She can’t understand his loyalty to ‘awful’ people
Q. My husband’s very introverted, so his social circle mostly involved his small-town childhood friends, notably his best friend and wife.
It’s always bothered me that they constantly belittle him.
They criticize his choices as ostentatious (we’re neither — just boring, middle-class people).
His friend’s a heavy smoker who refuses to step outside to smoke. My husband won’t speak out because early on the couple took him in when he first started his career.
When he tries to object, they remind him that when he stayed with them, they didn’t impose rules on him. So he backs down.
Several years ago, the husband made some bad investments and they lost everything. Since then, when they visit us in the city, they announce that we’ll be paying for everything. Frankly, we can’t afford to do this.
We’ve offered to get takeout or make dinner at home with a couple of bottles of wine, but they insist that they want to go out.
We used to be on good terms, but now the wife won’t even greet me in my own home. If we’re out, she scowls and sulks, barely acknowledging my presence. Sometimes she’s also hostile to my husband.
The digs about our “ostentatious” lifestyle have gotten worse and they lecture us on how we should be living instead.
Recently, the husband propositioned me.
I told my husband and he was furious. Still, when he finally confronted his friend, he said that he was only bringing it up because “I” was upset.
So now he only sees them when he visits his hometown. But he recently mentioned that he missed having them visit us.
I said I’d be fine with that on the condition that the guy doesn’t smoke in our home and they both treat us with respect.
He said, “You know that’ll never happen” and dropped the subject.
I don’t understand why his loyalty extends to people who are so awful to both of us. I see them as disrespectful and downright predatory. He still thinks of them as his oldest friends.
It’s causing arguments between us. How do I get my husband to look beyond his perspective to what everyone else sees?
A. His so-called friend has crossed the line by propositioning you. Loyalty has to take a back seat to reality. His “best friend” would betray him, if you were willing.
There’s been enough payback over the years — especially on their visits when you’re stuck with all the costs — to even the score.
They’re both taking advantage of you, and showing no respect for you or your marriage.
You have a foot to put down. Do it. Tell him you love his kindness and loyalty, but the friendship has outlived its “best before” date by the couple becoming jealous, hypercritical, resentful, rude, and yes, predatory.
It’d be a mistake to have them stay in your home again. Keep small talk work-related
Q. My office supervisor is smart, efficient, and helpful.
The problem is that she’ll ask me to get a coffee with her, then ask questions about my personal life and make judgments like, “You need to change how you handle that.”
How can I tell her that my personal life’s my business, without ruining our work relationship?
A. Change the topic back to workrelated matters. Put her in a “box” in your mind — whenever you’re together, you ask the questions: about the job, the industry it’s in, etc.
If necessary, avoid some coffee breaks with her by being “busy” with work.