Conversation Filler: Don't Overthink It
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I have been married for 19 years. He has two daughters from a previous marriage. They have actively hated me since the very beginning.
They are now grown women: 41 and 37 years old. After our last visit, I have decided to quietly bow out -- it is long past time, and my husband agrees. I will still make sure birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions are observed by their father. As well, he can visit them and they can visit him as they all wish.
I obviously won't be there the next time they're all together. What should my husband say? Neither of us is looking for a huge blowup among them.
GENTLE READER: She couldn't make it this time -- repeated each time as if it were the first.
Miss Manners offers this as the surest path to the quiet you understandably desire. She does not pretend that it will reform bad behavior, mend relationships, or satisfy those who feel that brutal honesty is better for family health than avoiding angry blowups.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, email@example.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)
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