"Friend" ignoring us because we don't have kids...yet

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-05-2014
"Friend" ignoring us because we don't have kids...yet
7
Mon, 05-05-2014 - 10:14am

My husband, "Jeff" has known "Don" for close to 20 years.  They met when working together.  My husband's brother, "David" also became friends with Don during that time.  The three of them never lost touch.  Don got married first, then David, then, several years later (and several years ago), I married Jeff.  We had a destination wedding.  Don, his wife & kids even came to our wedding, which we were very grateful for.  Don & David each had their first child very quickly into their respective marriages, and a few years prior to Jeff getting married.  I'm a bit younger than Jeff, and we chose a different path - we decided to wait a while.  I know we can't wait forever, so we'll probably work on it soon, perhaps later this year.  I feel as though our choice, one which WE have been content with, has created a great divide between Don & my husband, leaving David in the middle, rather unsure of how to handle.

We recently found out that Don's oldest child had a communion ceremony.  David & family were invited, but we weren't.  When my husband inquired with David, his awkward reply was that "the communion was all kids."  Oh, really?  How come when I had my communion, my parents invited family & friends, including several friends who had NO kids?!  While I do take offense to not being invited, it's Don's loss.  His child received one less gift, and I know we would have given a nice gift.  Not being invite to this makes NO sense to me!  Don & his family have a summer BBQ every year.  Every year we are invited, and for the past few years, every year, it has been "all kids."  Prior to hearing about this communion, we had already made the decision not to attend the BBQ because it conflicts with our anniversary.  I'm sure that will make Don think we are ignoring them!

I am sure this isn't the first time we weren't invited to something Don & his family have held, but David & family have been invited.  About a year ago, my husband sent both an email and text message to Don asking him to go to a concert, something the guys do every summer.  Don quickly responded to the text as if he had no idea who it was.  Did Don delete my husband's phone number from his directory?  Whenever my husband does something with "the guys," I have always reminded him to include Don on on the invite.  And he does. And Don has always declined.  I wonder if things would be different if the invite came from David...we've never tried that.  I don't know if I'll remind my husband about inviting Don anymore.

Overall, I am rather perturbed because I feel Don (and his wife) BOTH simply assume that we don't want/don't like kids.  What if we couldn't have kids?  They shouldn't make any assumptions about this topic, and it is very "high school" of them to do so.  They're ignorant, something I have zero tolerance for.  I have a vivid newsflash for both of them - us not wanting/not liking kids couldn't be further from the truth.  We treat our nephews like gold, we also treat other kids in our extended family very, very well.  If we are lucky enough to have our own child someday, we would treat him or her as the most important human being we know (because they would be).  If we have that child someday, will Don suddenly treat US like gold?  I'm sorry, I won't be having any of that!  If we are getting mistreated now, Don & his wife won't suddenly be our best friends once we have a child.  No way, no how.  I will put a stop to that - quickly.

How should we go about handling this situation?  Should we let things slide only to have David to deal with occasional awkwardness or do we confront Don now to clear the air?  With or without kids, we are who we are, and sadly, I don't think Don realizes this.

 Your advice will be appreciated.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006

Welcome to iVillage! 

If I were to give the other two guys the beneift of the doubt, I would say that they are not intentially trying to hurt your feelings, but have probably come to some of their own conclusions regarding you, your DH (dear husband) and why you don't have kids, and all that they feel goes along with that.  

And this is just a guess, but although I agree I don't see why kids would have anything to do with a first communion, as more activities revolve around their children, they may be more inclined to make a list of people with kids.  

I had my first at 17, so I have never been in your shoes.  And if I have ever behaved as your friends, I most certainly never meant to hurt anyones feelings.  

Lastly, keep in mind that friendship do change and morph over the years.  Kids or no kids, this does happen.  Doesn't mean you aren't friends, just the dynamic has changed.  I am having lunch on Thursday with a long-time friend that I only see a couple times a year.  One of best friends since I was 12, but our lives just don't cross like they used to .  Our youngest are even the same age.  It is just how it goes sometimes.  

Appreciate what you do have with these couples and continue to offer the olive branch.  Change can be hard, but it doesn't have to be bad.  Good luck!

Serenity CL making a marriage work

http://www.ivillage.com/forums/love-sex/love-marriage/making-marriage-work

Serenity
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999

"...With or without kids, we are who we are, and sadly, I don't think Don realizes this...".  Oh, I think he realizes it perfectly.  I suspect that the reason you were not invited is not that you are childless, per se.  Married with children is a completely different lifestyle than married with no kids and a younger wife.  The fact that "Don" no longer wants to hang out with your husband and "the guys" is a clear indicator of that.  He either cannot afford it, or the atmosphere surrounding the events no longer appeals. 

There is also the possibility that, since you are not the same age, nor at the same stage of life as the other couple, you aren't interested in the same things they are, and don't fit in.

Whether any of this changes if you have kids, is anyone's guess.  If you still cling to your pre-children lifestyle, "my" guess is it will not.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I think you are making too big a deal about this.  First are you really missing out that much on not going to a first communion?  I wouldn't consider that a "can't miss" event.  Now if they had a birthday party or anniversary party that focused on an adult and you were not invited, then maybe your DH (not you) might ask Don himself if he had done something to offend him, etc.  It's just a fact of life that when you have little kids, you seek out other parents of little kids because the kids play together and the parents contstantly talk about kid related stuff.  I didn't have my first child until age 30 and when I went to events where all the other women had kids and constantly talked about them, I was bored out of  my mind.  Then when I had a child, I was glad that I had friends who had kids the same age.  At that point, it was difficult to go to parties where they did not plan for kids as far as safety, having to watch the kids constantly, etc. and it was not enjoyable.

As far as the concert, if your DH is making his own plans with the guys, I don't think it's your place to interfere and to determine who goes on the guest list--if he invites someone and they don't want to go, isn't that between him & his friend?  He must be at least 40 yrs old, so I think he could handle this himself.  I also am wondering now how you get along with Don's wife?  Maybe because of the age difference or just personalities, she doesn't feel close to you and Don doesn't invite you because his wife doesn't want to hang out with you--you know how sometimes the women & men stay separate?  You really seem to have an edge here that would be pretty off putting.  And if you know the annual summer BBQ is on the day of your anniversary and you really wanted to be friendly, you might decide to have your anniv. dinner or whatever you do on a different night--unless you have some very important event booked that you can't changed, like tickets to a concert or a trip.  I would also think that if you have known these people for years, at some point the subject of children has come up and you probably said at some time that you eventually wanted children.  I have really never heard of people being shunned because they didn't want or couldn't have children--it's not that people don't like you or are rejecting you because of it, it's just that people who have young kids just live a different life than people with no kids as you will soon find out.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

You didn't say how long this has been going on...was there a time when you got along well as couples with Don and his wife? 

I wonder if, as couples, you just don't have much in common these days? People tend to choose friends based on commonality and since kids become a huge part of a couples' life it makes sense to choose/hang out with others with kids---especially kids close in age. Even if you had a baby next week you still might not fit in with these people if you're the only one with an infant and the rest have kids 6+ years older. It sounds like even "just the guys" isn't really happening anymore. As somebody else mentioned, sometimes friends grow apart. 

I think that you ought to let your dh take the lead in this, whether anything gets said or resolved etc. Because he is really the one affected here, you're a relative newcomer to this group compared to how long the guys have been friends. Near the end of your post you sound kind of self-righteous; if that and your feeling of being "mistreated" comes across in your demeanor then they will not be wanting to spend time with you anytime soon. Try to view this as a phase in friendship, you may find that at a later point in your life the friendship will be rekindled.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-05-2014

First off, thank you to all for your advice.  I really do appreciate it.  I have also spoken in person with several neutral friends and coworkers on the matter, and it is interesting how opinions seem to differ.  It has certainly been helpful in deciding how to handle the situation.

I certainly didn't intend to come across as "self-righteous" or offend anyone in my post.  I was merely seeking advice from neutral parties.  There is always at least two sides to every story, and I think it is simply human nature for your feelings and opinions to show through when you share your side.  That said, I suppose I didn't think of Don's side, which, I admit, was wrong of me.  I certainly don't think anyone would ever truly wish they did not have kids, but what if a part of him wishes he were in my husband's shoes? Maybe he's missing things like free time and flexibility, and there's a part of him that's a little envious.  But don't be fooled - we're certainly not overflowing with free time, since we do work full-time (and my husband is also in school)!

For the record, Don (nor his wife) have never asked either of us what our stance is on kids.  And it's certainly not information we would just randomly divulge to them or anyone unless the topic was somehow brought up and the circumstances were right.  I personally feel it would be quite awkward to tell someone, "we enjoy kids, but we don't want them right now."    

Honestly, I would probably just let this situation slide if it weren't for the fact that my husband's brother, "David" is friends with "Don."  If there was no intermediary involved, my feeling would be "it is what it is."  In a way, I suppose I don't want David to feel caught in between.  When the whole "lost phone number" incident happened, we actually mentioned it to David, and he seemed quite uncomfortable then.  And I know he was quite uncomfortable when he mentioned the communion because I heard him on speaker phone.

I discussed the situation with my husband last night.  You are right, he's an adult and he can make his own choices, but I wanted to offer my opinion. And this is how he's decided to proceed: He will again invite Don to the annual summer concert.  He will also suggest to Don that we all (including David & his wife) get together for dinner sometime soon.  Additionally, we've both decided that whenever we do have that next big event (and subsequent ones), we will NOT exclude Don & family from our invitations - it'd be entirely up to them if they want to join us.  The ball's in Don's court.

Thanks again.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999

You continue to think the reason these people do not want to hang out with you,  is because you are childless.  I still suspect this has NOTHING to do with your stance on having children or not.  A far more realistic interpertation of "you were not invited because it's all kids", is that your behavior is not kid-appropriate.  Too much partying,  inappropriate language, etc.

Also, I suspect Don is NOT envious of your husband.  I suspect that he simply no longer is interested loud, crude, and party hardy events.  This explains the reason your BIL is uncomfortable.  He doesn't want to come out and explain, and you all just don't get it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009

Don't be surprised that  Don declines your supper invitation. It is not easy for couples with small children to go out for dinner, without the kids. They have to arrange babysitting and many couples tend to prefer their "adult only nights out"  to special ocassions.

People lives change and just because your husband has known Don for over 20 years, that does not mean Don considers your DH a close friend. 

Chalk it up with people getting on with their lives.