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Sitting with your partner at a business dinner

(59 Posts)
LaPeste Thu 19-Sep-19 12:43:01

Last night, I went for a work dinner with my DW. It's her work. There are around 10 tables and it's a buffet dinner. My wife is currently on crutches and therefore unable to walk and hold a plate. Normal etiquette (I think, although not universal) is to not sit on the same table as your partner. Because of my DW's injury, I sat next to her, so I could offer to go and get food for her. She was quite annoyed with this.

WIBU to sit with my wife last night? Or was I being unreasonable because of the etiquette?

Isit2019already Thu 19-Sep-19 12:44:43

I don't understand why it's not etiquette to sit with your partner at functions like this?

Did you know anyone else there?

LaPeste Thu 19-Sep-19 12:46:39

I knew some of her colleagues. I think the rule is to promote networking, but it's absolutely not universally applied. We ended up sitting next to a married couple.

PerfectPenquins Thu 19-Sep-19 12:46:40

Why on earth is she angry? You sat with her to help her and shes pissed off? She sounds nice.....

bigbluebus Thu 19-Sep-19 12:47:55

Why would you not sit with your partner at THEIR works do? I have been to more work functions with my DH than I'd care to remember (both for his current job and his previous one) and have always sat next to him.

walkintheparc Thu 19-Sep-19 12:50:25

It's a surprise to me to that you shouldn't sit together - if you are invited as someone's partner then of course you sit together?

FrauHaribo Thu 19-Sep-19 12:51:34

If I ever take DH to any business diner, not sure why he wouldn't seat at my table? confused

Either you don't have partners with you, or you do but you don't hide them away. How weird.

The only time I could see a couple needing to separate would be if they were jointly hosting something, but otherwise it's very odd.

57Varieties Thu 19-Sep-19 12:52:39

If you were sitting next to a married couple obviously they didn’t follow the so called convention either

Your wife sounds like a cow.

Isit2019already Thu 19-Sep-19 12:53:25

I just don't get the thing about not sitting together at all but, that aside, you were sitting with her to help her. She's being very ungrateful.

Why didn't she just say at the dinner "Thanks for thinking of me but would you mind buggering off because I want to catch [insert person] for a bit of schmoozing"

Better that than just festering and being angry at you afterwards.

SellmeyourMLMcrap Thu 19-Sep-19 12:54:16

Your DW sounds like incredibly hard work, something I can relate to.

Is she under a lot of pressure at work? That could explain this behaviour in a work related environment. Other than that I think she is being highly unreasonable and pretty rude regardless of your noble motivation.

LaPeste Thu 19-Sep-19 12:55:55

I think she's annoyed she's on crutches to be honest and it's frustrating

BentlyandPalmers Thu 19-Sep-19 12:56:11

I always ignored that rule. I rarely got to see my DH as it was, no way was I not going to sit near him on a night out!

hardrainsgonnafall Thu 19-Sep-19 12:58:33

She expected you to go off enjoying yourself whilst she hobbled around on crutches?

What would her colleagues have thought?! You did the right thing.

LaPeste Thu 19-Sep-19 12:59:28

What would her colleagues have thought?! You did the right thing.

That's what I thought - how bad would it be if she was unable to get someone to get food for her?

Whoops75 Thu 19-Sep-19 13:00:29

Never heard if that and I’ve bern to loads of work functions with dh.

Networking is no excuse for being rude.
You are owed an apology

Teddybear45 Thu 19-Sep-19 13:02:53

By business dinner do you mean a networking / client event? If so the usual etiquette is to sit with the people who invited you, only including partners if invited to so. You could have still helped her with her plate while sitting at a different table.

LagunaBubbles Thu 19-Sep-19 13:03:16

Why on earth would you be expected to "network" with your partners work colleagues in the first place anyway?

Frangible Thu 19-Sep-19 13:03:31

Well, the networking thing depends entirely on whether it was an actual business dinner for that purpose, or whether it was just some work jolly. If it's a work jolly with partners invited, I'm delighted to sit next to DH. If I'm networking, I don't want any distractions.

I think you should have left it up to your wife to decide which it was, and whether she wanted you to hover. Surely if the dinner involved her work colleagues, they wouldn't see her starve?

Or are you one of those men who keeps stepping to the outside of footpaths, under the impression they are being chivalrous and preserving our fragile, feminine garments from passing cars? Even when it's a group of hillwalkers all wearing waterproofs and boots?

Simkin Thu 19-Sep-19 13:05:19

What exactly did she say to express her annoyance OP?

LaPeste Thu 19-Sep-19 13:05:55

By business dinner do you mean a networking / client event?

It was an event with around 50 - 60 people. 8 people from my wife's work and their partners, and the remainder from "partner organizations"

LaPeste Thu 19-Sep-19 13:08:38

You could have still helped her with her plate while sitting at a different table.

I considered this, but thought it would have been a bit odd

What exactly did she say to express her annoyance OP?

When we went to sit down, she asked me to sit away from her. But I couldn't see at that stage, it was too late, and I was "committed", if you know what I mean, to sitting down next to her, and other people were joining the table.

SurfnTerfFantasticmissfoxy Thu 19-Sep-19 13:10:29

This is super odd unless you work for the same company?! If my DH invited me to an event with his work (where I only knew a couple of people) and proceeded to tell me not to sit beside him I'd tell him to fuck off and call myself a taxi. If she didn't want you next to her why the hell did she invite you? Not a very nice thing to do.

Frangible Thu 19-Sep-19 13:12:16

Well, you should have listened to her. Persumably she was counting on having the kind of networking conversations that kind of event was designed for. DH and I would never get in one another's way at that kind of thing. But then again, most networking events don't invite spouses, for exactly that reason -- it's not a social event, it's work.

tvdinnertracks Thu 19-Sep-19 13:12:46

We have dinner with some vair vair posh family friends every now and then. They're a big name family, some may say they control the world banks.

They always sit partners separately. Apparently it's considered the height of common to sit next to your other half. hmm

LaPeste Thu 19-Sep-19 13:16:05

Well, you should have listened to her

I think had she been able to walk, I would have done. But intuitively, it just felt wrong to leave her on her own.

We have dinner with some vair vair posh family friends every now and then

This was also quite a "posh" event (won't say how posh to avoid outing DW)

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