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My Wife

The other day a coworker told me that I must be looking forward to spending my first New Year's with my wife. What a reminder that most people still don't know that I'm divorced.

Eventually it will work its way through the grapevine, I'm sure, and although no one will talk about it, there will be a general understanding that bringing up my wife as a topic of conversation is taboo. However it is apparent to me that that day has not yet arrived.

Actually I don't mind talking about my ex-wife. I just don't like talking about my "wife". I may be full of bs, but I hate to lie, so talking as if I still had a wife always makes me very uncomfortable. I am truly thankful that she doesn't come up as a topic of conversation very often, but when she does.....oh boy.

First of all, I will not make up new information, so that puts me in an uncomfortable spot. What's she been up to lately? Well, work and the internet I guess. Who does the cooking? Yeah, I do. Any plans for children? Well, she wants kids right away, but I want to wait until everything settles down, so not in the immediate future. Same things I've been saying since before we got married...

Also I don't like the idea that I'm leading them on. Although I don't bring her up, when someone else does, rarely am I in a position to outright say, "Sorry, but we're divorced." Instead I have to respond as if we're still together until I can find a way to derail the conversation to something else.

Like the other day.

"Well, I don't know if 'looking forward' is the proper term, but......what are your plans for New Year's?"

And then there's this woman who likes to showcase the only English she knows.

"(Is) your wife beautiful?"

She's so cute when she asks that, I couldn't bear to tell her the truth, so all I can say is,

"Of course!"

Luckily for me, the conversation usually ends there, as we only ever really see each other in passing.

Why not just tell everyone? Good question. I wish it were so simple.

I have no illusions of grandeur, but the truth is, I am a somewhat public figure in the local community. In the city I work at (a city of something like 40,000) at least a good quarter of the people know me or of me. Becoming part of the city's gossip mill would not be a pleasant thing, and it would be rather distracting.

So here comes New Years and New Year's cards.

I am stuck.

Do I send cards with only my name or do I write in my ex-wife's name, too, to keep up appearances? I don't want to use her name, but I don't want to deal with the fall-out of not using her name, either.

Maybe no one will notice....


I totally understand your predicament, but DON'T EVER, EVER put your ex-wife's name in the New Year card!! It makes what you had skillfully evaded into an outright lie!!

Give up and just write your name.
I myself am married but do not put the names of my family members in my New Year cards. Call me eccentric, but it's acceptable.
Thanks. I agree with you.

This year I am late for sending out cards because I've been less than enthusiastic about addressing this problem. I've decided to send out far fewer than normal and then respond to anyone who gives me a card that I missed.

I'll just do as you say on the name. If anyone asks, I'll just say that I didn't think it was necessary or tell the truth if they persue it.
Yeah, I agree that that's the safest way to go. You put her name down, you're asking for trouble, somehow, someway.
I don't know... Wouldn't "not mentioning" that you are divorced make it even more awkward when it comes out? I mean, it WILL come out eventually. People will talk for sure but wouldn't that be better than keeping it a secret and having people around you resent you for not telling them/lying about it when they learn the truth?

I'll play the devil's advocate here.... If I were to gossip about someone's personal life, it would be more fun to talk about someone who has been divorced but has been keeping it a secret, than about someone who simply got divorced.

People will talk no matter what you do. I personally think keeping quiet about it makes the matter even worse. I'd say come clean.
Well, I am leaving the country this spring because of my father's failing health, so it might not matter in the end. But....I don't know. The only other divorced guy I know didn't spread it around much either. I don't see how keeping quiet could be detrimental in this matter.

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Mikawa Ossan
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