Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-11-2019, 08:28 PM
monstro monstro is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 19,986
Friend always mention shitty things that husband does. What's the proper response?

I have a friend who has been married for almost 30 years. I would guess that about 90% of the stories she tells about her husband are negative. Like, today she told me he refuses to watch any show or movie she suggests he watch, but he always expects her to watch the shows and movies he tells her to watch.

She isn't "allowed" to go grocery shopping because he thinks she wastes money. Mind you, he's been retired for the last ten years while she's still working a challenging 9-to-5 job and makes a very decent salary. Seems to me that would entitle her to go to the grocery store whenever she freakin' wants! But weirdly, she goes along with this stupid rule because she doesn't want to make him mad.

I honestly don't get it. I don't WANT to get it. Every time we talk (which is almost daily, since we walk home from work together), I feel a huge sense of gratitude that I'm not burdened by a shitty partner. However, while part of me wants to call this a toxic relationship, part of me also thinks my friend enjoys playing the long-suffering submissive wife. I think she gets something out of telling me these horrible (albeit sometimes entertaining) stories. Sometimes I wonder if they are 100% true.

The thing is, I never know how I'm "supposed" to respond. I usually say something like "Wow, that was such a stupid/mean/wrong thing for him to say/do!" But during today's story, I blurted out, "Your husband is such a dick!" There was a brief moment of silence afterwards, and I felt like I had crossed a line. Sometimes I want to ask her why she's still with him, but I feel like this would be inappropriate to say as well. I guess I worry that she could just be blowing off the regular kind of steam that all married people need to release, so I don't want to make it weird by mentioning the "D word". Especially since I don't have any experiences to draw from to make my opinion worth anything.

Should I continue with the low-key responses or should I be more frank?
  #2  
Old 02-11-2019, 08:35 PM
elbows elbows is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 14,018
You could try interrupting the cycle perhaps? Laughingly point out you feel you’re maybe beginning to get a quite negative view of the guy and are naturally growing curious what were the charms he used to woo her? And does he still possess any of them? Ask what she loves about him that’s kept her at his side for 30+ years. You can always play off your questions as curious as you’ve not had such a relationship yourself and have always wondered!

You could be in for a boatload of sour grapes, of course, but it might be worth a shot! Good Luck!
  #3  
Old 02-11-2019, 08:37 PM
enipla enipla is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Colorado Rockies.
Posts: 13,705
Seems like you are a sounding board for her to complain to. Not easy. Something must be working if they have been married for 30 years. I might respond with something like "I wouldn't stand for that". Cause I wouldn't.
__________________
I don't live in the middle of nowhere, but I can see it from here.
  #4  
Old 02-11-2019, 08:54 PM
Littleman Littleman is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 806
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I have a friend who has been married for almost 30 years. I would guess that about 90% of the stories she tells about her husband are negative. Like, today she told me he refuses to watch any show or movie she suggests he watch, but he always expects her to watch the shows and movies he tells her to watch.

She isn't "allowed" to go grocery shopping because he thinks she wastes money. Mind you, he's been retired for the last ten years while she's still working a challenging 9-to-5 job and makes a very decent salary. Seems to me that would entitle her to go to the grocery store whenever she freakin' wants! But weirdly, she goes along with this stupid rule because she doesn't want to make him mad.

I honestly don't get it. I don't WANT to get it. Every time we talk (which is almost daily, since we walk home from work together), I feel a huge sense of gratitude that I'm not burdened by a shitty partner. However, while part of me wants to call this a toxic relationship, part of me also thinks my friend enjoys playing the long-suffering submissive wife. I think she gets something out of telling me these horrible (albeit sometimes entertaining) stories. Sometimes I wonder if they are 100% true.

The thing is, I never know how I'm "supposed" to respond. I usually say something like "Wow, that was such a stupid/mean/wrong thing for him to say/do!" But during today's story, I blurted out, "Your husband is such a dick!" There was a brief moment of silence afterwards, and I felt like I had crossed a line. Sometimes I want to ask her why she's still with him, but I feel like this would be inappropriate to say as well. I guess I worry that she could just be blowing off the regular kind of steam that all married people need to release, so I don't want to make it weird by mentioning the "D word". Especially since I don't have any experiences to draw from to make my opinion worth anything.

Should I continue with the low-key responses or should I be more frank?
I guess some polite form of genuinely asking " why are you telling me this?".
Then you'll know how you're supposed to react.
  #5  
Old 02-11-2019, 08:54 PM
AngelSoft's Avatar
AngelSoft AngelSoft is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Portland of the NW
Posts: 1,811
Sounds exactly like my coworker. She's in her early 60s and has been married for like 40 years. The man is a freaking asshole. Same thing with tv. She can only watch what he watches. Even if she goes into another room to watch something she wants, he'll follow her in, change the channel to whatever he's watching and sit down there. If she's 'too slow' putting things away, he hides them from her and won't tell her where they are. Whenever she talks about him, I just say, I'd never put up with that. Hell, when she mentioned he said she should lose weight, I asked if she wanted to lose weight and she said 'Well...he thinks I should...' and I was like, it's none of his fucking business what you weigh. Tell him that until he's sporting a six pack he should shut the fuck up. I didn't mince words on that one.

I mean, I know I'd never put up with it but I also understand a bit her situation. This is all she's known her entire life. She knows nothing about living on her own and she must be worried that if they did separate she'd be left with nothing. I guess it's a case of choosing the devil you know over the one you don't.
  #6  
Old 02-11-2019, 08:55 PM
Leaffan's Avatar
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 23,884
What was today's story that prompted you to call him a dick?
  #7  
Old 02-11-2019, 09:06 PM
kunilou's Avatar
kunilou kunilou is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 24,659
When my kids were at the stage of whining about every damn thing in the world, my wife would say, "That's too bad. What are you going to do about it?"

That usually shut them up in mid-sentence.
  #8  
Old 02-11-2019, 09:11 PM
monstro monstro is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 19,986
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
What was today's story that prompted you to call him a dick?

Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro
Like, today she told me he refuses to watch any show or movie she suggests he watch, but he always expects her to watch the shows and movies he tells her to watch.
This is actually tame compared to the other stuff she's told me. So I think my "dick" comment was due to a culmination of things.
  #9  
Old 02-11-2019, 09:14 PM
Cazzle's Avatar
Cazzle Cazzle is offline
Friend of Cecil
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Victoria, Australia
Posts: 7,726
I kinda feel like some people can get through their whole life in a fairly crappy relationship if they have a way to vent. I have a girlfriend whose husband is financially controlling and who has done some really crappy things in their 20+ years together - but she frankly believes loneliness would be worse than living like that so she stays, and she vents to me, and I make sympathetic noises, and she posts lovey-dovey Facebook statuses about him on their anniversaries, and the years keep ticking by. I can't really do more than point out he's out of line when he's out of line so she has validation that her internal voice was right.
  #10  
Old 02-11-2019, 09:23 PM
Roderick Femm's Avatar
Roderick Femm Roderick Femm is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: On the cusp, also in SF
Posts: 6,809
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
When my kids were at the stage of whining about every damn thing in the world, my wife would say, "That's too bad. What are you going to do about it?"

That usually shut them up in mid-sentence.
This, a million times. I think I would just keep repeating "you have it within your power to change this situation" for every single story. Probably she would stop telling me these stories and nothing else would change, but at least I wouldn't be afraid that I was somehow enabling things by passively listening.
  #11  
Old 02-11-2019, 09:51 PM
Leaffan's Avatar
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 23,884
Some people put up with this kind of shit because they don't like conflict or confrontation. I know I did. I rarely, if ever, decided what was going on the TV, and frankly if she was entertained then at least there would be peace.

The same thing applied to meal choices, of which she had the palate of a 10 year old. I don't think I complained a lot to friends, but I'm sure I mentioned some stuff when I was frustrated.

It's nice to have someone to vent to. I think the best you can do is just nod and be understanding. Calling him a dick is a bit extreme, but after 30 years of marriage there's probably not anything you can do to change her behaviour.

It would be different of course if there was any hint of physical abuse. So far he does just sound like a dick, but that's really not your concern.
  #12  
Old 02-11-2019, 09:57 PM
HollieHobby HollieHobby is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 5
I was in a relationship like that and my friends couldn't understand. "Why don't you just leave?"

I tried once and he immediately removed 22k from my bank account. He also blackmailed me by threatening to make me lose my job and my nursing license and my family

It was 12 years of horrendous abuse. I lost everything and he only hit me a few times. He wouldn't let me talk to my children or friends or family.

Monstro please ask your friend to Google financial abuse. Narcissistic abuse Syndrome. Please tell her to do this away from home because if he finds out she will PAY. Possibly with her life.

She needs help and she is reaching out in desperation.

It sounds crazy because of course no normal person would allow such a thing. It is real.

Please.... please at least just ask her to Google narcissistic abuse. I had no idea what it was until I left because he controlled everything I read online. She has to do this without his knowledge.
  #13  
Old 02-11-2019, 10:02 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 6,889
I see nothing wrong with your "dick" comment. Giving her a reality check is a good thing. She's been normalizing this relationship for way too long. You may go back to listening passively, but letting her know things aren't right is what a friend does.
  #14  
Old 02-11-2019, 10:05 PM
HollieHobby HollieHobby is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 5
One more thing... physical abuse is not the only kind of abuse. If another person has control of your finances and/or ability to earn a living, it can be very hard to leave.
  #15  
Old 02-11-2019, 11:25 PM
ZipperJJ's Avatar
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
Just Lovely and Delicious
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 24,994
I have a good friend that regularly complains to me about her husband (married like 12 years). The first few times she told me she was going to leave him I was a little freaked out and even helped her look at apartments to move to and stuff. But it turned out she couldn't really afford it and maybe she wasn't that mad and their marriage and kid are worth staying together and she was over it after a couple days.

It finally dawned on me that she wasn't going to leave her husband and he is always going to piss her off and do shitty things from time to time (never controlling or abusive stuff like the OP, more like very disappointing or dumb stuff). She just gets riled the fuck up about him and very disappointed in him.

Now I just keep it light and say "aw that's terrible what he did!" and "Oh man, Jerry fucked up again..." and let her vent.

Sometimes people just like to be heard. And she might particularly like venting to you because A) you can't interrupt her or one-up her with stories of your terrible husband and B) you're not someone in her family and can't/won't spread gossip that will get back to him. So you're a pretty good mark.

I say unless you're afraid for her safety, just sit back and enjoy the entertainment and be glad she's not trying to get you to spill your story.
  #16  
Old 02-11-2019, 11:42 PM
susan's Avatar
susan susan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Coastal USA
Posts: 9,239
"I'm not sure how to respond to that."
  #17  
Old 02-12-2019, 01:14 AM
BigT's Avatar
BigT BigT is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 35,703
I've been (re)reading Girls With Slingshots lately, and one similar situation resulted in Hazel asking "sympathy or advice?" or similar. I thought that was pretty clever.
  #18  
Old 02-12-2019, 03:11 AM
PastTense PastTense is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7,223
Discourage her from talking about her husband--change the subject, whatever...
  #19  
Old 02-12-2019, 03:39 AM
Leaffan's Avatar
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 23,884
Quote:
Originally Posted by PastTense View Post
Discourage her from talking about her husband--change the subject, whatever...
I dunno. People need to vent occasionally.
  #20  
Old 02-12-2019, 04:08 AM
Aspidistra Aspidistra is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5,109
Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
I see nothing wrong with your "dick" comment. Giving her a reality check is a good thing. She's been normalizing this relationship for way too long. You may go back to listening passively, but letting her know things aren't right is what a friend does.
Concur with this. You were moved to call him a dick, because she keeps telling stories that make him sound like a dick. It's probably a good thing for her to hear that at least once. Doesn't mean you have to keep doing it - you could easily go back to the tried and true "that sounds pretty crummy of him". But she might as well understand - only having bad things to say about your spouse is really not normal. Or good.
__________________
It is easier to fall than to climb ... letting go for the fall brings a wonderful feeling of ease and power
- Katherine Kerr Daggerspell
  #21  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:39 AM
pullin pullin is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: N Texas
Posts: 2,863
My wife has a friend like this (controlling asshole husband). She finally blurted out "Why don't you leave him?" Friend answered that she'd rather be with someone she hated than be alone.

I wouldn't choose that but... different strokes.
  #22  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:00 AM
Two Many Cats Two Many Cats is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 4,287
I think your response depends on how deep your friendship goes. She wants to complain. If she's just a co-worker, listen and nod and sympathize. If she's a closer friend than that, mention something about her doing things to improve her situation.

Now, what are you getting out these walks home? Are your co-worker's stories entertaining? Does she let you complain about your life, or does she belittle your miseries with her own bigger ones? Do you talk about other things in life? Do you get to talk about stuff you want to talk about? Or does everything lead back to her crappy husband?

I'm just saying don't let these walks become something you dread rather than enjoy. Friendship is a two-way street.
  #23  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:32 AM
monstro monstro is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 19,986
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
I dunno. People need to vent occasionally.
Yes, but if someone complains about the same stuff over and over, it becomes very hard not to be frustrated they aren't doing anything about it. I make humorous but genuine suggestions for things she can say in response to her husband's dickery (stuff I imagine my mother tells my dad when he acts a fool), and she always cracks up and says "That's a good one! I'll try to use that one the next time it happens!" Fast forward a few days later and she'll tell me that the same thing happened again, with her reacting the exact same way. I'll point out that she missed an opportunity to be assertive and she'll just laugh and say, "Yeah I know! I'm bad, aren't I?"

The other night, we were talking about her daughter. Her daughter seems to be attracted to the worst guys, and my friend was wondering why she just can't be alone for awhile...why must she continually leap from dumpster fire to dumpster fire. It took everything in my being to not say the obvious. I feel like if I were older and more experienced, I would be able to get away with speaking harsh truths to her. It is weird being younger than someone (she's 16 years older than I am) but feeling like the wiser one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ
Sometimes people just like to be heard. And she might particularly like venting to you because A) you can't interrupt her or one-up her with stories of your terrible husband and B) you're not someone in her family and can't/won't spread gossip that will get back to him. So you're a pretty good mark.
This is a good point. She may also feel like I'm a "safe place" because I'm not going to make her feel weird by talking about all the things my fantastic husband or boyfriend has done for me. I imagine she hears plenty of those stories from other women.

And it just occurred to me that maybe she talks so much shit about her husband because she doesn't want to make me feel weird by "bragging" about the privileges and benefits of marriage. I hope I haven't given her the impression that this kind of dance is necessary, but I can see how she might make that assumption.
  #24  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:35 AM
Crafter_Man's Avatar
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Ohio
Posts: 11,173
In the mid 1990s I worked in a small lab with two women. During our breaks they would complain about their husbands. Nonstop. Since then, I have noticed the same behavior when some other women get together.

I have never heard of two men getting together to complain about their wives.

Just an interesting, and albeit anecdotal, observation.
  #25  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:25 AM
Urbanredneck Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 6,975
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
In the mid 1990s I worked in a small lab with two women. During our breaks they would complain about their husbands. Nonstop. Since then, I have noticed the same behavior when some other women get together.

I have never heard of two men getting together to complain about their wives.

Just an interesting, and albeit anecdotal, observation.
I've seen it a few times. Thing is they then talk about what to do about it.

I think its because men tend to be "fixers" and look for solutions while women just seem to want a sympathetic ear. Its something I've learned to deal with when working with women. Dont offer advice. Just listen.

My advise for the OP. When told about these problems, ask them what they are going to do about it and hold them to it. Next time they gripe, ask them what they did about it and if they havent just say "Stop, I dont want to hear any more".

And it wont be just about husbands. Some people will whine about their jobs, kids, or just general situation in life but REFUSE to do anything about it. Those people will suck the energy right out of you if given a chance so dont allow it.
  #26  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:29 AM
bobkitty bobkitty is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: The end of the tunnel
Posts: 3,469
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
I have never heard of two men getting together to complain about their wives.
Happened at every single duty station my husband has been at. He would come home with hair-raising stories about his coworkers’ wives, and then grumble that they constantly gave him shit for not complaining about me (insisting he was pussy-whipped because of it). Since I knew the wives, I knew the stories were 100% believable.
__________________
pointedly does NOT cop a cheap feel from bobkitty, who he imagines has sharp claws and can hiss like a pissed-off bobcat-iampunha
Baroness Junior Grade of Furry Wilderness Creatures.
  #27  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:34 AM
kayT kayT is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Austin
Posts: 5,000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
In the mid 1990s I worked in a small lab with two women. During our breaks they would complain about their husbands. Nonstop. Since then, I have noticed the same behavior when some other women get together.

I have never heard of two men getting together to complain about their wives.

Just an interesting, and albeit anecdotal, observation.
Is this a joke? Because I know pretty much an equal number of women bitching about husbands and husbands bitching about wives. I don't much like either one, and feel pretty much like monstro does about being unsure what I'm supposed to say.

Well, when the male side starts in about "all women" I do know what to say, but that's different.

Last edited by kayT; 02-12-2019 at 07:34 AM. Reason: ninja'd TWICE!
  #28  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:34 AM
Two Many Cats Two Many Cats is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 4,287
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
In the mid 1990s I worked in a small lab with two women. During our breaks they would complain about their husbands. Nonstop. Since then, I have noticed the same behavior when some other women get together.

I have never heard of two men getting together to complain about their wives.

Just an interesting, and albeit anecdotal, observation.
Yep, makes you think.

Makes me think, as a woman, I was right not to get married.
  #29  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:55 AM
monstro monstro is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 19,986
Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Many Cats View Post
I think your response depends on how deep your friendship goes. She wants to complain. If she's just a co-worker, listen and nod and sympathize. If she's a closer friend than that, mention something about her doing things to improve her situation.

Now, what are you getting out these walks home? Are your co-worker's stories entertaining? Does she let you complain about your life, or does she belittle your miseries with her own bigger ones? Do you talk about other things in life? Do you get to talk about stuff you want to talk about? Or does everything lead back to her crappy husband?

I'm just saying don't let these walks become something you dread rather than enjoy. Friendship is a two-way street.
She talks more than I do, but she listens to my work-related complaints and gripes when I have them. And when she is telling me about her horrible husband, she is light-hearted about it. Her bashfests aren't depressing. Just crazy.

I don't dread our walks at all. It's just that I sometimes don't know how to handle what she lays on me.

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk
__________________
What the hell is a signature?
  #30  
Old 02-12-2019, 08:14 AM
Ranger Jeff Ranger Jeff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 6,830
Yeah, people may need to vent occasionally. That doesn't mean YOU signed up to be someone's sounding board. Your problem isn't how to fix their marriage. Neither is your problem how to stop her husband from being a dick. Your problem seems to be her talking your ears off complaining about the man. You may just have to tell her "Look, it's none of my business and I don't want to hear about it anymore." when she starts up. Because if you let her come up to speed she's not gonna stop.
  #31  
Old 02-12-2019, 08:27 AM
elbows elbows is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 14,018
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
In the mid 1990s I worked in a small lab with two women. During our breaks they would complain about their husbands. Nonstop. Since then, I have noticed the same behavior when some other women get together.

I have never heard of two men getting together to complain about their wives.

Just an interesting, and albeit anecdotal, observation.
Really?

How about x wives?

Wanna reconsider? I think you’re WAY off in your estimation.
  #32  
Old 02-12-2019, 10:09 AM
Corry El Corry El is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 3,439
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
In the mid 1990s I worked in a small lab with two women. During our breaks they would complain about their husbands. Nonstop. Since then, I have noticed the same behavior when some other women get together.

I have never heard of two men getting together to complain about their wives.

Just an interesting, and albeit anecdotal, observation.
Also generally my experience. In our circle of friends, according to my wife, there's quite a bit of complaining about husbands when the women are together (though not about me, she says ) although it's not really bitter complaint with one possible exception, see below. When the men are together it's never more than the gentlest poking of fun at the wives.

These are relatively older people, mainly NY Italian and Jewish, somewhat traditional though generally left leaning politically, well educated but not well off financially (I'm odd man out in most respects but still get along well with them). Things like that probably matter though I'm sure it just also varies by individual. I suppose the men view it as more likely to reflect badly on themselves if they speak other than well of their wives, but the wives feel less that way given their particular backgrounds and traditions. (and I guess one reason my wife doesn't complain about me to them is that in her quite different culture you just don't do that; I don't complain about her because I just don't have anything at all serious to complain about).

The wife who complains most is married to a guy who would clearly be difficult to live with, both stereotypical NY'ers, both very witty. They could be a sitcom. But it's not surprising if she has some actual non-kidding complaints. But nobody ever suggests eg 'why don't you leave?'. The complaints aren't on a level where that wouldn't be just a weird thing to say. The others just listen and/or commiserate with their own generally milder stories.

Last edited by Corry El; 02-12-2019 at 10:10 AM.
  #33  
Old 02-12-2019, 10:21 AM
LurkerInNJ LurkerInNJ is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 2,423
You're hearing what she has to complain about. You haven't heard what he has to complain about. On some level they both like things the way they are or they wouldn't have stayed together so long. Don't offer advice because that isn't what she is looking for. She wants simple validation. OMG, really?, not again! Validate, then change the subject.
  #34  
Old 02-12-2019, 10:41 AM
Crafter_Man's Avatar
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Ohio
Posts: 11,173
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corry El View Post
Also generally my experience. In our circle of friends, according to my wife, there's quite a bit of complaining about husbands when the women are together (though not about me, she says ) although it's not really bitter complaint with one possible exception, see below. When the men are together it's never more than the gentlest poking of fun at the wives.
Agree.

It's been my experience that men and women tend to talk about different things when they're together. With men it's mostly sports, cars, auto mechanics, work, music, and sometimes sexual conquests (if they're single). Rarely will men get together and talk crap about their wives. With women their discussions are mainly about children, husbands/relationships, and women they hate.

I am simply relating my experiences, and there have (obviously) been many exceptions. YMMV.
  #35  
Old 02-12-2019, 11:19 AM
Thudlow Boink's Avatar
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Lincoln, IL
Posts: 26,201
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
When my kids were at the stage of whining about every damn thing in the world, my wife would say, "That's too bad. What are you going to do about it?"
Rodney Dangerfield: "I get no respect, no respect at all."

Your wife: "That's too bad. What are you going to do about it?"


Not to discount the possibility that there could be genuine abuse, or at least unhealthy dynamics, in this marriage, but maybe complaining about her husband is just her shtick.
  #36  
Old 02-12-2019, 12:26 PM
xizor xizor is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 5,257
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cazzle View Post
but she frankly believes loneliness would be worse than living like that so she stays
I have had a few people over the years admit that they prefer a bad relationship to being alone. It seems to be if not common at least not unheard of.

For the OP, whenever I have someone complain like this to me, I figure they are looking to swap complaints to make them not feel so bad, or just have someone listen and take their side. The most I ever offer in advice is "if I were in that situation, I would do XYZ".
  #37  
Old 02-12-2019, 03:43 PM
Zyada Zyada is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Foat Wuth!
Posts: 4,973
Now, she may just be coming up with amusing stories about her relationship, and the fact that you think the spouse is a dick doesn't register, or doesn't matter to her. Og knows, I've been more likely to relate when Bob was being an idiot than when he was being perfect, because perfect is better, but it doesn't make good copy.

And if he's home all the time, and she isn't "allowed" to go grocery shopping, it might be that he's being controlling, but damn. I never complained when Bob was willing to do the grocery shopping, so this doesn't sound like a truly bad thing? Maybe she is the type to go to the grocery store and spend all the money on chocolate and tortilla chips, and forget the TP and milk.

But to me, it sounds like she might be in a drama triangle, and she might be trying to drag you into a rescuer role.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karpman_drama_triangle

Here's the thing about drama triangles. In a real drama triangle, no one wants it to end. Consider your co-worker - what does she get out of this? It sounds like she gets attention - and if she doesn't have any cute stories about what a dick her husband is, what does she have to talk about? And being a victim means you don't have to take responsibility for what happens to you.

You are not going to fix her relationship, and that's the common drama triangle hook to drag you into the drama. So give up any idea that you will make things better by giving advice. You can ask her questions - what are you going to do about that, why do you put up with that, etc. That's the best thing to do with victim drama players - make them take responsibility for what happens to them, and if they aren't willing to do so, stop giving them attention for the problems they have.

You might ask if he really is as big a jerk as she makes him out to be. He may be a truly nice person with a some flaws (and isn't that true of all of us). He may be abusive, but what you related doesn't sound necessarily abusive to me.

Or just say something along the lines of "That behavior doesn't sound very nice to me, I hope that he has redeeming qualities to make up for that". Note that here you're not talking about him, but about his actions. That's an important distinction.

If he does veer into abusive behavior, then you could get a list of abusive behaviors to watch out for and give it to her. But from what you've mentioned, I don't see so much "abusive" as "jerkish"
  #38  
Old 02-12-2019, 04:34 PM
Icarus's Avatar
Icarus Icarus is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: In front of my PC, y tu?
Posts: 4,933
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
In the mid 1990s I worked in a small lab with two women. During our breaks they would complain about their husbands. Nonstop. Since then, I have noticed the same behavior when some other women get together.

I have never heard of two men getting together to complain about their wives.

Just an interesting, and albeit anecdotal, observation.
Or it could be that the men you hang out with don't have anything to complain about, because they are the ones being complained about by their wives!
  #39  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:25 PM
monstro monstro is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 19,986
I've worked in almost all-women environments and almost all-male environments.

I don't recall either one being dominated by SO-bashfests.

I think there might be a grain of truth in the notion that women are more likely to paint a negative picture about their relationship--a picture that puts them in the "victim" role. I suppose it is possible women are just naturally hard-to-please nag-harpies. But it is just as possible that men are more likely to be shitty spouses who really do victimize their wives.

I wouldn't be surprised if people who don't "believe" in divorce are more likely to put up with shitty spouses and thus complain all the time about shitty spouses. If this assumption is true, I would expect frequent complainers to be more conservative-leaning. My friend is conservative as well as religious. Perhaps what looks like a "women" thing is actually a "subset of women" thing.
  #40  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:47 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 11,945
Quote:
Originally Posted by LurkerInNJ View Post
You're hearing what she has to complain about. You haven't heard what he has to complain about. On some level they both like things the way they are or they wouldn't have stayed together so long. Don't offer advice because that isn't what she is looking for. She wants simple validation. OMG, really?, not again! Validate, then change the subject.
I came here to say the same thing - that you're probably hearing only one side of the story.
  #41  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:06 PM
monstro monstro is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 19,986
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zyada View Post
And if he's home all the time, and she isn't "allowed" to go grocery shopping, it might be that he's being controlling, but damn. I never complained when Bob was willing to do the grocery shopping, so this doesn't sound like a truly bad thing? Maybe she is the type to go to the grocery store and spend all the money on chocolate and tortilla chips, and forget the TP and milk.
No, she's not like that. I'm not saying she's perfect, but she isn't a stupid or irresponsible person. Plus, her husband lets her shop as much as she wants for other stuff.

I guess I'm a weirdo because I really enjoy grocery shopping.

I'll make a suggestion to my friend to try a certain kind of food or brand I've discovered, and she'll say something, "I'll have to sneak to the store and find a hiding place for it, so Hubby doesn't see I went to the store! LOL." This is so over-the-top wrong to me that I think she has to be exaggerating. Like, how is this even funny?
  #42  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:23 PM
Zyada Zyada is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Foat Wuth!
Posts: 4,973
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
No, she's not like that. I'm not saying she's perfect, but she isn't a stupid or irresponsible person. Plus, her husband lets her shop as much as she wants for other stuff.

I guess I'm a weirdo because I really enjoy grocery shopping.

I'll make a suggestion to my friend to try a certain kind of food or brand I've discovered, and she'll say something, "I'll have to sneak to the store and find a hiding place for it, so Hubby doesn't see I went to the store! LOL." This is so over-the-top wrong to me that I think she has to be exaggerating. Like, how is this even funny?
It sounds to me like she's joking. Is he also doing the cooking? I can see not wanting her bringing home food that he doesn't know about if he's the one doing all the cooking. Here, honey, I've heard that durian is really good!
  #43  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:33 PM
monstro monstro is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 19,986
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zyada View Post
It sounds to me like she's joking. Is he also doing the cooking? I can see not wanting her bringing home food that he doesn't know about if he's the one doing all the cooking. Here, honey, I've heard that durian is really good!
Yes, he does the bulk of the cooking for dinner. But she still has to make her own breakfast and lunch. Surely she should be able to buy stuff she wants for the meals he's not responsible for.

You may be right that she's joking, but I guess I don't understand why someone would joke like this. It's not just her husband that she paints in a bad light with these stories. But she always comes out looking like a spineless doormat.
  #44  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:19 PM
Zyada Zyada is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Foat Wuth!
Posts: 4,973
If she's been married for 30 years, that was kind of how we grew up. Look at the comic strips like "The Lockhorns", TV shows like "Married, with Children" , and movies like "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty". There was a lot of comedy about people in being stuck in miserable marriages. Sometimes, like in "Bewitched", the show would be treating the couple as happily married, but you could tell from the interactions that there was an underlying abusive/passive aggressive relationship.
  #45  
Old 02-13-2019, 12:59 AM
lingyi lingyi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,392
I'm often the sounding board for men and women because I'm generally easy going. I always make sure to comment or end our conversation with: "You should be telling this to him/her" and "I'm glad you feel you can share this with me, but I recommend you seek spiritual or professional help, as I can just give you my personal opinion".

Also, keep in mind that there's always two sides of the story. The OP's friend's husband may or may not be exactly like portrayed. As has been mentioned, there must be something good between the two of them to stay together for 30 years. My ex's parents were like those TV couples you see, always ragging and complaining about each other, but you knew they really loved each other.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:00 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017