Author Topic: Significant others and their friends  (Read 6566 times)

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TealDragon

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Significant others and their friends
« on: March 12, 2012, 03:12:44 AM »
I was discussing this with a friend who is in a bit  of a situation right now and wondered what the right etiquette for this might be.

Amy is upset with her husband, Chris, because one of his friends has made some offensive and untrue comments about Amy. This friend, Rick, told Amy that she is a terrible person and an awful mother and she shouldn't have kids (what he said bordered on saying that she is cruel to and abuses her children) and he said she was being a complete [bad word] when she defended herself. Amy is a wonderful mother. Her children are kind people, well behaved, smart, cared for in every possible way, never physically punished, never neglected or denied anything like food or medicine or attention, and she loves them with every bit of herself. Rick has no children and he said that if he did, he would raise them differently because it's not fair to not give in when they throw tantrums because they are crying out for your love and that they shouldn't be expected to have household chores or to have to do things they don't want to do, like trying sports and instruments and sticking to commitments that aren't always enjoyable (the exact examples given were that she told her 7 year old daughter that she needed to choose an extracurricular activity to try and that she made her 8 year old son stick it out as his class president when it turned out to be less of a fun job than he thought it would).

Amy pretty much hates Rick for this and thinks that he was so unbelievably out of line in saying that to her and she is content to never see his face again. She also thinks that Chris should be more upset than he is because by saying that Amy is a bad parent and mean to her kids, he's also saying that about Chris because Chris is also making these parenting choices and stands by them. Chris is angry with Rick and has told him so and Rick apparently apologized to him and Chris does not want this issue to make waves in their social group and he just wants to go back to being friends with Rick. Amy is not at all a demanding or controlling wife and she would never tell Chris who his friends should be, but she's really thinking about saying something in this situation because she feels that it was a line that was crossed so badly that there is going back and that it's not right for him to want to be friends with someone who thinks these things about them.

I can sort of see both sides here, but I am much better friends with Amy and so I do feel much more for her side, but I was wondering what you all might think about this. Is it ever ok to dictate your significant other's friendships? Is this one of those times, or should she try to get past it so as not to make it awkward for her husband?

Iris

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Re: Significant others and their friends
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2012, 03:24:48 AM »
I'm torn on this one. On the one hand I would be very very reluctant to dictate to DH who he can be friends with. On the other hand I would be upset that DH wanted to be friends with someone who was mean to me. It goes without saying that Rick was so far out of line that he'd have to travel for a day just to see the line in the distance. It almost seems bizarre and I'm wondering if there were alcohol involved. Why was he even commenting on her parenting? It seems such a strange thing to do.

In the end, I think that since this only happened once - and Chris was genuinely annoyed and required an apology - I'd be willing to let it go if it were really important to my DH for me to do so. Rick is clearly a fool and in really he's made noone look bad but himself.
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Nemesis

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Re: Significant others and their friends
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2012, 03:36:35 AM »
I would not dictate to my spouse on who he can be friends with. But I would let him know that Rick is on my "Cut-Direct" list and under no circumstances would he be invited to our house.

Plus, even though I won't actually tell him to "unfriend" Rick, I would be really hurt if he would choose to remain friends with someone who says and thinks such nasty things about me.

Etiquette and relationship issues are, unfortunately, not always on the same page.

MacadamiaNut

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Re: Significant others and their friends
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2012, 03:38:50 AM »
I'm torn on this one. On the one hand I would be very very reluctant to dictate to DH who he can be friends with. On the other hand I would be upset that DH wanted to be friends with someone who was mean to me. It goes without saying that Rick was so far out of line that he'd have to travel for a day just to see the line in the distance. It almost seems bizarre and I'm wondering if there were alcohol involved. Why was he even commenting on her parenting? It seems such a strange thing to do.

In the end, I think that since this only happened once - and Chris was genuinely annoyed and required an apology - I'd be willing to let it go if it were really important to my DH for me to do so. Rick is clearly a fool and in really he's made noone look bad but himself.

I agree with this.  I also want to know if when Rick apologized, what kind of an apology was it?  Was it a non-apology, like "I'm sorry you feel that way" sort of thing, or did he apologize genuinely with an acknowledgement and regret for what he said?  There's a big difference.  Also, he should have apologized to Amy, not DH, since she is the one who caught his wrath, so that doesn't sit right with me either.  :-\
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TealDragon

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Re: Significant others and their friends
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2012, 03:46:34 AM »
Rick is kind of a weird guy. I've only met him a few times, but I haven't cared for him. He's really self-centered and egotistical in the way that people are when they've been brought up being very coddled and taught to expect everyone to bend to suit their own needs and wants first. Amy said they had him over for dinner and her daughter said something kind of bratty and then when chastised, refused to eat her dinner, so Amy told her she couldn't have any dessert. As far as I know, there was no significant amount of alcohol involved, maybe a glass of wine or a beer because the whole thing happened early in the dinner and Amy and Chris aren't big drinkers (I don't know about Rick, but I know A&C wouldn't allow someone to drink heavily around their kids). He said something to Amy about how it was unfair of her to exclude her daughter from dessert and that she should lighten up, Amy said that isn't how they are raising their kids, and Rick said something passive aggressive that amounted to saying that she is parenting incorrectly and when she asked what he thought made that an acceptable comment to make, he started in on saying that she's an awful parent because of X, Y, and Z. I agree, it makes zero sense to say such a thing, but I guess that's just his personality and he doesn't really understand social interaction norms. It's also not the first time he's said rude things to her but his past rude comments were quite tiny compared to this and she always let those go for Chris's sake. Rick's apology to Amy was "I'm sorry that you got so irrationally angry" so no, he hasn't actually apologized and as far as anyone knows, he doesn't intend to and he's also said that he thinks she should apologize to him for having yelled at him and told him off and telling him that he needed to leave her house.

TealDragon

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Re: Significant others and their friends
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2012, 03:49:36 AM »
I would not dictate to my spouse on who he can be friends with. But I would let him know that Rick is on my "Cut-Direct" list and under no circumstances would he be invited to our house.

Plus, even though I won't actually tell him to "unfriend" Rick, I would be really hurt if he would choose to remain friends with someone who says and thinks such nasty things about me.

Etiquette and relationship issues are, unfortunately, not always on the same page.

I'm curious, do you think it would be appropriate for her to let him know that it hurts her, or should she keep that to herself? She so far has kept it to herself over the last week because she doesn't want to guilt trip Chris into making a different decision, but she's pretty upset about not being able to talk about it with him.

MacadamiaNut

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Re: Significant others and their friends
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2012, 04:34:52 AM »
I would not dictate to my spouse on who he can be friends with. But I would let him know that Rick is on my "Cut-Direct" list and under no circumstances would he be invited to our house.

Plus, even though I won't actually tell him to "unfriend" Rick, I would be really hurt if he would choose to remain friends with someone who says and thinks such nasty things about me.

Etiquette and relationship issues are, unfortunately, not always on the same page.

I'm curious, do you think it would be appropriate for her to let him know that it hurts her, or should she keep that to herself? She so far has kept it to herself over the last week because she doesn't want to guilt trip Chris into making a different decision, but she's pretty upset about not being able to talk about it with him.

I don't see anything wrong with her telling her husband that it hurts her.  He is her husband.  Why should he not know how she feels?  (I know you weren't asking me this question but I thought I'd reply on this post.)

In terms of your earlier post, that is one of the worst kinds of non-apologies!  It's the non-apology PLUS insult.  Wow, this Rick does not sound like someone I'd want around.  Ever.
Paperweights, for instance - has anyone ever established what, when, and why
paper has to be weighed down? ::) ~Don Aslett

Iris

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Re: Significant others and their friends
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2012, 04:36:17 AM »
"I'm sorry that you got so irrationally angry"??!!

 :o >:( :o >:( :o >:( :o >:( >:( >:( >:(

My answer has changed a bit. I still wouldn't stop my DH from being friends with him but no WAY would he be coming to my house again. If DH wanted to be friends with him he could see him elsewhere.

As to whether she should let him know that she feels hurt, that's up to her. If it's something she can shrug off eventually then I would try to do that. But if she feels like she will stew on it until it becomes an issue then it's probably better to clear the air.

FWIW I know some men (and women too if I'm being fair) who place smooth social interactions and 'not making a scene' very highly and sometimes it leads them to be unintentionally unfair to those closer to them. If your friend's DH is like that he probably won't really understand why she's hurt and it might be difficult for her to explain.
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Nemesis

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Re: Significant others and their friends
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2012, 05:22:38 AM »
I would not dictate to my spouse on who he can be friends with. But I would let him know that Rick is on my "Cut-Direct" list and under no circumstances would he be invited to our house.

Plus, even though I won't actually tell him to "unfriend" Rick, I would be really hurt if he would choose to remain friends with someone who says and thinks such nasty things about me.

Etiquette and relationship issues are, unfortunately, not always on the same page.

I'm curious, do you think it would be appropriate for her to let him know that it hurts her, or should she keep that to herself? She so far has kept it to herself over the last week because she doesn't want to guilt trip Chris into making a different decision, but she's pretty upset about not being able to talk about it with him.

I don't see anything wrong with her telling her husband that it hurts her. He is her husband.  Why should he not know how she feels?  (I know you weren't asking me this question but I thought I'd reply on this post.)

In terms of your earlier post, that is one of the worst kinds of non-apologies!  It's the non-apology PLUS insult.  Wow, this Rick does not sound like someone I'd want around.  Ever.

I agree with MacadamiaNut. She needs to let him know how much it hurts, and how much she dislikes Rick. And what he said ("I'm sorry you got so irrationally angry") is not an apology but a poorly disguised insult. Such an apology after his previous remarks would earn him a cut direct in my books. If I am giving my spouse's friend a cut direct, my spouse needs to know about it and the reasons that led to my decision. He needs to support my decision provided it is reasonable (and Rick's behaviour indeed has made it reasonable).

Etiquette does not require us to be subjected to rude, aggressive and quarrelsome individuals. Thankfully.

weeblewobble

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Re: Significant others and their friends
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2012, 05:57:02 AM »
Rick would not darken my door again.  You don't try to interfere with my parenting (the dessert argument) and then undermine me in front of my kids.  And you don't call me an unfit parent who shouldn't have children, then a foul name when I defend myself.

If you do, you are non-existent to me, socially. If I see you in public, I don't care if my spouse does speak to you, I will not.  You don't get to come into my home anymore.  You don't speak to the children you seem to think are being abused and poorly socialized.  If I go to a party and you're there, I don't speak to you.  If it becomes impossible to ignore you politely, I'll leave.  I don't "make nice" with people who insult me and expect me to take it in the name of what's comfortable for the group.

I would let my husband know that if it was that important to him to see someone who had called me a foul name, an awful person and a terrible parent who shouldn't have children, then he should do so away from our home and children.  But I would also say along the lines of, "You can spend time with whomever you choose.  But it really hurts my feelings that it is more important to you that I accept the half-hearted apology of someone who clearly dislikes me so much, than to upset the 'social group.'  It hurts me that Rick's feelings are more important to you than mine.  And it hurts me that you could enjoy the company of someone who feels that way about your wife.  I'm not going to pretend I'm happy about it."

Sharnita

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Re: Significant others and their friends
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2012, 06:26:57 AM »
Honestly, this guy has behaved in a way that is bullying.  I would not generally say she can tell him who to associate with but I think it is reasonable to insist that he not hang with somebody who bullies her.

Perfect Circle

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Re: Significant others and their friends
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2012, 06:51:18 AM »
I wouldn't insist on it, but I would expect my husband to respect my wishes not to deal with this person.

We have been in a similar situation where someone said something incredibly hurtful to me before we got married. He was a friend of my now husband. I clearly stated that person would not come to our house and I would not meet with him anywhere else either. My husband heard the comment ended up cutting the person off his life too, but it was his decision.
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missmolly

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Re: Significant others and their friends
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2012, 08:41:52 AM »
I POD the others. Amy should make it clear just how much hurt she feels over Chris' comments and his apology-that-was-actually-an-insult. If her husband still chooses to see him, well he's not got great taste in friends, but that's up to him. But Chris should never be invited to darken their door again.
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Winterlight

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Re: Significant others and their friends
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2012, 09:28:28 AM »
I'd make it real clear to my husband that Rick is on my Cut-direct list. He doesn't come over, he doesn't get invited to events with us, I won't talk to him and will avoid him as much as possible. I think it's fair to draw a line and say, "This person insulted me in my home in front of you and our children. He has not apologized, and he has called me irrational for being upset at his behavior. I don't want him around."
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Jones

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Re: Significant others and their friends
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2012, 09:45:22 AM »
Well, I would put my foot down that Rick wasn't allowed around my kids. Undermining a parent in front of the children, seriously? And I think she's well within her rights to turn and walk out of a party if Rick shows up at a mutual friend's home, too.