Wedding Woes

I think you both 'handled' it just fine?

Dear Prudence,

I recently was introduced to an important work client in a casual setting. In the course of our getting-to-know-you discussion, she mentioned having a stepdaughter and indicated that she was married. I later asked about her husband, and she politely corrected me—she has a wife. She wasn’t at all offended. But it left me wondering if I had been rude in assuming she was married to a man, and if, in this day and age, you just shouldn’t make that assumption. On the other hand, I can see a heterosexual person being potentially offended that I think they may be gay by asking upfront if their spouse was a man or a woman. How should I have handled this?

—Was I Rude?

Re: I think you both 'handled' it just fine?

  • I mean, I have a fair amount of gay, non-binary, and poly people in my life, and am poly myself, so I always default to "partner", but that's just me. While obviously it's not ideal - and I hope the LW chooses from now on to use "partner" or "spouse" - most people in non-hetero or non-monogamous or whatever other non- relationships know that people are going to assume things. We just correct and move on. It's not worth getting all het up about it. 
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    OurWildKingdomshort+sassyernursej
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    Ugh, my H is one of those people who would do something like this and sit and dwell on it and replay it in his head.  If they weren't offended and it was dropped, drop it as well.
    image
    OurWildKingdomshort+sassyernursej
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    I agree that LW is overthinking this.  Shortly before a friend came out, she made a comment about starting a new relationship.  I texted her and asked who's the lucky guy.  I immediately realized it may not be a guy and regretted the text.  When she replied and said that she's dating a woman, I said how happy I was for her and apologized for the assumption.  She didn't bat an eye at it.

    There are some who would get offended and they are (reasonably) vocal about it.  It's sad, though, that their response generates assumptions that all people will be offended by this.  I think the vast majority of people are chill enough to politely correct and move on.

    Anniversary
    mrsconn23OurWildKingdomshort+sassy
  • Given the day and age, I think it's normal to rethink if your reaction is okay.

    Also, I personally would have said "spouse" to be safe.
    OurWildKingdom
  • In the future don't assume gender, but move on now. She wasn't offended, she corrected you, you know for the future. But yeah in general I think not assuming is the way to go. 
    OurWildKingdom
  • baconsmom said:
    I mean, I have a fair amount of gay, non-binary, and poly people in my life, and am poly myself, so I always default to "partner", but that's just me. While obviously it's not ideal - and I hope the LW chooses from now on to use "partner" or "spouse" - most people in non-hetero or non-monogamous or whatever other non- relationships know that people are going to assume things. We just correct and move on. It's not worth getting all het up about it. 
    I see what you did there with "het up."  :D
    I didn't so glad you pointed that out. 
    kimmiinthemittenMissKittyDangerOurWildKingdomjustsie
  • I'll admit I'm a "gender assumer", but have been trying to retrain myself.  Funny enough, I find the Prudie letters are good practice for me.  Because the letters often don't delineate the gender of the LW or whomever they are writing about.

    Agree with the other PPs.  Obviously the other person was not offended.  Great.  He apologized for his assumption.  Perfect.  But the incident itself is nothing to dwell on.  Other than to be a learning lesson in not making those assumptions.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    OurWildKingdomOliveOilsMom
  • baconsmom said:
    I mean, I have a fair amount of gay, non-binary, and poly people in my life, and am poly myself, so I always default to "partner", but that's just me. While obviously it's not ideal - and I hope the LW chooses from now on to use "partner" or "spouse" - most people in non-hetero or non-monogamous or whatever other non- relationships know that people are going to assume things. We just correct and move on. It's not worth getting all het up about it. 
    I see what you did there with "het up."  :D
    I didn't so glad you pointed that out. 
    I didn't see that at all. Puns: surprising me since forever. 
    image
    charlotte989875mrsconn23eileenrobOurWildKingdom
  • I think LW handled it fine and it is a good learning opportunity.

    FWIW - I am ensuring that I ask everyone when I triage if they are male/female as I incorrectly assumed the other day. I apologized and the person said not to worry and said they appreciated my apology. We don't have an option in our system for anything but male/female so I'm waiting for the day when that will come up. Medical stuff is hard because there are a lot of risk stratification scores that are based on what anatomy you were born with and not what you identify as ... although there are implications with hormones etc. I've learned that not assuming is great and apologizing when you get things wrong is the best.

    OurWildKingdomcharlotte989875VarunaTT
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