Should I keep extending invitations to my ex-husband and his girlfriend who does not "do ex-wives?"
Each week, Miss Manners answers questions exclusively from the MSN audience on all of your etiquette dilemmas.(Have an issue you want help with? Send in a question today.) Read on for this week's hot topics:
DEAR MISS MANNERS,
My ex-husband of 13 years is now seeing a woman 11 years younger, and is she pregnant with twins. The babies are not his, but before this woman came into his life we always did the kids’ birthdays together, as well as holidays.
The woman recently stated that she did not do “Ex-Wives.” His mother spent Christmas with me and the kids, as the ex-mother in law does not like her. Should I keep extending invitations to them in future holidays?
"Why? Miss Manners shares your curiosity about how this situation will play out, but hardly thinks it would make amusing holiday entertainment. It strikes her as your good fortune that your successor does not 'do ex-wives.'"
DEAR MISS MANNERS,
My extended family is catholic and I am an atheist. It comes up in conversation -- they try to convince me to believe and say I should have God in my life. I don't want to constantly stand-up for my beliefs or feel forced to say grace at dinner. How do I politely ask them to stop 'blessing me' and respect my choices as I respect theirs?
"First, you count your blessings by telling them how touched you are to have relatives so concerned about your spiritual welfare. Then you gently tell them that you are already very much aware of how they feel and respect that. (Repeat as often as necessary.) As an example of restraint, Miss Manners suggests you also give up trying to make them understand your position."
Judith Martin's latest book is No Vulgar Hotel: The Desire and Pursuit of Venice. She is also the author of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (Freshly Updated). She and her husband, a scientist and playwright, live in Washington, D.C. They have two perfect children, of course.
You should be so grateful for 2 things; that you are free of a man with very poor judgement and that you are blessed with a mother in law would rather spend holiday's with you than her own son. You need to move on and count your blessings. He sounds like he got what he deserves. Don't look back, just move forward and get on with your life.
You make a point of mentioning that your ex-husband's girlfriend is (1) 11 years younger than him, (2) pregnant with another man's children, (3) not liked by your ex-husband's mother, and (4) the sole reason why you won't be spending holidays with your ex-husband. You have a lot to say about this young(er) woman but none of it is positive.
So the real question is "Why would she want to accept an invitation from you?"
So who went tattling to the ex-wife about the girlfriend's alleged "ex-wives" comment? The husband, the mother-in-law? The girlfriend may not be a prize, but perhaps she deserves more than smug passive-aggressive hostility. Possibly egged on by the boyfriend. "Who, me?"
Do not ask your family to stop blessing you. If you respected their beliefs as much as you claim and were comfortable enough in your own beliefs, you'd realize it doesn't do you any harm and it wouldn't bother you.
As for asking for respect for your beliefs, you can't ask for (or demand) respect ,if you mean "respect" in the sense of feeling. On the other hand, if you mean you want them to TREAT you with respect, you can continue to demonstrate respect and ask them to do the same. Good luck.
Concerning does not do ex wives:
Sorry to say but when she has those twins and the biological father wants into their lives it is better for the kids if you try to get along for their sake. There are times that it will be mandatory to attend gatherings with the ex. Instead of making dad miss out of his children's lives, share in it with him. Maybe compromise and have his ex over for some of these holidays too so neither parent misses these precious times with their children. She needs to remember, THIS IS HIS EX of 13 years, rock the boat and she will be an ex also. Keep inviting both.. the choice will be his to make.
Concerning the topic of religion:
I'm a Christian (far cry from Catholic) and i have a compelling urge to talk with folks about my faith. I usually ask a pair of questions, "Are you religious?" and if so, "what do you believe in?" Whatever the response i remain neutral and just try to understand their walk in life w/o probing and prying. I do my best to live out what i'm taught in the BIble and let my actions speak for themselves.
I respect ppl the same when it comes to the matter of beliefs. I have family and friends with other, even opposite beliefs, and i love them unconditionally and would do much for them as i've learned in scriptures. Hopefully your family loves you unconditionally nonetheless.
Catholicism is heavy. I don't believe in it b/c its a form of pseudo-Christianity with a lot more man-made rules and guidelines that conflict with the original doctrine of the Holy Bible. Not to say that your family is disingenuine ppl, but i can see how their practices aren't so appealing. I have no advice, i would handle it by asking them, "Would you love me any less if i never believed in this? Then please let your love speak for itself."
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