Miss Manners: Longtime college crush is best left undisturbed

January 24, 2012

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I went to my boyfriend’s college town to celebrate the birthday (60 years) of one of his classmates, another one of his classmates (female), who lives in that town, proceeded to ask me questions about my relationship — “How long have you really known him?” and “Are you really dating?” — only to add an elaborate story of how they met in college.

It was obvious the crush still existed after 40 years. Almost jealous, she added comments like, “He didn’t like me because I had small breasts.”

I commented that one of the guests at our table was friendly and fun, only to have her comment back, “He’s single,” loud enough for my boyfriend to hear.

She continued with concerned, almost suspicious, comments about how my boyfriend doesn’t share personal information with her (about me, the ex, children, work), and you could tell she was disturbed by not being more a part of his life.

I let her go on, but I would like to say something to her to let her know that it can’t happen in the future.

Of course, I told him everything. He thought it was played best not to say anything, and he felt her comments were odd, too. I don’t want to continue this secret with her as though I’m being faithful to her through this chat. I feel it was inappropriate, and honestly it is time to address the crush and let it crash.

GENTLE READER: Why? What does everyone hope for at a reunion? To hear that one’s image has been cherished over the decades, and that one’s present appearance does not douse the flame.

True, this was about your beau, not you, and he does not seem to find it particularly interesting or even amusing. Your attitude puzzles Miss Manners even more. The lady lives in another town, where you are not likely to see her again, the gentleman does not reciprocate her interest, and there is no question of sharing secrets, because you immediately relayed what she said.

Why, then, do you want to crush this crush? You need only have said, “Well, you have good taste. He is indeed wonderful and makes me very happy.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been a widow for five years, and several women have criticized me for still wearing my wedding ring. One of them told me I was lying by still wearing it.

I told her I was wearing my ring due to men assuming I need a man if I am not wearing a wedding ring. As I am almost 70, I don’t think I need to put up with any of this — either by men or by the women who think I should not be wearing my wedding ring.

GENTLE READER: Just because they are mean, insulting, intrusive, and totally ignorant of either the spirit or the rules of etiquette?

Miss Manners hopes that your would-be suitors do not insinuate that you “need a man,” which is insulting under any circumstances. But you do seem to need a new set of friends.

Visit Miss Manners at her Web site, www.missmanners.com, where you can send her your questions.

2012, by Judith Martin

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