Dear Amy: I had a 15-year affair with a married man (“Marshall”), who then ended his marriage in order to be with me exclusively.
Marshall and I continued our relationship for another four years before he died unexpectedly.
His siblings are handling the funeral and arrangements. They have been very kind toward me in my time of loss.
However, his ex-wife is not very fond of me and will be attending the services with her and Marshall’s four grown children.
She has expressed that it’s inappropriate to invite me or include me in any way, due to me being a “homewrecker” and destroying their marriage.
I understand her bitterness and anger toward me — however I am also mourning the loss of someone I cared deeply about.
I don’t want to cause a strain on Marshall’s family or children, so I am asking for your advice. Should I be respectful to his ex-wife’s wishes and not attend this service, or am I justified in attending as well?
— Mourning In Ohio
Dear Mourning: “Marshall’s” ex-wife has already declared that your presence at her ex-husband’s funeral will stress her, so if you truly don’t want to cause a “strain on “Marshall’s family or children,” then by all means stay away from your partner’s funeral.
However, ex-spouses don’t have the right to control access to their former spouse’s remains after the ex-spouse dies. It’s called “divorce” for a reason. Divorce severs legal and marital ties, even if it doesn’t sever emotional ones.
(And someone needs to get the memo that the deceased was also a “homewrecker,” destroying his marriage.)
So yes, you are completely justified in attending this service if you want to.
Overall, you should try to think about this from a vantage point several months in the future. If you decide to skip this service, even at the risk of drama, will you regret it later?
You and your late partner seem to have gone through a lot (and put others through a lot) in order to be together. If you believe your presence at the service will add to your own grief and stress, then you might arrange for a private viewing and say your goodbyes away from the judgment of his ex-wife.
Dear Amy: I would like to get your take on a recent incident at a dinner party.
The hosts of the party had out-of-town guests who brought their dog with them.
The dog proceeded to hump everyone at the party.
I asked the male owner if he would put the dog somewhere away from the guests. He gave me a one word answer: no.
I then asked the female owner to do something, and she ignored me.
At one point my sister was shouting, “Get off me!” and I finally snapped and told her, “Your dog is obnoxious.”
She replied, “You can’t speak to me that way, you are not my mother.”
She then went crying to the hostess, saying she was going to leave.
My older sister and I had words with her and then left the party.
None of the other guests said a word.
We are no longer invited when this couple is in town with the dog.
I do not socialize with the hosts of the party anymore.
They placated this couple at the expense of the guests.
Did I overreact?
Dear Doggone: Wow — what a night! What a glittering, glorious night.
First of all, even though I am basically feeling most sorry for the dog, here, it is interesting to note that only a mother can tell someone their dog is obnoxious. Who knew?
If your account of this evening is correct, then you were right to exit the party early.
And yes, this homeowner should have made an effort to protect all of their guests (and the dog), by asking that the dog’s owners give their dog whatever attention it needed in order for the animal to settle down.
Dear Amy: “Disappointed” was served caffeinated coffee, even though she was assured it was decaf.
I worked at a restaurant where the manager got so sick of folks complaining about getting caffeinated coffee, that we brewed only decaf!
Those who asked for decaf got theirs from the orange-rimmed carafe, and those who asked for hi-test — alas the brown rim did not stand for anything.
— A Lying Waiter
Dear Waiter: Even though I have now lost all faith in the magical power of the brown rim, I think this is a genius solution.
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