set of character and personality traits. Hence it's right that people are treated on a case-by-case basis.

Where I think we disagree is in our advice to the OP in terms of how she should approach it. I profoundly disagree for example that this man's needs should come first every time.

It's up to the OP to weigh up any conflicting advice she gets on this thread and to decide (with her personal knowledge of everyone involved) what are the best next steps.

Perhaps we can focus on that and not who is 'right'?

atrcts Wed 21-Aug-13 14:14:50

Yes I am hoping that he will progress a bit - based on his disclosure that he can be overwhelmed by the newness f actually FEELING emotions and not having them be dumbed down by alcohol anymore.

I think the 12 steps seems to be about examining your own moral behaviour, and I'm hoping he may see that partnership and parenting will need to involve the sacrifice of compromise at times.

It's a waiting game and a case of seeing where it all lands. and of course I don't want to be jumping on his back over unreasonable everyday things, however not do I want to struggle on holding it all together and being the only giver.

ilovesooty Wed 21-Aug-13 14:10:25

By that I mean participating socially and in family life should form part of his goal setting within the framework of a structured recovery plan and you should have input into it.

ilovesooty Wed 21-Aug-13 14:05:06

With regard to where the line gets drawn I think it has to be a case by case basis. AA as it progresses will hopefully enable him to be increasingly open with you and he'll make progress in terms of social interaction.

CogDat Wed 21-Aug-13 14:02:22

I think yanbu, and I'm very surprised so many people think you are.
Plenty of times we might rather do our own thing, but in a family, everyone should fulfill their obligations, to keep the unit happy overall. Attending events at the in laws, or going to a party where you will be expected to herd the DC for hours, it might not be your favourite choice of a Saturday activity, but you owe it. Give and take.

ilovesooty Wed 21-Aug-13 14:01:18

I didn't say that personality and character does not influence recovery. Please don't attribute something to me that I haven't said.

I assume your counsellor acquaintances have only expressed their opinions in general terms due to client confidentiality so you can't say how they would view this situation on the information we have.

atrcts Wed 21-Aug-13 13:57:59

ah! FranchesaBell, I see you already answered my post. In fact you seem to have answered it as I was typing the question out!

atrcts Wed 21-Aug-13 13:56:38

ilovesooty - where do you draw the line between using AA as an excuse to be even more selfish because it suits you, or between fulfilling the role of a parent (which involves some sacrifice along the way), without compromising your recovery?

Playing devils advocate here: You know how some people with an illness will use it for any excuse to wriggle out of anything that doesn't tickle their fancy, could this ever be the same with someone fighting addiction?

And by the way I am not saying people with an illness do that, just saying some can. If anyone is allowed to say this it's me, as I have multiple sclerosis which is an incurable degenerative disease!

FrancescaBell Wed 21-Aug-13 13:55:53

As it happens, I know several addiction counsellors ilovesooty and none of them espouses the somewhat unilateral view that you are expressing on this thread. They tend to look at the situation holistically and how personality and character has an influence on addiction and recovery.

ilovesooty Wed 21-Aug-13 13:54:14

As I thought, Francesca you simply don't get it.

ilovesooty Wed 21-Aug-13 13:52:41

TwoStepsBeyond I assume though that your ex was not an addict in recovery?

FrancescaBell Wed 21-Aug-13 13:51:44

I've already suggested other threats and causes, but don't want to labour them because it's up to the OP whether she considers them as valid threats.

Put simply, being a recovering alcoholic does not preclude a person from being selfish, entitled, unfaithful or succeptible to other addictions in addition to their problems with alcohol.

People's individual personalities also have an impact on behaviour; they are not one-dimensional characters defined only by their addiction.

This is true of any condition. Personality and character traits will always influence how people behave, whether they have an addiction or illness or not.

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