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Spousal Slander

Is there some polite way to ask married people to stop complaining about their spouses? Recently there’s been some coolness with my friend in the couple because I declined an invitation to socialize with them as a couple. Why would I want to socialize with the spouse I’ve only heard terrible things about? I don’t think this friendship can be mended, but I’d like some advice on how to avoid these problems in future. I don’t enjoy losing friends, married or not, if it can be avoided. 0726-11

I wouldn’t write off the slandered spouse until you met him or her and used your own perceptions and observations to determine whether you are interested in socializing further with the person.    We should never take great stock  in bad reports about others based solely on a word-of-mouth report.  You have no idea what the relationship baggage is,  who is really the aggrieved party or who is “poisoning the well” of potential friendships their spouse could have.

You can bean dip by redirecting the topic of discussion to more pleasant topics but that won’t work always.  Refusing to listen to gossip and slander means sometimes being direct by saying, “I really don’t think I should be privy to this kind of information.  Maybe a marriage counselor would be more helpful than I.”


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  • Fung October 4, 2011, 9:28 am

    Though I’m a happy single, women (family, friends and even strangers don’t now why) seem to consider me as save to rant and vent about their partner. In the past I used to feel compassion for their “hardships” but I’ve always kept an open mind about their partner (family and friends of which I’ve met and know). But after starting hearing rants from strangers I’ve learned to deal with it in a another way.
    After they’ve finished ranting and venting, I just asked them 3 simple questions: What is your partner putting up with your inabilities or misbehaviour? What about you annoys him? What is most recent sweet thing he had done for you?
    This usually does the trick, they shut up and think.
    But sometimes they just get mad at me for asking that and tells me that I don’t know what I’m saying because I’m single, I just rebutted them with “then why on earth do you think I’m the right person to rant and vent about your guy? This would do the trick too 😀 ,I’ll be reframed from future rants and vents. 🙂
    I do understand as a single that when you’re in a relationship it’s hard sometimes and yes, a lot of lil things can evolve into a massive annoyance but it’s only annoyance and it’s so important to keep things in perspective.
    Remember if you can rant about your partner, so can your partner rant about you. Nobody is perfect, I just remember these women about it.
    I don’t want to brag but since then I find that most women vent and rant less (perhaps only to me :D) and some even came to acknowledge their own responsibility in the situation.
    A close relative even has improved her relationship because after my simple questions she started to communicate with her husband and after a couple of deep conversation about each other they’ve now have a deeper, understanding and more peacefull marriage.
    Don’t get me wrong, I knew that my female relatives and friends have wonderful husbands and they aren’t abusive, I am certain about it otherwise I would have taken a different approach. But when it comes to strangers, it’s easy to spot an abusive relationship, then I’ll do most talking about securring and protecting themselves and kids from this relationship, I do give pointers where to seek help.

    No, I’m not a social worker or therapist ( though I do feel like one sometimes) but as said somehow when strangers hears that I’m single they find it save to include me in their story, don’t ask me why they think that way.
    I agree that most of the times the abused women won’t complain about their partner, they’re to afraid and it’s also a lack of self-esteem to dare to rant and vent.
    All I can say is when you find yourself put in a position you don’t want to be in and don’t want to hear just tell them honestly why and make them aware of their own part in it.

  • erica September 11, 2012, 8:10 am

    I have what has become a very close friendship with a woman.

    We just recently were discussing how we became friends and how that period was very difficult in my relationship with my husband (due to many miscommunications and just plain selfish behavior on both our parts). She brought up the fact that while we both didn’t realize that we would “mesh” yet, she spoke up how she felt that “husband bashing” was way different than expressing my displeasure with my relationship and asking for advice/help on how to change it.
    I am not big on blanket statements. He ALWAYS…. He NEVER….. He IS…..
    Save that for your therapist. Not all wives subscribe to that view or get that you are just VENTING.
    I am very glad that my friend really helped push me to the right road and truly SEE what I had.
    There was a lot of ‘bean dipping’ going on before I realized I was making her uncomfortable and when we finally talked about it, there was some tension but we are good enough friends that I wasn’t upset, embarassed yes, upset no. We were able to discuss it openly.

    I am happy to report…my marriage is very very good. I love my husband dearly and he loves me. It has completely turned around.

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