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to think that DH should stay out of this? (problems between married couple friends)

(22 Posts)
Jacksmama Fri 16-Jan-09 18:34:50

DH has been friends with this couple (R & T)since they were all in high school. He has a very tight circle of friends from back then. R and T ended up getting married, and their marriage is just sh*t, and has been for a while. They have two kids.

So now it turns out that T, the wife, has been emailing back and forth (mostly in the middle of the night) with a man she works with. This has been going on for at least a year. R, the husband, went into her email and found out.

Cue the big blow-up.

TBH, R can be a huge jerkwad at times, but T isn't a soft-spoken princess either, their fights are quite ugly.

Anyway - DH went out for drinks with R because R needed to vent. Bear in mind that DH has been friends with both of them just about equally since high school. R gets completely shitfaced and is sobbing his eyes out, while DH sympathizes. R goes home, falling-down drunk, and he and T get into a fight. R tells T that my DH is really pissed off with her. (Which is sort of true, but not entirely, as DH is her friend, too - he didn't want to judge her prematurely.) R ends up flouncing out of the house, and T phones to ours and asks DH if he really is pissed off with her. DH says, well, I'd like to talk to you and get your side of the story, and she says, ok, let's talk later this week.

DH tells me about all of this and says that even if they do break up (which is likely, and honestly, maybe for the best, they are a terrible couple), he is adamant that he's going to stay friend with both of them.

I think he should stay out of this entirely - I foresee him getting caught in the middle and staying friends with neither of them.
OK, MN Jury, let's hear it.

Niftyblue Fri 16-Jan-09 18:38:36

If he wants to remain friends with both of them
He needs to keep out of it
keeping his thoughts to himself

Jacksmama Fri 16-Jan-09 18:51:05

That's what I think. But if he wants to wade in where angels fear to tread... I've told him what I think but he's not having it.
<shrugs>

VinoEsmeralda Fri 16-Jan-09 18:53:51

He will probably loose both friends if he interferes/be in the middle unless he is very diplomatic at all times and seen so by both of them IMO

mrsmortenharket Fri 16-Jan-09 18:55:18

i think also that he maybear in mind that one or the other (or even both) may say things to the other that your dh didn't even mean

Jacksmama Fri 16-Jan-09 18:56:23

He is a really kind, wonderful man and only wants to help... but!!! This is bound to get ugly, given the tempers involved.

(This must be a really boring AIBU - two answers... I feel like the new threadkiller of MN...) smile

mrsmortenharket Fri 16-Jan-09 18:57:33

lol! at last my mantle has been passed on grin

i can understand how he feels tho, it must be really hard for him and for you watching him wathcing them fall out ((((((((())))))

Jacksmama Fri 16-Jan-09 18:58:27

Oh hi MrsM!!
<waves>

TBH, I think he really is pissed off with T because it still hasn't been established whether this is only an email fling (over a year though??? hmm) or if there has been actual adultery... which always makes him angry (he is a very loyal faithful sort, I'm very lucky [soppy emoticon]).

Jacksmama Fri 16-Jan-09 19:00:22

God, their fights are nuclear. I could never in my life say some of the ugly things they have. People have been known to get up and leave their gatherings when they kick off. I think they should split up - a relationship like that seems like agony to me.
Anyway - I feel like I'm talking to deaf ears. Any ideas what I could say to him (that I haven't already) to get him to stay out of it??

jasper Fri 16-Jan-09 19:12:40

I have been in a similar situation.
The couple both wanted to talk to me for reasons best known to themselves!

I agreed on the proviso I would only listen , as a sounding board, and would never discuss what one said with the other and nor would I give advice.

It worked out fine. They made it through and are still together.

I think it helped them because they knew I loved them both equally and they trusted me completely never to disclose any of the discussions with anyone.

Sometimes people just need to talk to someone who does know both sided of the story and both people involved.

Hope this helps

Jacksmama Fri 16-Jan-09 19:16:33

Thanks! I'm just rather concerned for him because he's really fond of them both (whilst perfectly aware of their flaws). Would hate for him to get hurt in this.

eekareindeer Fri 16-Jan-09 19:19:12

Well, I understand his wanting to be involved, tbh. He's been good friends with them both for a very long time. What are you suggesting he does? drop them after all these years because they are now having great difficulties in their marriage? Realistically he cannot continue a relationship with either of them without discussing their current situation, can he? They're not going to pretend its not happening.

Does he agree with you? Does he think they should split up?

jasper Fri 16-Jan-09 19:26:13

I suspect they have chosen him BECAUSE he loves them both.

It is difficult to avoid feeling some hurt when dear friends row / separate but that's just life I'm afraid.
Your concerns are valid but I do think you need to step aside and leave the way clear for your dh to handle this is the way he sees fit.

solidgoldsoddingjanuaryagain Fri 16-Jan-09 19:42:33

It's not without risk, but taking one person's side is actually riskier. If you choose one of a warring couple and spend night after night agreeing that the other one is a lying shit/typical dick-led man or an unreasonable frigid cow or whatever, and the couple then get back together, the one whose side you were on will tell the other one what you 'said' and neither of them will ever speak to you again.
If you tell both of them that they can cry on your shoulder but you won't allow them to slag your other friend off in front of you and keep saying 'Oh dear, how sad. What a rotten situation' rather than 'S/he is the bad person here' then when it blows over (which it will, one way or the other: they will either split up or sort themselves out) you have more chance of remaining on good terms with both of them whether they are together or apart.
However, your DH should keep a certain amount of distance whatever he does, as other people's ongoing rows and miseries are really fucking draining, especially when you have a life of your own. Once or maybe twice a week is enough contact; unless he's actually a Relate therapist he can't fix it for them.

MadMarg Fri 16-Jan-09 19:47:18

If he can avoid taking sides, he should. It is awful when people want to hear 'someone's side of the story'. that's just rubbish. If she did have an affair, ok, that's awful, but is he going to stop being friends with her?

I like Jasper's suggestion, about agreeing to listen to them but ONLY if they agree that he will only be a sounding board, and only if he genuinly believes that he can do that.

If they split up, he will have a hard time staying friends with both of them if he's in the middle. If they stay together, and he blames one of them, then as a couple they may not be able to be friends with him anymore.

Sometimes these really tight friendship groups that last from high school can be problematic. It's hard for people to let go and move on.

mylifemykids Fri 16-Jan-09 20:03:46

Hmm, you didn't mind DH going out with R so R could vent but you don't want him going out with T? Are you worried about her reputation?!!

Jacksmama Fri 16-Jan-09 20:30:11

Gosh no, I think I didn't make myself clear - I don't mind him going out for drinks with either one of them and I certainly don't want him to drop either one of them - but the way he's talking it sounds like he really wants to try to help them fix their stuff, or, I don't know, be sort of a mediator, and I think that can only lead to trouble. He really cares about both of them and wants to help, I just think that that should best be left to a marriage counsellor. When I said I think he should stay out of it, it was along the lines of what jasper said, to be really sure not to take sides and just listen.

Jacksmama Fri 16-Jan-09 20:33:53

And where did I say I didn't want him to go out with T? I said I didn't want him to get caught in the middle and get burned. I really like them both too!

Leo9 Fri 16-Jan-09 20:34:52

He's in the classic position of getting drawn into their behaviour; they will both say nasty things about eachother to your DH, then any comments that he makes they will report back to the other, they will get back together and then slag off your DH. It happens.

He must stay out of it if he wants to stay friends with either of them. Sympathy and hugs, yes but no further IMO

naturalbornmum Fri 16-Jan-09 21:26:25

Ideally he should stay out of it (especially if he wants to stay friends with them both - but really is that going to happen?) but I think it is hard to say nothing when a friend is venting - I have been there myself.
He could say to them bot that is not getting involved from now on as he wants to be friends with them both? TBH the drunk firnd is way out of order repeating what your DH said.hmm

ravenAK Fri 16-Jan-09 21:35:20

His best bet is to offer shoulder/drinking buddy to both, but steer v clear of advice or comment on R's behaviour when with T & vice versa.

Ultimately it IS for them to resolve & if they resolve it by staying together, your dh could end up being branded as two-faced or whatever when they compare notes.

He should probably assume at all times that if he's talking to R, he should not say anything he wouldn't say if T was watching via CCTV...

Jacksmama Fri 16-Jan-09 21:59:39

That's what I think, too - extreme restraint required if he's going to be giving a shoulder to either one or both...

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