DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the proper etiquette between a wife and "the other woman?"
My husband had an affair, which I recently found out about. He said he ended it, and we are working on restoring our marriage. It is hard to re-establish trust, but I'm willing to try.
My big problem is that the "other woman" works with him. Even though he claims no one knew about it, I would be surprised if it was the big secret he would like to think it was.
How am I supposed to act when we go to company events or parties? I hate the idea that these people are looking at me with pity or contempt. I don't have any friendships with any of his colleagues independent of him.
And I have no idea how I'm supposed to act with the other woman, since there was no confrontation between us, and I am taking my husband's word for the fact that he broke up with her. There is a four-day company vacation trip with spouses included in a few weeks. Please tell me what to do.
GENTLE READER: Go and have a good time.
Not likely, Miss Manners supposes. And she promises not to annoy you by urging that you put aside your problems. Even less likely.
What she means is that you should go and look as if you are having a good time. That won't be easy, either. But if you make the effort to maintain a pleasant and open air and to engage other people in conversation -- including, or at least not pointedly excluding, the O.W. in your geniality -- you will find afterward that you did have a satisfactory time.
This will not be because you forgot. (Miss Manners keeps her promises.) It will be because the people who didn't know about the affair will now not believe it if they do hear; the ones who heard will be saying that your husband must have been out of his mind, and with any luck, the O.W. will have an overdue sense of shame.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Yesterday, I was waiting in line for approximately 15 minutes to be seated at a restaurant. The woman standing behind me was so close, her handbag kept hitting my back. I turned around twice and gave her a dirty look. She then came and stood beside me.
What can be said or done to discourage people from crowding me like that?
GENTLE READER: And what can be done to discourage people from going around issuing unwarranted dirty looks?
Just a guess, but Miss Manners doubts that the lady was banging her handbag against you for sport. She is not likely to have known that she was doing it. So a civil statement, delivered with an understanding smile -- "Excuse me, but your handbag has been knocking against me --" would have brought forth a cessation of attack and an apology.
Miss Manners wishes that once in a while, people would give one another the benefit of the doubt.