• Resolving Problems

Reeling from a falling out between my husband and my best friend

Published: October 29, 2015 | By | 12 Replies Continue Reading
A woman seeks advice on recovering from a falling out between her husband and best friend.


Hi Irene,

My husband and my best friend had a falling out. He was furious and shouted at her and was rude. He told her to leave our house and never set foot there again. I stood there and said nothing as I did not want to start an argument with him in front of a guest.

The next day she sent me a text message that she does not want me in her life anymore. Was I wrong for not standing up for her in front of him? Should I have confronted him then and there?

Signed, Barbara


Hi Barbara,

I’m so sorry that this falling out happened. It had to have been very humiliating and upsetting. Yet, getting into an argument with your husband at that moment, while he was furious at your friend, would have likely exacerbated the situation rather than defused it.

While I don’t think you should be faulted for not defending your friend during the incident, the situation does call for you to make an apology to her afterwards. Your friend may have over-reacted and told you she no longer wanted you in her life because she was very upset about what happened.

Your note was relatively brief and raised several questions:

1) Did your friend do anything, in your mind, that would have provoked this fury?

2) Does your husband often have temper outbursts? Could your friend be concerned about your safety and/or emotional well-being?

My advice:

First, you need to speak to your husband and tell him how uncomfortable this was for you and your friend, find out why this happened, and figure out how to make minimize the likelihood of something similar happening again.

Whether or not your husband is willing to apologize to your friend, you need to speak her, apologize yourself and find a way to get your friendship back on track. If the friendship has a solid foundation, your friend should have some empathy for what happened and help you both find a way to salvage your friendship.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Comments (12)

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  1. Arlene says:

    I had a friend whose husband behaved like this often and the wife just let it ride. Her best friend that the husband had let loose on was a woman who came to the hospital religiously, sat with her with her many surgeries, went up to her home and helped her with cottage projects, even showed up New Years Eve as they had no kids. My friend was shocked the wife did nothing to him, said to ignore him, and my friend left. They have never been close girlfriends since. Basically the wife went to the hospital alone the last time for her surgery. If your husband is a brute then you have damage control to do if you want to keep friends whether on the spot or after the fact. If you can’t make your own way financially, well plan on being friendless. If you can, lay the law down because in the tragedy of life its women who heal woman. I had a similar incident and I told that same girl friend, do not think because I said nothing that I didn’t take the roof off after you left because I do value you. That made her feel good to hear that she deserved better and was important to me.

  2. kelly says:

    Sounds like a friend of mine her husband is very controlling and angry person. She never stands up to him and lets him do what ever he wants.

  3. Angela B says:

    I think we can intervene in an angry confrontation between two people as close as a husband and a best friend without deciding who is “right”. “Both of you stop this” would be the kind of phrase one might use. It means “I’m not taking sides, but this has to end”. It’s the kind of thing we say to fighting children, and when two adults are shouting at each other, they are behaving worse than children.
    I would say to my husband,
    “Please Let me handle this, —– is my friend”
    and ask him to give me a few minutes with her. If he were a gentleman he would excuse himself. If he’s not a gentleman, I’m not surprised you’re having this trouble.
    I would apologize to my friend because no-one should ever yell at a guest. That is the ultimate failure of hospitality.
    Unless that person has committed an actual crime, you do not ever shout at guests. If they have committed a crime, you call the police. Was he raised in a barn? Shouting carries an implied threat of violence. A man should never shout at a woman, unless he doesn’t mind giving the impression he’s about to strike her. If I were your friend, I would be angry that you didn’t intervene, regardless of the subject matter, to protect me from this situation in your home.
    I can’t imagine what might cause this to happen. We do have social duties. One is to at least attempt to keep the peace between people we care about.

  4. Maddie says:

    If your friend did not deserve it and your husband was acting like a jerk, I believe you should have said something. Does your husband scream and yell often? I can see why she wants to let go of the friendship. Apologize, regardless. It would be better if you were precise in exactly what started his tirade. A very bad situation indeed.

  5. Tara says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I can imagine the argument and dealing with the aftermath was incredibly uncomfortable and distressing. Depending on the specifics of the situation, context and characters of all of you, there may be some things to consider.
    – What was the argument really about? Meaning, although when we feel anger we say things that are rude and inappropriate but we still have a message, a concern that is bothering us. Did your friend overstep a boundary and your husband reacted inappropriately yet still has a valid concern? Or vice versa? Sometimes, people struggle with finding what the root of why they are upset with someone. It may help for you to reflect on this on your own to see what was really happening (before discussing it with the other two)?
    – I agree that there needs to be an apology for the inappropriate behaviors of any of the parties involved and ownership for each person’s inappropriateness. The inability of either party to do this may also be telling of a larger issue?

    The other aspect is that I can relate to how your friend feels, that you ‘should’ have stood up for her. I relate to how she feels, I do not necessarily agree with her asking that of you. I was in a similar situation with my in-laws where I expected my husband to stand up for me. And here’s the thing, I needed to learn to stand up for myself to people who are inappropriate with me. It doesn’t mean that friends or family don’t support each other because it is necessary to do so at certain times. I don’t believe it would have helped the situation if you had stepped in especially if the argument is about something between the two of them. You can be supportive by evaluating what really happened, what was the argument really about and understanding it. If the ‘real’ argument is clear to you, then you can figure out where you stand and what are your values.

    Your friend, although probably still in anger, reacted disproportionately to the situation by ending the friendship with you. You are a separate person from your husband and you two have a separate friendship and the guilt by association thing is dangerous. It seems like she needs to also reflect on the fact that you and her are separate (have separate beliefs, values, approaches to life, etc.) and you are separate from your husband.

    I wish you all the best in dealing with this situation.

    Warm regards,

  6. Heidi says:

    What, if anything is your part in this fight? Examine that and fix that! See if that doesn’t make a big step toward resolution long term.For example, if you talked negatively about he to your husband, you eventually might have succeeded in making him hostile.

  7. Heidi says:

    In the past, did you talk against this friend to your husband? If so, understand that words are containers for power. We create a hostile environment when we do that to people. I cannot comment further. See what part is yours. I think you fix your part, you fix the whole thing.

  8. lottie says:

    Hello Barbara,

    How shocking to have been in between the two,I feel for your discomfort.

    However,it doesn’t matter who was at fault. In my opinion you could have tried to defuse the situation,before the explosion. You know your husband well, I presume,so regardless of how long you have been friends with the other person whether it is one year or thirty years it is has no baring on the problem. The length of time you have been friends does not mean she is a better friend it is the quality of the friendship that is important.He flipped and now you are left with the crumbs. I almost blame you for not speaking up two both of them. Almost, I repeat.
    Surely you could have foreseen what was going to happen, you were there.

    It is a good idea to get together with her after speaking with your husband, who no doubt you already have. Sometimes kindness is wiser than home truths which might solve this horrible problem.

    Very best wishes,taking care in your choice of words to both of them.


  9. Sandra Anne says:

    This is a sad situation, but I think we need more information on what happened and why. So much depends on what the argument was about, and why it prompted such a huge fight between your husband and your best friend. It’s possible that it was for a good reason, and that he was justified in taking action? It’s possible that it was something silly and not worth an argument, or that it was none of his business? So many different scenarios, but it’s hard to comment without more specifics.

  10. jacqueline says:

    Irene raised some good points here. We do not know how long you have been friends with this woman or what the argument was about.

    Barbara, you were between a rock and a hard place, not knowing whether to defend your husband or your friend, so I think you did the right thing by not saying anything to offend either of them, in the heat of the moment. However, I hope that now that the dust has settled, you have discussed the situation with your husband and cleared the air with him. I feel he SHOULD apologize.

    And I also believe that you should apologize as well.

    Maybe you should get together with her anywhere else BUT your house, or when your husband is not there.

    Hope it all works out for you.

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