Forced family gathering
A few years back, the women in my family (aunts, cousins, etc) began the tradition of a “girls weekend” at a family vacation home a few hours away. My family has always been very close, and so the first few years of these trips were a lot of fun.
However, recently these trips have taken a turn for the worse and are more uncomfortable than enjoyable. On the way Home last year, I swore I wasn’t going again. A silly game we’ve been playing for years morphed into a game that got very personal regarding sexual history. One of my cousins, whom I’ve always been gotten along well with up until then, got belligerently drunk and was relentless during this game. After, one of my aunts cornered me to pry into and shame me about my (lack of) relationship status, as compared to that of my younger brother and his girlfriend (his girlfriend attended this trip as well.) At another point during this trip, family members began to bash other family members who were not on the trip. No matter how much wine I drank that night, I couldn’t get over how uncomfortable this trip made me and I couldn’t wait to go home.
A year has come and gone, and it’s almost time for the next girls weekend. Remembering how unenjoyable the last trip was, I really don’t want to go. On the other hand, all of the family events and holidays since then have been perfectly fine and enjoyable. I know this girls weekend is a chance for everyone to let lose and have some fun, but each year the weekend gets raunchier and less enjoyable. I thought about saying “sorry,I already have plans that weekend!” but the organizer texted us several dates to choose from and nobody had a conflict with any of them. If I was “busy” one weekend, they’d move it to another. If I said I felt uncomfortable last time, they’d tell me to “lighten up”! I know I’m sensitive and private, so things bother me more easily than others, but even my brothers girlfriend commented on how different everyone seemed during that weekend.
What should I do? If I go, I would be hours from home, without a car (we carpool), and in a town with not much to do this time of year. If I don’t, how do I get out of it? I would feel terrible for my brothers girlfriend if I pulled backed out at the last minute because I was “sick”.
Would you consider bringing your own car with you? That way if it gets too weird you know you have an escape route-although hopefully you wouldn't need to use it.
If you try to get out of it, be prepared for backlash. It could be that this year won't be as bad as the last, but if it is, make it clear next year that you don't intend on going. They'll be able to deal with it as long as you give them plenty of warning and time to get through the idea. Just don't blindside them with it the day before the trip!