• Keeping Friends

My friend’s husband dislikes me

Published: January 12, 2017 | Last Updated: February 10, 2017 By | 8 Replies Continue Reading
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A woman incurs the wrath of her friend’s husband and seeks advice.

QUESTION

Hi Dr. Levine,

I need some advice. My friend’s husband really dislikes me and I don’t know what to do. She and I met 18 months ago. We are in the same training program, have become good friends and have been supportive towards each other.

We talk/text several hours a week and get together maybe twice a month. We’ve attended a conference together. We don’t monopolize each other’s time at all. I tend to be a talkative, cheerful, outgoing person. I am very trusting and naive at times. I have noticed that my friend’s husband can be a bit quiet and I feel a bit awkward around him but have continued to just be myself.

A few months ago, they were early in a pregnancy and I was excited my friend had heard the baby’s heart beat for the first time with a Doppler I had brought over. He had just come home and I ran down the stairs very excited asking if he wanted to hear his baby’s heart. I didn’t realize he had a friend with him. The husband came upstairs and I asked if his friend knew. He said, “He does now!’ I apologized and he didn’t say anything. I asked my friend if I should leave them alone to listen to the heart and she said to stay. I left shortly after.

Then this past week, I was visiting my friend to bring by some baby stuff. I have been trying to help her out because she doesn’t have much support. I was reading her husband stuff about looking after the baby. I also joked that he looked pregnant too. I obviously seriously offended him and apologized right away.

He just got more angry and said he didn’t like how I was trying to show my ‘dominance’ and that he could be ‘ferocious’ too. I was getting quite confused as I had no ill intentions at all. He ended up taking his dinner upstairs. My friend said to never mind him as I got quite emotional and cried about it as I felt hurt. He came back and my friend said he should apologize.

I said he did nothing wrong and I was the problem. I said nothing. He started to head out for coffee and I said to him, “I’m sorry. It was not my intention to offend you.” He said, “Yes it was! You meant it, you can’t treat me like this in my home,” “I don’t want you to come back again.” I didn’t say anything. Then, my friend got very angry, started screaming at him that I was her friend trying to help her, and told him to get out. I felt very awkward.

She told me that he is the problem and there is something wrong with him and I didn’t do anything wrong. That I shouldn’t worry about it. But how can I not worry about that? I have never had that happen before. I don’t want to cause trouble but don’t want to lose her friendship. I’m also sure she doesn’t want to lose my support and friendship either. What do I do?

Signed, Paige

ANSWER

Hi Paige,

You got off to a bad start with your friend’s husband. Revealing his wife’s pregnancy to his friend, before he did, sounds quite unfortunate even if it was accidental and unintended. Telling him he looked pregnant soon after the first incident was a lapse in judgment that must have fueled the fires. He has reason to dislike you at this point.

In addition, it sounds like your friend and her husband have a contentious relationship. She showed poor judgment by getting in an argument with him and telling him to leave his home while you were there.

Given what’s happened, I would avoid visiting your friend at her home and getting in the middle of her problems with her husband. You can continue to have an arm’s length friendships with her on a neutral turf but getting in the middle of her problems with him may inadvertently make things worse for both of them. As a good friend, you might encourage your friend to find some way to work out her problems with her husband before they have the additional stressor of a young baby in the home.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene


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Comments (8)

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  1. Rose says:

    I am in the same situation with my friend except these are her grown up girls – 23 and 24.

    Just when I thought I found someone very special, like a sister to me, they’ve got overly jealous and continuously throw tantrums about Mom spending time with me AND other friends, rather than them. You would think young people should enjoy having their own lives by now and do stuff they couldn’t do when they were kids. No, they monitor their Mom’s every minute that she goes out to do shopping or to medical appointments or anything else outside of the house and after work.

    I’m at loss about what to do because this is a very special friend to me. And yes, I tried to clear the air with the girls, help them with practical things, get to know them personally, etc, etc – it didn’t help at all! They just want to be front and centre of their Mom’s life and anyone who crosses the invisible line is treated like a personal enemy.

    What shall my friend and I do???

  2. Darlene says:

    Paige, I feel for you. You’re an exuberant, enthusiastic person who just wants to help. Good on you, I mean that.

    As others have pointed out, there can be a down side to that, especially for people whose approach to life is quieter. Sometimes people like you can drown out people like this husband. He handled it like a petulant child, in my opinion, but I can see why he became angry. Not excusing him, but I can see his point.

    I have a friend a bit like you, she is always rushing around cheerfully suggesting how people should do things. She’s great…but she is a boundary violator, she simply doesn’t see that she’s overstepping. People blow up in her face, out of frustration at her, I suspect, on a semi regular basis. I have come to understand why, though I wouldn’t do that…she just sails through life like a charming steamroller, blythly unaware of how much she pisses people off.

    Don’t lose your positive attitude and enthusiasm, those are fabulous qualities. Just slow down and pay attention to how others are responding to you, be aware of subtle signs of displeasure. Also, before you speak or act, ask yourself if what you are doing is appropriate in that situation.

  3. Lena says:

    I think he is possessive and jealous. He hates the fact that his wife has a life outside the marriage. Textbook nasty.

  4. ibikenyc says:

    Hi, Paige:

    Yeah, you kinda MAYBE put your foot in your mouth, but this guy sounds to me like a textbook Borderline.

    Researching Borderline Personality Disorder might answer all your questions.

    If he acts that way in front of a witness / witnesses (you, and, possibly, his own friend), just imagine what he does when they’re alone. . .

  5. lottie says:

    Hello Paige

    Hhhhmmmm I agree with Irene to stay clear of your friends house for now.
    Her husband is king of his castle liking peace and quiet.He comes home finding you are fluttering up and down the stairs chirping like an excited songbird.If by chance he had just come from a hard days work he will not want you there,blabbing private information.It is not your business,just theirs until they decide to tell the world. Maybe he was looking forward to seeing his wife and his heart sank with you being there.

    You sound a lovely person and many would value you in their life.Sadly not him.Try to think before you speak. How would you like someone to tell you, you looked pregnant? Plus husbands can get niggly and jealous.He snapped at his wife. He might have had a rough day and who was the person with him??? Hope it wasn’t a relative especially one who didnt know about the baby.

    Paige you are ok.Just wish I could have been there to see his glum face when you said he looked pregnant.ha ha.Its priceless.

    By all means stay friends. Just think when baby arrives he might warm towards you being a cheerful person ,asking you to be Godmother.How good would that be? best wishes. lottie

  6. B says:

    I would keep talking to her but no more visiting her house, have her come to your house instead. I have disliked some of my friends husbands. One time we ended up fixing things and we get along great now. The other I stopped talking to both of them. Another I just talk her and do things only with her and the kids. It can be hard to find a couple both partners like. Relationships are complicated!

  7. Amy F says:

    I wonder if the husband felt like you were inserting yourself into the pregnancy/marriage with something so personal as hearing the baby’s heartbeat before he did. I know you did brought the Doppler out of friendship, the the baby is something first between the couple. That feels pushy and like a boundary violation. If friend and her husband are having difficulties, she doesn’t need you as a wedge between she and her husband.

    You keep using the word support. Wanting to be there for your friend is admirable, although you might be underestimating her. She mostly needs the support of her husband. Sometimes being a good friend is taking a step back. This includes saying, “I think you and John should do this together.” I agree with Irene about not visiting the house. Don’t let your friend inadvertently put you in the middle of the marriage either. If the friendship is going to last, achieve at least a neutral relationship is key. Toning it down and respecting boundaries is a great start.

  8. Whitby says:

    It does sound as if your friend’s marriage is a bit rocky right now. However, even through this email I can see the husband’s point: “I have been trying to help her out because she doesn’t have much support. I was reading her husband stuff about looking after the baby.” These two sentences immediately raised a red flag for me. (a) What support (or lack thereof)? Does that include the husband? (b) Why are you instructing your friend’s husband about childcare? That does sound a bit presumptuous.

    Finally, there’s this: “She told me that he is the problem and there is something wrong with him and I didn’t do anything wrong.” It sounds as if your friend chose a side – your side. I realize that she probably has her own stuff going on (hormonal changes, perhaps some anxiety about the future, etc.), but I don’t think it’s wise for her to play you off against her husband. I think Irene is right – you should back off a bit. Not only for their sakes, but also for your own. This much drama won’t help you as you complete your training.

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