Carolyn Hax: Grudges build over family priorities

Carolyn Hax:

February 10, 2014 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

I have dutifully attended my older and younger siblings’ weddings, complete with the entire dozen or so contrived events, which were not at all convenient for me; and I have been flexible with my folks about holidays so they could accommodate my siblings’ spouses, etc.

One sibling and spouse are now expecting a child, due shortly before the time my boyfriend and I were considering for a wedding. I am 99 percent sure they wouldn’t attend because of the baby and because they have always prioritized spouse’s family events.

At what point is it OK to stop planning my life around my siblings? And, of course, what would be the best response to my mother, who would be devastated that the whole family “couldn’t” attend?


This is actually two questions. The first is the one you cop to, about whether it’s OK not to schedule everything around your family. The answer to that is easy: You have been entitled all along to live your own life, so, sure, get on with it.

The second question is, can you plan your wedding for a date that’s not sibling-friendly? Possibly just because you’ve had it up to here with contorting yourself to accommodate them? The answer to that is still yes, technically. It just seems needlessly foot-stompy if a wedding two months earlier or later would work just fine.

Bigger picture: This is why it’s best not to suppress, suppress, suppress your own feelings to please others. It hardens into resentment and becomes “the entire dozen or so contrived events.” Yikes.

Re: The Other F Word: Carolyn, I think your answer is a good one. However, I can see where the writer is coming from. The single person in the family is expected to accommodate everyone else because you are viewed as “less than.” It seems that she has been put in the “less than” category for some time.


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