DEAR ABBY: I am an attractive, college-educated woman. For the past 18 months, I have been living with my boyfriend, "John," an attorney in a four-man firm. About six months ago, one of his partners threw a large, formal dinner to celebrate an important firm victory. Although I had met this partner and his wife (I'll call them Mel and Alice) many times, and they knew we lived together, the invitation came addressed to "John Doe and guest."
At the dinner, John was greeted warmly and introduced to the other guests, an assortment of accomplished and well-known local socialites. I was barely acknowledged and was left standing alone as John was escorted around the room. At dinner, I was seated at Alice's table. She never addressed a single comment to me, nor did she acknowledge any of my attempts to join the conversation.
Later, Alice approached each of the other ladies and invited them to join her for a tour of her beautiful home. She left me standing in the living room alone with the men. The snubbing was so pointed that later others commented on it to John. Being socially shy and insecure anyway, I was devastated.
John and I are being married soon. I do not want this nasty woman at my wedding. Even more, I do not want to give Alice the chance to snub me again by declining my invitation. John says we have no choice but to invite them. How should I handle this? It's eating me up. -- STILL STEAMING IN S.F.
DEAR STILL STEAMING: I don't know what was eating your hostess, but don't let her appalling display of bad manners eat away at your self-esteem.
You have my sympathy, but if John feels it's necessary to invite his partners to the wedding, regard it as business and include everyone. It will be your chance to show one and all what a terrific life partner and helpmate John has selected. To do anything less than be gracious would reduce you to her level.