DEAR MISS MANNERS: Circumstances have placed me in social circles with a couple I have known many years. The wife was my true love from high school. She chose another to wed, and I have always held my tongue and in no way have interfered, or revealed the private hurt the loss of her affection once caused me.
We sometimes meet at group dinners and parties. Whenever I am alone with her husband, my old rival, he rubs it in that she shares a marriage bed with him and not me. He expresses this crudely, in ways that would outrage his wife and all of our mutual friends.
What should I do? If I reveal his vulgarities, he would deny them. If I did something like record them, everyone would think me ugly-minded. He’s been doing this a long time now. What is the polite thing for me to do?
GENTLE READER: Avoid being alone in his company. If you cannot and he continues, excuse yourself saying, “Forgive me. I am sure that our respective wives would highly disapprove of this conversation. You will understand if I take my leave and spare them.” This gives you credit for threatening him, without actually doing so.