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Miss Manners: Unsocial husband acts unreasonable

Judith Martin

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband does not enjoy going to parties and being social, especially with a certain group of my friends.

There is a huge birthday bash for a very close friend of mine and her husband. They are going all out. My husband does not want to go and thinks it is disrespectful for me to go to this couples’ party without him.

Should I respect his wishes and not attend?

GENTLE READER: Oh, how Miss Manners loves to get into the middle of a domestic quarrel – but could she please be excused to go freshen her drink?

The only case in which it would be disloyal of you to go to this party without him would be if your husband had legitimate reasons for disliking this group of friends (for instance, if they deliberately insulted him or you). But if he just prefers not to be social and this event is his target of the moment, then it seems to Miss Manners your husband is being unreasonable.

It probably has crossed your mind that a couple that differs so greatly not only in how they socialize but also about how much control they should have over each other, have more to work out than their feelings toward friends and their party.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My sister had a birthday party for her 5-year-old to which she invited both sides of the family.

Her mother-in-law decided she wanted a separate party for that side of the family, instead of having her side attend the one already planned. She then handed my sister an extensive guest list and expected my sister to plan a separate event, as well as pay for a second set of food, plates, napkins, etc..

Is it just me, or should that have been the mother-in-law’s responsibility to plan and pay for a separate party that she wanted?

GENTLE READER: It is not just you. Miss Manners assures you your sister was under no obligation to take on this party. She could have said, “I’m sorry, but we’ve already planned a party. That’s lovely of you to want all of these extended family members to celebrate Matilda’s birthday. Let’s make sure we plan our parties on separate weekends so as not to overlap.”

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