The Guardian (Charlottetown)
Successful friend hard to handle
Listening to constant bragging leaves man feeling depressed
Q- My closest friend has steadily climbed the success ladder. He now just moves his money around. His lavish lifestyle includes cheating on his wife. I don’t want to be like him, but I marvel at all the high-end toys he buys.
My wife of 14 years and I live on a far different level, doing OK. We both work, have a nice family home and two great kids, 10 and 12.
But my wife gets very uncomfortable whenever I go for a drink or dinner with him. She believes that I’ve been faithful but feels that my friend’s a bad influence.
I have a tendency to sometimes feel down because I can’t see that we’re ever going to rise another level to provide our kids and ourselves with more ease.
If either of us gets sick and/ or has to stop working, it’ll make a huge dent in what we can do regarding the kids’ future education or family holidays.
This attitude makes my wife feel I should stop seeing my friend. She says that no matter what laughs/good times we have together, I come home unhappy.
She’s right that I get depressed. Should I stop seeing a long-time friend because I’m incapable of achieving even close to his success? My Too-Successful Friend A- The problem isn’t your friendship, despite that your friend’s an insensitive braggart and cheater.
It’s your lack of self-esteem that’s deflating you despite steady achievements over years as husband, father and mutual provider.
Your wife’s reaching out as your best friend. She rightly worries about your low moods. Unchecked, they can affect your physical and your mental health, interfere with your sexual drive and lessen your emotional connection to her.
Such moods can also affect children as they grow up with a father who sees life through a negative lens.
Contact your doctor and if you check out physically, get counselling. The insights from professional therapy can bring you a whole new self-concept if you’re open to it. You need this more than expensive toys.
Regarding your friend, change the scene. Instead of going out together, invite him to a backyard barbecue with your family (if pandemic restrictions allow).
Once you feel better about yourself, his bragging about high-end toys will seem like they’re filling a deep well of his own neediness.