Say What You Need to Say?

You know that classic question of if you knew your friend’s boyfriend was cheating would you tell her?  Or, if you had serious concerns about a person your friend was going to marry, would you speak up?

I experienced the latter and didn’t.  I left that to her cousin who tried to break up the wedding the night before.  They got married young – she was just 21 – after a tumultuous relationship and a super-fast reconciliation, engagement and wedding.

If I could have seen what the future held for my friend, I might have helped.  Instead I (along with the cousin) stood up as bridesmaids the next day and it went off without a hitch.

This friend is three years younger than me and I’ve known her since she was 10.  She’s the closest thing I have to a little sister and I cherish her.

Because of that, for a while, I tolerated this husband – his brash-in-your-face-know-it-all-holier-than-thou-borderline-misogynistic attitude – as did her family, but all of us with whispered concerns over his controlling, and potentially abusive, behavior. 

Then as he and I spent more time together – it’s been two-and-a-half years and now they have a baby – it became a mutual distaste.  I’m not too sure what’s not to like about me, I mean I’m pretty awesome, but his personality grates me and if mine does him, that’s fine.

But the other day, their combined Facebook account said something to the effect that he was excited their son was coming into his work, and yeah his wife was going to be there too, but “eh” and went on to say that she needed to bring him dinner and not just Kraft mac and cheese crap, that she better start warming up the oven.

I stewed for a day, then three years of frustration with this kid came out.  I simply responded with “Do you wonder why people think you’re an asshole?” Because he is and they do.

Within a few hours, I was not only defriended, I was blocked.  I heard from her a day later and she said she had something she wanted to talk to me about. 

She was upset because she thought it was harsh.  I let her know having a husband who talks to you or about you in that way isn’t healthy or normal. 

She told me it was a joke and anytime he says anything like that it’s a joke and I just don’t know him very well.  That’s who he is every time I’m around so either that’s who he actually is or I will never know because I don’t care to dig deeper.

She said she also took it as a knock at her because it was a knock at her partner.  I’ve never been in that serious of a relationship that I would know what that feels like, but I can see where that might be true. I assured her it was just because I wanted to call it to his attention but it’s not a reflection on her. 

She expressed that she wished I had talked to her privately instead of now having to deal with the outcomes.  I wanted to call him out, stand up for her, and I knew if I said something to her, she’d brush it off and not say anything to him and he’d keep talking to and about my friend that way.  She deserves better.

I didn’t want to cause any problems for her.  I figured it couldn’t strain my relationship with him any further, but now thinking back on it, it’s very rarely I see her without him around, and I definitely don’t want to lose her.  She’s not allowed very many friends (yeah, I know) and I’m sad to think I took one of the few he tolerated away.  

Perhaps that makes me a hypocrite, being a jerk to him in a public forum for being a jerk to her in a public forum.

So, with all that said…thoughts? Have you been there?  Was I that far off?  What would you have done?


3 thoughts on “Say What You Need to Say?

  1. I’m there right now. My best friend from college is about to walk me through these exact circumstances.

    I don’t know what I would have done. Though I disagree that a knock at my spouse is a knock at me. Or vice versa. Besides, joint accounts are creepy.

    Sometimes it’s hard to be the friend who watches over the girl who makes such a bad choice in men. It’s hard to support her when he’s crushing her. And it’s really hard to listen when she’s defending his atrocious behavior.

    If you want to stay there for your friend, you’ll probably have to make a public and grandiose apology to this guy. You’re the only one who can figure out if that’s worth it.

  2. We have all been there. A friend in a shitty relationship… and the sad thing is that you can’t do anything about it until they get there on their own.

    The thing is, you can voice your concern, but in the end it’s your friendship that suffers ALWAYS.

    Unfortunately for me, I just found out that pretty much everyone I know felt this way about my relationship… and I had to learn it the hard way… but had people said this to me (which my cousin did at one point) I just would have been mad and offended.

    Given the fact that they are married with a child and she seems to be ignorantly happy, I would just let it be. I would (you’re not going to like this) suck it up and apologize to the guy. You don’t want to lose your friend… and when(if) they ever break up, you will be there for her.

    This stuff is just messy… and you can’t get involved… because it is their relationship, and marriage in this case.

  3. There’s no easy way to answer this question. There’s always a public and private face to every relationship, and you’re privy to only the public side. It may very well be that he’s a total jackass, or it may be that he’s just abrasive (which is usually a way of being hyper-defensive) in public and a total sweetheart to her in private.

    As with any friendship relationship, you have to accept where she is. If she says that she’s happy in the relationship, even if she’s lying to herself and everyone else about it, then you have to accept that in her. And, unfortunately, that means that you have to accept him as well. If it all falls apart for her later on, then you’ll be supportive and say things like “I always knew…”. But that’s not where things are right now. Right now she’s where she is and that’s all you can deal with.

    The part that sucks now is that if you want to retain her friendship, you may actually need to eat a little crow. Feel free to tell him that you think what he said to her was wrong, and that you leapt to the defense of your friend, but acknowledge that maybe calling him out on so public a forum wasn’t the best choice.

    Like I said, never easy. Will keep my fingers crossed for you…

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