Why is my gentleman friend's ex-wife of 15 years in an uproar?
Each week, Miss Manners answers questions exclusivelyfrom 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,
I have recently filed for divorce from my husband of 10 years after living in different parts of the house for the last 5 years. I started communicating with a gentleman at work who has been divorced for the past 15 years.
We talk via phone and email--no dinners or dates until my divorce is final. His children told their mother, his ex-wife, that he was talking to someone and now she is in an uproar.
Why, after all these years, would someone still get upset, even when nothing is going on?
"If she had to guess, Miss Manners would say that the place where nothing is going on is in the former wife's life. How sad that the lady feels threatened after 15 years of divorce, and that the children, presumably at least in their late teens, felt they had to tell her about what is, after all, a discreet friendship."
DEAR MISS MANNERS,
My daughter was recently married. My cousin, who is in the midst of a nasty divorce, requested that we send invitations to her daughters. We had no expectation that they would attend. However, one of them returned the RSVP card with a nasty letter written on the back about how badly we had treated their dad, "ostracizing" him by not inviting him as well.
My husband and daughter want to send her a letter outlining how inappropriate her response was while I believe that we should just act like we never received it.
I will NEVER share her bad behavior with my cousin as she would be mortified. What should we do?
"Nothing whatsoever. Miss Manners assures you that any such response as your husband and daughter suggest will not only be rude -- retaliatory rudeness, to be sure, but rudeness all the same -- but that it will get back to your cousin. You, in turn, can assure them that silence is a much more galling response."
Judith Martin's latest book is No Vulgar Hotel: The Desire and Pursuit of Venice. She is also the author ofMiss Manners' Guide toExcruciatingly Correct Behavior(Freshly Updated). She and her husband, a scientist and playwright, live in Washington, D.C. Theyhave two perfect children, of course.
imagine after your divorce is final and you get serious with this new guy, is the ex someone you want to deal with in the future..
drama queens are only good at one thing, making everything about them and blowing it all out of lines..
doesn't seem like it'd be a good idea to get mixed up in that fam
Always erring on the side of politeness isn't always for the best. Letting someone speak to you, talk about you, and accuse you of something while you just smile like an idiot isn't polite- it's stupid. By letting things go, you give the impression that there is some truth to what the offender said. No lengthy explanation is needed, but remind her that with situation between her parents, y ou didn't want your wedding to become a battleground! LW1- your relationshp with your co-worker isn't his kids business. How'd they find out? Are they checking his phone and e-mail? He should put a stop their meddling and tattletelling, so I'm in agreement with pmondrag: he might not be as free as he's lead you to believe.
Refusing to engage unreasonable ingnorant nutcases isn't necessarily being polite. It's self-preservation and on the plus side, can drive the nutcases - well, more nuts by withholding drama to feed on. Sometimes it's like wrestling with pigs - the pigs like it but you just get dirty. There is no non-trailer trash way to go the mattresses over the nasty second cousin.
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