Death By Sex

by admin on August 23, 2012

This is short and nowhere near sweet.

Four hours after our wedding and during our reception, my husband tragically died. He was a fit and healthy 27 year old with no medical problems, he simply collapsed and that was it. The autopsy found nothing medically wrong with him and it was attributed to SADS [Sudden Adult Death Syndrome] also known as SUND [Sudden Unexplained Death].

This was incredibly hard as I’m sure you can imagine and eighteen months later I still wear my wedding ring and still consider myself married.

A new Co-Worker started at my place of work and after our Christmas Party she commented on how my husband wasn’t there. I explained what happened and the following is a verbatim exchange of what was said:

Co-Worker:  “So you never consummated the marriage?”

Me: “…Well, clearly not.”

Co-Worker:  “Well, it’s not like it was a real marriage then was it? You shouldn’t be wearing that ring.”

And this was said with the most dismissive tone you can imagine, as if I should have been fine about my husband dying because we hadn’t yet had sex as a married couple. I would like to say I took the moral high ground and responded with an Etiquette Hell worthy reply, but I did nothing of the kind.

I punched her in the face hard enough to bust her nose and told her that my marriage was as real as her now broken nose, then walked out.

I know violence is never acceptable and that I never should have sunk to such a level, but I like to think, if I ever felt the need to ask, that the Etiquette Gods would forgive me this once. 0817-12

 

For future reference, at the moment anyone asks the question regarding the consummation of the marriage, you should stare at her/him like she/he was an alien with five eyeballs and purple snot dripping from the nose, a perfect mixture of horror and disgust flitting across your face.   I know we live in a very sexualized culture but darn it, no one needs to know the details of your sex life.  If only we would start making the line in the sand that certainly gets crossed when there are comments and questions about happens when two lovers are buck naked.   Thwarted at knowing the status of your sex life four hours after marriage, the co-worker would have never gotten to the nasty punch line.   Saying nothing allows the busybody the luxury of imagining that hubby died suddenly after a steamy encounter in the limo going from the church to the reception hall.

And no, Ehell cannot officially condone violence in response to insensitive verbal blather that was meant to hurt.  If every instance of verbal idiocy were met with an escalation into violence, this would become a very uncivil world to live in.   Honestly, all you did was lower your level ways below co-worker’s and smacked a pig.  As Horatio Hornblower said in a gun duel to his slimy, despicable, cheating opponent, “You’re not worth the powder,” meaning that this disgusting piece of subhumanity wasn’t worth the cost of the bullet and  gun powder to shoot him.  I am sure there will be plenty of commentators to this post who will revel in the action of busting the co-worker’s nose and cheer you on but they are wrong to encourage you to lower your dignity that way.   It may have felt good for the moment but I am far more concerned for your long term good image of yourself.

 

{ 102 comments… read them below or add one }

Leeeez August 23, 2012 at 4:20 am

My jaw dropped when I read that, until I got to the right hook in the face. Probably not the correct etiquette, but I laughed so hard. Probably more effective than the average bean-dip!

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lkb August 23, 2012 at 4:31 am

My deepest condolences at your loss. How awful for the OP — both for the loss itself and also for having to relive it by telling it to a stranger.

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justme August 23, 2012 at 4:47 am

I’m afraid that I probably would of done the same of the o.p. Sometimes your heart if faster then your brain. I do hope the offending party now knows enough to keep her nose out of other peoples personal business!

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Cherry August 23, 2012 at 4:57 am

First of all, OP, I’m so sorry for your loss.

Secondly, it may not have been polite, but I think considering the circumstances, I’d have done exactly the same. Broken nose and all.

How dare your co-worker, barely knowing you and having never known your husband, decide she gets to state what counts as a “real” marriage.

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Dorothy Bruce August 23, 2012 at 5:05 am

I’m torn between wishing you had given her the look of death and walked away or giving you a high five for hitting the target.

Wow. I would have said something about being sorry for your loss. What the co-worker said was absolutely inexcusable.

I hope there were no repercussions for you work-wise. I’d like to know what happened next.

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scottish_lass August 23, 2012 at 5:24 am

Good woman. I would have punched her too. Maybe in future do what admin suggests, if anyone is so horrible as to say something like that to you, but I think the Etiquette Gods should give you a dispensation this time!! Have you had bereavement counselling, it is so understandable that you could respond to this pain with rage, but ultimately rage will not heal the pain entirely…
I am so, so sorry for your loss.

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ferretrick August 23, 2012 at 5:54 am

Say ten “Have you tried the bean dip?” and “Why would you say that to me?” and consider yourself forgiven. Good Lord.

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Green123 August 23, 2012 at 6:06 am

I am sorry for your loss, OP. The response of your Co-Worker to you is one of the rudest and most insensitive things I have ever read about, and I don’t blame you for reacting in the way you did. I would have done the same, at least.

I feel slightly sorry for your Co-Worker though, if she thinks a marriage is only ‘real’ if it has been consummated. All these years I’ve thought being married was about love, committment, trust, and companionship (with a sprinkling of practical benefits like tax rebates and legal rights). But apparently your Co-Worker thinks that ALL counts for nought unless there’s sex…? *eyeroll*.

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Susan August 23, 2012 at 6:06 am

I am so very sorry for your loss! My jaw is resting comfortably on the floor! The nerve of that woman! I’m kind of ok with you breaking her nose!

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Waltzing Matilda August 23, 2012 at 6:07 am

I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s death. It must have been terribly traumatic for yourself and everyone there. Re the punch – go girl! While it’s probably heresy to say it on an etiquette blog, but there are truly sometimes when you can’t just suck it up / bean dip / give the polite response. Some people are just crying out for a punch in the nose. Good for you.

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Lo August 23, 2012 at 6:12 am

Clearly violence is never an acceptable response to rudeness.

But I have to be honest, the satisfaction that story gave me for all the people who’ve been wounded by prying, hurtful questions and ugly statements is immeasurable.

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Jess August 23, 2012 at 6:13 am

My God, I am so sorry for your loss. Your marriage was just as real as any and I must say that I for one do not blame you one iota for how you reacted. I cannot imagine how hard that was for you and for this…. I have no words to describe such filth… was so cruel!!

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LadyL August 23, 2012 at 6:13 am

I know I’m going to be sent to Ehell for this but if it were me I wouldn’t have stopped at one punch. Yes, I know violence never solved anything but when some twerp says you were never truly married just deserves it.

May your dear husband rest in peace and live in your heart.

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Psyche August 23, 2012 at 6:16 am

You know what I find interesting? The same people who decide to make rude comments about people they barely know are the same people who are too scared to interfere in, say, a mugging!

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Sarah Jane August 23, 2012 at 6:26 am

What a nasty, nasty woman.

OP, I am so sorry for your loss.

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jena rogers August 23, 2012 at 6:30 am

My deepest condolences for the loss of your husband. I cannot even imagine getting through such an experience, and wish you strength and support as you honor his memory. Reading other responses, I get a sense that your reaction was, by most accounts, understandable. I was pretty shocked to read it myself. For me, part of the fault lies in trusting someone you hardly know with anything even remotely personal and/or, particularly, anything painful. I’ve learned not to trust new coworkers with ANYTHING. You just never know where your personal life is going to end up in the work environment… It goes without saying that this schmuck appears to have a serious deficiency in the areas of sensitivity and kindness.

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jen a. August 23, 2012 at 6:41 am

So sorry for your loss, OP. I agree with admin’s advice, but I’m sincerely hoping that no one would ask that kind of question again. I hope that when anyone asked your co-worker what happened to her nose she got horrified looks when she explained what she had said to you.

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Esmeralda August 23, 2012 at 6:43 am

I’m so very sorry for your loss.

While I certainly agree that violence is never the correct way to handle rude people, I do think that this situation, as uniquely horrifying as it was, was likely the one time in your life when it was entirely justifiable. I can’t imagine that anyone, knowing the particulars, would judge you too harshly for your reaction. I am, however, reeling from the thought that anyone would say such a vile thing to a grieving widow; hopefully, this coworker has since taken some time to reevaluate how she speaks to others.

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Kate August 23, 2012 at 6:48 am

I never like to condone violence. And although anyone can see that the OP’s response was hardly polite, let alone civilised, I feel guilty for being happy to hear what she did. In hindsight, yes, avoiding answering any questions about one’s sex life with one’s tragically deceased husband is the best thing to do. But we have all been put on the spot and found ourselves so stunned that we resort to answering truthfully as our brains frantically try to cope with such a ridiculous and inappropriate question. It is understandable that the OP simply responded when, looking back, it would have been better not to. The co-worker is clearly sick and depraved. Absolutely disgusting. To ask questions or, worse, pass judgement on someone else’s sex life, sanctity of marriage, deceased husband, or any other such personal topic, deserves much more than a broken nose. Even if it isn’t always the right thing to give them just that.

OP, I hope you didn’t suffer any repercussions at your workplace. Although I don’t know you, you have my sincerest condolences for your loss.

Possibly nothing can compare to the OP’s story, but this is in a similar vein: a friend of mine who is Caucasian was married in the courthouse to a lovely gentleman who is Asian. Her mother asked some time later (in front of others, no less, including the husband in question) when the daughter was going to ever get married. Her daughter, confused, replied that she already was. The mother’s reply? “No, no, to a person. It doesn’t count if they’re just a .” They haven’t spoken since.

It’s bizarre what some people believe constitutes marriage. If someone wants to consider themselves married, surely that’s enough, at least for social purposes? Until a few decades ago, interracial marriages were not recognised by law. For a lot of same-sex couples, they aren’t recognised unless they happen to walk a few hundred metres to the next state. Apparently the dirt you’re standing on is very important. And to some startlingly sick and abhorrent people, whether or not you had sex is the crux of the matter. A mindset Freud himself would find bizarre.

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Echo August 23, 2012 at 6:56 am

I understand the ‘taking the high road’ argument completely… but I have to admit, I cheered a little when I got to the right hook!

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LeeLee88 August 23, 2012 at 7:23 am

And so that vile coworker learned a valuable lesson: watch your mouth, because you never know when the person you’re mouthing off to could have a momentary lapse of judgment and bust your face.

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Ames August 23, 2012 at 7:44 am

Etiquette be damned, in a situation like this.
What a disgusting thing to say to another human being. I don’t know if I have ever known a person that brazen, or stupid. Whichever word fits. I guess I’m lucky.
I don’t know how you could have walked away from a conversation like that without a punch in the face. If the story had ended with a blank stare and a walk away, the punishment would not have fit the crime.
I am so sorry you had to go thru something so awful. I can’t imagine how you felt, and still feel.

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Angel August 23, 2012 at 7:51 am

This story is almost too crazy to be believe. However I’ve learned that often truth is stranger than fiction. My hat’s off to the OP for standing up for herself. And I agree with the others this is probably the one instance in her life where her reaction, while some might call it over the top, is justified. I don’t think it’s over the top at all. Losing your husband only 4 hours into the marriage is horrible enough to have to go through, without people judging you for wearing your wedding ring. When did things like this become up for discussion and debate? I do hope that the recipient of the blow didn’t press charges, but then again, anyone with the gall to say something like this to somebody who has lost their husband in so cruel and tragic an manner, has the gall to do just about anything.

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Lapis August 23, 2012 at 7:56 am

I am so very sorry for you loss, OP. My heart hurts for you.

I echo the comments of many others- violence is not the answer but I totally understand what you did and I honestly laughed out loud. Some people just don’t know when to shut their mouths.

In the future when asked about your husband, I would suggest just saying he passed on suddenly with no further explanation, especially to new co-workers or acquaintances. If you develop a closer relationship on down the road, then you could explain further.

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AMC August 23, 2012 at 8:08 am

While admin is right that violence is never the answer, I can’t say I feel too badly for the heartless jerk of a co-worker. I can’t imagine something more disgusting and hurtful to say to someone in OP’s situation. I don’t know where people get these stupid ideas about what makes a marriage “real”. In the words of my favorite Beatle, all you need is love. My sincere condolences to OP on the loss of her loving husband.

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Abby August 23, 2012 at 8:46 am

“And so that vile coworker learned a valuable lesson: watch your mouth, because you never know when the person you’re mouthing off to could have a momentary lapse of judgment and bust your face.”

Haha, good lesson.

I am torn on this one. On the one hand, the coworker absolutely deserved the punch to the face. I can’t say I would have done the same, but only because I don’t know how to throw a punch, certainly not to the effect of breaking one’s nose. But if I had the skill, maybe I would have.

But on the other hand, you opened yourself up to lawsuits, disciplinary action at work, or at the very least, a very tarnished reputation. Sadly in cases like these, the victim of the violence usually gets the last laugh, no matter how much he or she may have deserved it. You could replay the entire conversation to the powers that be, and I’m guessing that while they may agree she had it coming, for liability reasons they’d have to fire the puncher. I’d be shocked if OP kept her job after that.

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Pam August 23, 2012 at 8:55 am

I would have loved you to ask her “Why would you say such a horrible hurtful thing?” Then you could have gathered some friends into your circle and asked them their opinion on what your co-worker said…. “Co-worker” just said my marriage wasn’t real because it wasn’t consumated, what do you think??” Nothing like some community ostracizing – : )

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--Lia August 23, 2012 at 8:56 am

I agree with the admin. No matter how horrible the words, you only lower yourself by responding with violence. Imagine this scenario. After the punch, the boor picks herself up off the floor and calls the local police. She explains that she’s been assaulted and needs medical care. The police and ambulance come. They take the letter writer away in handcuffs and get a statement. Do we think the police would find the scenario funny? How about the workers in the emergency clinic? I’m having trouble imagining that even if the people working those jobs were women who had lost husbands, that any of them would shrug it off and say “well, she had it coming.”

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Stacey Frith-Smith August 23, 2012 at 8:59 am

Oy! This is a cautionary tail to busybodies and prognosticators who become habituated to the idea that others are so civilized that any and all rudeness will be tolerated with only a verbal objection. We are wise to censor our own stupidity because there is no guarantee that if someone else is offended they will stop with a verbal reproof.

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gramma dishes August 23, 2012 at 9:08 am

I had a friend in college who had a similar situation. Her husband was killed in an automobile accident as they were leaving for their honeymoon. Believe it or not, a couple of people actually said similar things to her. It is beyond my comprehension how someone could say something so hurtful and ignorant.

Perhaps we all deserve to have ONE etiquette transgression in our lives without penalty. Consider this one yours. I do hope also that there were no consequences with your job.

Obviously no one here condones violence. I wish you hadn’t answered her question and/or that you had ignored her heinous remark and simply walked away. But since you weren’t able to do that, congratulations on the accuracy of your aim. ;-)

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Wendy August 23, 2012 at 9:11 am

I have to disagree with admin on this one. Sometimes the only answer is violence. The coworker has probably been saying mean and disparaging things to people for years and is either too dense or too mean to understand other, more polite, responses. I suspect in the past she’s said nasty things to other people who have chosen to either ignore her or walk away or tell her what she said was inappropriate, and in her twisted mind she decided she was right and superior and could say what she wanted. A punch in the nose was probably the first time anyone directly told her what a cruel, stupid person she is.

Sometimes the direct approach is the best. I hope she learned something from it.

OP, I am so very, very sorry for what happened. It’s up to you and no one else to decide how to proceed with your life after what happened. It was a real marriage because you loved each other deeply and stood in front of friends and family to declare that love and make your vows. You have both my sympathy and respect. *hug*

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postalslave August 23, 2012 at 9:12 am

I personally think meeting the business end of ones fist was the correct response to that statement.

Sometimes, and only sometimes, violence can be the answer. If OP just ignored the question there is a high chance that the co-worker would never pick up on the fact that what she said was wrong and would continue to make crass, disgusting comments to others. My bet is that she will NEVER make such a comment again.

Subtlety is lost on most crass people. It’s tragically sad but true.

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Margo August 23, 2012 at 9:24 am

My condolences. I agree with all the previous posters that that co-worker’s comment was unforgivably rude.
I can’t condone the violence but I think it is understandable. I can’t help but feel that that particular thoughtless, cruel nosy-partker is likely to be a botmore circumspect in future.

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Teapot August 23, 2012 at 9:24 am

First and foremost, my heartfelt sympathies for your loss.

Sometimes our bodies react before our manners have a chance to kick in. I’m sure that you were almost as surprised to find your fist making contact with this horribly crude woman’s face as she was. And I kind of think that if your dear husband was there watching over you, he gave out a big “That’s my girl!!!”

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2browneyes4 August 23, 2012 at 9:35 am

In accordance with Admin’s comment, I would not encourage the punch in the face, but I certainly understand it!! Sometimes you react before you even know it!! A similar thing happened to me where someone said something really really awful to me in a bad situation that the person had caused. After they said it, the next thing I was aware of was drawing my fist back after punching them in the mouth. Certainly not my greatest hour, and not a day I’m proud of, but, just like the OP, we all have our limits.

Hopefully, we can avoid these situations where possible. I hope the OP didn’t lose her job. If one were able to contain their Knock U Out urges (and believe me, I understand the OP’s position), they may say:
“That is absolutely the nastiest thing I have ever heard anyone say. I hope it never happens to YOU.”

Or, in accordance with Admin’s comment about stopping the conversation that’s clearly going downhill early, in response to the consummation question, say:
“Why do you ask? My GYN doesn’t ask me that!”

OP, please accept my deepest condolences.

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sv August 23, 2012 at 9:35 am

Violence is never the answer, violence is never the answer….except that sometimes, it’s the answer. I believe in tolerance, respect, dignity and compassion for those among us who sometimes do not deserve it. I believe this truly…most of the time and with most of my heart. But there are times in this world when other’s ignorance is simply too much to put up with. The Ehell Gods will forgive you.

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Politrix August 23, 2012 at 9:40 am

I’m clearly in the minority here, but I can’t in any way condone the OP’s reaction to the nasty co-worker. Growing up in a rough neighborhood, coupled with years of martial arts, has taught me that violence should ONLY be used as a last resort.
1. You don’t know this person; if she was stupid and insane enough to say something so — well, so stupid and insane — she just might have been insane enough to wait for you outside of the party with a group of “friends” armed with bats, knives, maybe even a gun… not saying that’s likely, but it happened enough times where I come from to know it’s certainly a possibility. At any rate, if you cross paths again at some point, any chance she may have realized the error of her ways will be overshadowed by what you did… and her chances of being ashamed or even apologizing are now nil.
2. In every place where I’ve worked, such action is unconditional grounds for immediate dismissal, and can even go on your permanent record — following you from job to job. Maybe you’re not too keen on your job, but in this economy I’d never jeapordize my employment over something a stupid, rotten person of no consequence said to me — effectively letting her “win.”
3. If you live in the U.S. you probably already know that people are extremely litigious, and she could have easily sued you (not to mention having you arrested for assault — again, this is placed on your permanent record)… unfortunately, free speech is protected by our country’s Constitution, and you really wouldn’t have a convincing case, however justified you are.
4. By using violence, you effectively proved to everyone, including that pathetic little wretch, that you had no other recourse — such as a witty comeback, or like admin suggested, a withering look, or even a simple statement like “You know what? You’re a stupid ass, mind your business!”
I am so sorry you had to go through that, but really, there were SO many better, simpler ways to handle it, that would have done more damage to that woman than just a busted nose… and would have made you look golden.

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Politrix August 23, 2012 at 9:50 am

I need to edit/clarify some things I said in my previous post (wrote too fast!):
1. I meant to start out by offering my sincerest condolences to the OP… I hope you find peace and healing after what you’ve been through, and admire your strength and courage.
2. I meant to say that violence should be used as a last resort, and in SELF-DEFENSE, not to bully, intimidate, or “teach someone a lesson.”
3. I didn’t mean to imply it’s unfortunate that free speech is protected by the U.S. Constitution — poor phrasing! Sorry! — I meant to say “free speech is protected by the U.S. Constitution, and unfortunately that extends to offensive language by rude, obnoxious lowlifes.” Which is NOT to say someone can’t get an a**-kicking if they say something mean to another individual — but it DOES mean if that individual chooses to prosecute, the law will be squarely on his/her side. Unfortunately.

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josie August 23, 2012 at 9:52 am

So, I wonder what happened with the work relationshp? Do they have to work together?

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JGM1764 August 23, 2012 at 10:02 am

This is a little off-topic here, but what does bean-dipping mean? I see it on this site a lot and I’m not sure of what the metaphor is supposed to convey.

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Katie August 23, 2012 at 10:08 am

I am so sorry for your loss.

Don’t want to add anything apart from that I think (given the content of the story) that the title of the post is a bit… off. Unless that’s what the OP called it??

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AS August 23, 2012 at 10:17 am

It took me a while to read past what happened to you. I am so sorry for your loss, OP.
IMHO, your marriage is very real, maybe even more than a lot of other marriages given that you still honor the man you married by wearing the ring he gave you.

I know violence cannot be condoned, but what the co-worker said was horrible and I felt some sort of a Karmic peace when I read what you did. Co-worker definitely needed a wakening up and sensitizing her to the feelings of others. Just imagine people asking her –

People: OH! What happened?
Co-worker: IP B**** punched me.
People : How horrible. Why?
Co-worker: Because she was still wearing the ring when her marriage was not consummated, and I pointed out to her that her marriage was not real.
People: … (Any sensible person would know that what she did was awful and hurtful).

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Ashley August 23, 2012 at 11:00 am

OP, I am sorry for your loss. I can’t even imagine how sad/heartbreaking that must have been.

As for your reaction, I believe violence should only be used as an absolute last resort, but at the same time, I’ve been in a place where my first instinct was to hit someone as well, so I’m a bit torn on the whole situation. Thankfully in my case, I managed to keep calm long enough for someone to intervine, but my point is, I know how it feels to be that upset about something. Even though it may not have been the right reaction, hopefully co-worker’s broken nose has taught her to shut up in the future. And next time, take Admin’s advice.

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Vicki August 23, 2012 at 11:08 am

My sympathies for your loss. I don’t think what you did was right, but I do think it was understandable. So, take admin’s advice in case you run into such a crass person again. All you need to say is “I’m a widow.”

The problem with what AS said is that co-worker probably wouldn’t explain, she’d say something like “I don’t know, we were just making small talk” or “I have no idea, all I did was ask about her husband.”

Even if she thought that rude remark was OK when she made it (rather than blurting it out without thinking because she had no filters), after she’d been punched she probably realized that it might be over the line to other people. So, yes, maybe she told the actual story to a few cronies, but otherwise it’s going to be “I have no idea why she did it” or “I walked into a door.”

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Lisa August 23, 2012 at 11:10 am

My Dear OP; I am so very sorry for your loss. What a heartbreaking situation. I simply cannot get my head around why your co-worker said what she said; it’s just so bizarre. I have no idea what I’d have done in that situation, but kudos to you for setting this imbecile straight. And again, my heartfelt condolences on your loss.

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Lynda August 23, 2012 at 11:28 am

My sincere condolences for your loss. May you find the strength to heal from this terrible tragedy. As far as revealing the details of your husband’s death, perhaps in the future you should just tell people that you don’t know well that he passed away. You don’t need to give anyone you don’t know any more detail than that. It certainly would have avoided that clod’s reaction. I have a (now ex) friend whose husband committed suicide tragically. She would tell anyone, and I mean anyone, right upon meeting them, what happened. Most of the time she just got blank stares and mumbles, but she was really opening herself up to unwanted and painful questions. I never could figure out why in the world she did this.

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vanessaga81 August 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

I have to add my name to the list of those who understand the OP’s reaction. If I were the OP I would have been mortified afterwards but honestly, if someone ever said something so horrible to me I can see myself doing the same thing. This is a different example but when I (at age 28, independent and gainfully employed) found myself pregnant before my fiance and I married my mother suggested an abortion because it would be “so embarrasing for me with my friends and family”. If we hadn’t been on the phone my reaction might have been different from the silent treatment I gave her for the next several months.

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Kirsten August 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

It’s obvious from the post that the OP knows what she did was wrong and I don’t think she needs the lectures Admin and some others have chosen to dish out.

OP, I’m so sorry to hear what happened. I hope you find peace and healing.

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Calli Arcale August 23, 2012 at 11:46 am

Never mind etiquette; punching the boor and breaking her nose is a good way to end up not only widowed but also jailed — that’s assault and battery, and depending on how badly the nose was broken, could end up very badly for you. (It’s hard to imagine, but occasionally punches to the face hard enough to break the nose have ended in fatalities. A callous attitude isn’t worth a person’s life, nor 20 years in jail for murder.)

We all want to punish miscreants, but etiquette is about more than bragging rights as to who is behaving properly. It’s about maintaining order. Punching someone in the face hard enough to break their nose is severe overkill, and you should not be proud of doing it. The worst I’ve done as an adult when someone offended me this badly was to pound the table and shout — and even that was overkill, in my opinion, and stupid, as it immediately gave her both the legal upper hand (as it can constitute a perceived physical threat) and also the moral high ground.

Never punch a person for questioning the validity of your marriage. Stare at them with astonishment and scorn, yes. Tell them off if you like, although such a person is not someone you’ll be able to defeat in a battle of words. You can only “win” by debasing yourself, and it becomes at best a Pyrrhic victory. I would hope that I would have the composure to say “How dare you! The marriage was real in the eyes of the courts and my religion, and he was a very good man whom I still miss terribly. Nothing else is any business of yours,” and then cease all further communications with the boor. But knowing myself, I might be too stunned to say anything at all.

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Moonlight August 23, 2012 at 11:46 am

I wish I could say that the offensive remarks made to the OP surprise me. But after the sudden death of a family member, I know just how stupid, thoughtless and self-righteous some people can be. My sympathies. However, the OP response is appalling. To those who cheer her on, the OP could have lost her job and been subject to criminal and civil penalities. There is no justification for violence. I agree with the admin, you overshared. Whether you consumated your marriage is an inappropriate question and I can only assume that the sheer audacity of the question resulted in your shocked response. But I would also suggest that telling a new co-worker at a company party that your husband died suddenly during your wedding reception 18 months ago was oversharing too. There are two kinds of people in this world, the good and the not so good. Telling the most painful experience of your life to a virtual stranger cost you (though how much cannot be told from your post). Even if your listener was one of the good ones, such a story is emotionally charged and would distress your listener. A wiser and kinder response to her question would have been to say that your husband died suddenly shortly after you were married. You could then reveal more details as you get to know her better.

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