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How do you deal with it if your best friend is dating a man who is.....

(21 Posts)
PootyApplewater Tue 23-Sep-08 10:43:23

to be blunt, a complete arsehole?

My best friend of over 20 years is lovely, but her current boyfriend is awful.

He is the sort of person that makes personal comments and asks rude, invasive questions, and thinks he is witty and erudite for doing so.
He isn't. sad

He's a balding, slightly over-weight, 35+ year old. He is moderately successful in his career.
He has nothing to be ashamed of, but equally, no reason to feel as superior as he clearly does.

He taunts my children. I am not being over-protective here, as my children are not tiny, and are up for a bit of banter. But he doesn't do banter; he does taunting.

He makes comments about their physical appearance, their hobbies, their musical taste.

There is no twinkle in his eye, no hint of a smile. He is dead-pan, and he is rude.

Being in his company is exhausting - it is like taking part in a combat exercise, as I constantly feel on the defensive.

The thing that saddens me most is that my friend doesn't really do anything to stop him. She makes vague tutting noises, and tells him to shut up now and then.

But actually, she seems to find him quite funny.

I am (begrudgingly) prepared to put up with him, but I will not have my children subjected to his low-level bullying.

Should I say something to my friend?
To him?
Should I tackle him directly in front of the children to show them that I'm defending them?

My children used to spend time alone with my friend, but now I don't want them to be around her without me being there,if he is going to be there too.

I want to protect our friendship, but obviously my children come first.

Any sage advice would be welcome.

RubySlippers Tue 23-Sep-08 10:47:05

don't do it in front of your children but raise it with him

whatever you do, your friend my not take it well

somewhere in her sub-concsious {sp} his rudeness has registered (hence the tutting)

MarlaSinger Tue 23-Sep-08 10:52:21

Does she have children?

I would have to say something even knowing your friendship is at risk - better that than you start avoiding her altogether in order to avoid him.

I'd ask her outright what she sees in him (don't see the need to knock his physical appearance though) and say you think he's fucking rude to your kids. She might be a bit embarrassed about it, or not realise how shitty it is.

PootyApplewater Tue 23-Sep-08 11:08:01

She hasn't got any children, and neither has he.

She was single for quite a while before this man came on the scene; she is pretty, clever and fun to be around, so I'm baffled as to what she sees in him, tbh.

I would never knock anyone's physical appearance; although sadly he doesn't feel the need to extend the same courtesy to others.

I only mentioned what he looks like in order to demonstrate that he is pretty average and ordinary, and certainly no Adonis, so it seems odd that he would comment on how other people look.

I'm sure she knows that I consider him rude; it's fairly obvious from my demeanour around him, I think.

I wonder if he feels threatened by my friend's relationship with my children, as they are quite close?

Am wondering if it would be best just to invite her to our house, rather than meeting elsewhere or at her house.

PootyApplewater Tue 23-Sep-08 11:10:46

Thanks for replying, ruby and marla, btw.
Sorry, am in a bit of a state over all this.

Flier Tue 23-Sep-08 11:11:26

If you invited her to your house or out for coffee would she come alone or bring him with her?

Janos Tue 23-Sep-08 11:23:38

I think you need to say something to your friend about this as it's bothering you so much.

Maybe make it clear he is not welcome when she visits and don't visit her at her house (if he will be there).

He sounds very insecure (no excuse tho). A grown man bullying children is both creepy and pathetic. I am willing to bet you are spot on about him being 'threatened'.

nickytwotimes Tue 23-Sep-08 11:27:57

He does sound insecure, but that's no excuse for being an arsehole.
This must be very difficult for you as you clearly care for your friend.
I agree about raising it although don't be surprised if she takes his 'side' in this.

hecate Tue 23-Sep-08 11:28:21

Going against the flow here grin but I would tell him straight - in front of the children - there and then, to not insult them. Bluntly and with stern face. They need to see you defend them. If he says something rude and you, their mum, just sit there - what message does that send to them? They matter more than he does, they matter more than your friend does. Tell him - "Do not talk to my children like that, I find it rude of you." and if he tries to tell you it's a joke, just tell him that a joke is where everyone is laughing. What he does is personal abuse. I would say that it wasn't open for discussion, there are to be no snide remarks to my children or you leave. If your friend objects, well, she knows where the door is as well.

Just another opinion grin

harpomarx Tue 23-Sep-08 11:33:26

perhaps he is not used to being round kids? some people are actually quite shy with kids and have no idea how to behave so they end up doing weird things like this.

as your friend clearly likes him so much, is it possible that he's actually a decent bloke who needs to learn how to behave around other people? is there anyway you can encourage better interaction between him and the kids? Can you intervene in a joky way and encourage the kids to 'taunt' him back, iyswim? Just wondering. He may well be an arsehole but just trying to think of other possibilities grin

Sanctuary Tue 23-Sep-08 11:35:23

He sounds a complete muppet (putting it politely).

Tell her that you find him out of order at times with the way he is with your dc .And that its not on .
I would say that she is already aware anyway as she tells him to shut up at times .

I do agree I think he feels threatened by you and your friendship as you have been good friends for 20 years and know alot more about her than him about her past.

What a SAD GIT he is

Overmydeadbody Tue 23-Sep-08 11:38:41

I completely agree with hecate.

You have to say something immediately if he taunts your children, in front of them so they know that you are defending them, and that this behaviour is unacceptable.

He probably only does it because he thinks he can get away with it. Challenge him. Show him who's boss. And above all, protect your children.

MrsThierryHenry Tue 23-Sep-08 11:39:26

Next time he says something awful to your kids, ask him 'Did you think about their feelings before you said that, or were you actually trying to hurt them?'. He'll probably say he was only joking, but don't let him get away with that pathetic sort of back-pedalling. Ask him to explain why he talks that way, what impact he thinks his words have and whether he thinks that's an appropriate way to treat them. If he appears not to have thought about these questions (ha! as if he would) then ask him why he's prepared to taunt and abuse children without even thinking about the effect it might have.

Sorry, I am ranting now, I hate people who do this. Good luck.

Cocolepew Tue 23-Sep-08 11:41:54

I agree with Hecate say something to him and definately in front of your children. He sounds a right knob.

PootyApplewater Tue 23-Sep-08 11:46:29

Lots more advice, thank you. smile
Hecate, I am tempted to take the approach you describe.
I am normally quite a forthright person, and certainly take no crap from anyone where my children are concerned - but the fact that this scenario involves my oldest and dearest friend has flummoxed me.
I have spoken to the children about him, and said that I think this man is very rude and unkind.
Bless him, they said they agreed, but didn't want to say anything as he was Aunty X's boyfriend.
I have tried to come back at boyfriend with jokey / sarky / witty comments, and encouraged the children to do likewise, but boyfriend just ups his game. It is exhausting.
I think he has lots of nephews and nieces, and his behaviour (rudeness, unfunny jokes, personal comments etc) is just the same with adults - although more restrained, as there is more chance an adult will punch his lights out, I suppose?
Other friends have hinted that boyfriend is a less than wondrous person, although none of us have openly moaned about him to each other (yet! grin)
Other friends have babies or much younger children though, so his behaviour towards them has not been an issue.

Jux Tue 23-Sep-08 11:48:11

I would play him at his own game. If he starts making comments respond in kind - you can make it jokey if you want, or you can keep it deadpan as he does. He probably won't like it. He might even stop.

PootyApplewater Tue 23-Sep-08 11:50:02

Sorry, I meant 'bless 'em', not 'bless him'.
I do not want to bless this man. grin

Janos Tue 23-Sep-08 11:52:54

I think hecate's approach is an excellent one actually.

No need to try joining in with his stupid comments, just say flat out you don't like them.

TheBlonde Tue 23-Sep-08 11:55:50

I agree with hecate

SpandexIsMyEnemy Tue 23-Sep-08 12:02:39

yep what hecate said.

it amounts to the bullying of your kids - not on never in no forms.

if you want to protect your friendship tell your friend firmly & kindly once you find it offensive and you won't stand for it but out of respect for her you'll not say anything to him, but if he does it again you'll be forced to.

then see what happens - if she then also defends the kids, if not you have no alternative.

PootyApplewater Tue 23-Sep-08 12:15:53

MN is fab for thrashing these things out.
Thank you all so much.

So, I now have a plan of action.

Take friend to one side. Explain that I'm happy to let her BF's comments to me slide, but that I am no longer prepared to put up with the way he talks to the children. I will tell her that I will challenge him if I feel his comments are inappropriate.

Hopefully she will then speak to him, and make it clear that he is behaving unreasonably, and he may rein his comments in.

If not, and he continues to do it, I will challenge him, in front of the children.
(I am roleplaying it in my head as I type! grin)

Will say something along the lines of

"excuse me a minute, it sounded like you just said "blah blah blah" to my child. Surely I must have misheard?"

and then give him a talk about how it is unkind to disregard the feelings of others, particularly those who are younger than you, or those who are too polite and thoughtful to want to cause an argument.

Kind of like I would do with a five year old who has just hurt someone's feelings.

I may be advertising for a new best friend sad, but at least I will have done everything I can to protect my children.

And actually, I would expect any of my friends to put the feelings and well-being of their children before my own, so if she sees the fact that I stand up for my children as something bad, perhaps she's not the person I thought she was anyway.

[grim realisation dawns] sad

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