Help! My White Boyfriend Just Used the N-Word.

Advice on manners and morals.
Jan. 3 2013 6:15 AM

Say What?

My white boyfriend just called someone the N-word.

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Dear Rover,
I can certainly see myself potentially facing this dilemma. Our Cavalier King Charles spaniel (yes, I know it’s a ridiculous name for a dog breed) not only sleeps on the bed, she’s in the bed, under the covers, keeping me and my husband one small dog’s length apart. We could be tougher and make her sleep on her own, but that would end up being a great way to listen to her having nightly nervous breakdowns. It’s sad that your beloved pooch is so sick, but it makes no sense for two humans to suffer through this each night just for the sake of both of you being sleep-deprived zombies together. First of all, your husband should check with the vet to see if there’s something that can make the dog more comfortable and his sleep quieter. If not, then since the dog’s relationship with your husband predates yours, I think that obligates him to play nursemaid, and it sounds as if he wants to. Tell your husband you admire his dedication to the dog and you miss them both each night, but you simply need to forgo your usual connubial bliss until your dog’s suffering comes to an end.

—Prudie

Dear Prudence,
Recently I received two separate announcements letting me know that I’m not invited to the wedding of a friend. Both of these came out of the blue; I had not precipitated them by asking if I was going to get an invitation. Apparently, it’s a trend for brides and grooms to tell people who didn’t make the cut that they aren’t going to witness the special day. (Google "How to tell someone you're not inviting them to your wedding.") I have no idea how to respond. It seems churlish to say that I’m relieved, but it’s also awkward to admit my feelings were hurt. Please help.

—A Perplexed Nonwedding Guest

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Dear Perplexed,
I dearly hope that there is wide agreement that one thing brides and grooms can strike from their to-do list is the sending of “Don’t Save the Date” cards. I used your search terms and came upon this gem, in which it is suggested that the bride gets together with the uninvited specifically to break the unfortunate news. This blow is supposed to be softened by allowing the nearest but clearly not dearest to help the bride choose the dress, shoes, or cake. Oh, what joy to schlep around to help plan an event from which you’ve been excluded! It used to be understood, and I assume largely still is, that a lack of wedding invitation was conclusive evidence of not being invited. People old enough to receive a wedding invitation are supposed to be mature enough to understand that not everyone can be asked to such occasions and accept this with good grace. (I know from friends who’ve planned weddings, however, that this is not always the case.) Maybe the idea you’re supposed to let people know they’re not coming is a function of social media. Because if you don’t, and then post every detail of the big event on your newsfeed, you're going to create a whole class of friends who wait for each day’s mail with increasing bitterness. (Which might be a good reason for considering just how much nuptial news you need to post in the first place, rather than sending a mass "you're not coming" email.) Still, there may be a category of truly close friends who would normally expect an invitation but who should be told that because of severe constraints it won’t be forthcoming. Yet in cases such as yours when the noninvite is baffling, you can respond with silence or with a brief, gracious note wishing your friend all the best on the big day.

—Prudie

More Dear Prudence Columns

Sins of the Father: I think my dad has a secret love child. Should I confront him?” Posted Nov. 10, 2011.
 “The Monotony of Monogamy: I married my first sexual partner, and now I’m itching to cheat.” Posted Nov. 3, 2011.
 “Indecent Proposal: My colleagues are framing our boss for harassment. Should I expose their evil plot?” Posted Oct. 27, 2011.
Bye-Bye Baby: My sister is making a huge mistake by placing her child for adoption.” Posted Oct. 20, 2011.

More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts

Morbid Memento?: Dear Prudence advises a woman whose fiance is too attached to his dead sister-in-law—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Nov. 14, 2011.
 “Sniffing Out Trouble: Dear Prudence advises a woman who caught her fiance's dad in a sleazy act—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Nov. 7, 2011.
 “Halloween Hangover: Dear Prudence advises a dad whose buddies hit the bottle too hard on the trick-or-treat trail—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Oct. 31, 2011.
Sleeping With the Frenemy: Dear Prudence offers advice on confessing to an affair with a BFF's husband—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Oct. 24, 2011.