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Miss Manners: Meeting ex’s new spouse may come up

Judith Martin Universal Uclick

DEAR MISS MANNERS: There seems to be an idea (mentioned by others and presented in books and movies) that one’s new spouse or partner must be introduced to one’s ex-spouse/ex-partner. The implication is that the ex’s approval of the new romance is necessary.

Unless the exes share children, I am puzzled as to why a new beginning needs to be presented to the past and accepted.

Is this always a requirement? Is it unacceptable to proceed with a new relationship if one does not have an ex’s blessing?

GENTLE READER: Were this indeed a requirement, it would significantly cut into the second marriage market.

Miss Manners thought that the point of a divorce was to eliminate the requirement that two people agree, after they realize that they cannot.

That said, many people find that some social contact with their ex-partners is either desirable or inescapable.

In such cases, a formal introduction will be unavoidable, and may reflect the warmth (or lack thereof) of the relationship with the ex-partner.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have invited some of my sister’s friends for dinner for her birthday. These people are far better off financially than I am. Since I have invited them, do I pay for the entire meal for everyone, or should they pay for their meals?

GENTLE READER: Do you suppose that hospitality operates on a sort of tax system, whereby the rich are obligated to subsidize other people’s parties?

In the social realm, you are not even supposed to acknowledge being aware of your guests’ finances. (And while you may guess at their incomes, you are probably not privy to their financial obligations.)

If you cannot afford to entertain these people at dinner, Miss Manners recommends inviting them for tea and a slice of birthday cake.

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