Miss Manners: How do I get my husband to stop cursing and complaining?



Dear Miss Manners: Do you have any ideas on how to stop my husband from yelling and cussing? He’s a good person and doesn’t cuss at me, but almost everything makes him mad. Except for me, he calls everyone names — even his mother — but never to their faces.

He is always polite in front of people, but I have to listen to him complain about everyone, every day. I can’t listen to any more of it.

How can I keep my marriage but get him to stop? I’m at a loss. He won’t talk to anyone about it.

Have you tried “Honey, that upsets me”?

Evidently, your husband can control his anger when he does not want to upset other people. And he is under the common but disastrous mistake of believing that he need not exhibit such manners at home.

Miss Manners is afraid that you will have to explain to him gently that the consequences of making life unpleasant in one’s own home are far greater than those of annoying outsiders.

Dear Miss Manners: I had two tickets to the ballet and wanted my friend to go with me. I called and asked if she’d like to go, and she said “we” (she and her husband) would love to.

I was shocked and uncertain of how to respond. Did I do something wrong, or did she? Is every invitation to a married person assumed to include the spouse?

But you doubtless said, “Would you like to go to the ballet with me?” And that is a problem of the English language, where “you” is both singular and plural. Trying to make the distinction has led to the use of the colloquial “you all” (or “y’all”) and the often misapplied “you guys.”

Married people should be invited as couples to evening social events and ceremonial ones, such as weddings. Such invitations as yours, or invitations to luncheon, may be issued to one person, who can then decide whether to go it alone.

Next time, Miss Manners suggests that you open with, “I have an extra ticket.” You can still say it in this case: “Oh, I’d love to see Zach another time, but I have only one extra ticket.”

Dear Miss Manners: I’m in my mid-60s, and am encountering more and more situations where friends and family repeat the same stories.

I guess I should consider myself fortunate that I can remember who I have told what, but I would appreciate a gentle way to remind someone that they have told me a particular story more than once, or that they told me the story the day before.

I’m trying my best to be patient, but sometimes I just want to scream.

Please don’t. But neither do you have to sit through the same story over and over.

The polite stop signal is “Oh, yes, I remember; I love that story.” Miss Manners suggests beaming at the speaker and starting a related topic.

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.



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