Dear Mistress Maeve,
My new boyfriend's brother and his wife are having their first baby, and they're hosting a "Jack and Jill" shower (meaning both men and women are invited to celebrate the pregnancy). Here's the catch - the brother's wife is still close with my boyfriend's ex, and she's also invited to the shower. They were together for five years and practically married. The biggest issue is that the ex is still not quite over the break-up. She still texts and emails my boyfriend, talking about getting back together. It's assumed that I will attend the shower, but I'm worried I'll be the odd man out because she's been around this group of people five years longer than I have. What do you think?
Wall Flower at the Shower
Dear W. F. a. t. S.,
First things first - it's time for your beau to set some strong boundaries with his ex. If he hasn't already, he needs to tell her that he's happy in a new relationship, there's no chance of getting back together, and she needs to stop contacting him until she's over it - plain and simple.
Go to the shower, eat hors d'oeuvres and play those asinine baby games - all with a pleasant smile on your face. She is his past; you are his future - and the sooner everyone sees that, the better. It may be awkward for you (and everyone else), but you're risking further alienation by not attending this important family event.
Tell your boyfriend ahead of time how you're feeling and ask him to be especially attentive to your needs at the shower. Mentally prepare yourself to be calm, cool and collected - and don't be afraid to excuse yourself from shower festivities to take a break if you need to.
Oh, and be sure to bring a better gift than her.