“My boyfriend of four months was supposed to come to my parents crib [for Thanksgiving] and he never did. I was embarrassed because I told my mom he would [come]. It’s important to me to meet his people and vice versa, but he acts hesitant. We’ve had issues before where he kind of stood me up and I always had an excuse. Am I being dramatic for being upset?”
This is my least favorite time of year to give advice. As I type, just before midnight on Thanksgiving, my Ask.FM inbox is overrun with messages from women who were disappointed today when their alleged boyfriends didn’t show up for family dinner.
Here’s another current one:
“My whole [Thanksgiving] was effed up. Boyfriend had to work. Told me he would be there all day. We were texting through out the day. Around 5PM, I asked if he wanted me to bring food to his job. He was at his sister’s. My blood was boiling. I asked he would stop by. He said he’d try. The f--- they do that at? I am so feeling a certain type of way about this. He’s been inside me THIS WEEK!”
Some version of this happens every year… to a lot of people.
You can tell a lot about a person’s interest based on how they act/ show up for the holidays. And a lot of people who think they are in a committed relationship, or at least a situation “going somewhere”, find out otherwise. People also tend to have a lot of expectations for this time of year (those Hallmark commercials have done a doozy on everyone) and get profoundly let down when they’re not met.
Too often, those disappointed people come to me, asking the obvious (see above and below). And some of them get very upset when I answer with the stark truth that they’re trying to avoid, which is exactly what happened here.
That first woman asked, so I answered:
You’re asking if you’re being “dramatic” because you are upset after you were stood up again? You’re not being dramatic enough. He stood you up on Thanksgiving and embarrassed you in front of your family. This is level 10.
It’s also at least the SECOND time he’s stood you up. He shoulda been gone after the first if there was no VERY valid explanation for why he couldn’t show up for you. Dude’s at best unreliable. At worst? Uninterested. Call this a wrap.
She wasn’t so pleased with this answer. I get it. No one wants to hear someone they care about isn’t that into them. And because she’s not ready to let go, she was trying to justify his behavior.
The same woman wrote back:
“I’m not a silly girl and I’m not blaming myself. And there was a lack of communication on both our parts at times. We are together nearly 85% of [the] time. I just wanted to know if 4 months is too early to meet parents. I’m ready, but I feel he isn’t. I feel we should have been together today.”
If you’re in a relationship, it’s cool to meet parents. You don’t have to, of course, but you can. (Everyone doesn’t agree with that, I know. To which I ask: if after the dating process—i.e., vetting—you don’t know if he’s suitable to meet your parents, why did you commit to him?)
But whether it’s too soon or not, he agreed to show up. And if he thought it was too soon, then he should have said that instead of just skipping out on you.
Stop making excuses for him, especially since it’s not the first time he stood you up, by your account.
She responded again:
“I write to you because I feel that my entire family judges and ridicules me. I know for sure that love isn’t entirely black and white. There are grey areas and I know you’ve lived through grey areas at some point in life. I just ask that you take that into account when people reach out to you.”
See now? This is the part I hate, when readers don’t want to handle the truth, and want to accuse me of being judge-y or ridiculing them or not understanding the concept of grey.
In this case, what she doesn’t know is I’ve been stood up by a boyfriend on Thanksgiving (something I’ve written about repeatedly). And because I was so into him, I wanted to pretend against my better judgment that it didn’t mean what I knew it meant: this is the wrong mofo for me. But I was in what I then-thought was love, and I wanted to believe the BS excuse he gave me (which was really, really bad) because I wanted him.
And you know what happened not even two weeks after I forgave him? He sh—ed on me again. We made plans to take a road trip, and I was all prepped and ready and he actually called that time— the day before—and said he thought it best if I didn’t go. Why did he do that? Because 1) he was apparently the giver of no damns; and 2) by sticking around after the first time he’d completely disrespected me, I’d made it clear to him that I would put up with that. *Cue the sound of my heart breaking.*
That is when I accepted what I’d been trying to pretend otherwise about: that man didn’t want me. Period. And if I accepted it the first time, I wouldn’t have played myself a second and been hurt as much for getting played by him as for playing myself. Again.
This was my response to the woman’s last response:
You asked what I thought and I answered, on. You came to me for my opinion.
Because you don’t like the answer doesn’t make it wrong.
Standing your girl up— and not for the first time—and on Thanksgiving is a red flag.*
Everything ain’t grey, babes. Sorry if your feelings are hurt, but take that out on the guy who didn’t show.
*And as commenters who saw the question noted, is also a sign that you’re a side chick