Dear Amy: My wife and I have been in a solid partnership for over 30 years.
It was only after many years together that marriage became legal for us.
With the reality of validating our longstanding commitment now possible, it still took some time to reflect on how we view ourselves, our lifelong shared experiences, and our intertwined families.
Marriage is not just a celebration and a beginning; it is a personal affirmation of our long life together.
Sometimes when someone sees a ring on my finger, they wonder how long we’ve been married. Then our definition of our coexistence clashes with what some people believe to be true.
I’d rather answer honestly that we’ve been married for 30 years. When a look of disbelief inevitably follows, I might add, “…and we formalized it last year.”
But then some people might reply, “But you’ve only been married a year…” as if to put a giant star on our marriage.
Aside from insulting our proud and deeply personal milestone, their conditional definition belittles the true story of our life together.
So how should we answer the question of how long we’ve been married?
– Happily married
Dear married: Congratulations on your long and successful relationship. Awkward encounters with others might make you expect more – with a somewhat defensive attitude.
You can describe your relationship in any way you like, including saying you’ve been married 30 years. If someone doesn’t like that answer or doubts it, then – that’s up to them.
It would also be quite easy for you to say, “We’ve been married at heart for 30 years and legally married for a year — so I think that makes us the longest-married newlywed on the planet.”
Dear Amy: I have a group of three friends (we’re all men) with whom I enjoy an overnight stay in a cabin in the woods every month.
We take turns cooking.
Recently two of the guys made us a spaghetti dinner.
The next morning they told us they had put mushrooms in the sauce they found behind the woodpile.
I was horrified. I have a degree in biology and I’ve taught environmental science for over 30 years – none of these guys have experience with mycology or taxonomy of fungi – and they couldn’t even name the species of fungi that were used. When I expressed my dismay, they reacted defensively (“My wife said they were fine!”) and eventually turned to taunting.
The next night I asked what ingredients were in the meal. Realizing the ridiculousness of this safety effort and wanting to avoid further ridicule, I began bringing my own food, explaining that I’d rather eat later in the evening than they did.
Amy, you still joke about it and have never shown remorse let alone offered an apology.
Two questions: was my reaction unfounded (I can’t imagine it) and do you have any suggestion to solve this through communication?
– Avoidance of Amanita
Dear Avoid: Your reaction wasn’t unfounded, but your overreaction is.
Your friends have made a potentially dangerous choice; As it turned out, everyone was lucky and nobody got sick. You have expressed your reasonable and legitimate concern, and you know your friends heard you because they taunted you for taking your position.
I hope what you describe as “sneering” was a milder teasing.
You certainly have the right to bring your own food to these gatherings, but you’re not honest about your reason (and “eat later” doesn’t necessarily make sense). And — every time you do this, you’re rekindling the original problem of not trusting your friends to provide a safely prepared meal.
In my opinion, you should choose to trust your friends’ meal preparation, but doing so would require you to relax about an issue you obviously take very seriously.
You might sideline this issue when you’re more or less immersed in the heart. Have t-shirts made for the Fun Guys Forage Fungi group.
Dear Amy: “Hurt Feelings” was a man who sustained a sports injury but was upset when his close friend “Bart” didn’t admit it.
Dude needs to man himself! A lot of guys grew up with injuries on the sports field and their coaches didn’t kiss them.
– Former athlete
Dear athlete: Compassion doesn’t hurt a bit. you could try
Cash previous Ask Amy columns
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