• Keeping Friends

Our friend remarried and his new wife gets under my skin!

January 27, 2016 | By | 20 Replies Continue Reading
When two couples vacation together, their friend’s new wife taxes this woman’s patience. 

QUESTION

My husband and I have been friends with Bob for more than 30 years. We live in different parts of the country and have been getting together for vacations for the past several years. His current wife is a very needy person. She is insecure and jealous of just about everyone, especially me.

She wants me to dis on Bob’s ex wife, whom I really liked and makes comments about my other friends like “Oh, you have better food when Michele is here” and things like that.

Our last two trips ended with her treating me very rudely. She invited her friends that we had never met to spend time with us at the condo that my husband and I had rented where SHE was staying as OUR guest. When we were introduced, it was obvious that she had spoken unkindly of us. Then as the evening progressed, the two women acted like junior high mean girls.

Problem is, we love Bob and my husband really enjoys spending time with him. So we’ve invited them to join us on a trip next month. I’m looking for advice on how to deal with this woman. Our visits last a week and start off fine, but as the week progresses she gets more and more outspoken, taking shots at me. I’m no shrinking violet, but I have bit my tongue in the past to keep the peace for my husband and Bob’s sake.

Can you help me find a way to not let this woman get under my skin?

Signed, Carol

ANSWER

Hi Carol,

I don’t know how long it has been that Bob has been remarried but this is probably a tricky situation for everyone involved. My presumptions:

  • Bob is invested in you liking his new wife.
  • You and your husband want to like her as much as you did his ex.
  • The new wife wants to be liked by Bob’s close friends.

Looking at it from the new wife’s point of view: You, your husband and Bob have shared many experiences over the years with Bob and his ex and enjoyed each other’s company. While it doesn’t excuse her rude behavior, this could be threatening to someone who is new on the scene. Maybe the new wife needs more time to feel comfortable and get used to being with Bob, his friends and the ghost of his ex.

What can you do?

  • If she talks about Bob’s ex, remind her that such a discussion isn’t fair and is off-limits.
  • If she says anything rude or attacks you, let her know each time it happens. Don’t let things build up.
  • Your husband could let Bob know it was inappropriate for them to invite other people to your condo and he hopes that won’t happen again.

Perhaps, you can find some way to alter the vacation arrangements, perhaps by getting together in smaller doses (a weekend rather than a week) or less frequently. Or you may want to consider vacations where you aren’t living together in the same close quarters. For example, you could book two cabins on a cruise ship or two separate rooms at a hotel or resort.

Although you have decided to give this couples vacation another try, it may turn out that the chemistry between the four of you just isn’t the same, or nearly as good, as the one you had when Bob was married to his ex. If that’s the case, you may need to decide whether these vacations are worth the cost, financially and emotionally.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Category: KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (20)

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  1. Vicki says:

    Just wanted to thank everyone again for the great advice & let you know that it really helped. Bob’s wife was very unhappy that we didn’t give her the master bedroom & complained for 3 days. When she saw that I wasn’t bending over backwards to make her happy, she settled down & the rest of the trip went pretty well. Every time she wanted to badmouth the ex-wife or my other friends, I just got up & left the room. She wanted to plan our next vacation together before they left, but I told her that we’d have to check some dates and get back to her. Not sure if we’ll be vacationing together again because I really don’t like her, but I’m not coming away from this trip feeling used & abused as I have for the last several. Thank you all for your constructive and useful advice. Carol

    • IBikeNYC says:

      Thanks so much for letting us all know what happened!

      What a GREAT idea: “Every time she wanted to badmouth the ex-wife or my other friends, I just got up & left the room.”

      If she’s as much of a narcissist as she looks like, you pushed EVERY button she has every time you did that, and GOOD FOR YOU! LOLOLOLOL!

      (In the event you DO decide to give her one more chance, my money is on HER bending over backwards for YOU so that you’ll be manipulated into thinking she’s SOOOOOOOOO nice!)

    • Salstarat says:

      YOU GO, GIRL!!! We are all very proud of you on this site! Well done! You stood your ground with this rather offensive and obnoxious person and in so doing have given her (and everyone) a STRONG message that you are a feisty, intelligent woman not to be messed with. Your strong stance against her will improve your CONFIDENCE and ability to deal with the puerile, dummy spitting tantrums this vile woman will no doubt keep on undertaking in the future. This woman is a sociopath but she is slowly realising that she has met her match, in YOU! Don’t give her an inch. Her appalling lack of manners in accepting your generous hospitality then expecting the best room goes BEYOND rudeness and into the realms of self-obsessed narcissism. I think you are absolutely right in restricting your holidays with this woman and if you ever DO decide to go away with her again, do it on YOUR terms or not at all. It seems clear that she is doing everything in her limited ability to sabotage the friendships her husband has …. I would say the clock is loudly ticking on their marriage. How long can a man live with such a selfish, destructive megalomaniac? Wait and see.

  2. AMarie says:

    Our last two trips ended with her treating me very rudely. She invited her friends that we had never met to spend time with us at the condo that my husband and I had rented where SHE was staying as OUR guest. When we were introduced, it was obvious that she had spoken unkindly of us. Then as the evening progressed, the two women acted like junior high mean girls.

    It sounds to me like you just don’t like her and are inventing reasons. Did she have a key to the room? Her clothes were there? And it was the place she was sleeping for a week? She was out of town and in the same area as other friends of hers, and invited them to stop by? This doesn’t sound outrageous at all to me. The rest is just your interpretation- how was it “obvious” she had spoken unkindly of you? And what does it mean to act like “junior high mean girls?” If you mean that they talked only to each other and not to you, could it be that the guest picked up on the fact that you were angered by her mere presence at “your” condo?

    You also didn’t explain why you and your husband are paying for the condo. Are you subsidizing the trip or are they paying other expenses and who pays what is merely semantics? Regardless, would it have angered you if Bob’s ex-wife had invited others to stop by?

    I agree that dissing on his ex-wife is in poor taste, but if you look elsewhere on this blog, you’ll see that sometimes people do that to try and build camraderie by defining an in-group. This is definitely a sign of insecurity but I would tend to look on it with compassion rather than disgust. A response or two like, “Oh now, let’s not get into all that. The past is past.” or “That’s not very nice and you’re here now.” would probably do a lot to end it.

  3. Dionne says:

    The solution, in my opinion, is do NOT go on vacation with them or anywhere else with them. After last time, why would you?

    It’s not your job to teach his wife the basics of manners. You and your husband’s problem is with HIM. He should work out with his new wife if they are or are not going to be friends with you and your husband, and what behavior he’ll tolerate from her towards his friends.

    Instead, he drops it all in YOUR lap. Since YOU didn’t marry her, it’s not your mess. Times have changed and what he’s offering you now is nothing you, or anyone, would want.

    Let your husband hang out with his pal if he wants when it’s convenient for the two of you but otherwise just back out of it completely. Don’t hang out with anyone who is rude to you. If Bob asks why, tell him.

  4. Salstarat says:

    Carol, this woman sounds like a toxic narcissist and extremely immature. It sounds like she is a good deal younger than Bob and the rest of you and probably feels intimidated by the popularity of Bob’s previous wife (knowing that you were close friends). He constant derogatory comments about Bob’s ex-wife is in very bad taste and you are absolutely right in “nipping that in the bud” before it becomes a habit! My advice is to get your husband to organise some “guys only” weekends away with Bob, eg fishing trips etc and in so doing, this will reduce the number of times you need to go out with Bob’s rude and egocentric wife. Advice about pulling her aside and reading the “riot act” is a good idea but I think she is the type of person where such forthright discussion will all fall on deaf ears – she seems to be TRYING to put a wedge between Bob and you and your husband. Her choice of friends also sound very puerile and the fact that they both had the gall to be rude to you in a holiday YOU are paying for shows the depth of their impertinence.

    The fact that Bob’s new wife makes absolutely NO EFFORT to get along with you and your husband (who are old friends of her husband), proves that she has no respect for Bob or anyone else! Somehow, I have a very strong feeling that this marriage is not going to last the distance anyway … your friend, Bob, sounds like a nice person whose immediate infatuation with this woman will fade quickly when he finally realises that she has absolutely NOTHING in common with his current circle of old friends and, no doubt, his family.

    • IBikeNYC says:

      Amen, Salstarat!

      I completely second your comments about how he sounds infatuated and the marriage sounds doomed.

    • Vicki says:

      Salstarat,

      Thank you & everyone else for the excellent advice! Bob’s wife is very immature, and is actually 67 years old – 7 years older than me & my husband, but a couple years younger than Bob. Unfortunately, the advice for “guys only” visits doesn’t work because we live 1000 miles apart and neither of the guys are very ambitious even though they love spending time together. I agree that trying to talk to her wouldn’t work because she is so self-centered. I also agree that she may be trying to put a wedge between us & Bob. She has succeeded in doing that with all of Bob’s other old friends & even his son who he raised alone after his divorce. Also, we have tried doing the separate hotel rooms thing & it didn’t work at all – she wants to be together 24/7! She just doesn’t understand boundaries.

      I am going to approach this trip knowing that Bob is my friend and that she is simply his wife, not my friend. Hopefully that will help me not to take her comments personally. I’m also going to stop her immediately when she starts talking bad about someone I care about. I’m hoping to be able to respond to her outrageous comments with a laugh or question as to why she would say something like that. I do feel more equipped to deal with her thanks to all of you lovely people’s advice.

      One more piece of advice please. We’ve rented a 2 bedroom condo with the master bedroom having an oceanview (which my husband & I will be staying in). The second bedroom is very nice, but no view. I know that she is going to ask for the master bedroom & I have no intention of giving it to her since we are paying for the condo & staying for several more weeks after their visit. She asks for things like a child & even whines. I’m thinking that I will just laugh at her & treat her request as the outrageous request it is, but knowing her, she’s not going to let it go so easily. Any advice?

      I swore after the last trip that I’d never do this again, but here I go! The primary reason I have agreed to this is because my husband is hard to get to go on trips, but with the enticement of spending time with Bob, who he thinks of as a brother, he happily agrees to go. I’m very easy going, non-confrontational & like to have a good time, so he’s used to me doing whatever it takes to get along. But this woman has pushed too far & things have to change.

      Thanks again, Carol

      • Lisa says:

        Hi Carol, I was shocked to see the age of this woman. I only have one thing to say lol, you and your husband are footing the bill so, she has NO say and begging will do her no good. lol I am a no nonsense kind of person. I am kind, but don’t try the manipulation stuff as this doesn’t fly with me. She sounds like an evil person who doesn’t want her husband to have relationships with his children or friends. This goes deeper than her just being needy. This is a person who has control issues. Her husband allows her to get away with this just as everyone has or she wouldn’t be this way. I think that those who do not allow her to do this are not allowed in their/her life. Doesn’t anyone see that she needs to be at every corner overseeing and being involved in everything, while trying to take total control is not normal. She does this because she is allowed to. Me, I would pull your friend aside and let him kbnow what she is doing(as if he doesn’t know) if she insists on being present for everyhing than have a meeting with everybody and in a nice way let your friend and HER know that her behavior isn’t nice or wanted, and you love getting together with everyone but she needs to change her behavior. When you corner a “rat” they are forced to play the game according to the rules. your friend will be forced to come to terms with dealing with his wife’s behavior. People don’t always like to confront the ones doing the wrong so they allow all this to continue by “being the better person” I ask you, where has that gotten anyone other than this person? She is the only one getting what she wants by threatening in a silent conniving manner. She needs to see a Dr. 🙂

      • Salstarat says:

        Carol, this woman is simply outrageously immature .. hard to believe that she is a 67 year old. Obviously she is a spoilt, self centred, mean spirited Diva who is used to having her own way. You don’t mention if she has been married before but I would wager she has a lifetime of broken, damaged relationships behind her!

        As I said in my previous note, I seriously doubt this marriage with your best friend is going to last very long as she must be a NIGHTMARE to live with and has now managed to alienate your friend from his son .. this is a HUGE mistake on her part! When you arrive at your holiday apartment, make sure you are the first through the door, go immediately to the room with a view and unpack all your clothes into the wardrobe to take “ownership” of the room. If she has the audacity to start whining about you having the better room, my immediate response would be: “well, I’m sorry but it goes without saying that this room is ours because WE are the ones paying the cost. Sorry, but this will not be negotiable and I don’t want to discuss it any more” (end of story). If she moans, groans and throws a childish tantrum, leave the room and ignore her. Why is it that it is YOU and your husband who are paying for the whole holiday anyway? Perhaps you could suggest that she and Bob pay for the next holiday and, as such, can pick the best room?

        I believe this woman is doing everything she can to drive a wedge between her husband and ALL of his friends and family. That is a RED FLAG WARNING that the woman is a rather dangerous manipulative psychopath. You should NEVER tolerate rudeness, abuse or controlling behaviour from someone like her because once cold blooded psychopaths feel that they can control you and manipulate a situation, they become worse and MORE controlling and intolerable. You must take the matter in hand immediately and the very second she is rude, sarcastic or displaying the type of infantile, manipulative behaviour so prevalent in people with anti social personality disorders, you must “nip it in the bud” instantly so that she is aware that you and your husband have BOUNDARIES that are NOT to be crossed.

        If I were you, I would pull your friend, Bob, aside and let him know that you value his friendship and that, no matter what, you always will. However, tell him that you and your husband are not going to tolerate being berated by his wife and that you are finding his wife’s attitude and churlishness a bit difficult. Tell him that you and your husband value his friendship and, after more than 30 years of consistent friendship, you only have HIS best interests at heart and do not want to hurt him but you want to let him know that you suspect she may be trying to drive a wedge between him and his friends and family. Your honesty in this regard may (or may not) be valued but, I suspect, he is by now already aware that this woman is toxic. He has ears to hear and eyes to see what she is doing to you and his son and will need to reassess his relationship with her and take CONTROL of the way she treats his son and his friends. Bob needs to step up to the plate and be more PROACTIVE and attempt to curtail his wife’s inappropriate, selfish behaviour. If worse comes to worse, you and your husband may need to verbalise all of this in front of Bob AND his new wife …. it will certainly clear the air and let her know, without any doubt, that you are “on to her”. Two things can happen when you confront a bullying psychopath:

        – they will back down, give you a “false” apology and say/do nothing in front of you but immediately start plotting and scheming behind your back desperately trying to tear your relationship with Bob to pieces; or

        – she will throw an enormous tantrum and storm out of the house.

        Either way, she and Bob will both find themselves at a crossroads and Bob will be forced to look at the manipulative woman he married clinically and really SEE the damage she is doing to his life. As a psychopath, she will NEVER be able to change her ways but she may be able to control her own behaviour around YOU and your husband. Psychopaths will go on and on pushing the boundaries of non-acceptable behaviour so that they can get what THEY want. They are users and abusers and will only respond positively to people who are ASSERTIVE and STRONG – be that person. Good luck!

        • Vicki says:

          Salstarat & Lisa, I can’t thank you enough for your excellent, constructive advice. We will be joined by Bob & his wife on Monday and I feel emotionally equipped to handle the situation. I’ll let you know after the leave how things turn out:)

          I guess I didn’t make it clear that my husband & I take two month long trips each year, one to Texas and one to Florida. We invite friends to join us over the course of our stay, usually for a week each & sometimes we have two couples at a time with whom we are all friends. This is why we do not share expenses with Bob & his wife or any of our other guests.

          And yes, Amarie, they do have a key to our condo and a bedroom & bath & keep their clothes in our condo. I’m sorry but I completely disagree with everything you have to say, Amarie. I would NEVER invite someone else to visit when I am a guest at someone’s place. This friend she invited lives down the street from her. This isn’t someone she could not see anytime she wants. As for how it was “obvious” that they had spoken unkindly of us to her friends, it really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see these things. Normally when you’re introduced in a situation like this, you’re greeted with comments like “I’ve heard so much about you”, but these people actually looked us up & down and simply gave us a nod of hello. And as for the “mean girls” behavior, yes not only did they not talk with me all evening, but they whispered & huddled together. When is that appropriate behavior for women over 60?

          Amarie, I take exception to your comments. This is a Friendship Blog where I came looking for construction advice on handling a touchy situation. You come across as a troll looking to criticize with no construction advice. Please crawl back into your whole & get a life!

          • Lisa says:

            Hi Vicki, I wish you a most joyful and PEACEFUL vacation. Remember, you are the only one who controls how this person treats you. I believe in my heart you are doing everything before letting her have it 🙂 I give you so much credit I would not have tolerated her even one night. I hope you have a wonderful time with your husband and Bob. I would cherish a friend like you. I am a different type of person, if this were my situation I would have a conversation with all four and get everything out in the open. Nothing will get fixed if everyone doesn’t “see” or pretends not to see what is being done to you. Once everything is ironed out, then say now, lets start from a clean slate shall we. At least the two husbands are now aware(even if they didn’t want to admit it before) so now, lets see if she continues her nasty ways. This calls her out on her behavior and she also now knows the husbands have been alerted. lol Best to you.

            • Vicki says:

              Thanks so much, Lisa, you have been so helpful & I would consider myself lucky to have you as a friend!

              I have held my tongue & temper because of the guys. My husband definitely sees what she is doing and I’m pretty sure her husband does as well. They just don’t want to stir up any trouble, and I’m the kind of person who bends over backwards to keep the peace – until I’m pushed too far. LOL! That is really why I wrote to Irene in the first place. I don’t want to blow up & ruin our friendship with Bob. But I am going into this visit with a different approach and we’ll see how it works.

              Thanks again for all of your help, Carol

  5. Latasha says:

    I would call her on the phone and ask her to meet with you over a “Girl’s Lunch.” During lunch say you want to clear the air about a few things, bring up ALL the issues that bothered you. Say its to facilitate a NEW Relationship between the four of you … with not just her but Bob & your as well. Outline the “Do’s & The Don’t’s” (such as bashing Bob’s Ex. Also explain to her how it was rude and dismissive on her part to invite HER friends, strangers to your & your husbands condo for the week without telling you ahead of time. You are an adult woman and you need to take control of your Life regardless of your husband’s affiliation with Bob or Bob himself , it appears Bob’s New Wife is stating by her methods & ways that there is a new A Queen Bee in Town & its her … not Bob’s Ex and more importantly, NOT YOU. Bob’s New Wife is challenging & testing you. In fact, by doing all that you have told us about her, she has in fact, drawn a line in the sand, daring you to cross it or do something about it. If she takes exception ( and I expecting she will or plead innocence of the accusations and go crying back to Bob with complaints, maybe SHE doesn’t want her husband to be friends with someone who knew Bob before she came into the picture) then so be it, at least you have cleared the air and told her you don’t like the way she does things or acts and basically that you are on to her “little ways.” She doesn’t pay your bills or taxes. Just remember, poor old Bob has to live with her, you do not, but you husband has to live with you. I expect he will choose you over Bob if he is a smart man and I believe he is. Its about Quality Of Life, don’t be surprised if you don’t Vay-Kay with Bob & his Newbie Bride anymore, small price to pay. Let you husband socialize with Bob separately, but tell you husband that Bob’s “New Wifie” is toxic and you don’t want to spend your valuable time with her. He will understand in the name of matrimonial harmony, believe me, he will. So, my dear, what are you going to do about it? Bottom Line: You Are The Architect Of Your Own Destiny!

  6. IBikeNYC says:

    One of my first thoughts while I was reading this was, “HOW old is this woman?” (meaning the new wife.)

    Based on the depth of insecurity to which her behavior speaks, the next was to wonder what, exactly, she had done to get to BE the new wife. . .

    I agree that future vacations should take place in separate quarters AND should be shorter!

    I’m so sorry about this; it may be that you’ll have to find another (please forgive the cliche) Go-To Couple, and that’s not easy.

  7. Lisa says:

    Carol, I am sorry you are being treated like this by this person. There is no excuse for her behavior. I see people have given reasons for her behavior toward you but none are acceptable. I could nbot tolerate this woman for very long, and I give you credit for repeatedly trying. I think you need to tell your husband, and ask him to take more notice to her comments. Men don’t notice these as women do, which is why she does this I believe. I would also pull this woman aside and tell her you do not appreciate her rude comments/treatments. There are many people who feel out of place when meeting new friends of the new husbands, but, they don’t go on the attack. I would not go on another vacation with these two unless we had separate living arrangements. This is unfairfor you to continuously have to put up with this insulting behavior. And, the nerve of her to invite her friends to a place you and your husband paid for without asking. This shows no respect for the two of you, and she does this intentionally. I have a neighbor who does this. She has bad mouthed my fiance and myself to all the new neighbors(new developement) as soon as they move in, they refuse to even say hello to us and have never met us. This wman across the street has never een said hello to us, yet she spreads rumors about people she doesn’t even know. I had 2 neighbors tell us she is spreading nast rumors about us. I don’t understand people, but we keep our distanc from them. I wish you strength and peace with this situation. Stand up for your rights as you are not a doormat.

  8. Amy F says:

    Great advice. I had a friend die of cancer and her husband’s new then girlfriend, now wife, (felt like she) had big shoes to fill. My friend was a larger than life personality and the new wife often seemed like she was trying too hard and falling on her face to overcompensate for following Saint Wife. Even if Bob’s wife isn’t following a legend, she probably comes to her insecurity with good reason.
    When I know I’ll be spending time around someone who pushes my buttons, I try to keep my expectations realistic. For instance, for you to expect that this woman will (continue to be) needy. Then you can plan a response so you won’t allow her to get to you.
    Try to see the positives that Bob sees in his wife and increase those type interactions. If she’s got a good sense of humor, for example, compliment that to show her that you see her assets.
    I like the idea of different hotel rooms or cruise cabins so you can increase the physical distance. I hope you can find a way to make this work.

  9. Sandra says:

    Carol, I can see where this is an awkward situation. Reading your post again, as well as Irene’s, I agree that it would be MUCH better to see this couple in much smaller doses — if you are to continue this at all. Too much togetherness on a vacation is tough on people who get along well, as it is — so it’s bound to be twice as hard when you don’t know the new wife.

    From what you describe, I really wonder if the new wife even wants to spend her vacation time with Bob’s old friends. It could be that she’d prefer he meet with old friends on his own, or maybe she’s so insecure, jealous, or small-minded that she’d prefer he didn’t see old friends at all? Just a thought.

    Personally, I would hesitate to try this again under the same arrangements. I would get a hotel room in the same town or a town near Bob’s, for just a weekend. Keep it simple. I’d plan to meet Bob and the new wife for dinner at a nearby restaurant, and maybe breakfast the next day before taking off. If the uncomfortable behavior continues with the new wife, you might want to rethink the relationship — or even have a heart-to-heart talk with Bob about the situation.

    An old BF of mine from school days married a second time 10 years ago. Before that, my friend and I would meet for girls’ nights out, lunch, and dinner. When her husband came into the picture, she wanted to get together as couples with my husband and me. After getting to know her husband, we learned we don’t enjoy his company. It’s been hard, but I’ve tried to dial back to a “just the girls” friendship, so that my husband and I don’t have to put up with my friend’s husband as often. We see them at dinner a couple of times a year — and that’s more than enough, without totally snuffing out the relationship.
    .
    Good luck to you!

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