Question: Dear Luise: What do you do when someone makes a really rude remark in public? My girlfriend and I have gone out with this other couple on several occasions. The woman is a friend of hers. We all seemed to get along quite well until recently when the other guy made an snide remark about my being a “bottom feeder” when it comes to single-eligibility because I have two sons. I honestly didn’t know what to say and either did my girlfriend. I was pretty steamed, and sent him an email the next day telling him that I felt he owed me/us an apology. He wrote back and said if the truth hurt, that’s not his problem and now we don’t see each other any more. My girlfriend is upset with me about the way I handled it, and misses her friend. How did I end up the bad guy and what should I do, now, if anything? Thanks. Doug C.
Answer: Dear Doug: It’s usually tough to try to clean up this kind of a mess after the fact. Does your girlfriend think that’s possible? If so, what would she suggest?
Do you see that your email did more harm than good? That may be a valuable lesson to refer back to when you have to face future issues with others. In hindsight wouldn’t it have been better if you had arranged to see him alone to talk it over? Was it his idea of humor, maybe? What was the point?
If you are in a serious relationship with this girl, then see it as an opportunity to brainstorm together on how you both think it should have been handled. Conflicts are going to arise again. Surely you get points for not decking the guy in public? Right? Did she think it was funny or harmless? If it didn’t bother her at all, then I would look pretty carefully at that information.
If you feel about your kids the way I feel about mine, then you see them as an assets, not liabilities. Is it possible that your girlfriend agrees with her friend’s partner? If so, you’d better get to work and clear the air ASAP. It may not be about the other couple at all in the final analysis. Blessings, Luise