Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My best friend’s husband texted me the other day out of nowhere (I don’t even know how he got my number!). At first I didn’t think anything of it, but then he started getting flirtatious. I did not flirt back and made sure I mentioned my fiancé more than once so the conversation could steer in a different direction (I mentioned wedding planning, house hunting, and his name).
I didn’t want to over-think it, but then he asked me if I minded that he was flirting with me and asked me to not tell his wife about the conversation. I of course told him that I rather he didn’t flirt because his wife is a good friend of mine and I don’t think she would appreciate it. I told my fiancé about the conversation and showed him the texts because I don’t want to hide anything from him. He was obviously pretty upset and doesn’t want me going over to my friend’s house anymore (especially when her husband is there); I also don’t feel comfortable going over there now either.
The dilemma I’m facing is whether I should break this news to my friend. They’re married and have a 1 year old baby. I don’t want to start drama especially when there is a marriage and family involved but I feel like I would want to know if my fiancé/husband was doing this to me. If her husband is texting me, then what else is he doing with other women that his wife isn’t friends with?? If I don’t tell and she finds out later on I feel like it might make matters worse but if I do tell her, then I think she will still be mad at me regardless. I feel like it’s a lose / lose situation and our friendship will not be same after this. What should I do?
Don’t Shoot The Messenger
You are between a rock and a hard place, my friend. There’s a wide spectrum of flirtation, so it’s a little hard to advise you not knowing if your friend’s husband wrote that you looked hot at the block party last weekend, or if he sent you a pic of his privates. HOWEVER, the fact that he specifically asked you not to tell his wife about the texts is super creepy. Bottom line is, you are not going to feel okay about any of this unless you tell her. I feel for you, I really do.
This situation sucks. Did you save the texts? It would help if you could actually show them to her. You can’t expect that she will immediately decide her husband (and father to her child) is a horrible person who she must leave immediately. Still, she’s probably going to feel threatened and defensive, and you need to let her know that you don’t hold her responsible for her husband’s actions, and that you hope it was just a misstep on his part and that you can all get past it.
I’m not sure his flirtatious texts to you are an indication that he’s doing this (or anything else) with other women, but it is a sign of extremely risky behavior on his part. No matter what, it made you uncomfortable, you didn’t reciprocate, and you did nothing wrong. Don’t let either of them try and turn this back on you (I’d bet good money that at least one of them will do exactly that).
Hopefully, this will just be a brief bump in the road for your friendship.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I recently found out that my very first boyfriend is getting married again, and I cannot quit obsessing over it.
We dated when I was very young – my senior year of high school and freshman year in college. I was sure at the time he was “the one” for me. As it turns out, he wasn’t, and we went our separate ways.
After college, I moved home and we started seeing each other again. Naively, I believed we were on the way to getting back together. It took me seeing him out one night with another girl to realize that I was only a booty call to him, not a serious relationship prospect. The last time I spoke with him was over 20 years ago, when he called to invite me to come over for the evening. I was dating a new guy, who would eventually become my husband, so I turned him down.
He has had a string of failed relationships – at least two divorces that I know of. I, on the other hand, have been married, more or less happily, for nearly 20 years.
The fact of the matter is, it was never going to work with this guy. We came from two different worlds socioeconomically, and we live in different worlds now. Think Lexus Soccer Mom and Tattooed Harley Man. I am in middle management with a 6-figure salary, he has held the same blue collar job since the 1980s. We wanted different things from life. We had little in common 25 years ago beyond teenage hormones and unlimited time together, and we don’t have a thing in common now besides two years of history.
So tell me, if you can, why I even give a damn about this? It wasn’t meant to be 25 years ago, I’ve been happy for 20 years without him, and I cannot understand what is driving me to be so interested in him now after all this time.
Do I need therapy? Is my marriage a sham? Is this standard 40-something behavior for a woman to look back and wonder what might have been? Is it okay that I think his new wife looks like a hooker, and not the pretty kind?
I can’t imagine discussing this with my husband, although I’ve thought about it. Honestly, there isn’t anything I’m missing at home. My husband loves me, respects me, takes great care of me and our kids. We don’t argue much, and while our life isn’t the most exciting, we have a happy home and activities we enjoy. It would kill him to know I’m even thinking of the other guy, much less obsessing over him.
I really would like someone to tell me what I need to do to shut the book on that chapter of my life. Can anyone help?
Make Me Stop
Dear Make Me Stop,
Let me type something that may put this whole thing in perspective. I do not know of one woman in this universe who upon hearing that her ex-boyfriend of whatever vintage is getting married, doesn’t stop whatever she is doing, Google the hell out of everything related to the ex, his new wife, their alma maters, pets and astrological signs.
We, I mean, “they” do this because we are human. We do this because we are sentimental. We do this because sometimes it feels good to remember what we were like at 19. So while I think that your interest is absolutely normal, I am concerned that you are “obsessing” over this situation. You need to be honest with yourself- what do you think is going on? While you described your life now as pretty dreamy, I wonder if you feel that you’re missing some excitement of the Harley variety. You made it clear that you are from different socio-economic worlds and yet I’ve heard tell that people can be attracted and fall in love across income tax brackets. So while you recognize that you and the Ex have different life goals and plans, it does not mean that you did not find him crazy attractive in other ways. I believe the psychological terms for this Madonna-whore phenomenon for women is Joseph-Harley.
It would not hurt to have a few sessions with someone to talk this through. It may be just that you need to acknowledge the teenage attraction and to confirm that it did not feel good to be the booty call and not be treated seriously. And no, I do not think it is a good idea to discuss this with your husband at this point. It would be hurtful to use him as a sounding board and he may not have the tools to help you process what you are going through. And a therapist can help you focus on what is happening now in your own life that is making his apparently third marriage of so much interest to you. (I am assuming from your letter that you did not obsess about the first two.) Are your kids getting ready to leave home? Are they dating themselves?
I hope you get the answers you need soon.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Recently, my fiancé and I moved to an incredibly small town (population less that 2,000) so we could be closer to his family. Not only is his sister hateful to me, but she has been spreading horribly untrue rumors around town to the point where it has begun to affect my job. I work in a manual labor job, and considering that’s all there really is to do here, I’m stuck with it. On top of that, she has begun to forbid my fiancé (her brother) from seeing his niece and nephew despite his niece’s frequent requests to see us. She is generally an all around hostile person behind your back, but incredibly nice and fake-smiley to your face. I’m fed up. I’m debating whether to pack my bags and take off or smile and bear it. Any suggestions?
Fed Up in a Small Town
Dear Fed Up,
Well, your future sister-in-law sounds like a real peach. And by peach, I mean rhymes-with-witch. And by rhymes-with-witch I mean C U Next Tuesday. What’s up with this chick? And why did your fiancé make you move to this teeny tiny town where his beyotch of a sister spreads her evil all over town? I’ll get back to him in a minute…
First, let’s deal with the rumor-mongering. You can’t control what the sister-in-law-to-be tells other people, but you can prove her wrong. You say that the rumors are affecting your job. I’m not sure what you mean by that exactly, but I’m assuming that co-workers are believing her poison, and treating you differently. I say kill them with kindness. Bring treats for everyone to share in the break room (or your workplace’s equivalent). Offer to do an extra shift for someone, or trade shifts if someone needs it. Compliment another woman’s outfit. Make an effort to get to know people, and to let them really get to know you.
Now, back to your fiancé, where does he stand in all of this? It’s hard to tell from your note if he even cares that his sister is keeping her kids from seeing their uncle. If he is upset by it, is he doing anything to deal with it? Honestly, he brought you to this far-away place, he should be doing everything he can to make you feel at home and welcome. What is the point of being near his family if his family is treating you both like crap? I think your first step is having a serious sit-down with the fiancé, where you tell him how unhappy you are with this situation. Maybe there’s a compromise, where you could move a couple of hours away, so his family is still driving distance away, but you don’t have to be in each other’s daily lives. For the most part, when it comes to problems with in-laws, I firmly believe that if it’s your mother/sister/brother causing the problem, then you need to be the one to stand up for your spouse, so tell your guy to man up!
If you’re really feeling ballsy, you could call the sister up and attempt to declare a truce. Let her know that you don’t need to like each other, but for the family’s sake, you’d like to try and make it work. Maybe do it on speaker phone from the break room at work.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My husband decided he didn’t want to be active in Church any more in 2007. Then he decided he wanted to move and go to school. He had lots of reasons and so he signed up for school and went off while I stayed at our house for 2 months and fixed it up to sell. While he was at school he met this woman who was single with grown kids and living off her retirement.
He started doing things with this woman especially if I was out of the house. Soon every time I was gone, when I came home she was there. He started inviting her over all the time. We started going on vacations with her. But she was just his best friend. He started telling me all about her life and what she loved and what she was interested in. One time he was really drunk and was telling me how much he loved her.
After some family trouble, she had to move east and my husband fell into a deep depression. He became combative and uncommunicative. Then, one day, he called to tell me they were moving in with us. Eventually, the son left, but she is still here, living with us. She doesn’t pay us a thing and she doesn’t do anything but a few dishes once in a while. He buys her food and computers and anything else she talks about. Now she is taking trips all over the country and the world. When I told him I didn’t like paying for everything for her so she could take trips around the world he told me I was selfish and he enjoyed making her life better for her.
She has started telling me I’m doing stuff wrong. I told him about it and he said it was my fault because I act like I want to be disciplined. He told me the other day that he didn’t want me making him breakfast any more because he wanted to have to go into the kitchen when she does so he can visit with her.
I am so embarrassed I have let this happen and I am so devastated. He is very good to me and he acts like he loves me but then he does stuff like this. I don’t know what to do! If I leave will it be the wrong thing? Am I being selfish?
Living With the Enemy
Dear Living With the Enemy,
Holy COW, did you hear that noise? That was the world’s loudest and longest record screech, and I think it started right around the time you mentioned how he met this woman while “away” at “school.” And, in fact, I’m not sure it hasn’t stopped screeching. (BRB, getting earplugs.)
My advice for you here is going to be clear, direct, and swift: LEAVE. You need to leave him. You need to leave HER. You need to leave this situation, like, yesterday.
Now, I’m a little worried that you may read this and think, “but…” and so I’m going to repeat myself a bit just so you understand.
You need to leave even if the following things occur:
1. He says he loves you.
2. She says she loves you.
3. You are still breathing.
4. It’s the middle of the day.
5. It’s the middle of the night.
6. He apologizes.
7. She apologizes.
8. She leaves.
9. He leaves.
10. John Boehner looks tan.
L-E-A-V-E. Leave, leave, leave. Leave? LEAVE.
Love will make us to crazy things, woman, and as crazy as this situation has become, I’m sure you are not alone. Certain, even. And my heart breaks for you that you’re hurting and embarrassed. What your husband has done is not okay, and it’s certainly not your fault. You are not being selfish. You are not crazy. You are maybe feeling a little desperate, lonely, and afraid, but this is something from which you can recover. You have no power over your husband’s choices…only your own. You simply need to find the courage, confidence, and dignity to walk away from this man and never look back. Find a friend or therapist in whom to confide, gather some momentum and flee, girl.
Run like the wind,
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I had confided in my friend a few months ago and it’s pretty obvious that she shared what I told her with her husband. I feel hurt and betrayed and embarrassed and like my friendship with her is over.
Is it worth trying to repair it or do you think once the trust is gone, it’s gone forever?
Dear Don’t Blab,
Oh, friends and their husbands, don’t get me started.
I once had a friend who told me that she had a “no secrets” policy with her spouse, which apparently meant that she told him every bit of information she had gathered throughout the day. I was confused by such a thing, but also took it as a fair warning that if I were talking to her, he would eventually get the information. I hope you can appreciate how difficult it was for me to plan his surprise party.
But I appreciated her letting me know. Because if my confidence was going to be shared with Mr. Friend, I had the right to decide what I talked to her about. And it definitely tempered our discussions to topics like weather, kids today, and those bozos in D.C.
Your situation is obviously different because you had no idea that you would be betrayed. Which is pretty much the worst kind of surprise there is. But before we cross-stitch a scarlet B for Blabbermouth on your friend’s spring tunic, you need to make sure that she did, in fact, tell her husband. Is it possible that she did not? Is it possible that he knows this information from another source (it’s not too late to suspect other friends!) Or maybe he doesn’t know the confidence at all, but was alluding to something else entirely?
Either way, talk to your friend. Explain what your expectations are and how hurt you would be if she were to share the things you told her with anyone else.
If she did betray your trust, you’ll have to decide if your friendship can survive it; and if it can, whether it will change how much you share with her.
But give her a chance. Making new friends is so time consuming. Maybe she did nothing wrong. Maybe she will change her ways. Maybe she’ll have some great gossip about someone else to distract you with.