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divorce, horses & polite cocktail party conversation

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  • divorce, horses & polite cocktail party conversation

    In the social circles my husband & I travel in, we often run into ex-husbands of women I know from the show scene. Some I used to board with. These guys play golf, hence we see them around town and at benefit tournaments.

    Two of these men have ex-wives that have turned into complete trainwrecks...something that you'd see on Jerry Springer, if I were inclined to watch that garbage.

    Anyway....what do you say to these men when moving thru the buffet line? "Hey, Hi..How are the kids? Sorry that your ex now has the farrier boyfriend living in your home with your children?"

    Aside from discussing golf handicaps, the newest putter and Tiger's return to the PGA....the crickets start chirping. These men are literally sweating from embarrassment.

  • #2
    Well since you are not really friends with these people,but social acquantinces and they have nothing to do with horses....I would smile and be polite and simply ask about things that have nothing to do with their ex-wives or their farrier boyfriends and trainwreck lives....Lots of people can happily discuss their children without the ex and their ex's new partner being involved....if the situation is that bad simply don't bring it up...why would you if it causes someone pain...
    "All life is precious"
    Sophie Scholl

    Comment


    • #3
      A wise man once said that you never ask a question if you really don't want to hear the answer.

      As noted above, don't ask personal questions. Talk about something non-emotional, like the recent economic stimulus package or the deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan or why we should all watch English language Al-Jazeera.

      G.
      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

      Comment


      • #4
        Talking about "train-wreck ex-wives" is called gossip, and would be an even worse reflection on you than the ex-wife! If you really are at a loss for words, here are some conversation-starters for "polite" conversation: the weather, recently-read books, recently-seen movies, one's own recent gaffes (assuming you can tell a funny story on yourself), the virtues of the latest diet and/or exercise fad, traffic during rush hour. Other excellent ways to start a conversation - a compliment on the person's attire, vehicle, hairstyle, or child's latest accomplishment. Post-divorce people often greatly appreciate even the smallest compliment, as they are frequently struggling with a huge sense of failure. Mentioning that you noticed little Johnny's name on the honor roll at school might be just the day-brightener someone needs!

        So, bottom line, if you are trying to make someone else feel comfortable, welcome and a little bit happy - there are TONS of topics to discuss.

        Comment


        • #5
          It's like the country song "politics, religion and her" Things that should be avoided. Weather, sports, current events, etc. much safer.
          Being recently seperated I'm just really tired of being asked where and how he is but I don't mind having polite conversation on other topics.

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          • #6
            Seriously? Why the hell would you even consider bringing up an ex, especially a trainwreck one that is gossiped about? There are SOOOOO MANY things to talk about. If you guys run out of golf things to talk about, listen to NPR for an hour in the morning or evening...you'll have a bag full of interesting things to bring up on your next social outing...
            Amanda

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            • #7
              Talk about your husband...or their next golf outing...or the weather...or something you heard on NPR or just about ANYTHING except how are the kids/how are you doing/etc.
              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

              Might be a reason, never an excuse...

              Comment


              • #8
                well, if there are nice things to talk about the kids, but it's a minefield...with ex attached.

                Dinner parties are not the place for trainwrecks, I think COTH has the monopoly on that!
                Originally posted by BigMama1
                Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                GNU Terry Prachett

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                • #9
                  I would think that talking about the kids would be OK as long as it isn't in the context of the ex-wife. Something like, "I heard that Johnnie scored x amount of points at last Friday's basketball game" should be OK. Most parents like talking about their kids and their accomplishments. As long as you keep the topic away from the ex, I don't see why that would be a problem. But I would avoid asking, "How are the kids doing?" because although you might mean the question in a general way, someone who is freshly divorced/separated might take it in the wrong context.
                  "I was not expecting the park rangers to lead the resistance, none of the dystopian novels I read prepared me for this but cool."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I love asking people about their golf/sailing/whatever hobbies. I think it helps me build up good karma for the times I bore people to death with horse stories.

                    Agree with the others -- don't bring personal relationships up. I never ask about ANY ex (spouse, boyfriend, etc.) unless the other person brings it up first. I am happy to let people vent to me, but don't add to the conversation besides the polite "uh huh, yes, hmmm" responses that let them know I'm listening.

                    Saying something negative never fails to bite you later, as the moment you do the ex-lovers inevitably reunite and then tell each other the horrid things you said about them. Not worth the risk!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post

                      Agree with the others -- don't bring personal relationships up. I never ask about ANY ex (spouse, boyfriend, etc.) unless the other person brings it up first. I am happy to let people vent to me, but don't add to the conversation besides the polite "uh huh, yes, hmmm" responses that let them know I'm listening.
                      because the one time you innocently ask, "oh, how's the SO?" they will reply with "they died/we broke up/got divorced/are separated..."
                      Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

                      PONY'TUDE

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post

                        Agree with the others -- don't bring personal relationships up. I never ask about ANY ex (spouse, boyfriend, etc.) unless the other person brings it up first. I am happy to let people vent to me, but don't add to the conversation besides the polite "uh huh, yes, hmmm" responses that let them know I'm listening.

                        !
                        Excellent Advice, don't get involved in someone's venting..some people regardless will drag you into things and lie and say you had an opinion or even said anything when you just listen...but unfortunately you can't help that....people can be fickle, friends/lovers/married one minute, enemies the next then back to whatever in the blink of an eye...it is human nature...and if you take a side or add fuel to the fire/stir up trouble....you will be the one blamed/resented.

                        Just smile and try to avoid being dragged into this..the horse world is small..and if you get into inappropriate conversations with the non-horsey husband who them to add fire to his anger uses that against his wife...you have to deal with the reprecussions for saying " Her life is a trainwreck and she lives with her (looking down on him tone) Farrier boyfriend with the poor kids in the husbands house" That could make for some very awkward schooling ring moments!
                        "All life is precious"
                        Sophie Scholl

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by King's Ransom View Post
                          Talking about "train-wreck ex-wives" is called gossip, and would be an even worse reflection on you than the ex-wife! If you really are at a loss for words, here are some conversation-starters for "polite" conversation: the weather, recently-read books, recently-seen movies, one's own recent gaffes (assuming you can tell a funny story on yourself), the virtues of the latest diet and/or exercise fad, traffic during rush hour. Other excellent ways to start a conversation - a compliment on the person's attire, vehicle, hairstyle, or child's latest accomplishment. Post-divorce people often greatly appreciate even the smallest compliment, as they are frequently struggling with a huge sense of failure. Mentioning that you noticed little Johnny's name on the honor roll at school might be just the day-brightener someone needs!

                          So, bottom line, if you are trying to make someone else feel comfortable, welcome and a little bit happy - there are TONS of topics to discuss.
                          I reckon trotting out some of those topics on the ex-HUSBANDS would leave them wishing to hell you'd asked/talked about the ex-wife -- especially "the virtues of the latest diet and/or exercise fad" one.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            An above poster wrote: because the one time you innocently ask, "oh, how's the SO?" they will reply with "they died/we broke up/got divorced/are separated..."


                            I did this. His wife had just died.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by oldbutnotdead View Post
                              An above poster wrote: because the one time you innocently ask, "oh, how's the SO?" they will reply with "they died/we broke up/got divorced/are separated..."


                              I did this. His wife had just died.
                              My mom died two years ago this month. My dad still encounters this scenario now and then. His sister-in-law still sends Christmas cards addressed to both of them. Apparently the news has not caught up with her yet.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by oldbutnotdead View Post
                                An above poster wrote: because the one time you innocently ask, "oh, how's the SO?" they will reply with "they died/we broke up/got divorced/are separated..."
                                I did that, too. Ran into someone I hadn't seen in a while and absolutely gushed about what a great dinner we had at her husband's restaurant the night before. Turned out he had just left her for the cocktail waitress.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  And having a young, hot farrier boyfriend is wrong because??????

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I've been divorced for a year and a half now...and I still get the whole "Where's X now, still in town or ?" Erm...I don't mind answering, I just don't like that people see me and still associate me with an ex.

                                    ETA: These guys are sweating with embarrassment because why exactly? That no one can think of anything else to say? That an ex-wife is like the giant elephant in the room? Sheesh...maybe I have the gift of gab, but how can anyone not think of anything else to say?
                                    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      RE-reading the OP's post....It is the Ex-Husbands that are in the same social circles as the OP adn her husband....so the Ex-Wives should simply never come up...you know it is like "Jerry Springer" as you said so let it go..
                                      "All life is precious"
                                      Sophie Scholl

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        The polite cocktail conversation by definition would exclude sordid details about the lives of anyone present. Or anyone not present, if one truly has manners.
                                        Chronicles of the $700 Pony
                                        The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
                                        www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog

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