|Berkeley Parents Network|
|Home||Members||Post a Msg||Reviews||Advice||Subscribe||Help/FAQ||What's New|
I am in a situation where I don't know what to do. One of my best friend's husband and my husband just don't click. There is not a dislike involved, they just don't have anything in common and when together don't seem to have a good time. I have been friends with this woman for several years and I feel like it is preventing our friendship from growing stronger since there really isn't any support from our husbands. Family and couple gettogethers just don't happen. With kids getting older and more involved it is becoming more difficult for me to see my friends durring the week so getting together as families is important. My friend and I have never discussed the situation (that would be so awkward) so it is almost like the elephant in the room for us. Her husband is a great guy, my husband is a great guy, they just don't seem to see that. Any advice on advancing this important friendship while respecting my husband's feelings? Thanks! Anon Please
Finally, long after we had moved out of state, they came to visit us halfway across the country. These guys were thrown together, and ended up bonding in an amazing way. Her husband discovered mine wasn't the pansy ass he assumed he was and they realized they shared interests in popular science, carpentry, travel, comedy central, etc.
My friend and her husband actually ended up helping us move to CA from WI with her husband driving our rental truck the whole way! I know it doesn't always turn out this way, but my point is: they would have never found out how much they have in common and developed a mutual respect if they hadn't been thrown together for the sake of their wives' friendship. I think her husband agreed to their initial visit because I had put so much effort and time into helping them prepare for their at home wedding. They knew how much we meant to each other.
Is there something you would like to do with your girlfriend that would require the cooperation of your husband? Continue to cultivate your own friendship. What is that next step you're talking about? All you can do is keep offering them chances to get to know each other. Don't make it about them or put any pressure on them to become friends. It will happen or it won't. anonymous
My friend of several years has a husband who, on a few occasions, at least when I've noticed, has given me *the eye*--you know, the one where a guy is clearly checking a woman out. This makes me uncomfortable, not in a creepy-gross-get-away-from-me kind of way, but in a I-don't-want-to-start-anything-with-you / you-shouldn't-be-doing-that-when-I'm-friends-with-your-wife kind of way. I'm not interested in being involved with him. That would be disastrous. He's friendly but not outwardly flirtatious or making any advances toward me or anything, and on my part, I'm friendly and polite but not too talkative with him, and sometimes when we're in a large group I tend to just keep my distance from him. I can't imagine that my friend hasn't noticed her husband doing this but she hasn't said anything about it to me. It would probably be better just to not see them but I'm in a situation in which it's hard to avoid my friend and her husband unless I make really drastic changes to my usual day-to-day routine, and I'm not sure if this situation warrants that.
I'm curious--is this just typical behavior for a man with a wife & kids (I'm also married with kids) and something I can just ignore, or should I continue making efforts to avoid him? Why do guys do this anyway? I'd appreciate hearing a point of view from you married dads out there.
happily married/ain't nothin' but a man
So what to do? (a) Continue your approach and hope he tires and focuses elsewhere--hopefully towards what makes his current relationship possibly unhappy, or (b) Ask him directly (and privately) if he's flirting with you, and tell him that it makes you uncomfortable if he says yes. Of course he may deny it, which is fine, I suppose.
I guess my answer is that if he continues to make you (and maybe his wife, as you mentioned) uncomfortable, it would be worth going with the latter. It's even possible that you will do him a favor by relieving him of his fixation.
giving nobody the eye
We have been close friends with another couple since meeting as neighbors nearly ten years ago. Back then we were all not yet married and didn't have kids, but had things in common like dual careers, pets and interests in casual trips together like skiing and camping. Over the years, we've been drifting away from our friends but I think that it's more a result of circumstance and not really by choice, although if I start to overanalyze it, I begin to feel paranoid that it's by (their) choice.
When their first child was born five years ago, they asked us to be the godparents -- in the guardianship sense (not religious) if anything were to happen to them. We were very touched and honored, and agreed without hesitation. Since then, we have had a child of our own (now 3) but didn't reciprocate on the guardianship front as we have close family nearby. Our godchild seems fond of us but not without issues similar to sibling rivalry with our child that are getting better as both kids grow older.
Since our godchild was born (and granted that we were later in getting onto the ''parent train'' than they were), the mother has bonded very closely with her mom's group, to the point where they now vacation pretty much exclusively with that group of families and no longer accept our invitations for trips out of town. We still see each other for dinners in town and at one another's houses, and we are still very fond of each other (as far as I can tell), but I was hurt to find out that we were not invited to our godchild's last birthday party. Is this something that I am overreacting to? We have never missed giving a birthday or holiday present to this child, whereas our own child didn't receive anything from the family last holiday season. I was fine with that, thinking of how over- consumerized our world is these days, but now I'm finding that this latest exclusion from the invite list is a little too much to bear. I argue with myself thinking that maybe at 5 years old kids are really adamant about who they want at their parties, and this child has a solid 6-8 peers from her mother's mom's group who are exactly the same age -- whereas my child lags behind by a couple of years. And, having hosted some birthday parties myself, I have struggled with the issue of inviting too many people, too -- but I have always included longstanding family friends (people we consider ''close like family,'') and that included this family.
Anyway, I realize that these friends are drifting away, and I'm not sure whether opening up a dialogue with them about it might help or hurt the relationship. On the surface, things seem fine -- but it's the lack of continued connection and inclusion into their community that makes me realize that they may even feel differently about having us as guardians now, though they may never feel comfortable discussing this with us. I am happy that our friends have a good set of friendships with these other families, and my family is not lacking for other friends with similarly-aged kids and interests. I guess I just have this bit of guilt or feeling that we ''should'' be closer if we're the guardians/godparents -- am I overthinking it? I think I need some advice on how to let this bit of guilt go, and accept how our lives and lifestyles have changed -- she is a stay-at-home mom as are many of her mom friends, while I continue to work full-time, and even our weekend activities/interests have diverged from the past. Maybe, as our kids grow older, we'll actually become closer when the difference in our kids' ages is less developmentally pronounced -- so should I wait it out and ''go with the flow'' for now? Should I lower my expectations (and lower my guilt about whether I'm ''doing'' or ''connecting'' enough as a godparent)? Or would a frank heart-to-heart with them about my hopes and fears for our friendship actually ''open the floodgates'' toward a closer, improved relationship? Any advice about letting go or actively opening up a dialogue over such a sensitive subject would be most welcome. Thanks for listening. Anonymous Please
Now that our child is in preschool too--a different one--and we are making friendships through the school, I feel like I have a group to mingle with in a way that I did not before. It feels less threatening to hear about their new friends ! when we have new friends too. And it's taken pressure off of our relationship. And maybe this is where I'm going for you. Can you find a way to take some pressure off of the friendship? Do you have places where you can make other relationships? When you feel more balanced within a larger community, you might be able to rekindle something with your old dear friends.
As for the kids, something that has helped us has been to occassionally ''trade'' kids for the afternoon. It has allowed us to develop relationships with our godkids independent of the relationship with each other. We've also sometimes just had our goddaughter over for a playdate without her parents, and let our son go for a playdate there without us. Despite the age differences, these have usually worked out great for us all.
If nothing else, you could just be honest with your friends and tell them that you miss them. it doesn't have to be a big long discussion about what went wrong or why you drifted--people do change and develop over time and friendships change--just a simple note of the affection you feel for them, pure and simple.
I hope you can find some balance with it. i know it's not easy, but if you can find a way to give yourself and the friendship space, I bet you'll find easier feelings. anon
I'd like some impartial advice... My husband and I are friends with another couple we met through our church. We both think *he* is great. I think this friendship is very good for my shy husband. The problem is, *she* drives me nuts (and my husband doesn't think she's the greatest either, but he doesn't get stuck spending as much time with her as I do). I won't go into the reasons she bugs me; I'll just say that I feel pretty justifiably annoyed by her continuing thoughtless behavior (and she's so dense that I don't think she gets it, even though I've been trying to subtly push her away). How do you handle a situation like this? We're already taking the approach of encouraging my husband and the other husband to do a lot of guy stuff together (instead of all 4 of us getting together). But I still have a lot of contact with her--way more than I would like. I'm afraid that if I preemptively try to talk to her about the way I feel (when I can try to be diplomatic and sensitive) that I'll just screw everything up and end our husbands' friendship. On the other hand, I'm afraid that if things continue, I'm just going to lose it someday and rip her head off. Any advice on what I should do, and what, if anything, I should say?
First of all, whatever you do, do not say anything to this other woman about your not getting along with her. It will not solve any problems. Rather it will create new problems. If you can, also try to soft pedal on complaints about her to your husband. It puts him between a rock and a hard place - he wants to please you, but he wants to socialize too, so what can he do? I have two suggestions that work for me: 1) do things together in bigger groups than the 4 of you. 2) do things in smaller groups than the 4 of you. The dynamics of four are very bad for you - you always get stuck with the woman while your husband is developing a friendship with the guy.
Number one, bigger groups: see if you can find another few people to include when you have them over, or go out, or whatever. Be careful to not exclude or gang up on the woman (she may be annoying to others too, not just you). With more than 4 in the group, the assignment of interacting with her does not fall solely on your head, and you may even find that you don't mind being around her when it's in a bigger group. Number two, smaller groups: Your husband can take the kid(s) over for a visit without taking you - you might have some deadline at work, or a pre-existing plan to get together with your sister, or the urgent need to do several loads of laundry. Sometimes the wife of my husband's best friend doesn't come over because "it is that time of the month and she is having a really bad day and would just like to lie down for a couple of hours." (The men fall for this even if the women don't.) This is perfectly fine with me, because I'd rather she didn't come over too. I try to reciprocate by having urgent business that coincides with get-togethers at their house. Over time, this has blossomed into a pattern of her husband bringing their daughter over and just hanging out, and my husband visiting them without me. We do all see each other at larger unavoidable get-togethers such as kids' birthday parties. At these times we are perfectly nice to each other and no one would ever guess we can't stand each other.
So, yes it is possible to have a relationship with this couple. You just need to be a little creative. G.
If the suggestion comes up to make it a 4-some instead of a 2-some, have a ready alibi so you can gracefully decline, or just tell them you think your husband needs a little male-bonding time and you have too much to do. If the wife continues to pester you to do things with her, you will need to let her know you already have too many other commitments to deal with. Your husband can help you as well, if the subject comes up while he's out with the other guy. Sometimes it's easier if she hears it through her own husband that you're busy.
I think you can do this without hurting her feelings if she is as dense as you say. I work with people like that and it's practically impossible to hurt their feelings. They just don't "get it". M.
|Home | Post a Message | Subscribe | Help | Search | Contact Us|
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during 2015: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org