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Miss Manners: Separate bedrooms present a quandary

Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I are thrilled to be moving into our first home. Our plan is that this will be the only home purchase in our lifetime.

We would very much like to celebrate once I’ve had time to get settled in a bit. I was thinking of inviting my closest friends and the nearby neighbors. I figure I can mail invitations to the friends, and simply slip them under the door for the neighbors.

We want for nothing, and want nothing except to celebrate with our friends and meet our neighbors. OK, maybe we want to show off our new home a little.

That is where things may get tricky. I suffer from a serious medical condition that prevents me from being able to share a bed with my husband. We have separate bedrooms, which works for us, and we are still blissfully happy after nearly a decade of marriage.

I don’t feel this is anything we need to be ashamed of, and it will be obvious that we have more bedrooms being used than are necessary for a married couple.

What is the best way to address questions about our intimate life that some people feel compelled to ask about? As I stated, we’re both happy, but I don’t know a proper way to deflect these questions since intimate details frankly aren’t anyone’s business but our own.

It is important to me to make new friends, so a polite response other than staring at them gaping may be in order. We’ve all had lapses in judgment and etiquette, and I don’t want to judge anyone too harshly over one inappropriate question.

Gentle Reader: Really? That is very open-minded of you. But what good do you imagine will come of friendship with people who begin it by inquiring about your and your husband’s sleeping arrangements? Miss Manners would call this a major indicator of trouble ahead.

Time was when couples who could afford it had separate suites, and yet no one asked how it was possible that they also conceived numerous children. If you must include your bedrooms on the house tour, you needn’t call them that, but could borrow the old terminology: “This is my boudoir. That is my husband’s study.”

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.