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Miss Manners: Fiancee is a fiancee, no matter the long engagement

By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin Andrews McMeel Syndication

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am Catholic and was told by the priest that I would need an annulment from my ex to be married in the church. Well, the annulment will not happen.

My fiancee found out that if I get married outside of the church, I can no longer receive communion, and she does not want me to lose that. So we decided not to get married and keep things the way they are. We are planning a future together after retirement. Can I still call her my fiancee, even though we will never get married, but we are engaged?

GENTLE READER: Indeed, she is your fiancee. And as long as this permanent engagement does not demand multiple presents or parties, Miss Manners assures you that you may call her whatever you wish.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Every two weeks, my team at work has a scheduled planning meeting that is a few hours long. As a result, everyone voluntarily brings in food to the meeting to share with co-workers. The problem is that there is one gentleman who never contributes, but is the first to eat.

I’m of the opinion that if you don’t contribute, you shouldn’t eat. However, not everyone is in agreement with this or how to approach it moving forward. Should he eat or not?

GENTLE READER: Is he hungry? It seems to Miss Manners that the word “voluntary” is what is being violated here. If that is not truly the case – or deep resentment will be the result of the task not being fulfilled – then make the routine a more reliable and equitable one. Particularly since this is a work function, sign-up lists and charts would not be remiss.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: For an upcoming fishing trip, my husband and I reserved a condo that accommodates four adults. We invited a guest who politely declined because of his work schedule. We invited another guest who accepted.

Then the friend we invited first sent me a text saying that he has now been able to adjust his work schedule and he’s eager to go along. I can make that work – our two guests can have the beds and my husband and I can easily sleep on an air bed. I told both guests what the situation is, and no one has a problem with it.

Today, our friend sent another text saying that his girlfriend would like to come along also. That’s GREAT, and we’d enjoy having her; however, I tried to update our reservation to include five, and I’m not able to do that. There are no other available accommodations for that time frame.

I think my choices are to decline the request for our friend’s girlfriend to come along or for me to stay home this time and the four of them can use the reservation as it stands. What is my correct action in this situation?

GENTLE READER: Having done everything in your power to accommodate last-minute requests of every sort, you do not need to stay home from an excursion that you yourself arranged. Miss Manners assures you that you have done quite enough.

If your friend declines the invitation a second time because his girlfriend cannot be accommodated, allow it, saying that you hope to make future plans for another trip that has room for everyone. At which point, you may encourage him to make the lodging arrangements for it himself.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,

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