She can’t un­der­stand his loy­alty to ‘aw­ful’ peo­ple

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - DEAR EL­LIE

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.

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