When an open in­vi­ta­tion never ma­te­ri­al­izes

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SUNDAY LIFE - UNIVER­SAL UCLICK Ju­dith Martin

DEAR MISS MAN­NERS: Iama 38-year-old woman, never mar­ried. Since my mother’s pass­ing a few years ago, my per­spec­tive has changed. Specif­i­cally, I pre­fer to fo­cus more on my re­la­tion­ships and less on my ca­reer. I would like, more than any­thing, to have a fam­ily of my own.

I have been dat­ing a younger man (seven years younger) for a year. Luke and his fam­ily are na­tive to our city, while I am not. He eats din­ner with his par­ents — at their in­vi­ta­tion and ex­pense — most Fri­days and ev­ery Sun­day. Ex­cept for a hand­ful of oc­ca­sions such as my boyfriend’s birth­day and New Year’s Day, I am not in­vited.

Be­cause my time in this town has been largely as a non­tra­di­tional law stu­dent and then as a woman with lim­ited means seek­ing gain­ful em­ploy­ment, I haven’t made many friends. As a re­sult of this, and my boyfriend’s din­ners with his par­ents, I of­ten spend both Fri­day and Sun­day nights alone, which makes me in­cred­i­bly sad.

I have men­tioned this to my boyfriend, and his re­sponse is that “there is sort of an open in­vi­ta­tion,” but when the end of the week rolls around, he never of­fers a din­ner with his par­ents as an op­tion. We have had sev­eral ar­gu­ments about this.

Al­though I was em­ployed at the same law of­fice as his fa­ther for a year and we (in the­ory) have shared in­ter­ests, his par­ents have never reached out to me per­son­ally to ex­tend an in­vite. This Christ­mas, my younger brother drove up from an­other state to spend Christ­mas with me. We spent Christ­mas Eve and Christ­mas Day alone while Luke cel­e­brated with his par­ents, at their home, on both days ... and they live just 10 min­utes away. I thought this was par­tic­u­larly cruel.

I have strug­gled with feel­ings of be­ing “or­phaned,” be­cause with­out my mother, I feel es­sen­tially alone (my fa­ther is de­struc­tive and not re­ally in the picture). I had been so op­ti­mistic upon be­gin­ning my re­la­tion­ship with Luke that I would be warmly re­ceived by his fam­ily, but it has been quite the op­po­site. I am a good per­son, and I can’t un­der­stand this.

Which party, if any, is at fault here? Is there any­thing I can do to be in­cluded in these weekly out­ings? I have de­vel­oped se­ri­ous re­sent­ment to­wards both Luke and his par­ents.

GEN­TLE READER: Your wish to start a fam­ily is not aligned with your gentle­man friend’s de­sire to make you part of his. Sadly, this does not bode well for the longevity of the re­la­tion­ship.

An open in­vi­ta­tion is a tricky con­cept. But if you would like to chal­lenge it, you could ask di­rectly about a spe­cific night. You could also in­vite the fam­ily to your house for a meal. If the an­swer to ei­ther of these op­tions is any­thing less than a firm plan, it might be time to move on — and make new friends.

Please send your ques­tions to Miss Man­ners at her web­site, www.miss­man­ners.com; to her email, dearmiss­man­ners@gmail. com; or through postal mail to Miss Man­ners, An­drews McMeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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