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Were we wrong to offer? Why did she not tell her husband about the invitation and the arrangements to attend the wedding?

Tagged as: Age differences, Family, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (28 March 2016) 4 Answers - (Newest, 29 March 2016)
A female United Kingdom age 30-35, anonymous writes:

My aunt and I have always been close- she is 12 years older than me so more like a big sister than an aunt. A few years ago she moved to America with her husband and son due to her husband's job.

Of course I missed her and we kept in touch and I went over to visit etc...

Last year my fiancé and I set a date to get married- August this year. I gave everyone just over 1 years notice and my Aunt told me last month that financially they couldn't afford the flying fare to come over as they had a few issues with their house so a lot of their savings went in to that.

Of course I completely understood but was gutted as I wanted her to be my MOH and really wanted her there.

My fiancé saw how upset I was so he - very generously offered to pay for all 3 of their flights- both arrival and departure so they could come!

The only item they would need to pay for is the taxi ride to the airport, which seeing as they live close by to the airport (40 mins) wouldn't cost much.

My dad would pick them up from the airport here in the UK at no cost and they would stay with my grandparents free of charge. It's was the perfect solution.

When I called my aunt to tell her this she didn't seem too happy and said that she wasn't sure if her husband could get the time off work and she wasn't prepared to come by herself with their 6 year old. She was really negative about the whole thing..

My fiancé then thought that she may have been offended by his gesture but considering she is usually happy to take hand-outs (as she has in the past from various family members) I doubted this was the case.

We then decided to call and apologise if we had offended her and her husband picked up as my aunt wasn't in and after we got talking it became clear he had no idea about the whole situation - that we had offered to pay for their flights etc...

He said that he didn't think there'd be an issue with taking 1 week holiday and would let us know. This was 2 weeks ago and we haven't heard anything from my aunt.

We are so confused - why did she not tell her husband (she had known over a month about our gesture)? Why did she act so negatively?

Were we wrong to offer this?

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (29 March 2016):

chigirl agony auntShe moved a few years ago. In the meantime, your friendship has taken a different course, it seems. Not from your side, but from hers. Sometimes, people change. I don't know why, so I can't help you with that. I experienced something similar with my best friend from high school. We sat together in every class and she always wanted to hang out and we were together every day. Then she moved to another city, and we talked a few times over the phone and things seemed fine. I then suggested I come visit her, and all of a sudden she stopped calling. She couldn't give me a yes or not when I asked to visit her, she avoided the question, and then just stopped calling me and didn't pick up when I called her. I haven't talked to her since. To this day I have no idea what that was about.

So, when it comes to your aunt... This one is on her. You didn't do anything wrong, and you have done whatever you can do to save this friendship and you have gone above and beyond in order for them to come visit you. But your aunt has something else on her mind. And over the years, she has lost her friendship to you since she doesn't feel she can be honest with you about her reasons to not come.

Maybe have one final call to her and ask for an explanation? Or.. just walk away and leave it at this. Your friendship has obviously drifted apart in her book and you're not that important to her any longer. Sometimes this happens, through no fault of yours.

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A female reader, Anonymous 123 Italy + , writes (29 March 2016):

Anonymous 123 agony auntMaybe she's fine with taking small hand-outs from the family but a fully paid round trip for a family of three is certainly huge and they would be in your debt forever.

I guess she felt bad for not being able to afford the trip herself as well as being offended by the offer. I think that is why she didn't tell her husband either; because maybe she knew that even though they couldn't afford the trip, maybe he would have tried to work it out for her sake and she didn't want to put him under that pressure. And the reason she didn't tell him about your offer is because she knew it might offend him too.

OP most people who have self-respect are touchy about money. You might have had the best intentions but I'm pretty sure that it made her feel small. Put yourself in her shoes OP. While you and your fiance were certainly generous, it must have made her feel really awkward.

Also, if you're paying that much for her and her family, she would have to give you a gift which was just as generous and think of the financial strain again.

Plus, what if some relative or common friend got to hear at the wedding that your aunt couldn't afford to come herself so your fiance paid for her entire family? Imagine how embarrassing that would be for her and her husband.

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A female reader, Ciar Canada + , writes (28 March 2016):

Ciar agony auntI agree with Honeypie. For reasons she doesn't feel comfortable discussing (or perhaps admitting) she doesn't want to come.

It could very well be a weight gain, a recently developed fear of flying, overall anxiety, or something else entirely.

I don't think those reasons have any to do with you, but I think you should let this matter drop and not discuss it with others or make it into something bigger. If you're that fond of her, just accept whatever explanation she gave you and respect her privacy.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (28 March 2016):

Honeypie agony auntMy guess is, as much as she loves you she doesn't WANT to come. Maybe she has had a big weight gain? And don't want to go because of it. Or there is some depression going on.

I would let it go.

For whatever reason she isn't keen on attending and THAT is her choice.

Your fiance did a VERY nice thing in offering to pay for the trip. The ball is IN HER court and she has chosen to NOT pick up the ball.

Enjoy the guests who DO want to be there with you and for you.

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