Author Topic: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf? Update (Examples) post 20  (Read 6656 times)

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Bethalize

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf?
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2013, 01:43:58 PM »
I think Bethalize's situation is relevant in that if the wife stays silent as her friend complains about DH's behavior, it could lead friend to think that the wife completely agrees with what her husband did/said.

I don't know that I would apologize "on behalf of" my spouse--that makes me think of, "Bob said to tell you he was sorry" or "Bob's really sorry for what he said."

But if my friend was complaining of an insult from a third party that I didn't even know, I could easily say, "I'm so sorry they said that to you! That's awful!" So I think I could reply in that vein if she were talking about my spouse. It would probably be more like, "What? That's a weird thing for him to say. I don't know what he meant by that," in a disapproving tone. Or if she was really upset, something like, "I'm so sorry you were hurt by his comment! I didn't hear it and I really don't know what he meant by it." I guess I wouldn't take the extra step of promising to do something about it; but I would definitely ask my DH about it later and see what the deal was, and decide how I wanted to proceed. Depending on the situation I might strongly suggest he apologize directly to friend, or that they not socialize together for a while, or just advise him that she doesn't find that particular topic funny and now that he knows, it would be mean to bring it up again with her. And I wouldn't want to be married to someone who was deliberately mean.
Right in the business transaction she described, she fully expected an apology from the coach and received none so she fired him.
 
In a friend vs spouse situation, discussion is warranted.  I can't see the friend tarring her friend with the same brush as the husband without a discussion happening.  Two different situations.  And furthermore, if the friend immeadiately does tar them both like that, then he or she isn't a true friend.

As it so happens, the two coaches are partners. Not married, but still romantic partners. But even so, the principle applies to everyone. You are judged by the company you keep, and if you tolerate something others will assume that you are for it, or at least not against it. It would be the same if you brought a platonic racist friend with you to my party. There needs to be acknowledgement that the incident should not have happened and regret that it did happen. My actions in a social situation will be the same as this business situation: I won't confront you or the person who was at fault, I will simply stop associating with you so long as you are associating with them.


Zilla

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf?
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2013, 01:44:26 PM »
Right in the business transaction she described, she fully expected an apology from the coach and received none so she fired him.
 
In a friend vs spouse situation, discussion is warranted.  I can't see the friend tarring her friend with the same brush as the husband without a discussion happening.  Two different situations.  And furthermore, if the friend immeadiately does tar them both like that, then he or she isn't a true friend.

Well, I guess I was picturing it as, Insulted Friend is trying to have a discussion with Wife about Husband's behavior, and Wife just keeps bean-dipping or says nothing in response. So Insulted Friend might conclude that Wife agrees with Husband on the matter (or doesn't think it's a big deal), and then Insulted Friend is mad at both of them.

I suppose I was picturing something similar with Bethalize--that maybe she said (emailed, etc.) to Coach, "Hey, Business Partner was insulting," and Coach was like, "Huh. Nice weather we're having." Naturally leading Bethalize to think that Coach either agreed with the insult, or didn't care much.

Thus one might conclude that when one's partner has insulted someone, bean-dipping or ignoring is not the way to go, even if you have no intention of actually apologizing on your partner's behalf.
Okay then, yeah. I get it finally.  But it took some doing. lol 
 
I still maintain that a true friend will hopefully realize that the wife doesn't speak for the husband and vice versa.  And try to fix the situation themselves with the insult giver OR just minimize contact with the spouse. In a business setting though, appearances and whom they associate with, does speak volumes.

Danika

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf?
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2013, 04:59:38 PM »
OP here. I'm short on time, but I'll come back and write out all three stories that I was thinking of when I created this post. All of them happened in the past, so there's no urgency now for me to figure out whether or not anything needs to be done. What prompted me to post this was that one person, my uncle, tried to reconnect with me, and I had never blamed him for his wife's behavior because I was unmarried at the time and didn't know much about marital dynamics. But now that I'm married, I realize that I would not have sit by and let my spouse treat someone like that.

bah12

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf?
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2013, 07:10:09 PM »
I think the specific situation matters.  In most cases, I would hope that I wouldn't hear about my husband's behavior second hand and I'm not sure (again depending on what it was) that I would automatically assume that my husband needed to be apologized for.

But, hypothetically, if it were by best friend who said my DH said something harsh or acted in a boorish way (so, now we have two people I trust almost implicitly), and I had no prior knowledge of the incident.  I might say something like "Really?  Wow! That's a terrible thing to say/act.  I can't imagine what he was thinking because that isn't like him at all.  Do you want me to talk to him for you?  He owes you, at the least, an explanation."

So, not dismissive of my friend but not exactly throwing my DH under the bus either.
And as the OP stated that the husband was spoken to and refuse to aplogize and doesn't see anything wrong.  What do you do then?  Now friend is expecting you to wrangle your dh into speaking to her.  I think it's best just to not get involved and change the subject.
That wasn't the OP.  But thinking of the dynamics between me and my best friend and my DH, I would have no problem going "Dh, BF was hurt when you said X.  Go talk to her about it." 

He doesn't have to think he's wrong to make good with someone who's upset with him.  And if he and my bf (or anyone I would want to 'preserve' a relationship with) acted like mature adults (dh and bf do 99.9% of the time), then I don't have to apologize for anyone nor do I need to be involved beyond they "hey, go work things out" statement.

but, that being said, depending on the specific circumstance, I can definitely see where it would be ok, and even prudent, to apologize on behalf of a spouse.

Deetee

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf?
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2013, 11:47:15 PM »
A husband and wife are both seperate people and a unit. And I think that if one of the spouses does something that offends (let's say the wife is the the offending party), the husband has to decide if he wishes to be treated as seperate people OR as a unit but you can't dodge and hide behind both.

So going with a scenario where the wife has done something to a friend that the husband thinks is pretty bad, and friend wishes to banish the wife from the social group, but the wife refuses to apologize you can do the following:

Seperate people:
The husband gives his honest opinion of the wife's behaviour and his feelings on the matter. This may include an apology for exposing the friend to the behaviour.

Unit
The husband may apologize on the wife's behalf or may insist that no apology is required and accept the joint banishment. In either case, the couple have a united front.

Trying for best of both worlds (not acceptable in my books)
The husband refuses to acknowledge that any apology is required from him and will refuse to give any opinion on his wife's behaviour because it was his wife (Unit), but will also say he should not be banished because it was wife that did it, not him. (Seperate people)

If your spouse does something that is bad behaviour, it is important to determine where your loyalties lie.

Danika

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf?
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2013, 05:22:54 AM »
OP here. Here are the three scenarios that I was thinking of which caused me to create this thread. They're all somewhat different situations so I don't know if any universal behavior should apply to all situations.


Scenario 1

We live in the U.S. and my adult cousin lives in Canada. She was engaged and planning her wedding. Our uncle (he's her mother's brother as well as my mother's brother) had a young daughter and she was going to be the flowergirl. It was a big white wedding, many months to plan it, etc. Uncle, his wife (AIL = Aunt In Law), ChildCousin (flowergirl) and two other children purportedly had passports and plane tickets. A week before the wedding, all was supposed to happen as planned. When we arrived in Canada for the wedding, only Uncle was there. AdultCousin (bride) was shocked and angry but is classy so she didn't give me any details. All I could tell was that somehow things had changed last minute and AIL and ChildCousin weren't in attendance. Several family members asked Uncle what happened and he was tight-lipped.

At this time, I lived 150 miles from Uncle and AIL and I would make the drive to see them once in a while and spend time with them. So I wouldn't say we had a super close relationship but it was a good relationship.

I got engaged the next year. Upon my engagement, AIL contacted me and asked me if ChildCousin could be my flowergirl. I didn't know more details about the situation/history with AdultCousin's wedding so I said yes and we discussed wedding plans throughout my 10 month engagement. This included that ChildCousin would be in wedding party photos, at the rehearsal dinner, have a special dress, etc. Uncle, AIL, ChildCousin and their other kids all RSVPed yes to the wedding. Less than one week before the wedding, AIL emailed me and said that she and the kids wouldn't be attending because the wedding was during the kids' nap time! I was polite but firm and wrote her back and said that I was angry about that. Only Uncle attended the wedding. He didn't say a word to me about AIL or ChildCousin's absence.

A few weeks after my honeymoon, Uncle asked me if DH and I would like to go to their house to have dinner. I didn't know what AIL had or had not told him about her absence from my wedding so I wrote out what I've told you here. That she had been the one to ask me if ChildCousin could be a flowergirl and that she'd backed out at the last minute with a lame excuse. He didn't reply. I got silence. And I didn't hear from him or speak to him for a long time after that. When we've seen each other at family functions (AIL's generally absent) we have been friendly but haven't brought up the topic.

I've been married nearly 10 years now and just a few days ago, for the first time since, Uncle contacted me wondering if DH and I wanted to go to their house to visit. I know he has other motives for why he contacted me recently which are unrelated to all of this so I won't go into that. But it got me thinking... I never blamed AdultCousin (bride in Canada) for not telling me what AIL did to her. It wasn't my business at the time. But I think I had mentioned to AdultCousin during my engagement that ChildCousin was to be a bridesmaid. I wished she had warned me then not to trust AIL. When another cousin got engaged the year I got married, I did warn him and his bride about AIL's tactics. I'm wondering now if Uncle should have told me during my engagement what had happened during AdultCousin's wedding. If he suspected that his wife would back out after I'd really done a lot to accommodate their small children to be guests at our wedding, shouldn't he have warned me? Or at least apologized after the fact? Or at least replied to my email?

That got me thinking about other offenses that others have made and how spouses handled it. Which brings me to...




Scenario 2

New cast of characters. DH and I were good friends with Betty and Bob. Several years, Betty's mom, Ava, invited us all over for Thanksgiving dinner. There were usually about 15-20 people at these gatherings. One year, Bob and DH had a great time well after dinner staying up and watching lousy movies on TV. The next year, we were at Ava's for Thanksgiving again. At some point after dinner while we were all cleaning up and moving from the dinner table to other rooms in the house, DH came to me and said "Bob and I are going to go to the video store and get some movies to watch late tonight." I was concerned because they were leaving mid-party to go do something that if they'd had an iota of forethought they would have done before the gathering. DH said it was Bob's idea, indicating that as Ava's son-in-law he knew what would be ok. DH assured me they were just going up the street and would be back shortly. To my recollection, they were gone about 30 minutes. It was kind of chaotic because there were about 20 guests this year and we were cleaning dishes, putting leftover food into containers to take home to various homes, etc. By the time we all sat down again to just chit-chat, DH and Bob had returned.

A few weeks later, Betty told me that Ava was very upset that Bob and DH were gone so long from the party. She said they'd been gone an hour. I agreed with Betty that it was very rude for any guests to leave in the middle of a party to go do something else "fun" (as in not an emergency) that should have been planned for another time and then return later. But I hadn't thought they were gone quite that long. She insisted that Ava was very angry. Ava had never said anything to me about it but I told Betty that I didn't approve of what Bob and DH did and that I was sorry on DH's behalf. I talked to DH about it later and he said it wasn't a big deal. DH wasn't raised in a home with much social consideration or refinement so I told him that I strongly believed that he and Bob had been out of line and that they shouldn't do something like that again. We went round and round about it for a while. DH never said anything to Betty or Ava about it, nor they to him.



Scenario 3

Same Betty and Bob from the last scenario, only the tables were turned this time. Our house, DH and I are hosting a milestone birthday party with a small number of guests. There were other transgressions that day such as Betty bringing uninvited guests to this gathering, who didn't really know the guest of honor, when she knew that I wanted it to be small and I had purposely restricted the guest list.

But the issue that really angered me was the following. Bob and another guest, Cameron, had wandered around our house, in rooms where we were not expecting guests to be, certainly not holding any party events. I hear that some children are banging on my piano. I always wash my hands before I play my piano because I don't want sticky, sugary keys. Getting food between piano keys is a great way to ruin an instrument. I go in there to see that Bob and Cameron are standing there watching their children with cake-frosting covered hands thinking nothing of it. I was incensed at the potential mess on my piano. I was incensed that people thought it was ok to wander around my house letting themselves into other rooms and opening piano fallboards to entertain themselves. I'm usually lousy with confrontation and let things go even if I'm angry (see the previous paragraph - I did nothing about the uninvited guests). But I raised my voice and told the kids to go wash their hands.

Betty, Bob and Cameron had all known me long enough to affirm that I'm usually easy-going. I usually don't get irate or voice objections. They'd known me for years and I'm sure they'd never seen me that angry about anything. Just for that alone, I think they should have at least said "Danika, I may not understand why you are angry, but clearly I've stepped out of line. I apologize." But they did not. They treated me like I was out of line for defending myself. Later, when I talked to Betty about it, instead of apologizing, she tried to gaslight me and accuse me of being "too particular and too attached" to my piano. When I also told her that I was upset that she'd brought uninvited guests to the party, she said nothing. And the next year tried to bring more uninvited guests to another party I was hosting. But I shut it down before it could happen that time (that post is somewhere here on EHell).



I hope those were entertaining reading, at least.

Zilla

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf? Update (Examples) post 20
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2013, 10:05:08 AM »
In the first scenario.  It wasn't just the aunt in law's fault, that's both of their faults.  Both parents knew the time of the wedding and what times the naps are.  Both of them should have let you know one way or the other in a timely fashion and not a week before.  If for some strange reason uncle knew nothing about it, then he shouldn't have to apologize for something he doesn't know.  But he can say that it won't happen again and ensure that it doesn't. (ie by talking with his wife and making no more promises to commit kids)


In the second scenario, I agree with your husband.  He or you shouldn't have to apologize.  Bob is the only one that needs to say sorry.  It was his party, his wife and his mother in law.  Your husband just went along.  And if you truly thought it was truly wrong, you could have worded it strongly and told him to please stay.  But you thought probably the same thing, that Bob would know if it's okay.


In the last scenario, it sounds again like they are both at fault.  But knowing how parents are indulgent with their kids, I can see why she defended the situation with Bob.  Now you know what type of parents they are.


I remember once a mom and dad came to my house with their son out of the blue (she was visiting my roommate, her sister).  Her husband followed their son around his journey in the house.  I walked into the kitchen and heard just as I was about to enter from the dad, "Oh watch out, he spilled some milk in there.  Might need to clean it up first."  Kid had opened fridge and dumped an entire gallon of milk on my kitchen floor.  The dad said he was trying to pour himself a glass of milk.  ???   No apologies but beaming at his 8 year old son being independent.  I called roommate in and she gaped at the mess.  Her sister said that they had to go.  And they didn't apologize at all.  Roommate shrugged and said now you see why I left?

Lynn2000

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf? Update (Examples) post 20
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2013, 12:30:32 PM »
I mostly agree with Zilla's take on the real scenarios. Unfortunately they all have aspects which make them non-ideal for discussing whether someone should apologize for their spouse, I think.

#1. Uncle and Aunt are equally at fault, as they are both the parents of the children and both should be involved in honoring commitments made regarding the children. They owe the OP an apology, but from both of them, not just from one on behalf of the other.

#2. I think DH is not at fault, and therefore neither he nor you have need to apologize. Bob apparently has permission from his MIL to watch whatever movies he wants, with one guest, for hours after the party, which suggests a high degree of comfort and freedom in her house. Therefore your DH had every reason to believe Bob knew whether it was okay to leave the party or not. Personally, two people temporarily leaving a large, multi-hour gathering would not have fazed me at all; so I wouldn't have automatically assumed it would be considered rude--again, especially if it was led by someone who was so familiar with the house and hostess.

At the very most an apology (from DH) would be of the "extra nice" kind (beyond polite)--"I'm sorry, I had no idea this would upset you so much, I won't do it again." But I think that would be a little over-the-top for this situation--more like if Bob and DH had borrowed Ava's prized vintage car without her permission or knowledge and driven it around, for example.

#3. I think Betty should have apologized for the uninvited guests and for their children's behavior (under Bob's supervision), certainly. But it sounds like she didn't really think she/they/the kids did anything wrong anyway, so it might just as easily have been her standing there watching them play the piano with dirty hands.

To me a good example might be something like... Mandy is hosting a party at her house, and Joe and Jane attend. Joe is standing around talking to someone, as one does, when one of Mandy's children runs by and knocks into him, causing Joe to spill his drink all over himself. Something bad, like red wine on light-colored clothes. And Joe reacts by angrily calling the child a very rude word. Jane is in some other part of the house and doesn't actually witness the event, although she certainly hears about the spill later from Joe. A few days later Mandy tells Jane that she's very angry because of the language/name-calling Joe used against her child. Jane might very well agree that Joe's reaction should have been more restrained, while Joe might feel justified in what he said or not see what the big deal is.

Then we could have a juicy debate about whether Jane should apologize on Joe's behalf, and what about the fact that Mandy was allowing her children to run into guests that hard, and so forth. Obviously, hypothetical scenarios are generally much neater than real ones, though. :)
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Zilla

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf? Update (Examples) post 20
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2013, 12:42:31 PM »
I mostly agree with Zilla's take on the real scenarios. Unfortunately they all have aspects which make them non-ideal for discussing whether someone should apologize for their spouse, I think.


To me a good example might be something like... Mandy is hosting a party at her house, and Joe and Jane attend. Joe is standing around talking to someone, as one does, when one of Mandy's children runs by and knocks into him, causing Joe to spill his drink all over himself. Something bad, like red wine on light-colored clothes. And Joe reacts by angrily calling the child a very rude word. Jane is in some other part of the house and doesn't actually witness the event, although she certainly hears about the spill later from Joe. A few days later Mandy tells Jane that she's very angry because of the language/name-calling Joe used against her child. Jane might very well agree that Joe's reaction should have been more restrained, while Joe might feel justified in what he said or not see what the big deal is.

Then we could have a juicy debate about whether Jane should apologize on Joe's behalf, and what about the fact that Mandy was allowing her children to run into guests that hard, and so forth. Obviously, hypothetical scenarios are generally much neater than real ones, though. :)
I will bite.  In a case like this, I can see being firm with husband in saying, "Honey you don't say that to kids.  You really should apologize."  And if he absolutely refuse, well he is an bacon-fed knave.  And I would apologize along the lines of, "I agree, that shouldn't have been said in front of the child.  He was upset his clothes got ruined by the wine while that isn't an excuse, he feels that it was justified.  I can't do anything more."


But I have to tell you, I can't see something like this happening in real life and staying married. lol (I know it's hypothetical) But I can see in that extreme situation where an apology or an explanation is warranted.

Lynn2000

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf? Update (Examples) post 20
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2013, 01:54:53 PM »
I will bite.  In a case like this, I can see being firm with husband in saying, "Honey you don't say that to kids.  You really should apologize."  And if he absolutely refuse, well he is an bacon-fed knave.  And I would apologize along the lines of, "I agree, that shouldn't have been said in front of the child.  He was upset his clothes got ruined by the wine while that isn't an excuse, he feels that it was justified.  I can't do anything more."


But I have to tell you, I can't see something like this happening in real life and staying married. lol (I know it's hypothetical) But I can see in that extreme situation where an apology or an explanation is warranted.

Hmm, I was trying to come up with one where one spouse would do something definitely in the wrong, but not so wrong as to be a deal-breaker... Not that I think it's okay to say something nasty like that to what was clearly an accident by a child, but honestly I would probably be thinking the same thing if it happened to me, and for some people there's a thin line between thinking and saying in the heat of the moment, which to my mind doesn't necessarily make them bad people.

What if it was more subtle, like... it's not so much the words Joe uses, but that he says them in a tone that could be called sarcastic, and rolls his eyes while Mandy is apologizing? Giving off the vibe of, "Yeah, right, I'm sure you're sorry, I really shouldn't have expected any better behavior from your kids." So Mandy could justifiably be offended by that; but imagine Jane hearing about it later--"He said, 'That's alright' in this tone and then he rolled his eyes!" It doesn't necessarily sound like much, especially if Jane is thinking Mandy should have had her kids under control better. I think this would be a good opportunity for, "Oh, well, I didn't really see it, so I don't know what he meant by that. I'm sorry your feelings were hurt, though."

Or, please, come up with your own scenario. :) Since we started the thread with a hypothetical I think it's okay.

Etiquette-wise I think there's an interesting balance between spouses and friends. You don't want to be disloyal to your spouse, but you probably also don't want to make excuses for them, either. Yet at the same time, if this is a good friend, you want to acknowledge their hurt and try to make it better. I don't have any personal experience to draw on so I don't really know what I would do in general. I feel like I would fall more towards, "He's an adult, he can deal with it himself," but at the same time I would want to at least make him aware that people were complaining about him and get his take on it.
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Deetee

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf? Update (Examples) post 20
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2013, 02:18:26 PM »
I think I agree with previous posters that this wasn't something where one spouse did something wrong and the other was innocent. These all seemed like joint actions.

bah12

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf? Update (Examples) post 20
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2013, 03:00:28 PM »
In the first scenario, your Uncle should have apologized on his wife's behalf.  They were invited to your wedding as a family, accepted as a family, and when two thirds of the family doesn't show, especially when one has a role in the wedding, then it's the fault of the whole family.  While everyone is different, I can't imagine making a decision not to go to a wedding and pulling my child out at the last minute without consulting my husband.  And even if she did make that decision in a vacuum, the Uncle was representing his family and the least that he could have done is apologized that most of them weren't there.

In the second scenario, I don't think you or your husband owed anyone an apology.  Your husband went along with Bob...it was his party and Betty and Ava needed to take it up with Bob.  Not your DH and certainly not you.  I would not have apologized in that case.

For the third scenario, I really don't see this as an apologizing 'for' anyone situation.  Bob and Betty (and Cameron?) allowed their children to play with something that was prohibited.  Whether or not your stance on your piano is reasonable (and I think it is), doesn't matter.  They were guests in your homes, you have rules, and they violated them.  They owe you an apology. 

MrTango

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf? Update (Examples) post 20
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2013, 03:12:16 PM »
I would not apologize.  It's not my place to apologize for another adult's behavior.

With that said, I'd make sure that LadyTango knew what she did, why it was wrong, and that I expect her to apologize and make amends for her actions.

Then again, with us, it's usually the other way around, as I tend to have all the social graces of a seasick crocodile...  :-[

Danika

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf? Update (Examples) post 20
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2013, 04:16:16 PM »
It's nice to get outside opinions on this! You're all right. In Scenario 1, my uncle was also responsible. I never thought of it that way because I had never discussed wedding plans with him. He came across as "Mr. Innocent" who knew nothing about anything. But he's not a child, he's an adult, so he should have communicated somehow himself!

And yes, Cameron and their kids, *eyeroll*. Neither he nor his wife apologized at all. In fact, they acted like I was out of line for telling their child to go wash his hands. After the fact, when discussing the incident, Betty threw Cameron under the bus and kept telling me that it had been his idea to wander around the house with the kids and that Bob had only been following along. And who knows if this is true or she lied about it, she said that Cameron blamed me because we didn't have enough for kids to do at the party. Which probably explains why Betty thought it was ok to let their other child hang out in our backyard and pull all my tulips up from the ground. After other behavior of Betty's unrelated to this, I have given her the cut direct.

Cat-Fu

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Re: Would you apologize on your spouse's behalf? Update (Examples) post 20
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2013, 04:33:34 PM »
First off, I agree with Zilla completely about her assessment of all hypotheticals.

However, generally speaking, I will apologize for my DH if he does something that I think is inappropriate. Sure, he's an adult and can manage his own relationships, but I'm an adult as well and I will perform damage control for *my* relationships as I see fit.
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