Would you tell a friend you can't stand their spouse?

I’ve been wanting to post this for a while. Perhaps this has been asked before. I have a friend whose spouse irritates me. His voice, his personality, his opinions, his know-it-all attitude, … everything! I usually like & get along with most people. But maybe this guy is insecure & is trying to impress everyone. I met my friend before I met her husband. I try to meet with my friend alone if possible, like for coffee or dinner – without her spouse. So far, my friend hasn’t detected my feelings about her old man. Would anyone tell their friend that they dislike that friend’s spouse or S.O.?

Not if I wanted to keep her as a friend. :slight_smile:

It would depend on her relationship with you and her spouse. If she’s a good friend, was a beaten wife, and was looking for a way to leave him, yes, tell her what you think of him, and how you’d help her. If she’s in love with him and happy, keep your mouth shut.

This is coming from somebody who’s spouse is also her best friend, so I may be biased. I’d drop any friend or relative before I’d drop my best friend (my husband).

Just wanted to add that you might try saying something along the lines of “I’m happy that he makes you happy, but our personalities clash a little” if she ever asks why you’d always prefer to only be with her.

If she’s a good friend, she’ll accept those limitations on the friendship. Always understand that you introduced those limitations though, so if push comes to shove, you may get shoved in favour of friends who like both of them.

One of my really good friends from work, had a live in girlfriend (who might as well have been his wife). Anyways he was one of those guys who ALWAYS had people over at his house, sometimes just 1 or 2 some times 10 or 12. People loved being over there, it was a really fun place to hang out. Then SHE showed up. She moved in and took over. She told him what to do, what to think, what to buy, she made rules, she was a bitch, and the worst thing was, he was 100% madly in love with her. Well, over time his friends stopped comeing over, they didn’t say why, they just found other things to do. It got to the point where the only people that came over where a select few of her friends and when she got in an argument with them, they stopped coming over to. So everyday at work he would always ask me to come over and I would always come up with a reason not to, I felt horrible, but I didn’t want to be around her. After they had been together for a while, both me and my girlfriend told him on seperate occasions that we don’t like her, that in fact, NO ONE likes her, and that’s why they don’t come over anymore. For some reason he didn’t seem to take it to hard, he was still so in love with her I think he just brushed it off. So to answer your question, yes, I have told a friend I can’t stand their “spouse.”
Oh to finish the story, she eventually broke up with up, leaving him with no friends, no money (and a couple years of back taxes), and a very broken heart. This was about two years ago and he is still and absolute wreck, I really don’t know if he’ll ever pull out of this (but that’s another story in and of it self).

Joey P, that’s dfreadful. I have a friend like that as well. Idiot shoves his own head up his fourth point of contact every year or so on some subject (once he decided to start going to church and it only took him a few weeks to relize, and inform all of us, that we were sinners and going to hell, but he didn’t hold it against us. That lasted only about three months until he started getting too lazy to keep going to church) but it’s usually a woman. Totally falls for anything that’ll talk to him and blows the rest of us off. Then they break up and he goes into a depression for a year. Happens all the time, damn fool.

Oh, back to the OP: Would I tell my friend? Damn straight.

Would I also tell the offending “lover”? Probably.

Violet - If the spouse in question makes your friend happy and treates her well, talking trash about him could do some messy things to your friendship, and wouldn’t do any good (disclaimer: I say this not knowing the exact nature of your relationship with her - if you normally have a very open relationship, and share the good and the bad equally, it might not do any harm to express your fellings. But beware - some people tend to get very defensive about their SOs). I personally wouldn’t even tell a sibling I didn’t like his/her spouse. I don’t especially like any of my sib-in-laws, but I don’t have to; I’m not the one who married them. They make my sibs happy, and that’s what matters.

HOWEVER, if the spouse/SO is abusive, I feel it is your DUTY to get involved. Because abuse sufferers need to get help, and 9 times out of 10, they won’t or can’t do it alone. This doesn’t seem to be the case, here, but I thought I’d mention it.

Anyway, good luck. I hope your mate’s mate* stops being a prick.

*oops, just realized this sounds like I mean you’re the prick. I absolutely DO NOT mean that. I’m talking about your friend’s husband. I thought that was a clever phrase. But maybe it wasn’t.

Kn(too early in the morning to try to be clever)ckers

It would really depend on why you didn’t like them–if you think they are a bad person–they brag about doing things that you think are immoral, say, and that makes you feel like listening and keeping your mouth shut is condoning their behavoir–then I think it is a very good idea to explain why you avoid being around them. If they simply irritate you, then keep your damn mouth shut. We all irritate the hell out of all kinds of people who are kind enough not to tell us.

One thing it is important to remembr about couples is that all outsiders ever see is the tip of the iceburg. Every relationship involves unreasonable situations: my husband isn’t fair about housework–I do more than my fair share. I’m not fair about moodiness–I am often bitchy and short with him, and if he were to return that type of attitude I would be appalled at his behavoir. It’s not fair to him. Within the context of our relationship, it all evens out: to an outsider who saw only my moodiness or his laziness, one of us would look like The Bad Guy.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that people often look to there new relationships to fufill needs that were simply going unfufilled up until then: you don’t wanta spouse that is like your friends, only omore so, youwant a spouse that lets you develop sides to yourself that simply withered away due to lack of opportunity. Sometimes the radical personality change you see when someone gets in a new signifigant relationship is not really change, but someone taking a chance to be the person they wanted to be. Here is a small example:

Musically, I always liked oldies better than modern music. No one I knew 18-21 shared this taste with me, so I never really pushed the point–I didn’t hide it, and they certainly knew that when they got on the car with me the radio was more often than not on the oldies statoin, but i tended to change it just out of respect for the fact that most of them couldn’t stand it. Which was fine. When I met my future husband, it turned out that our musical tastes dovetailed almost perfectly, and even better, he was the sort of person who goes out and buys music, which I was never really into. So I know had a collection of the sort of music I liked to play, and someone to talk about it with. What had been a strong, definite preference became a solid hobby, and I started to be a lot more wiling to leave the music on when someone else came over, if for no other reason than the fact that before the majority had rulled that modern music be played, and now there was sometimes an oldies majority and part of my brain really liked the idea that it was My Turn.

Now the point of all this rambleing is that to my friends, it probably looks like I met my husband and he corrupted me away form the music that I have always liked. If they hadn’t liked the rest of my husband, they could very well have seen the whole process as me shifting my whole musical taste to accomodate this new guy, selling out “the real me” in order to have a man. But what was really happening is that I had an opportunity to expand my appriciation of something I had always enjoyed, and yes, I took it. That’s why people meet new people.

I’ve not encountered this, but I’ve told my spouse when I don’t like his friends or his friend’s spouse, and he’s done the same to me. When it’s necessary, I can smile and make nice, as can he.

I’ve got one friend who I’ve known over 25 years - and my husband prefers to be excluded when the two of us get together. Hubby has a coworker/friend who annoys me to no end so when they want to hang out, I seem to have things to do. It works for us.

Same applies for me. I’ve got a couple of in-laws who I’d never have had anything to do with were we not connected by marriage. On the occasions when we’re forced to be familial, I smile and keep my opinions to myself - isn’t that what civil people do? As long as said in-laws are good to my sibs and other family members, it’s not my place to complain.

I’m in this predicament right now, sort of. I have a friend who is a lovely, intelligent woman. She’s a single parent who managed to raise a wonderful son to adulthood on her own (and he’s exactly the kind of guy you hope your own daughter will marry). She is bright, witty, talented, generous and all the great things one looks for in a good friend. Her taste in men, however, is atrocious.

She’s been in two marriages that were abusive, and has hooked up with a number of losers since then - the only time I said anything was when she had one really nasty piece of work living with her (and her then-teenage son). The guy was violent, drug-addicted and completely whacked out. I told her repeatedly to get rid of him - and she kept him around until the night he went after her and she had to take her son and go stay in a hotel until the guy was out of her house.

NOW, she has gotten involved with a man who, to the best of my knowledge, is not physically abusive, and not a drunk or druggie. One would think this was progress, yes? Not really. He’s a domineering know-it-some, crass, unpleasant, pompous, insulting and just plain yucky. SHE is in LUUUUUUUUUV. He bosses her terribly, but she lets him, so I can’t really say anything about it - but recently he took the cake. Her wonderful son graduated high school, and this guy patted her on the head and said “Well, WE’VE raised quite a wonderful young man. OUR work is done.” I mean, YUCK!! This guy’s been around for all of a year of the kid’s life. In and of itself, I’d say the guy has a lot of nerve, but my friend says things to me like, “Isn’t it just WONDERFUL how “B” is with “D”? I never could have raised such a terrific kid without him!” HELLO?!?!

So, now she’s moving in with this guy. They’re talking marriage. They want to buy a house near me. I am avoiding her, which isn’t good for our friendship. Then again, telling her I can’t stand this guy wouldn’t do much for the friendship either. Putting up with him for her sake would be close to impossible - he is just that unpleasant.

So, to make a long story short (I know, too late), Violet - I sympathize with your situation, and if you can manage to casually exclude your friend’s spouse without making an issue, I’d say do so. If he, like my friend’s SO, is joined to her at the hip, I’d say walk away from the friendship. A loss for both of you, but I can’t see any other solution.

Geez Manda JO how did you get to be so smart? I never thought of the iceburg effect, thought that’s probably what a lot of people tee off on.

I had a friend recently that told me my husband was an asshole. I knew she felt this way before she told me and didn’t really care. However, when she put a voice to her feelings I was utterly insulted. I don’t forsee spending much time with her in the future.

The thing is, if the guy irritates you, it’s your problem. Deal with it. If he’s abusive, it’s her problem. Let her deal with it. Unless she asks you for help or advice, she’s not going to get any benefit from it when you force it on her.

Of course, just my opinion.

Something of a similar problem here–friend of mine got married three or four years back. Problem is, his wife shares none of our interests. Hanging out with them is mostly a process of inventing polite bland conversation so she doesn’t feel bored and excluded. On top of that, they seem joined at the hip. Since they’ve been hitched, I’ve seen him alone maybe 4 or 5 times and only for a few fugitive hours–he seems to believe that keeping her happy involves bending over backwards to ensure they are together every waking moment they’re not at work. She, of course, has no problem going off alone for her own social life. Irritating. Then they wonder why I never hang out…I’d sit him down and explain what’s happening, but have a feeling it would be like teaching a pig to sing…luckily, I have other friends. I have a feeling this is going to blow up on him after a while. The martyr thing is only good for so long…

My ex ( a wonderful woman, with a little bit of a self esteem problem) is engaged to a man who I, her parents, her sister, and most of her friends do not like. We don’t like him for how he treats her, his past and how he acts. We won’t say anything to her because she is happy with him (why we don’t know) and I try not to associate with him.

I know she doesn’t visit here so I feel comfortable posting this

A very close and dear friend’s husband is a total dip. Totally wrapped up in himself, not half as funny or smart as he thinks he is, insensitive, uninteresting, just a real pain in the toochis to be around. But, for whatever reason, she’s ridiculously happy with him.

One time I traveled with my friend and this guy (bf then) to her parent’s place for a weekend. I was eating breakfast with her father when her boyfriend bobbed through the kitchen, cracked some completely unfunny joke, laughed like a hyena at his own wit while we smiled politely, and wandered on off. I looked at her father, and her father looked at me, and the expression on my face must have been a perfect match for what was going through his head, because he just said wearily, “Whatever makes Patricia* happy.” (* Name changed to protect the innocent.) It was a magical moment. :slight_smile:

So whenever her husband gets on my nerves, I just think of those words of wisdom that her father gave to me: “Whatever makes Patricia happy.” Her husband makes her happy, so I am nice to him. I do stuff with her alone when it’s convenient, and when it’s not, I suck it up.

I mean, really, what do you possibly have to gain by saying something? If you say that you don’t like your friend’s husband, she would be a very unusual person if she didn’t take some level of offense from it. It’s also highly doubtful that she’ll say, “Oh, you can’t stand Roger? Okay, we’ll just always make sure to leave him out of our plans from now on.” More likely than not, you’d be the one who was left out. It’s destiny, it’s eros, it’s like the love of a man for a fine cigar; trifle with it at your peril. :slight_smile:

If he looks like John Ritter, he’s probably a killer robot.

Regarding the OP, I say listen to Manda Jo. She’s way smart about this stuff.

In situations like this, I usually try to reason out what the benefits (if any) would be in sharing that information with someone. Most of the time, I end up deciding to say nothing, since the end result seems to be hurt feelings and nothing constructive.

I agree with the other posters who mentioned physical (or any type of) abuse as an exception. I think in good conscience I would have to say something. When I’ve been in situations like that, I usually just use an assertiveness script. "When you ____, I feel , I would prefer. So “when I see you being abused by your SO, I feel very scared for you, I would prefer that you were in a safer situation but I am always here for you if you need to talk.” Usually works to broach the subject.

I like what Manda JO had to say about looking like the bad guy. I do think it’s easy sometimes for me to see someone as a bad guy, when I don’t see everything that goes on. Other times, the SO(B) is genuinely a jerk. :stuck_out_tongue:

I had a friend who was married to an emotionally abusive guy. One time at dinner he dumped a platter of spaghetti on her head for “fun.” Another time, in front of about a dozen people, he mentioned that there was no point in having sex with her because her vagina (not his word) was the size of mayonnaise jar. Needless to say, I, and my other friends, were pretty direct in our opinion of this guy. She finally dumped him, but it did take a while. Maybe we all should have kept out mouths shut, but it’s pretty difficult to watch someone you care about being treated that way.

Manda Jo should have her own day-time talk show. She would be a welcome voice of reason to the whole genre.

People who see me and the wife together think I’m a saint for puttin’ up with her, but I know the truth. (I am a saint!)

I haven’t told my buddy I think (and so does everyone else I know) that his wife is a worthless bag of shit, and I don’t suppose I ever will, and even if I did, he’s proven himself too dumb to listen! :smiley:

Dammit! I have somehow become drunken without my knowledge or involvement!


Looks like a lot of wise contributors here. I guess I’ve been following the consensus (or at least the majority). I don’t want to lose a friendship. There is more info. regarding my friend, but I didn’t think it was that relevant. She & hubby are seeing a counselor. But even if they end up separated or divorced, I’m not going to tell her what I think of the guy. I’m sure no physical abuse is involved. My guess is that she made a mistake hooking up with this person. Her religion seems to be a ball & chain right now because she gets those guilt feelings (that I can’t relate to). I give her credit for trying to make things work. But it was sad when she blurted that she’d been on antidepressants. I really don’t want to say anything that sways her decision with her partner. I’ve seen a couple of people break up, then reunite later. So mum is the word. Thanks for the input, everyone!

It’s very unwise.
Suffer in silence, and meet your friend alone when possible.