I’ve got an etiquette story which has left my partner “Mark” a bit insulted.
We’ve been very close friends with a couple “Sarah” and “Dave ” for a few years. Dave took a new job in another state, with the plan that Sarah would join him once she finished work at the end of the year. She fell pregnant during that time and Mark and I did our best to support Sarah, as Dave was only able to come a see her every second weekend. She often came around for dinner, I hosted her baby shower, and we even organised that if she went into labour before she moved to where Dave was, that Mark would drive her to the hospital.
When the baby was born, it had to stay in hospital for over a week. During this time I went to the hospital several times bearing gifts, well wishes and company. My partner Mark has made no secret of the fact that babies aren’t his cup of tea, but he came with me once to visit, and we all went out for dessert afterwards.
Sarah and baby moved up to Dave as soon as they were discharged, and after letting things settle down, we accepted an invite to visit and stay the night. When we arrived, a comment was made about how Mark had finally seen the baby, what did he think? He pointed out that he had seen the baby, that night we went for dessert. They both went, “Ohh, yeah!” So obviously they had been complaining to each other about how Mark didn’t make the effort to see their child.
Mark and I got talking afterwards about how awkward that moment had been, and he pointed out the thank-you card I received after her baby shower, for both hosting and the gift we gave her. Mark’s name was not on the thank-you card despite the fact that his name was on the gift, and the shower was hosted in our home. And it is not as through she forgot to put his name on. Her mum has a history of using Christmas and thank-you cards to create drama by leaving names off, or sending two cards- (a family they know has children from a previous relationship who she feels are “forgotten”, so she sends a separate Christmas card just to them to make a point).
It has just left a sour taste, that after all we’ve done to support this couple, a perceived slight changed their attitude. And should a man really be expected to visit a baby in hospital? Mark is of the impression that like baby showers, it’s more of a woman’s thing, and he only went because I made him. 0615-14
If your report is complete and accurate as to how they asked Mark about the baby, I think you both are overreacting to a very minor slight and making a mountain out of a molehill. You make several presumptions that I cannot see are valid….one being the assumption that they must have been jointly griping about Mark and the second that Sarah purposely forgot to put Mark’s name on the thank you note and the third, that Sarah must be like her mother. It seems reasonable that if Sarah had a history of doing this, you would have pointed that out but condemning Sarah for the actions of her mother doesn’t make it a pattern Sarah does to others.