DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been dating a widower for two years. We have both said we are happier with each other than we’ve ever been with anyone else, and that at some point, we will marry.
When we are in public or with friends, he refers to his late wife as his wife. It makes me uncomfortable, and the people he’s talking to always look at me in shock. My boyfriend doesn’t notice this.
Is this appropriate? Should he refer to her as his late wife, or am I being thin-skinned?
GENTLE READER: That the gentleman has not noticed the reaction of others gives Miss Manners hope that the slight is unintended. And it supplies a solution: Describe to him what is happening, and say that, while you know he loved her very much, it will be easier on your friends if, in future, he describes her as his late wife.