June 9, 2010 in Features

Miss Manners: Love triangle offer was cue to leave

Judith Martin The Spokesman-Review
 

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When a woman is dating a man and he expresses great interest in her but tells her that she must also meet his girlfriend, what does this imply?

If this same woman (me) tells this man that the only way we can be together is to be monogamous, otherwise uninterested, and this man continues to pursue this woman, how do you suggest the woman respond?

If this same man then marries the girlfriend and continues to pursue this woman, what do you suggest, in the management of such an uncomfortable scenario?

I called the girlfriend/wife to be, to try to talk to her about the truth, and she did not want to hear reality. Was this the right thing to do?

She only laughed and then aggressively abused all my privacy rights in a failed effort to defame my character. She has caused nothing but trouble for me and my family. It appeared that she was, and continues to live, in complete denial.

I thought trying to talk to her was the right thing to do. I wanted to talk to her about the circumstances and work out a reasonable solution. I know if I were about to marry and a woman I knew wanted to politely chat about his behavior patterns, I would certainly want to listen.

In retrospect, what might I have done differently to result in better relations?

GENTLE READER: Since you mention retrospection, why don’t you wind back to when you said that you were not interested in someone who had another romantic attachment?

How did you get from there into taking such a strong interest in the other lady’s happiness as to force your unwelcome confidences on her? Or, for that matter, to characterizing another as being in denial and accusing her of invading your privacy?

What you might have done differently was to walk away from the first bizarre suggestion of a triangle. But Miss Manners has the strange feeling that you are no longer listening to her.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am hosting my child’s birthday party at a location where the cost is determined by the number of children attending. I sent invitations home to each child in my son’s class with the classmate listed on the envelope as the invitee.

A mother who I do not know well contacted me and asked if it was OK with me if she brought her other two children with the invited child and indicated they cannot attend at all if all three children do not come.

I have reservations about this because of the additional cost and also because of the age difference between the siblings and my son’s classmates, which I think would affect the atmosphere. She has offered to pay for the siblings.

What would be a polite response to this request? Should I accept her offer of payment?

GENTLE READER: No, because you would put yourself in the position of selling places on your guest list.

But you needn’t accept additional guests. Miss Manners is guessing that this mother is hoping to have free time while you watch all her children, which is unfeasible while you are supervising a party. Or perhaps she has an unwise policy that the three must always include one another, which is unfortunate for their social lives.

All you can do is to say, “No, I’m afraid we’re only having Timothy’s classmates. But I know they will all be very sorry not to see Sean there.”

You may write to Miss Manners at MissManners@ unitedmedia.com; via postal mail at United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016.


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