Small Minds

29 Jan

Dear LetterBalm: Our daughter’s marriage broke up after only six months. Her husband was arrested and accused of molesting several children years before she met him. She was divorced quickly and met someone during that time. They’re planning to marry next month. All this has taken place over a short time – less than 18 months. We live in a small town, and everybody knows the details. Unfortunately, some insensitive people think it’s their business to ask very personal questions. Is there anything we can say to stop the intrusiveness without getting angry?


Your daughter has been through an ordeal, and, while Ms. L.B. might have advised her to take things more slowly after her breakup, she is moving on with her life. Some counseling is in order to help her process what happened to her and understand that none of it was her fault. It is hoped that she and her fiancé are planning a small wedding with only family and close friends in attendance. You and your family owe nothing to the tactless folks who insert themselves into peoples’ private business. Work up a few neutral responses along these lines:

  • Yes, Dulcie is getting married on Valentine’s Day. We’re so fortunate to be able to welcome Bill into our family. He’s a wonderful person.
  • We’re so happy for Dulcie and Bill. They’re going to make a new life together.
  • Oh, we don’t dwell on Dulcie’s first marriage. It’s in the past and the subject is closed.
  • Yes, it was horrible what happened, and I’m sure you understand that I’d prefer not to discuss it further.
  • May I ask, why would you want to know?
  • My goodness, for the life of me, why would you ask such a question?



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