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Miss Manners: My ex keeps asking me to pay for half the purchases she makes for our daughter

Dear Miss Manners: I have been divorced for 14 years and maintain an excellent relationship with my ex-wife. I have spent Thanksgiving at her home more than once, and she occasionally attends Christmas dinner at my home.

We have a daughter in her late 20s who is expecting her first child. She has given me a heads-up that her mother is going to ask me to pitch in for the baby shower that she is hosting next month. We are both quite successful, and she does not need the help.

This has been a pattern since our divorce: She decides to spend money on our daughter, tells her about the plans, and then asks me to split the cost. I fear looking like the bad guy if I say no, but I am a little tired of my ex continuing to dictate how I spend money.

The word you are looking for is “no” — or, as Miss Manners has never understood why people expect satisfaction from being rude to an ex, “Thank you, but I have my own plans about what to do. Can you believe we are going to be grandparents?!” (The second half is to be delivered in your best “Look, a squirrel!” voice.)

Your daughter likely understands more than you think about the situation, including that, when you tell her that everyone is happier when there are clear boundaries in your relationship with your ex, you are not really including your ex among the “everyone.”

Dear Miss Manners: If I accept two invitations to two different events and one date gets changed to the same date as the other, how do I decide which one to go to?

Go to the one that did not change dates; the other is a new invitation.

Hosts are not allowed to feel aggrieved that someone who accepted an invitation to the Capulet wedding in the morning is not available for what subsequently changed to a funeral in the evening.

Dear Miss Manners: I invited two friends over for a home-cooked dinner. I went the extra mile and prepared something special for them.

As the dinner ended, we gathered at the front door to exchange goodbyes. One friend ducked into the bathroom. My other friend and I clearly heard our friend vomit my meal into my toilet. We both asked if he was okay, and he acted like nothing happened and quickly left — for a night of barhopping.

My friend drinks and eats way too much, and has started puking as a method of “banking” his calories for booze. I don't believe that this is bulimia; I think it is gluttony.

Am I wrong to be offended? Would you invite this person for meals in the future? My dinner is not important compared to someone’s health, but when a glutton pukes up my cooking intentionally, that leaves me feeling disrespected.

Asking if your friend was okay was the decent thing to do. Everything else is speculation — and, well, the bathroom door is there for a reason.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

©2022, by Judith Martin

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