This is an evening event (rather than an all-day affair) in what I have seen looks to be a nice venue, and I can’t see my exclusion as being anything to do with cost or a deliberate decision on the part of the hosts, both of which points lead me back to believing that this is solely my girlfriend’s decision to go without me although she says she alone was invited. — Not Invited
Ok, so you have no reason to believe that you were included on the wedding invitation and that your girlfriend’s lying about it and pretending you weren’t except that you think the couple could have afforded to invite plus-ones based on the venue looking “nice” and the event taking place in the evening rather than all day? (Fwiw, most receptions are just a few hours.) Plenty of people have evening receptions in nice venues and don’t extend plus-ones to every guest. Have you considered that limiting the guest list is HOW they were able to afford a “nice venue”?
The real problem here though isn’t so much that you suspect your girlfriend is lying about your being invited, but rather it’s that you don’t trust your girlfriend and you think there’s reason to believe she doesn’t want to be around you. Why else mention how long she was gone for the bachelorette/hen party? (For the record, leaving around 6 and getting home in the early morning is pretty typical for that kind of event.) It sounds like you’re looking for evidence to support gut feelings you have. What would be a better use of your time and energy would be to discuss the gut feelings, whatever they may be. Are you feeling neglected, rejected, or like your girlfriend has lost interest or doesn’t care about you? Discuss THAT. Stop focusing on some stupid wedding you don’t believe you weren’t invited to. Where does an argument about that go? It goes like this:
“Your name was not on the invitation!”
“I think I was! I don’t believe you. Why didn’t you ask if you could bring me?”
“Because that’s fucking tacky.”
“No, it’s not!”
“Yes, it is.”
See? Stupid. Whereas, if you discuss your actual feelings about the relationship, you might get somewhere. If you tell your girlfriend that after ten years, you’re beginning to feel taken for granted, neglected, ignored, whatever, she can’t argue with that. She can’t say you AREN’T feeling those feelings. I mean, I guess she could, but at least that gives you some kind of resolution and validation that your feelings aren’t actually being considered. What is more likely to happen if you discuss your feelings is that you have a discussion about your relationship — which is the actual subject of your problem — and not about some dumb invitation. You see the difference? Focus on those hurt feelings of yours, but when explaining why they’re hurt, don’t tell your girlfriend it’s because you weren’t invited to the wedding; tell her it’s because your relationship is at a point that you feel she prefers going without you. I don’t know what the reasons are that you believe your girlfriend would prefer going to a wedding without you, and maybe you don’t either — but those reasons are the true root of the issue here, not how nice the venue is or what time the reception is being held.
Living in an apartment in the city with two small kids, I am very familiar with this situation. Our downstairs neighbor in our last place used to complain all the time, and this was back when we just had one child, he was asleep from 7 pm until 6 am every day, and we were out and about for much of every weekend. Didn’t matter. This woman worked from home, so any noise she heard at, say, 3 pm on a Wednesday afternoon distracted her and she’d complain. I regret in hindsight kowtowing to her as much as we did. Making normal, walking-around, playing-with-toys noise on a weekday afternoon is totally reasonable. She should have rented an office space or found a table in a cafe or gone to our very lovely and very large neighborhood library to work. Instead, she complained, I felt constantly on edge, and we ended up moving out.
Before we moved, I told our potential new downstairs neighbor – who happened to also be our new potential landlord — that as a family we might make some noise. I brought my then 3-year-old son to the open house, told him to run around, and then asked our potential neighbor if he was sure he’d be ok with that kind of activity right above him on occasion. He said he would, and, to his credit, in the three years he lived below us he never complained once (and we added a second kid to the mix eight months after we moved in). And whenever we asked how the noise level was, he said, “Not an issue! Don’t worry about it!” So, he was either exceedingly patient and understanding, or our last neighbor was an uptight bitch. We have new downstairs neighbors now who moved in a couple months ago, and they, too, say the noise isn’t a problem. Which makes me think the problem all along was unreasonable expectations from our old neighbor.
Some people, I’ve learned, simply love to complain. And some people live in a city with the full understanding that it isn’t going to be as quiet as, say, a suburb in Milwaukee where one might have lived her entire adult life until retiring to Brooklyn to write her (parenting!) memoir from home while complaining about the toddler living above singing ABCs too loudly in the stairwell (true story). (By the way, the same complainy neighbor in my last place also whined about another neighbor’s dog and bought for our shared stairwell some weird dog whistle thing that would go off every time the poor dog got taken out for a walk. As I said, some people like to complain and probably shouldn’t live in apartments in big, loud cities if they need total silence in their homes).
Anyway! If I were you, I’d ask the landlord what the expectations are for noise levels and what he wants from you. Does he expect zero noise at all, any time of the day? Is that in your lease? Does he expect you to cover, say, 75% of your floors with rugs (a reasonable expectation)? What? He’s allowed to have expectations, but he needs to express them, and you’re allowed to decide whether the expectations are reasonable and whether you can meet them. If you can’t, you may want to consider moving out. And certainly, if the downstairs neighbor continues harassing you, you may want to consider moving out. But first, I’d try discussing things with the landlord and getting on the same page about expectations — and making a real effort to meet agreed expectations — so that he will be in a better position to support YOU.
Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
irhie November 2, 2017, 9:04 am
If they’ve been living together for ten years, he’s hardly a “plus one”. That’s firmly in common law spouse territory. If I got invited to a wedding and it said “don’t bring your husband”. I’d not go, because that’s offensive.
TeacherNerd November 2, 2017, 9:14 am
LW #1: I’ll say that it would be rather odd that you didn’t get invited – I see it a kindness (and an acknowledgement of the relationship) to extend to spouses and long-term partners. That said, no, not every plus-one gets invited (although, really, I’d interpret that as kinda rude), but perhaps the bride and groom limited their invitations to single friends and those who are legally married only, so who knows; people can sometimes get weird about this stuff. At this point, I’d suggest just letting it drop; your girlfriend knows of your hurt feelings and doesn’t want to acknowledge them, and I’m not sure how helpful it would be to revisit that conversation, unless it’s along the lines of, “This is the last I’ll say about it, but I just want you to know that I’m hurt that I wasn’t invited. Yes, I realize I’m not ‘owed’ an invitation, but that doesn’t negate my feelings about it. I’d hope you’d want to go with me, but if the invitation didn’t have my name on it, then that’s how it is.”
Boo Berry Waffles November 2, 2017, 9:49 am
#1: It’s super common to not extend plus ones to non-married couples. You’re inventing conflict here. And given your own behavior, I wouldn’t be surprised if your girlfriend was welcoming a night away from your clock keeping and micromanaging.
#2: Your kids are probably absolutely that loud and you’re just around it so much you’re immune to it. Think of all the times you’re at the store and see a kid in full blown meltdown and the parent seemingly oblivious to the racket while an audience looks on clucking their tongues. People become numb to noise stimulus after a while. It’s not your neighbor’s responsibility to sleep somewhere else in their own domicile to accomodate you. It’s your obligation to limit the noise pollution your family puts out. Take the kids outside to a park and let them run around. It’ll be a nice change of pace for them, the house won’t be destroyed from a day spent inside and your neighbor will appreciate you not being That Neighbor.
Skyblossom November 2, 2017, 10:13 am
It’s not their responsibility to keep their own home silent during the daytime. How ridiculous. It is not their responsibility to leave their home for the greater part of the day each day because their neighbor chooses to sleep in his living room.
Boo Berry Waffles November 2, 2017, 10:59 am
I disagree. Of course they don’t have to do anything at all. The same way someone in a public space doesn’t need to take their kid outside who is having a meltdown, but they’ll need to accept the reputation that comes with that lack of consideration.
How ridiculous to think that if you live in such tight quarters that all your noise can be heard beneath you that you wouldn’t feel embarrassed or guilty and attempt to rectify it in a way that benefits everyone involved.
Vathena November 2, 2017, 12:16 pm
??? The kids aren’t spending hours screaming at the top of their lungs. They’re just playing with their toys in their living room. If the noise can be heard below them, it’s the fault of poor building design that does not dampen the sound. Beyond getting a rug, there’s not a lot they can really do. It sounds like the mom IS embarrassed and guilty, otherwise she wouldn’t have written to Wendy. But “stay out of your home with your small children all day, every day, to avoid waking the neighbor who sleeps in his living room during daylight hours, apparently without benefit of ear plugs or a white noise machine” isn’t really a practical solution.
Skyblossom November 2, 2017, 12:17 pm
The idea that the kids are having meltdowns over and over through the day is over the top. Most kids have meltdowns when they are out and about for too long. They get tired and hungry and when pushed too far they have a meltdown. That doesn’t happen at home because they can nap when they are tired and they can eat when they are hungry. Normal sounds of a child playing are no more rude than the normal sounds of a TV running or music playing. The person who will likely end up with the rude reputation is the neighbor who demands total silence during the day. Not many people are going to be sympathetic to a demand like that. Most people are making some normal sounds during the day.
Your suggestion that they spend their time at a local park shows you’ve never lived with a small child. Your suggestion would lead to the meltdowns you reference.
It has been cold and drizzly here all week. Adults complain about needing to walk through it when out shopping. To expect a child to spend hours out in it so that their neighbor can have total silence is absolutely ridiculous. We also get lots of snow here and it piles up enough that it is as deep as a preschooler is tall and they don’t shovel the playgrounds. Then there is the problem that small children will need the bathroom more frequently than adults and most playgrounds have no bathroom. Maybe their mom should just carry around a port-a-potty if you think it is so rude of them to actually live in their own home.
Vathena November 2, 2017, 12:24 pm
And they probably DO go to the park, if there is one nearby. I take my kid out to play every day as long as the weather is nice. But we don’t spend 4-6 hours there. It’s possible that by 10am, this LW has already been out to the park with the kids and then returned home so they can play, have lunch, and take naps.
Rebecca November 2, 2017, 7:03 pm
Amen on your comment to LW #2, Boo Berry Waffles. A-fucking-men.
Vathena November 2, 2017, 11:19 am
I gotta agree with Skyblossom here. Yes, meltdowns are loud, but most kids aren’t having a tantrum every second of every day. It’s their home and they are allowed to live in it. It’s not practical to leave the house during every waking hour (weather/transportation/illness – plenty of good reasons they would need to stay in). If the neighbor wants to sleep in the living room at 10am, they need to invest in some ear plugs. 10am is a perfectly reasonable time for people to be moving around in their own homes.
ktfran November 2, 2017, 11:31 am
I’m with Sky and Vathena. During daytime hours, kids should be allowed to act like kids in their own home. If you don’t want any noise, buy or rent a place on the top floor. It’s really that simple.
The husband and I are on the middle floor of a three story condo. Thank god the bedrooms are carpeted, but we also spent like $50 on a noise machine and it helps tremendously. The upstairs neighbors with the dog running around at 8:00 pm? Part of living in a condo that allows pets. We deal.
Cleopatra Jones November 2, 2017, 12:29 pm
Think of all the times you’re at the store and see a kid in full blown meltdown and the parent seemingly oblivious to the racket while an audience looks on clucking their tongues.
Yeah but the kids who are doing this, generally have parents who DGAF, and probably would have told the neighbor to piss off. That is not this LW, she seems conscious of the amount of noise that her kid is making in the apartment.
I don’t know what kiddos you’ve been around, but IME trying to get a kid to be totally quiet for extended length of time is absolutely impossible.
Boo Berry Waffles November 2, 2017, 12:39 pm
I made my suggestions based on the fact it seems like she’s already getting letters from her landlord relating to the noise complaints, so the situation is already escalating and likely to get more aggravated if something isn’t done.
She obviously can’t control a disgruntled neighbor, but she can take steps to show good faith effort to be a reapectful neighbor, even if the downstairs tenant isn’t willing to do the same. That way if this continues to be a problem she can point out what she’s done to be accommodating if the conflict with the neighbor gets even worse.
Just throwing up hands and saying “tough luck, he can kick rocks” doesn’t solve anything if in her landlord’s eyes she’s become a problem.
Vathena November 2, 2017, 1:20 pm
Well yeah, but your suggestion amounted to “your kids are definitely too loud, tantrum-throwing jerks, and you should not allow them to play at home for any part of the day.”
MissDre November 2, 2017, 1:36 pm
Ok… my downstairs neighbour can literally hear my CATS walk and I have carpet. My 7 pound CAT with paws on the carpet! She can hear it!
I can also hear MY upstairs neigbour talking on the phone, moving in the bathtub, flushing the toilet, running the water, coughing.
Should I tell my upstairs neighbour that she’s not allowed to flush the toilet or cough inside the house because it’s her responsibility to accommodate my noise preference?
So, of COURSE children playing can be heard, and it’s unfathomable that you think the children shouldn’t be allowed to play in their own living room during the daylight hours, just to accommodate the grumpy neighbour.
Cleopatra Jones November 2, 2017, 1:45 pm
It was 1 neighbor, tho.
Boo Berry Waffles November 2, 2017, 2:03 pm
It is unfathomable that I would think that children would be dead silent statues that never play. Which is why I never said anything like that. I suggested that she subject the kids to the horrors of going to a park for part of the day to keep the peace.
I also suggested that the kids are likely way more loud than she realizes, whether that’s because it amplifies downstairs because of acoustics or because she’s gotten so used to the noise that she no longer hears it, which is extremely common, children or not. Think of the squeaky fan in the living room you no longer hear until someone visits and points it out, or living near a traintrack and no longer noticing a train pass by. It just becomes background noise.
Regardless, it’s turned into a big enough situation that the landlord has gotten involved, justified or not, so now she’s going to need to be proactive because the whole thing has gotten out of hand. She wrote in asking what she could do because that is her problem, not whether she was in the wrong or if her neighbor was justified.
Essie made an excellent suggestion of buying rugs to muffle the noise, which would likely help a lot.
People are talking like I suggested tossing the kids in front of traffic.
ktfran November 2, 2017, 2:42 pm
Where you lost people, waffles, is when you compared the kids normal, home activities to a child melting down in public. To me, that sounds like you think her kids are uncontrollable, when in reality, she said they’re playing with toys. Major difference.
Another point where I think you lost people, including me, is telling her that the neighbor shouldn’t accommodate her in his own home… then why should she have to accommodate him in her home when her family is doing perfectly normal, awake time activities?
It’s 10:00 am. Per your post on the noise forum, 10:00 am is fair game. He’s the one that’s doing something out of the norm. Not her and her family.
I do agree some rugs are a good idea. And Wendy’s idea to talk to the landlord and get clarification is also a good idea, as well as checking her lease.
Boo Berry Waffles November 2, 2017, 2:52 pm
Ktfran, thank you for your approach. Reading my original comment I can see how people would have major disagreement with my opinion (which is absolutely fine) and I could have framed things differently as tone is notoriously nebulous online, but I don’t think the core of what I was aiming to say was wrong. It just seems like that’s managed to get lost in people’s attention to my wording of things, which is my own fault.
I used the kid public meltdown example as an exaggerated scenario to point out something most of us have seen happen, not that I actually think these kids are having full blown nuclear events on the daily.
As for the neighbor, it’s time for damage control. This has already gotten to a bad point so if the neighbor themselves is unapproachable (which may very well be the case) I would maybe even approach the landlord and ask for suggestions. Let them know you’ve been made aware of the complaint and want to find a reasonable solution. If you can demonstrate yourself as someone acting in good faith and willing to work to fix the situation then the neighbor will be less successful painting you as a villain, which it sounds like they’re attempting to do.
ele4phant November 2, 2017, 5:58 pm
Look, I’m not a kid person and I’m very noise sensitive, but I understand if you live around people, there will be noise. And if there are children are people too, and they can be particularly noisy. You either have to accept that or move where there are no people.
Children make noise. It happens, they play and run and sometimes make loud verbalizations. They aren’t little robots. While I don’t like it (and decided to never again live where I shared a floor/ceiling with someone else) it’s life. The world doesn’t have to bend to perfectly accommodate children all of the time, but it also doesn’t have to *bend* to accommodate my grumpy adult preferences.
Hopefully people with kids do their best to compromise and accommodate their neighbors – work on disciplining/coaching their children to deal with emotions and tantrums, put down carpets to muffle the sounds of running/toys being dragged across the floor, take their kids outside on occasion to burn off some energy, put them to sleep at reasonable hours, you too have to compromise. That means putting up with some noise during the day and getting a white noise machine, or taking a nap in your damn bedroom during the day.
Or move. You can always move where you don’t have to deal with people.
Skyblossom November 2, 2017, 10:10 am
I think Wendy is right in that you need to discuss the underlying issue which is that you feel that your girlfriend doesn’t want to be around you.
In the past what has happened with invitations that either of you received? Ours go on the hutch or on the table and sit there for a while. We don’t keep them secret. If something similar has happened with the two of you in the past but this invitation disappeared without even a single comment to let you know it had come then I can see why you feel she is not wanting you around. At the very least I would expect her to share the date with you, whether you were invited or not, so that you knew that evening was taken. She should also have been telling you whether you were invited. The fact that she isn’t showing you the invitation probably means that your name is on it and she doesn’t want you to know. Otherwise, why keep it hidden. Why not show you that you aren’t invited. If I received an invitation like that it would be left laying around and I’d also be wondering out loud why you weren’t invited. It would be a discussion. It would never be a last minute thing where the date was kept secret and sprung on you so close to the wedding.
Talk to your girlfriend about the real issue.
Copa November 2, 2017, 11:25 am
Great advice to both letters!
LW1: I have actually been excluded from a wedding by an ex where my name *was* on the wedding invitation — he didn’t want me there because unbeknownst to me, he had a thing with the maid of honor. I was incredibly hurt, even without knowing about the MOH situation. So if the hurt you’re feeling is anything like the hurt I felt, I’m sorry for that, because it truly made me feel awful. But your girlfriend has no control whatsoever over who the bride and groom choose to invite to their wedding. And your detail about her girls night out is odd, because it has nothing to do with the wedding invite — it makes me think you’re generally insecure, or insecure in your relationship. Either way, Wendy is right, and you need to have a larger-scale talk about what you’re feeling in your relationship vs. pointing at one-off events as proof your girlfriend doesn’t want you around.
LW2: Dealing with neighbor noise is part of the apartment-dwelling experience, so I’m sorry you have a complainer on your hands.
Fyodor November 2, 2017, 11:54 am
It may just be the way it’s written, but something does sound fishy with the LW1’s GF. It sounds like she didn’t mention the invite until the last minute, which is odd. And while some people have a strict spouses-only policy for weddings, they’ve been living together for at least ten years. I t’s a little weird that him coming along didn’t come up in some fashion, either raised by the hosts or the GF. And the degree to which she’s totally dismissive of her longtime partner wanting to be at an event where people bring their longterm partners is suspicious.
Fyodor November 2, 2017, 11:55 am
So I’m seeing two separate sets of comments. Some are at the bottom of the page and some are in a column on the right.
dinoceros November 2, 2017, 11:56 am
LW1: I don’t have much to say other than that if it’s that likely (in reality or in your mind) that your girlfriend would not invite you and lie about it, then you have bigger issues in your relationship than the wedding. For this to be your immediate first thought makes me think that you both have been having issues for a while and have been ignoring them.
Bittergaymark November 2, 2017, 12:08 pm
If the invitation DIDN’T invite him — why not just show it to him as proof?! That this WAS not done makes me very suspicious…
Skyblossom November 2, 2017, 12:21 pm
That was my thought. She is keeping the invitation hidden so must have something to hide.
I think their relationship is about over and girlfriend has someone of interest at the wedding and doesn’t want boyfriend along.
bagge72 November 3, 2017, 8:05 am
Maybe this wedding is a reminder that after 10 years she isn’t married? I know it sounds stupid, and some people just don’t want to get married, but some people do, and get stuck with that person who keeps promising it, and it never happens, and 10 years later they are starting over.
Hannanas November 3, 2017, 8:36 am
I also think it starts there. LW1, have you seen the invitation?
findingtheearth November 2, 2017, 12:15 pm
If people don’t want to hear kids, then they shouldn’t live in buildings where children are present.
I live near a school. I hear children on days I am at home. When I want to nap, I turn the tv on as background noise or use ear plugs.
Skyblossom November 2, 2017, 12:24 pm
I live by a road that is busy and loud. We never realized it would be this loud. We sleep with earplugs. Not just when taking a nap during the day but all night. The rednecks around here, and there are lots of them, do something with the exhausts on their pickups so that they roar down the road. They are as loud as motorcycles and wake us up over and over through the night unless we use earplugs. Even out in the country it can be very noisy.
dinoceros November 2, 2017, 1:06 pm
To be fair, once you move into an apartment complex, you don’t get to decide who moves in after you. My neighbor turns his TV up really loud, and you could say I shouldn’t live in a building where people turn the volume up really high, but he moved in after I’d been there for two years already.
ktfran November 2, 2017, 1:18 pm
The husband gets so annoyed with the dog upstairs. It doesn’t bother me, but for whatever reason, it bothers him. He keeps hoping they’ll move and I keep telling him it could be a whole bunch of kids instead!
I think it’s more that he doesn’t like the couple, so by extension, gets annoyed with the dog. The guy below us def has more parties, but the husband likes him, so he’s ok with their noise.
Essie November 2, 2017, 12:57 pm
LW2, if you have wood or tile floors, and you don’t have rugs, get some. Lots of rugs, and teach your little ones to play on the rugs, not the bare floor. There’s a little boy in the unit above me who LOVES to bang his toys on the wood floor, and you wouldn’t believe how much the noise gets amplified. They’ve also got their dining table and chairs on the bare floor, and I can hear them setting the table. Seriously. It’s that loud. All the little noises of living that you barely notice may well be much louder in the downstairs unit.
dinoceros November 2, 2017, 1:07 pm
Yeah, sometimes you don’t realize how loud something is to the person downstairs. I used to be able to hear the person above me PEEING in his toilet a few apartments ago.
MissDre November 2, 2017, 1:41 pm
Yes this! I can hear my neighbours pee lol. And I mentioned up thread that the lady below me can actually hear my cats walk on the carpet.
When I first met her in the mail room she was like “Oh you have cats, don’t you?” I said yes, how did you know? She’s like “I can hear them when they run up the hall!”
Copa November 2, 2017, 3:21 pm
@MissDre That’s pretty bad. I used to be able to hear my upstairs neighbors’ cat. They had wooden floors, but it was loud enough that I thought they had a medium-sized dog. I mentioned it to them one day, not as a complaint — I’m an animal person and found the sounds of an animal playing endearing — and they were so embarrassed. (Didn’t dawn on them that I could hear their 5 a.m. coupling. Always at 5 a.m.! Thank goodness they were fast.)
Boo Berry Waffles November 2, 2017, 1:16 pm
All of this. Rugs are an excellent suggestion!
Ravyn November 2, 2017, 1:18 pm
LW#1 – Perhaps you weren’t invited because the couple doesn’t like you and didn’t want you there. Your g/f may not want to tell you this so all she is saying is that you weren’t invited.
anna November 2, 2017, 1:26 pm
out of curiosity, what is this dog whistle thing?
Dear Wendy November 2, 2017, 2:08 pm
Similar to this:
We lived in a brownstone with four units. We were on the third floor and the dog lived on the 4th. We barely heard that dog. But the lady below us who once complained that jackson crawled too loudly when he was a baby plugged in one of those dog whistle things in our common stairwell to keep the dog from making any noise while being taken out for a walk. I thought it was incredibly rude, and pretty bonkers.
bagge72 November 3, 2017, 7:55 am
Old Mr. Heckles is at it again!
wobster109 November 3, 2017, 10:11 am
It’s true, asking if you can bring a plus one when one wasn’t invited is tacky. I also think it’s tacky to exclude partners of 10 years, but that’s not GF’s decision. Maybe the bride’s mom just had to have great-aunt Edna attend. Maybe they tried to include long-term SOs, but another friend went “well your cutoff is a year and we’ve been together 10 months, isn’t that close enough?” And the couple got worn out from arguing and just made a simple “spouses and fiances only” rule. I don’t know. But once the guest list is set, asking for a plus one is the same as asking them to cut someone else.