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Miss Manners: I suspect her business trips are really vacations

3 min

Dear Miss Manners: I have been in a relationship with a woman for six months now. Things have been really great; we get along well, make each other laugh a lot and are mutually supportive.

The thing is, she goes on business trips once or twice a month that range from a couple of days to a full week. Don’t get me wrong — it’s kind of nice because I get to do things I’m not normally allowed to, like go out for wings with the boys or sit on the couch in my underwear and watch the shows I want to.

But lately, I’ve started to wonder if the trips are really for business, like she says, or if they might be short getaways. She gets really excited leading up to these trips, and when she gets back, she always seems a little disappointed. That sounds a lot like vacation to me, and I am not okay with her taking vacations without me.

Am I overthinking this, or should I go ahead with my plan to give her an ultimatum about taking vacations without me?

There are many bright red flags here, not the least of which is what you and your lady friend do and do not “allow” one another to do.

The possibility that she is lying to get away from you twice a month, her being disappointed when she returns, the stability of her job if she is vacationing this much — these also come to mind. As does your plan to give her an ultimatum.

Miss Manners suggests that you two share a talk in which, in a non-accusatory way, you ask if she would perhaps like to go on vacation with you, as she enjoys traveling so much.

Her answer will probably be telling, no matter what it is. And if her response is not satisfactory, at least you will once again be free to watch TV in your underwear.

Dear Miss Manners: I frequently see my neighbors while walking my dog. They often want me to stop and socialize, but I am very sensitive to what I call “artificial laundry odor” — the indelible signature scent of many laundry detergents and dryer sheets. The chemicals in these products linger in people’s clothes and render me unable to breathe comfortably, even outdoors, standing a few feet away.

What is a polite way to decline an invitation to socialize in these cases? I wish there was a nice way to say, “I’m sorry, I’d love to, but I am violently allergic to you.”

You do not have to state your reason for not stopping to socialize. As you point out, “Your scent is slowly killing me” is not going to make you any friends.

Miss Manners suggests instead that you imply that your haste is due to the urgency of your dog’s business. Smile and wave from afar as you make an apologetic gesture toward your furry friend. And then pray that when you one day encounter your neighbors without your dog in tow, it is not laundry day.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

© 2023 Judith Martin