DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am an older gay man and married my husband three years ago.
A college friend, a woman, invited me, just me, to her family’s cottage by the lake this weekend. I spent many wonderful times in that cottage since college. This whole friend’s family considered me family until I got married.
I invited her, her family, and their significant others to my wedding, but they all refused. So they probably all know I’m married.
It’s the first I’ve heard from her since then. I wrote back and declined the invitation saying, “I’m sorry but I have not spent a night without my husband since we got married and I could not imagine doing it now. But thank you very much for thinking at me.”
She sent me an incredibly ugly letter in which she said that I should be able to travel without my husband to her family’s cottage, which I have spent so much time in. There were lots of passive-aggressive comments that I had never shown proper gratitude when I spent time with his family. (I brought fresh clams, lobsters, corn on the cob, and two pounds of butter every time I went to the cottage.)
This friend has never been married. I did not reply to her letter as it was so malicious, and have quietly removed her from my contacts as the friendship is clearly over.
When mutual friends have asked me why I declined her invitation, I have replied that I choose not to travel without my husband and that since he was not in the invitation, I politely declined. I have asked those friends not to get involved that this is between us and if it is meant to be resolved then so be it.
She has not shown any interest in meeting my husband. I have invited her out to lunch and / or dinner about a dozen times and she is always busy. I have taken the tip and will no longer reach out.
I just want an expert opinion that I have done everything I can and have done it correctly.
HAPPY READER: While not all social outings require spouses to be involved, your friend has made his or her views on meeting your husband clear. Whether it’s because of jealousy, personal taste or full of prejudice, Miss Manners assures you that you do not have to include her in your social life, if that is how she should behave. And you did it politely, especially given the circumstances.
You can also be sure that her family’s generous past behavior has nothing to do with this current discomfort. You therefore owe her nothing. Not even butter.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I find it very frustrating when I reject a phone call (usually because I’m already on the phone with someone else) and the caller continues to call my other numbers as if I’re more likely to answer them five seconds later.
I find it rude and disturbing, but I can not convince anyone in my family to just leave a message if I do not respond the first time. Sometimes I’m just on a social call, but other times I’m to work meetings! How can I get them to stop?
HAPPY READER: Turn off your ringtones.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners on her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or by mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.