Miss Conduct

We eloped. Why didn’t anyone send gifts or cards?

Plus, confusion over a wedding invitation to someone in a polyamorous relationship.

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My husband and I eloped after seven years together. Other than heartfelt congratulations, we received very few gifts or cards, including from our supposed best friends. As our first anniversary approaches, I am increasingly hurt by and frustrated with the lack of warmth and generosity in honor of our marriage. I absolutely understand that some people may feel excluded, as we had no guests or witnesses, but thought those closest to us would want to make us feel loved and celebrated despite a lack of party, registry, etc. We did not get married for gifts, but are my feelings of resentment at least somewhat legitimate? Should I let this go, or is there a way to broach this topic without seeming like a selfish, confused person?


G.B. / Boston

All feelings are legitimate. Some feelings are legitimate to act upon; other feelings are legitimate to examine deeply, perhaps with the aid of a journal and/or a counselor, in the hope of gaining self-knowledge and freedom from unhelpful patterns. Your feelings of resentment are the second kind.

Yes, you should let this go. There is no way to broach this topic without seeming like a selfish, confused person, because that is what you are being in this instance. One doesn’t ever beg for wedding gifts; one doesn’t beg for gifts, period.

An elopement sends a fairly strong signal that the wedding couple considers the wedding a private matter, not one that they feel a need to have celebrated by their community. If you want to be feted and loved and celebrated by your community — for a wedding or a graduation or a birthday or new house or anything else — you have to create that celebration yourself.


I am married and polyamorous. Some friends are getting married shortly. They barely know my husband (P), but are very good friends with my other long-term romantic partner (Q), closer than they are with me. I’d planned to attend with Q, since P had little interest in going. When the invitation arrived, though, it was addressed only to me, not to me and P — and Q hasn’t received an invite at all. This feels awkward! What to do?

E.H. / Somerville

Asking a wedding couple for an extra invite is a big no-no, unless common sense dictates that something must have gone wrong. If they’re more Q’s friends to begin with, he should contact them, since P wasn’t planning to attend anyway.

It’s definitely strange and rude not to invite a married couple to a wedding together — the invite should have come to both you and P — but that’s not a problem you actually have to solve, while Q’s lack of invitation is.

Unless there are deep undercurrents to this situation that I’m unaware of, it sounds like a simple mistake, and Q ought to be able to clear it up easily.

Miss Conduct is Robin Abrahams, a writer with a PhD in psychology.