I left in an emergency type of way, and left most of the household items behind. I have been attempting to start my life over. I moved in with a good friend, and she is now moving in with her partner and taking her household belongings with her. I would like to throw myself an “I’m not getting married party” with wine, good food, and my closest girlfriends who have been my rock for a long time and have been there for me for the this heartbreaking ordeal. I would also like to create a registry for household items.
Out of the ten women I would invite, four of them have had weddings in which I was a bridesmaid, and I have attended both bridal showers and weddings for three others. I don’t mean to play tit for tat, but this is simply where I’m at right now. If I do eventually get married, I, of course, would not expect anything else from these friends.
How tacky is this? Etiquette-wise, I know it is wrong, but I am now looking at an empty apartment and a not-so-large bank account. — Broken Engagement, Needs Household Items
This is a no. I do sympathize with your position, I really do, but throwing yourself a “gimme new household items” party isn’t the appropriate way to ask for help. I appreciate that you have purchased many a gift for friends in the past and attended showers and weddings and such where gifts were specified on registries, but this idea that the gift-giving should be reciprocated in the same manner, despite the different circumstances is…well, it’s short-sighted and kind of silly. You know as well as anyone that giving you a gift now would not dissuade a friend from giving you a gift if you were to get married (and/or have a baby) eventually. It’s not like we’re all entitled to a certain number of gift-giving occasions that simply expire once they’ve been honored, like a gift certificate that’s been marked as “used.”
If you want to have a party to celebrate dodging a bullet, do that. Have wine and good food and your closest friends over and thank them for being the rocks you say they’ve been and helping you through your heartbreaking ordeal. But leave a gift registry out of it. Instead, you could mention to each of your friends that, because you left most of your household items at the home you shared with your ex and your current roommate is moving out and taking her household items that you’ve been using with her, you are in need of some necessities.
You could ask your friends if any of them have used items they no longer need that they’d be willing to pass along as you work on re-building a home for yourself (you could even make a list of your most-needed items). If they take it upon themselves to do a little shopping for you and gift you some new items, great. But to put some expectation on them when they’ve already provided emotional support and will likely have other opportunities in the future to “reciprocate” the gift-giving you’ve provided them, isn’t it.
In addition for asking about potential hand-me-downs from friends and family, you could also make some trips to Goodwill or Salvation Army or garage sales. Check the “free” section of Craigslist. And check in with battered women organizations in your area about potential support and help they might be able to provide you. To leave an abusive relationship takes an enormous amount of strength and fortitude, and to start over as you have and are is a sign of great resilience. You deserve to celebrate these things with your friends who have helped you through the hardest days; just leave the gift registry out of it.
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