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friendship dilemma - what would you do?

(20 Posts)
ticketiboo Thu 15-Jan-15 15:09:56

Not really a AIBU but posting for traffic. Will try to be brief. My DH and I went on holiday 8 years ago and met a couple from the other end of the country, who we have stayed in touch with. Since we met each couple has got married and had children. Each time we meet, though (which is not all that often due to distance) I've become more and more aware that I don't like the man in this couple, but his wife is utterly lovely. He is controlling and judgemental. They stayed with us for 10 days last summer and it was dreadful - he criticised my children, our home, but worst of all he confided to my DH that he was unhappy in his marriage as he has certain 'standards' and his wife isn't living up to them in terms of how well she looks after their children.
I have no desire to ever see him again. DH agrees. But wife is truly lovely, and blissfully ignorant and/or okay with what her husband is like. It's not my place to speak to her about her husband - we are not that close, and maybe it wouldn't be up to me regardless.
It's difficult to see this couple for anything less than a few days at a time due to the geographical distance between us, and I'm genuinely torn as to whether to let the friendship cool away, which I know would hurt my friend, or... I don't know the alternative. I cannot stomach any time in that man's company.
What would you do?

BoredChurch Thu 15-Jan-15 15:23:03

I'd just not see they again. You could keep in contact with the wife by phone of email but I wouldn't meet up again and I wouldn't say anything.

ticketiboo Thu 15-Jan-15 15:25:53

You're probably right as there isn't really an alternative. I just feel very sad about the relationship with the wife, as I know it's likely to hurt her - we've kind of made a point of keeping in touch as if it's a matter of pride, when other friendships from the same holiday have faded away. But then again, not nearly as much as actually saying anything about her DH would hurt her, so it's lesser of two unpleasantnesses. New word there.

BouleSheet Thu 15-Jan-15 15:29:23

we are not that close
and they stayed with you for 10 days!! shock

ticketiboo Thu 15-Jan-15 15:32:28

I know boule. They said they would like to come and stay. I expected a long weekend. Next thing I knew they emailed to say they had booked their flights and it was 10 days. I think that was part of the problem. We are very close, maybe 'that close' was inaccurate - we talk about loads of stuff: kids, bereavements we've been through, other friendships. Yet I think it takes a certain closeness that doesn't exist here - or maybe it's just never do-able - to say to someone that you dislike their partner, esp if they don't appear unhappy themselves. I feel that would certainly end the friendship, but in a much more brutal way?

Roussette Thu 15-Jan-15 15:34:04

Why can't you have a female friendship with her? Arrange to meet halfway for a spa day or lunch or something. If the husband is an idiot, your DH won't be worried if the friendship with him drifts, but this way, you can still be friendly with her.

crje Thu 15-Jan-15 15:35:10

I wouldn't do family meet ups
Can you do a weekend midway for just you & her ??

ticketiboo Thu 15-Jan-15 15:39:06

Do you know, the thought of that had not even occurred to me, which makes me feel a bit of a numpty. It's not a perfect plan, as her DH is a bit controlling. Whilst staying with us, he and my DH went out for a night on the town and were out til the wee small hours. When we had 'our turn' he proposed that we go out for lunch as she would need to be home for their children's bedtime. Hmm. We did go out for an evening, but not sure that a weekend might be pushing. But worth pursuing anyway, and even trying is a clear sign that I want to maintain the friendship. Then would just have to work out how to avoid plans for a families get together. Thinking cap donned. Thanks.

GraceFox Thu 15-Jan-15 16:23:54

Could you say your dh has a v busy few months at work coming up, involving longer hours, a lot of travel etc. This would make a family meet up a bit tricky, but you'd love to go on a spa break/walking holiday/cookery course/whatever, and just have a great 'girls only' long weekend. If she manages to get away you could emphasise how relaxing and fun it is without the dcs and dh. You might be giving her an opening there, you never know.

But sounds like she'll struggle to get away sad

BoredChurch Thu 15-Jan-15 16:31:53

I agree that a 10 day visit would be a long visit even with the loveliest of visitors. confused

wobblyweebles Thu 15-Jan-15 16:35:19

Not sure why it isn't your place to talk to her about her husband. If anything you owe it to her. Let her know what you think of him so that she understands why you're withdrawing from the friendship somewhat.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 15-Jan-15 16:40:55

Agree with the others - girls meet up sounds like a plan. If she can't get away without the kids then how about girly weekend with kids?

Tobyjugg Thu 15-Jan-15 16:42:04

It could be that coming to see you is one of the things that's keeping her sane. Dump him and keep her would be my advice. How you actually achieve that is, of course, another question.

YackityUnderTheMistletoe Thu 15-Jan-15 16:45:31

Couldn't you bring up something though? Not tell her you think her husband is awful, but something like 'gosh your DH has rather high standards, doesn't he? Not sure I could live like that.' She might respond with 'oh I don't mind' or 'Oh he's fine really' and you know to leave it, or she may well respond with something like 'I know, I find it really difficult sometimes' which would give you an opening.

Loletta Thu 15-Jan-15 17:46:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ticketiboo Thu 15-Jan-15 19:15:22

Thanks loletta , it sounds like you have had a similar experience. A day or night away is unrealistic due to the distance (scotland vs South coast) and as we've both got young children at the mo, being away for any length of time is tricky.
But it gives me food for thought, and i will consider it.
I certainly don't think I 'owe' it to her. From previous chats I'm aware that she and her husband seem to share a view that divorce is giving up too easily, if kids are involved. And I've no desire to break up a marriage, if she is happy. All marriages have rough patches and it may well be that they will be fine, I'd hate to influence that unless she was being harmed in any way, and in her ignorance of his views, she's not.
Know it's not that simple, but I'm certain I won't voice my thoughts to her unless she ever raises concerns with me.

wobblyweebles Thu 15-Jan-15 19:25:47

I think she owes it to her friend to explain why she never wants them to come and stay again.

If she says no next time the friend asks, but with no explanation, the friend is just going to feel even more downtrodden.

JT05 Thu 15-Jan-15 19:31:41

Try to keep friendship with wife, she may need it.
I realised friends we had for 40 years were in a situation we did not want to be part of, his emotional abuse of his wife. We then saw situations in the past that were covered by his humour!
I do not want to abandon the wife, who was my friend first, so I text/ email her, meet up half way between our homes (50 miles) and only invite her to stay. (Girls week ends)
Maybe you could meet up in a nearby town or City for a girls week end?

Loletta Thu 15-Jan-15 20:00:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ticketiboo Thu 15-Jan-15 20:42:17

Somewhere between the two - would like to maintain friendship with her, but given distance may try and keep it purely email etc at the mo. Would be sad to totally let it fizzle out totally tho. We, being the females wink tended to organise the get togethers, so no chance of her hub instigating anything I'd then have to avoid.

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