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How to deal with this issue with "friend"

(78 Posts)
HMTheQueen Sun 14-Apr-13 10:39:15

I have a "friend" that is an old family friend of my late DH's. When my DH was ill and in hospital and after he died she was a great help and comfort to me - and fabulous with my (then infant) DS. I considered her a great friend and she became honorary Aunty to DS. I am close to her family and we all get along well most of the time.

She can be very self-centered a lot of the time, but would drop everything if I needed her. But if I don't have a crisis that I need help with she can be very me,me,me. Not maliciously - just very self centered.

She travels frequently to my home country to visit friends there. Her last visit was over Christmas/New Year and while she was in my home country she visited my parents, brothers and a couple of my frien that she has come to know over the years.

I have just returned from visiting my family with my DS and my new DP and his DC. While we were there, I discovered that she had been bad-mouthing my partner to my friends and family and they were all very concerned that I was in a bad relationship. I have set them straight and told them that I am very happy and that we are very much in love. They are very relieved and think that my DP is generally fab now that they have met him!

Now that I am back in the UK, how do I deal with this issue? She has no idea that I know that she said these things, and i am angry that she thought it appropriate to bad-mouth my partner to my family before they could form their own opinions. Also some of the things she said about him show that she really doesn't know me at all - and that she has no faith or respect for me and my life as I choose to live it.

She thinks we are great friends, but I am seriously reconsidering our friendship. I dont want to alienate her family (who we are close to), but I don't think I can continue with the same level of friendship. She obviously thinks I've chosen the wrong man/path in my life, but has not said any of this to me.

I was aware she didn't like my DP but she has only met him a few times so I thought that maybe she needed to meet him a few more times to get to know him. Now I wonder if there is any point as she has clearly made a decision not to like him and has let everyone know.

I don't think I'm articulating myself very well here - but I just wonder how I should approach this. I don't think I can just let it lie (which is what I would have previously done).

HMTheQueen Sun 14-Apr-13 10:44:47

Just to clarify, I am happy for her to have her opinion on my DP and I know that not everyone likes everyone - but I don't think she should have voiced these opinions before my family got to meet him. Perhaps a couple of noncommittal comments would have been appropriate but from what I understand she went into full-on rant mode for quite a while.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 14-Apr-13 10:47:12

Was she badmouthing him in order to be horrible or was she cross with what she perceives to be his character and acting out of genuine feeling?

Not that that makes it right, but it possibly changes how you might choose to react.

When you say she badmouthed him, what were her specific complaints about him?

TurnipCake Sun 14-Apr-13 10:47:54

She sounds like one of these people who needs to feel needed, and your new DP is a threat to that [/pop psych]

Gigondas Sun 14-Apr-13 10:51:46

It's her right not to like your dp-be prepared that she may not change her mind. I don't think you can (and are) wrong to acknowledge this (except I think you are possibly naive to think she will warm to dp).

The issue is she overstepped the mark with your family. Clearly it looks like no harm done there.

But as I see it you say something about how inappropriate and interfering she was to say something. You get it off your chest , she probably gets huffy and doesn't see her wrong.

You say nothing- you seeth, she carries on as before and it all feels false.

You drop her- you lose an old close friend who knew dh (so important for ds) and it seems a bit drastic.

Personally I would opt for saying something and setting some boundaries. But I would think how and what I wanted to do it and pick a moment when you have her attention and no dp/ds there.

HMTheQueen Sun 14-Apr-13 11:00:03

I don't think she was bad mouthing him to be mean - I think she was doing it to warn my family. But she has never voiced these concerns with me - and she acknowledges that she barely knows DP but still felt the need to tell my family about her views.

Specifically she has implied that DP is getting a very sweet deal out of me, as I have given up work to care for our children. Apparently she said that he's getting an unpaid Au Pair to care for his kids, clean the house, and he gets to sleep with me too. This totally disregards that fact that it was OUR decision and I also care for my DS and this is now OUR house.

I think she is a bit lost now that I have DP and I'm not a single parent that she can help. She is also constantly on the look out for a boyfriend and I wonder if she is a little jealous that I have found someone while she is still looking?

middleeasternpromise Sun 14-Apr-13 11:01:51

I would agree with Turnips thoughts - perhaps some jealousy at play here. Given she was yr DH friend and then stepped in to support when he died, it would take some sort of fantastic new partner to turn up and find her welcoming; she probably feels threes a crowd given you have shared each others families and bonded over your sad loss.

How to deal? Well honesty is the best policy I would say and if you feel shes not been a friend you need to model what a true friend should do. When you catch up post visit I would start by saying your whole family had clearly misinterpreted whatever she had said as they were all left with the impression new partner was a cad and were therefore expecting that. Just as well they were prepared to give him a chance. You really want an open discussion with her about this so then you can manage on going future friendship. You may have to agree to disagree about views on new partner then you have to work out just whats left of your relationship as friends and what the new rules will be.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 14-Apr-13 11:03:32

Have you told your family that you wanted to do the split of family life this way and that you have 100% equal access to all money and the house is legally yours too?

They would be reassured by that, and you could say look, my friend clearly has her problems with this, but we are doing what works for us, I am legally protected and all money is ours. This is what I have chosen and I feel I am lucky to be with a man who places equal value on the non income generating aspects of family life, who doesn't think the money is his and who ensured that I am on the deeds for the family home. Don't worry about me.

HMTheQueen Sun 14-Apr-13 11:03:39

I am definitely going to have to say something, as I've previously seethed over unspoken issues (not with her - with another person) and have suffered quite a lot of stress from it. I've realised that speaking up is the important thing to preserve my self esteem and to make her (and others) aware that I'm not a push over.

I'd like to continue our friendship but I don't think it will be at the same level, as I don't think she has much respect for me.

HMTheQueen Sun 14-Apr-13 11:06:52

I reassured all my family and friends that we are in this 100% together and that I am protected financially as well. In addition to the fact that we are in love and want to get married and spend our lives together. grin. My family are very happy for us and could see that we are in an equal relationship, so have no further concerns.

waltermittymissus Sun 14-Apr-13 11:07:45

Are you quite sure that it wasn't out of concern for you?

Perhaps she thought you would listen to your family over her?

How long are you and dp together?

HMTheQueen Sun 14-Apr-13 11:11:21

I think there is definite jealousy - with DP around I don't rely on her as much as I did, but conversely she doesn't rely on me as much either, so I think our relationship was developing that way anyway - it just happened quicker with the appearance of DP.

I know that it will be a difficult conversation as she will take it very personally and will NOT be happy. This will then probably be relayed back to her family and my late DH's mother so it will cause quite a ruckus. I'm happy to agree to disagree on her opinion of my DP - we can see each other when he is at work, but I don't want her to think its ok to discuss him with my family if she won't discuss him with me!

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 14-Apr-13 11:12:37

Then perhaps just tell her that.

And say that it hurts when she goes to your family and misrepresents the situation.

Some people, sadly, don't actually want you to be happy. Or at least - not happier than they are. your role is sometimes to make them feel better, or lucky, or needed. And if you make a change to that, they hate it.

QuintessentialOHara Sun 14-Apr-13 11:13:42

Well to be perfectly honest, I think your friend has a point. I doubt she is jealous, and my bet is that she brought it up with your family hoping they would make you see sense.

If I have got the situation correctly you have one child, he has three. You are not married, live in his house (what do you mean when you say it is now OUR house? Has he signed half over to you? Or does he just say "it is our home"?) and you have given up your career/job to look after the children?

It seems to me you have left yourself very vulnerable. What happens if you split up?

Who would pay what proportion of childcare costs if you worked, and had your own one child in nursery?

HMTheQueen Sun 14-Apr-13 11:16:52

I don't think it was out of concern for me - I think it was more out of concern for the changes in our (hers and mine) relationship. I think she's finding it hard not to be relied on so much.

While she was away, I had an issue with some relationships with my inlaws and I didn't contact her or let her know. Mainly because it had nothing to do with her and she was on the other side of the world. When she got wind of this issue, she called me, and then when I had filled her in, she disagreed with my approach and I think she has assumed this was due to DPs influence, not my opinion.

To be honest I would listen to my family over her - but that would be based on their opinions not ones influenced by her. Obviously she thought she could get them on her side (for want of a better word) before they had met DP.

QuintessentialOHara Sun 14-Apr-13 11:20:27

Leaving aside the issue of your friend, and your family, and their dealings with eachother, which I think is clouding your judgement a little:

How have you covered yourself financially in case you and your dp split up?
It sounds like a very new relationship, how many of the children are his, and what is the legal situation like with the the house?

HMTheQueen Sun 14-Apr-13 11:24:30

I have personal income from my house which I rent out so I am not as financially vulnerable as she thinks. I have one DC he has 2. All if them are at school. The costs of putting them into before/after school care and holiday clubs would vastly exceed my income so we decided together that it makes more sense for me to look after them. I also work part time for his company. If I wanted to work part time elsewhere, he would be happy for me to do so. I honestly believe that this is about our relationship and not that she is concerned for my financial security.

I think Hec is right - I'm not in need of her as much any more and this worries her. She is very needy from her other friends and her family, so I fully expect this is because I have moved forward and she is still in the same place as before, but without being able to support me to the extent that she wants to.

waltermittymissus Sun 14-Apr-13 11:25:26

I'll be blunt.

Based on what you've described, if you were my friend, I would be concerned too. And I'd probably take the opportunity to speak to your family about it.

She only spoke to them before they'd met your dp because she went to visit before you and he.

Sorry, but it does sound like your dp is getting a lot out of this!

QuintessentialOHara Sun 14-Apr-13 11:25:50

So, the job you have, is for him?

In case of a split, you will then be jobless too?

HMTheQueen Sun 14-Apr-13 11:27:33

If my family had any concerns about the financial side, I would happily have explained the situation - but they are just happy to see us together and in love. Whereas she has never raised any of these issues with me - she choose to speak to my family about it first, which is the main issue I have.

QuintessentialOHara Sun 14-Apr-13 11:30:04

I think you need to look past the issue with your friend here, and not be stuck on the idea that she is jealous.

You have given up a lot for this man, and given him control of your income, your living and your work life. If you were my friend I would be very concerned.

She may have gone about it the wrong way, but try see her point.

waltermittymissus Sun 14-Apr-13 11:30:27

It's not just about finances though, is it?

You've given up your career. You're working for him, you're living in his house, you're looking after his children. Can't you see that it could be concerning to witness?!

Did you say how long you've been together?

HMTheQueen Sun 14-Apr-13 11:30:37

If she has genuine concerns would she not have raised them with me?

I am getting a lot out of this too - I'm getting to spend time with our children (his and mine) while looking after our home. I don't have to work, and I get to do all the SAHM stuff like cake sales and school trips and reading in the class with the kids. Isn't this better than working while putting our kids into before/after school care?

QuintessentialOHara Sun 14-Apr-13 11:31:42

Sometimes women are their own worst enemy.

You sound very naive.

waltermittymissus Sun 14-Apr-13 11:32:41

Plus, like I said upthread; I would speak to a friend's family in this situation. Not to go behind her back, but to get advice/opinion from others who love her and could raise it with her, without being accused of jealousy!

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