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

I think the quote you need to remember in this context is:

I’ve had to in the past to explain why I stopped coming to a friend’s parties, events, etc.

I would never actually just step up and tell them outright. But in the case I mentioned above, I had a good friend who I would go out with alone or with other friends, but if his wife was along, I wouldn’t. She was so bloody irritating that a lot of people avoided her. After a few months, he started to get the clue and pulled me aside one day to ask me if there was something wrong - we’ve always been very honest with one another, so I simply told him that I was sorry, but I found his wife to be one of the most annoying people I’d ever met in my life and that I just plain felt uncomfortable around her.

We had a VERY long talk after that and he understood - I found out later that he’d heard this kind of thing (or deduced it) from a few other people as well.
The long and short of it is that about a year later, they were divorced - he and I are still very good friends and we laugh about his first wife a lot. His new wife is a dream and is a very nice lady.

I have always been transparently honest to my friends about how I feel about their friends. I explain early on, when the judgment of other people comes up the first time, that I like them, not the associates they have. They don’t have to like my friends. I’m not all that sure I like some of my friends. But they also cannot expect that I will like all of their friends. It just isn’t likely.

So, when this sort of thing last came up, I could just say, “No, no thanks, I don’t want to spend an evening listening to Ralph.” It isn’t an insult to my friend, or, an insult to Ralph. Some people like to listen to Ralph, by all the evidence. I am not one of them. My friend is still my friend, and welcome to do with me what she always did with me. But I also know that she wants to spend more time with Ralph, go figure. That means we share less time together. Then there is the fact that she cannot stand to be in the same county as Diane, who fills me with delight. More unavailable time, and over the years, it means we seldom spend the time we once did together.

We are still good friends. We just don’t get together much. I have to admit Ralph was a bit hurt by it. I don’t know why it is important to him that I enjoy his company. I know he doesn’t particularly enjoy mine. Diane knows that my friend (and Ralph, for that matter) doesn’t much care for her, although she doesn’t suspect how strong that feeling is. It just means that Diane and I generally share our time with . . . hmmmmmmmm. I was going to say other people, but the fact is that hardly anyone I know well really likes Diane. As it turns out, Diane’s friends don’t like me, either. I suppose that is rather odd. Diane and I generally spend our time together alone.

The names are all fictitious, of course.

(And, oddly enough, I just thought of two other friends, both female, who don’t care for my friends (or are generally not liked by my friends), and have no friends in common with me. Is that wierd?)


“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ~ Carl Jung ~

I can think of three cases in which I’ve hated the SO of someone I’ve cared about:

  1. My father’s imbecile girlfriend. When I was younger, I was really mean to her: sarcastic and snide and insulting, laughing at her openly. Sometime when I was 17 or so, my father and I had it out, and I decided to start being less mean to her. I’m still pretty short with her, but I don’t mock her to her face.

Sadly, she seems to think I like her now, and expects hugs and advice-giving-rights and the like. Sometimes I think I oughtta be mean to her again just to get her to back off.

  1. My friend Joe’s wife Terri. She was a nutcase, moody and manipulative and bizarrely jealous and controlling. After he married her, she took over a student organization I had helped found and changed it from a democratically-run group to something entirely under her control. When I tried, quietly and politely and privately, to talk to her about the governance, she managed to hold me up for ridicule in front of the entire group in order to forestall any complaints from me.

I met with her privately later to talk about our problems, and she said some of the most vicious, spiteful, untrue things to me that anyone has ever said. Left me shaking.

A couple weeks later, I told Joe that it was okay with me if I never saw his wife again. Between that, and the weird not-quite-cheating Joe did with a different friend of mine, I lost his friendship.

  1. My friend Lisa in college dated a hippyboy named Cloud. He was the most phenomenally boring person I’ve ever known. He collected a pretty piece of glass equipment that used to be used on telephone poles, and he could talk ad nauseum about his hobby. And did. He’d get really stoned, and have thoughts about how shallow the Masses of Humanity were, and how deep he was, and he’d tell us all about these revelations, even when he was sober.

But I had a crush on Lisa, a big fat crush. And even when Lisa told me that Cloud had cheated on her and asked for my advice, I didn’t tell her what I thought of him. I didn’t trust my reasons for hating him.

(Later she broke up with him, and I told her then what a tweaker he was. Turns out I was the last one to tell her).