Husband Did Not Want To Referee On New Year’s Day

by admin on January 7, 2014

This is something that has just happened, and I’m still…I don’t know, to be honest. I’d say shocked, but I might be over-reacting, so I thought I would submit it.

My husband and I live in a different country in Europe to our families, but can drive there in a day. So at Christmas, we drove up for a week with his family, then drove back for New Year because he had to work.

His close friend Dick, and Dick’s wife Jane, were to spend New Year with us. The plan was to pick them up on the way home (they live in his family’s country), they’d stay a couple of days then catch a train back.

So we have a lovely Christmas, which is particularly important because my husband’s family has had a truly terrible year. Most recently, his little sister (teenager) was diagnosed with cancer. It’s a very difficult time for all of them, and I know my husband has found being away from them all even harder. This is also relevant to what comes later; all my husband’s friends know about this.

We arrive at Dick and Jane’s on the way home and stay overnight during which time Dick does something Jane finds unacceptable. Suffice to say that we wake up to her screaming that she wants a divorce, she has had enough, etc, as Dick sobs that he loves her. I would also say at this point that I’d leave Dick if he did that to me. Jane, unsurprisingly, then flatly refuses to come to our house for New Year. There is no way she’s coming. After a while, not knowing what else to do, we quietly pack the car, thank them for having us, apologise for being in the way, and go home. On the way home, Dick rings my husband twice. The first is to ask him to turn around and pick them up. The second, 2 seconds later, tells him not to bother, as Jane shouts at him for asking the first time.

So we’re concerned for Dick & Jane, and sorry this has happened, and then at work the next day my husband gets a text. It says, “Jane is divorcing me but I have booked tickets so we’re still coming.”  Er…what? They’re coming to stay after deciding their marriage is over? We’re celebrating New Year not mentioning this?

My husband phones Dick and, despite being a man who doesn’t like discussing his emotions, admits it: he cannot cope with this right now. He is under severe emotional strain, he needs to see in 2014 in a calm atmosphere, and he’s really sorry but he cannot give two angry, hurting people ending their marriage the support they need.

Dick tells him the train’s about to leave!! But don’t worry! They won’t mention it! They’ve agreed to act normally the whole time, he understands, blah blah.

My husband phones me, stressed and bewildered. I tell him it’s fine, then get ready to paste on the Stepford face, because the hotels are full, they don’t know anyone in our country, and we are stuck, so what matters is that my husband is ok. And I do paste on the Stepford face. I’m a bit on edge, as Jane makes the odd pointed comment and Dick is embarrassingly sheepish, but overall we are ok. We manage to have some fun. We don’t mention their marriage, and we see them off after New Year hoping they can sort it out…and then, once they get home, Dick reveals to my husband that he and Jane had already made up before he bought the tickets down.

In other words, when he sent that text about her divorcing him, he was lying. He was just pushing drama – which is fine if he gets off on that, but his stupid drama created more stress for my husband at the worst possible time. And what really gets me is that even after my husband confessed his private distress to Dick, Dick didn’t tell him the truth. He actually kept it going rather than say, “Look, it’s ok, we have sorted it out.”

In fairness to Jane, I don’t think she knew anything about this. And in fairness, I know that to some people this will not seem very important – it won’t be important to me either a few months down the line, no doubt – so perhaps I am over-reacting and being over-protective. I will accept it if people think so, but right now I would give a lot to stand in front of Dick and demand to know how he could do anything so selfish, stupid and uncaring.

Fortunately my SIL is expected to make a full recovery. 0103-14

There are epiphany moments in one’s life when you realize the people perhaps closest to you do not have the depth of character you thought they did. When push comes to shove, when the rubber meets the road, they are not there for you at all.   Your husband, understandably, did not want a holiday during which he acted as referee between two warring spouses.   Dick doesn’t appear to have much problem offending his wife with selfish behavior and your husband’s “close friendship” with Dick wasn’t enough to dissuade Dick from his course of action.    Don’t Jane off the hook either.   Throwing a world class scream fit in front of house guests is selfish and lacks any sense of restraint or decorum.    What should have happened is that Jane and Dick informed you both that their plans to travel back to your country with you will have to be delayed or canceled due to something having come up that requires immediate attention and once you were on the road home, they could have had a spectacular row in the privacy of their home.

I don’t think you had many options in dealing with these people other than a very direct, “Turn around and go home.  You are not welcome here right now.”   But saying that would be difficult for most people to do so gritting one’s teeth, putting on the “Stepford Wives” face and making the best of a bad situation was about as good as can be expected.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

The Elf January 7, 2014 at 10:52 am

There’s not much you can do other than what you did. But I know one thing: I wouldn’t ever make overnight plans with them again. If Husband wants to see Dick again, they can meet up at a restaurant or something.

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MyWorldand January 7, 2014 at 11:01 am

Oh no! Not ok! Your husband should have a word with Dick telling him how exactly how much stress he and Jane had put both of you, but especially him (your husband) through. Dick is not the close friend your husband thought he was.

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EllenS January 7, 2014 at 11:03 am

Well, I would probably be very upset, disturbed, and angry, but probably not shocked/surprised (once I had comprehended what was happening in front of me).

I’m not sure what Dick did to Jane that you agreed you’d leave him over, but someone who treats their nearest and dearest so badly, is not likely to treat others any better.

A liar tells lies. A cheater cheats. A manipulator manipulates. They do it to everyone around them.

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Stacey Frith-Smith January 7, 2014 at 11:04 am

I’m sorry OP. Awful! You can’t do anything now, other than refuse to see them again. Really, who lies about something like this? An attention hog? I don’t get it. But maybe you could trade in the Stepford Wife look for a very firm “no”. People who arrive unannounced or without consent may be turned away. They lost the option to keep their original engagement before you ever left their home to return to yours.

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Sarah Jane January 7, 2014 at 11:06 am

I’m very sorry about your sister-in-law.

Regarding Dick and Jane…I’ve been to vacations, family events, etcetera, with couples who had already decided to split, yet they felt inclined to “move ahead” with these previously-arranged plans together so as to not be unfair to others (oh, really?)

It is very tense, there are quiet moments, everyone ignores the elephant in the room…it is NOT fun. I’d like to think if I were in your situation, I’d have told them no way. But as admin says, that’s not an easy thing to do.

All that being said, Dick should never have dumped this situation on your poor husband. I’d really like to call Dick the glaringly obvious rotten nickname…but instead, I’ll call him a jerk.

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Sarah January 7, 2014 at 11:11 am

Wow. What a terrible situation for you. I’m sorry they were so horrible!

I agree with admin that they shouldn’t have fought while you were there, but there are some things that might make me lose my head and forget there were guests present. Like if I unearthed evidence of dh cheating, I’m not sure I would think of my guests before I blew my lid.

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Miss Merlot January 7, 2014 at 11:18 am

Please tell us what Dick did???

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Kimstu January 7, 2014 at 11:20 am

@OP: “Right now I would give a lot to stand in front of Dick and demand to know how he could do anything so selfish, stupid and uncaring.”

Etiquette exists in part to help people avoid doing the things that right now they would give a lot to do but later would probably regret doing.

Dick and Jane already know that you and your husband don’t like the inconsiderate rudeness of their inflicting their marital dramas on you, especially at such a difficult time. Yelling at Dick after the fact about particular details of their inconsiderate rudeness isn’t going to accomplish anything more. Especially given that Dick was probably pretty stressed out himself during this crisis and apparently exercised poor judgement in a number of areas.

Dick is your husband’s close friend, so let the two of them work it out. With the caveat that, as @The Elf advised, you should be cautious about making any future plans involving close or extended contact with this couple, at least till they get through their rocky patch.

Congratulations on the good news about your SIL! Much more important than a brief clash with an inconsiderate Dick.

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Cat January 7, 2014 at 11:27 am

You did the best you could in a difficult situation. Dick and Jane had no right to involve you in their marital problems. Once Jane refused to come, that should have been the end of it. To see-saw back and forth: pick us up; no, don’t pick us up; the train is here.. no.

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Heather January 7, 2014 at 11:35 am

Let me first just say that I am glad to hear your young sister-in-law will recover! That must take a lot of pressure off and give your husband hope and encouragement.

I was also about to say that perhaps Dick had felt he had told the truth when he mentioned that it would all be OK… because they’d “sorted it out”… but even that doesn’t wash… because if it were so, there would have been no need of the later confession.

I think you did the best you could under the circumstances… and your priority was your husband… squarely where it should have been. It is very telling and heartwarming that all of your behaviour decisions were about making your husband feel alright at a stressful time. As for Dick and Jane… lose them… I agree that if your husband wants to keep seeing Dick, it can be outside the home. I also agree that Jane isn’t completely innocent. She should have kept her “war” with Dick to them… not to have it front of you guys. My ex husband and I once had a fight in front of his brother and girlfriend. The brother called us on it before it got too far… asking us pointedly, “What are you trying to prove?”. Even though it didn’t go as far as Dick and Jane’s fight seems to have, I still remember him saying this, and feeling ashamed.

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Lisa January 7, 2014 at 11:37 am

Consider this a lesson learned; Dick is a wild card and cannot be trusted. Miss Manners would applaud your reaction to their horrible behavior.

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acr January 7, 2014 at 11:42 am

OP, glad to hear your SiL is doing well!

In a way, the fact that your husband has had a bad year is irrelevant. Dick and Jane’s behavior and Dick’s drama-mongering would have been awful had you and your husband had the best year ever. The fact that your husband had a bad year and shared the fact that he couldn’t cope with nastiness and Dick continued his “we’re getting divorced” charade is just icing on the nasty cake.

Personally, I would make sure not to be trapped with Dick and Jane for more than a few hours at a time for a long time, if I bothered to keep the friendship at all.

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Lisa January 7, 2014 at 11:49 am

Dick’s behavior is so confusing! WHY wouldn’t he tell Op’s H that they had made up, especially after H confided that he was having a hard time emotionally and was unwilling/unable to cope with a separated couple under his roof?

Was he hoping for sympathy? That’s my only guess as to his motivation. Totally bizarre.

Glad to hear the good news about the OP’s SIL!

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Sarah Peart January 7, 2014 at 11:54 am

People having a row in front of others is exactly what admin said – a lack of restraint and decorum; coming because they had tickets (seriously?) is entitled, making up but not telling anyone so they live in apprehension over a festive period which was supposed to bookend a stressful year – unforgiveable for me. I think you would be within your rights to say – “If you wish to come alone Dick, I will accept that since you have been my friend for X years but I cannot allow Jane to accompany you to our house under the current circumstances.” Even under the circumstances that “we have decided to give it another go” – had they been caring enough to tell you, I would still have said “I am sorry, we witnessed a scene that is likely to be repeated and so our decision must stand.” These people do not care in the slightest about you or any stress you may have! This couple have put themselves first, from beginning to end. Meryl Streep said “All these people getting in touch with their inner child, why don´t they get in touch with their inner adult?”

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Lo January 7, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Wow, with friends like these…

I think this couple behaved badly across the board, both parties. It is never permitted by etiquette to expose friends to your marital drama. Surely the world hasn’t changed so much that screaming that one wants a divorce in the presence of company can be given a free pass. Aren’t these two remotely ashamed of themselves for behaving this way in front of you? Talk about stressful.

I wouldn’t blame you if you never spent time in their company again.

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Elizabeth January 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm

The visit was cancelled when you left their house without them. “This is a tough time for all of us right now; better that we all focus on our family issues. We’ll try to make another plan at another time. No, we’re not turning around and coming back to get you. No, don’t take the train down – when you didn’t ride back with us we made other plans. Hope everything works out.”

Repeat, repeat.

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ferretrick January 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm

I’ll give them this much benefit of the doubt and no more: the decision to divorce or not divorce is not one that is made after one fight or in one second, and the situation is probably not as black/white as you think. When Dick says they already made up before they came down, more likely the timing is not that crystal clear. They may have reached some impasse or compromise before they came down but it’s not like their marriage is back on solid ground. Or Dick has gotten confused about the timeline-they’ve probably gone back and forth between several rounds of divorcing/not divorcing and when he says they “made up”-it’s probably not as simple as that. They probably still are going back and forth even now.

That said, the rest of it is inexcusable-you are not referees or professional marriage counselors and they should not have subjected you or your husband to this kind of stress, particularly when your husband had emotional stress of his own. I don’t know what you could have done differently than flat out turned them away at the door, and really who could do that?

I do think you are more than justified in ripping a strip off BOTH Dick and Jane for their monstrous selfishness and lack of consideration. Perhaps in an email you can edit and revise so you get everything you wanted to say said in the way you want.

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June First January 7, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Kudos to your husband! It takes a lot to be open and tell someone (especially someone who manipulates as well as Dick) that you’re just not up to having them over after what happened at their house.
While this episode sounds quite painful, at least you won’t have to question whether or not to make plans with this terrible twosome. I’m including Jane in this, because someone who wakes up the houseguests screaming and then makes pointed remarks to the discomfort of her hosts is not blameless.

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Challis January 7, 2014 at 1:43 pm

I think that we are all hoping to hear back from you that you and your husband are distancing yourselves from this couple.

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hakayama January 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm

#4 precedes…

Congratulations on Little Sister getting better.
Condolences on the disappointment in the man’s character and loss of the perceived true friendship.
Yes, it must have been a painful moment for your DH to realize that his friend Dick is a true dick.
Confronting him would serve no real purpose. Perhaps the least painful steps now would be to put a lot of emotional distance between the couples, and let time do the rest.

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Jewel January 7, 2014 at 1:49 pm

What in the world did Dick do?

Pawned Jane’s wedding rings to pay his gambling debts? Sold the family dog to an animal research laboratory? Ran up the credit card on 1-800 phone sex calls? Urinated on the toilet seat AGAIN? Carried on a texting affair with the 3rd cute young intern at work? Left his dirty socks on the floor right next to the hamper for the one.thousandth.time? Took out a hefty second mortgage to buy yet more hobby car parts? Took his mother’s opinion over Jane’s for the two.thousandth.time?

WHAT?! WHAT DID DICK DO ???!!!

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lkb January 7, 2014 at 1:50 pm

My deepest sympathies to the OP and her husband and their loved ones. What a way to cap a horrendous year!

Perhaps it wouldn’t be the best thing etiquette wise, but if I were in that position (heavens forbid!), first I would write out what happened in a private letter to me (or cut-and-paste the entry here on Ehell) and set it aside. Then, the next time I heard from Dick and Jane, anything beyond a “Hey! How’s it going?” I’d say, “you know, I’m really upset with how you treated us, and especially Husband on New Year’s. Do you realize what you did to him, especially at a time when he’s dealing with so much?” And then, let it rip! If it sacrifices a friendship, it sounds like it wouldn’t be much of a loss anyway. Give them a chance to apologize, yes, but if it doesn’t sound sincere, cut them loose.

Here’s hoping the OP and her loved ones have a much better 2014.

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Huh January 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm

@EllenS – “I’m not sure what Dick did to Jane that you agreed you’d leave him over, but someone who treats their nearest and dearest so badly, is not likely to treat others any better. A liar tells lies. A cheater cheats. A manipulator manipulates. They do it to everyone around them.”

THIS exactly. And it sounds like he did it to his friend, i.e., lying and manipulating. I’m not saying that you should always cut off your friendship completely because a friend cheats on/lies to their SO/disregards their feelings/whatever but sometimes you come to realize that the friend lies to their SO and wait a minute, they do the same thing to you. They completely disregard their SO’s feelings, and wait a minute, they do the same thing to you. Sometimes how someone treats a third party makes you realize how they treat everyone, including you.

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Abby January 7, 2014 at 3:25 pm

I am confused. Dick said he wanted to come anyways because he had already booked the tickets. But they were staying with OP, and had originally planned on riding with them down there, so they would only have been out the fare home. That might have been a significant dollar amount, but they would have had to double it by taking the train out there so that logic doesn’t really make sense.

As far as why, when your husband is explaining he just can’t deal with the stress of two angry, bitter people fighting with each other right now, Dick didn’t pipe up with, the divorce is off!- well I have no theory for that.

I’d make no more vacation plans with this couple. And count me in with the commenters who want to know what Dick did. I am guessing either infidelity, physical abuse, or major financial issues (like him gambling away the mortgage payments for the last 6 months, or having a six figure credit card debt that Jane did not know about).

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Marozia January 7, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Next time, meet them in a public place and don’t have them stay at your home again. It’s not worth the drama.

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LonelyHound January 7, 2014 at 4:59 pm

I feel for you. I am so glad to hear your husband’s sister will recover. I am glad your holiday, though extremely stressful, went by without incident. I hope you have a much better 2014!

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gb January 7, 2014 at 5:13 pm

I agree with admin. I do agree an argument should wait until your guests are gone, but I can see where something that would cause divorce to be so upsetting your can’t keep it together. For example, you found out right that second they are having an affair,

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gb January 7, 2014 at 5:26 pm

But for the couple to go so quickly from divorce to back together, it seems like it was a usual fight for them, not a life altering moment that couldn’t wait. Sounds like this isn’t unusual for the visiting couple. The only way I might forgive the behavior is if it was the only time this happened, and the visiting couple apologized and perhaps offer a way of making it up to them. If not. .. They are people to be acquainces with, but not close friends.
Glad to hear the sil has a positive prognosis.

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RC January 7, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Glad to hear the good news about SIL’s health! I hope this year brings happier news and good health to you and your husband’s families, OP.

You handled yourself with utmost grace in a frankly terrible situation, and have every right to be aghast and upset at Dick’s behaviour. Rest assured, most of us here would cheer you on if you broke all ties with the Drama Llama Couple.

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Karen January 7, 2014 at 5:51 pm

I have dear friends who fight in public all the time. We’ve known them both since collage, and while I know that their marriage is a strong one, they just do not understand that a fight about the kids is not appropriate at dinner with friends. They live in a different city from me, so when I’m in town (I don’t have small children- so I’m usually the one traveling) it is An Event.

In the past, shes’ told me “you [all] are such good friends that we can fight in front of you”, and I know it doesn’t ruin THEIR night, but it makes me (and out mutual friends) very uncomfortable.

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Library Diva January 7, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Abby, I join you in your confusion on both the point you raised, and on why anyone would lie and tell friends that his wife was divorcing him when she wasn’t. I’m sitting here wracking my brain trying to think what could be gained by such behavior. Who on earth would want to host a divorcing couple for a long weekend? OP’s husband had already suggested Dick not come, rather strongly. How did Dick know that OP’s husband wasn’t going to stand at the door of his home and refuse him entry? What did Dick get out of all of this? What bizarre behavior. OP, I’m sorry that you and your husband had to close out 2013 in such a manner. I’m glad that your SIL will be OK, and I hope that Dick and Jane’s role as drama-causers in 2014 is at an end.

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Angel January 7, 2014 at 6:37 pm

I second those who say don’t make overnight plans with them again. But if it were me I would just let the friendship die a quiet death. It doesn’t matter what Dick did–or Jane, the point is you just don’t involve friends in marital disputes.

I hope that you and your family are doing better.

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cathy January 7, 2014 at 7:34 pm

We used to have a couple of friends like this, the drama king/queen. We’re not friends with them anymore. People like that tend to be not worth the trouble, in my opinion. I’d steer clear of them in the future.

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toia January 8, 2014 at 1:14 am

We have a family friend who is all drama all the time. It doesn’t bother us so much because we don’t have a lot on our plate. What adds to the issue is that her family is all the same. We where invited over one year for christmas. We cane over just for coffee and desert we had not been in the house for more than 30 minutes when the adult mother and adult daughter had a screaming fight and left, leaving us to play family counselor at 2 different houses that night. This kind of scene happens often. Luckily we aren’t going through anything so there amateur dramatics aren’t such a burden to us and we just keep a distance I’d it gets to much. I wouldn’t say that you are being over dramatic. Some people (and I speak from experience) cannot see how there behavior impacts others. From the fight they had when you where stayng to forcing themselves onto your house to neglecting to tell you about there reconciliation. It was all fish behaviors. As I get older I find that it is sometimes better for me to hurt feelings to preserve my mental health. The friends in question didn’t think that you and your husband would care about the state of there relationship? It’s obvious you are friends and it seems to me that if my long term friend relationship where on the rocks that would be concerning. You stated they knew what had been going on with in you hb’s family. Plus you had just been traveling. All in all they where just being inconsiderate, since I have people in my life who have that problem I can assure you that you aren’t overreacting. They acted poorly.

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Marsha January 8, 2014 at 1:36 am

It seems pretty obvious to me that Dick was discovered to be unfaithful, or something equally as serious. Knowing what it’s like to be in Janes position after a 17 year marriage it’s not something you are ever prepared for. Neither is dick prepared for the reality of the discovery. For me it was more shocking and life altering than being diagnosed with cancer, and I’ve experienced that too. Life does not prepare you for these experiences, and even normal polite sane people can loose it like this couple did. Their forcing the visit after being told it wasn’t a good time was selfish, but more than that I would say it was a desperate act of people at a crossroads in their lives. Sadly when this couple divorces (and yes I said when not if) they will loose the OP and many more friends, because that’s what happens in a divorce, or cancer, or anything else that makes people uncomfortable. I fully agree that the OP needs to set boundaries, but if these are good friends they need compassion and forgiveness at this tough spot in their lives.

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JackieJormpJomp January 8, 2014 at 1:37 am

I know this is an ettiquette site, and Janes decorum was, indeed, lacking….
But depending on what she found out, emotion may have trumped decorum (it happens) and she probably felt embarassment for it later….considering the OP’s sidenote that Dick’s behaviour WAS that bad, I’d give it a one time pass….she may have been hoping that showing up and “behaving” would have saved some of her dignity…. Not ideal behaviour, but…. understandable.
Dick sound like a…. well, you did pick that alias for him….

OP, I agree that the specific episode won’t be a big deal later, but wanting to ream someone out for testing your husband’s emotions–especially at that time? Very understandable. And You know to take this guy’s pity-seeking stories with a grain of salt, now.

I get why you wanted to vent. Very warranted.

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OP January 8, 2014 at 5:42 am

I am the OP – thank you all for your advice and kind thoughts. This from EllenS especially: “A liar tells lies. A cheater cheats. A manipulator manipulates. They do it to everyone around them.”

This is so true, yet I had never thought to see this in Dick & Jane. They can be dramatic, we just honestly never imagined that they would take the drama this far and at our expense. Now we know. I can only think that Dick kept it going because he likes drama, and he either didn’t think/care of the impact on others. My husband has just said ‘how ridiculous and selfish’, but then he is like that. Underneath, he is hurt. To have his SIL’s illness dismissed for some drama by a ‘close’ friend. It’s just sad.

Admin is also right that to say ‘you are not welcome’ would be hard. It would have been impossible. My husband had already said yes to Dick when pushed on the phone. Normally he is excellent at saying ‘no’ to anyone, including Dick. At the moment, he is not. It was better for me to tell him not to worry, I’d make sure it all went well, than make him ring back and have more drama again. But yes, there is now a distance between us. There was a distance the moment Dick pushed past my husband’s request not to come.

What Dick did…to be honest, I don’t want to say. Jane was crying not just with anger, but with humiliation. I felt humiliated for her too. It was really painful. I hope her marriage improves in 2014.

Thank you so much, and especially for the thoughts for my SIL. She is being amazingly strong and we hope that by Easter she will be well past the worst.

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SleepIsabella January 8, 2014 at 7:53 am

For Dick to do this to someone who is severely hurting over a sister’s life threatening illness says a lot about them. For them to do this to friends at all says a lot about them. I’m so sorry you and your husband had to go through such an ordeal. I think it’s time to cut ties with Dick and Jane completely, this sort of behavior is toxic. To invent fake end of marriage drama and push it down third a parties’ throat when it’s clear they want none of it is toxic.

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Mya January 8, 2014 at 7:58 am

Correct me if I’m wrong but I got the impression that your family live in the UK and you live in France with the train in question being the Eurostar?

Irrelevant but fun to try and work out.

I have to disagree with the admin here and I think this is possibly an example of cultural differences between the US and UK. You have extended an offer of hospitality to a couple. Their rudeness and argument notwithstanding, regardless of your husbands feelings on the matter, you are still obligated to host as you issued an invitation. EXCEPT in the circumstance that the guest then declined the invitation.

Which is exactly what happened here. You issued an invite, your guests accepted, circumstances changed, your guests informed you that they were no longer attending. At this point you have been relieved of your obligations. For the guest then to mess you about by phoning up and rescinding their statement puts the rudeness firmly in their court. Knowing that there was difficulty in their marriage at this time your husband should have immediately stated that as they had told you they were no longer coming, you had made alternative arrangements and could no longer accommodate them. Drama averted.

Once they decline an invitation all bets are off. Sorry admin but I don’t agree that the OP is still under any obligation to host once the guest had declined the invitation.

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hakayama January 8, 2014 at 8:18 am

@Karen: I imagine that you are a much better person than I, since just ONE such event would put me in a state of alert for a repeat performance. If it happened again, I probably would leave and keep the “friendship” confined to phone and emails. But YOU just might be a “MIT”, or “masochist in training”… ;-)
How much do you LOVE those people? Enough so as to be a witness to their stormy tension-clearing moments at the expense of YOUR own stomach churning experience?
It’s one thing for them to feel that they can let their hair down in front of you, or even to engage in CALM discussion and analysis of their problems. It’s another to subject you to their, likely unproductive, ugly outbursts.
I wonder if those “NOTfriends” also feel free to perform bodily elimination functions in front of you… I’m not even wondering if they give each other privacy for these.
(Judgmental much, Haka? Absolutely, yes! ;-))

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HeartvsBrain January 8, 2014 at 8:56 am

I have to be honest – I’m a little surprised you let them in. It is not rude to refuse entry to someone who has been clearly uninvited to an event. They were the rude ones and unfortunately, you’re the ones who allowed it.

If it had been me, I would have 1. Told Dan that whether or not the train was leaving was irrelevant – he and his warring spouse were not welcome. 2. If they’d had the gall to show up regardless, I would have absolutely denied them entry. Where they go, stay or how is not your problem. But you made it your problem when you allowed them to do as they chose instead of as you wished.

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Allie January 8, 2014 at 9:15 am

I don’t think you’re over reacting. I know it’s not a good idea to dump friends over every little slight or screw up. Nobody’s perfect and if we are too sensitive or set the bar too high, we won’t have any friends. But in this instance, given your husband’s family situation and his honesty in telling his friend about it, I have to say I would not be cultivating this friendship any longer. They should not have had a marital meltdown in front of you and your husband, and Dick absolutely should not have lied about their status, causing added stress to their visit (why he would do that I have no idea). The pseudonym you gave him was well-chosen.

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OP January 8, 2014 at 9:33 am

To clarify: Dick was not unfaithful.

@HeartsvsBrain: I don’t understand why you are surprised I let them in. At the point Dick got on the train, however upset I was with him, we genuinely believed he was my husband’s close friend suffering emotional turmoil. We thought they were in pain, and if I’d turned them away they would have been hundreds of miles from home, in a foreign country on NYE, no trains back, nowhere to stay, no car, nothing. Turn them away on the doorstep? My husband has gone through enough painful emotional scenes in recent times, he doesn’t need another. I chose to make the best of it with Dick under my eye. It was the right choice.

“you made it your problem when you allowed them to do as they chose instead of as you wished.”

Yes, my husband did make it his ‘problem’ when he allowed Dick to overrule him when under a lot of emotional stress due to his sister having cancer. He is aware of that. Perhaps you can see why he did not react as you thought he should?

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gb January 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm

You did your best, OP. I understand why you wouldn’t want them at your house during a divorce, but also understand your giving in due to the circumstances and sake of a friendship you once had with them.

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Daisy January 8, 2014 at 3:30 pm

OP, you’re a class act. You did the best you could do with a bad situation.

As for Dick and Jane, they need a refresher course in common decency, and another in public decorum. One should never, ever have a marital argument in public. Not because you’re involving innocent bystanders in your drama (which you most certainly are) but because it makes you look like an idiot. After all, you CHOSE to marry that person. If the person you picked out is such a lowdown, round-heeled, no account son-of-a-pup, with the manners of a wart hog and the morals of a swan, what exactly does that say about you?

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Thistlebird January 10, 2014 at 9:55 am

“Throwing a world class scream fit in front of houseguests is selfish and lacks any sense of restraint or decorum.”

Oh my goodness, TELL me about it. My husband and I were eating with some relatively new acquaintances when they got into an argument because their toddler had got into the husband’s work room and possibly ruined some of his things, for which he blamed his wife. Not only did he keep on storming at her in our presence, to which she responded rather wearily and obviously didn’t want to get into it just then, he also *accused her of hypocrisy for not fighting back, saying she wanted to look good in front of me and my husband.* While we sat there frozen and awkward with no idea what to do. We found the rudeness pretty unbelievable.

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Enna February 5, 2014 at 11:10 am

I am interested in what Dick did to Jane if it upset her so much – Admin if it was something quite shocking then no amount of politness would be able to stop such an emotinal reaction. Dick and Jane clearly had problems and it was wrong for Dick to book the train and make Jane come down. I can see why OP and her husband could not turn them away.

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