DEAR AMY: One of my best and oldest friends is married and expecting her first child with a man I do not like. Typically, I’m only aware of their arguments via her messages, after the fact, so I keep the “two sides to every story” in mind. But the things she reports that he says to her, I just can’t justify. She is in her third trimester now, and has always been a body-conscious person, having dealt with an eating disorder and worked with a therapist. I always shower her with positive affirmations. Her husband seems to take all of his frustrations out on her, and when they argue, he brings up old arguments or problems from years ago. He has also been very cruel to her about their sex life, bringing up past girlfriends and essentially comparing her to them. This is only a small slice of the toxicity. I’ve always felt that he was too dominant and condescending, and before they were married I told her so. She has never held my opinion against me, and in most cases I am the first person she turns to. I’ve never suggested that she leave her marriage; I only offer support and encouraging words to attempt to offset any of the damage he’s done. Is it inappropriate for me to say something to him, such as: “I don’t like the way you’re treating my friend?” Especially now that they have a baby coming, I worry about the possibility of her suffering from postpartum depression, and because we live in different locations, I can’t make the trip as often as I would like. She said he would not go to counseling. What are your thoughts?
Conflicted in IL
DEAR CONFLICTED: Before confronting your friend’s husband, you need to fully explore the efficacy of your feedback on his end, as well as the possible consequences to her. He is not likely to give a hoot what you think about his behavior; it won’t inspire him to change and there is a chance he will find ways to punish her or attempt to isolate her from your friendship.
Your friend already knows that you don’t like him — because you told her so. She obviously sees you as a safe and important outlet for talking about her relationship problems, and that might change if you confronted him.
In addition to being your friend’s rock-solid supporter, I hope you will encourage her to seek local professional help. Your kindness toward her might not be enough to offset the flaws in their relationship and if you are worried about her, you should be honest about it. Your consistent message should be, “I care about you, and I am here for you.”
DEAR AMY: I went to a lovely bridal shower last weekend. The bride got some very nice presents. However, some of the people there took it upon themselves to make fun of some of the gifts! Some of the things they said were hurtful because the gifts were very thoughtful. I gave some nice storage containers that are not inexpensive. I couldn’t believe some of the comments people made about how cheap they are. I use these containers all the time and they are awesome! What happened to the days when people congratulated the bride and appreciated the gifts she was given? I was overwhelmed with the thoughtlessness of these people (who were not young), who made rude comments!
DEAR HURT: First of all, giving high-quality storage containers to a bride is genius. These are things that are used every day in every household, and I could imagine this bride thinking of you each time she pulls one out of the cupboard. I’m going to steal your idea.
I have no explanation for why some people were so rude about some of the gifts the bride was given.
Times may have changed, and people may have changed, but good manners and graciousness are timeless. It’s a shame that these shower thugs don’t realize this. I hope the bride has thanked you enthusiastically.
DEAR AMY: “Conservative Mom” is concerned about her daughter’s relationship with a much-older man who is currently “transitioning” to female. Your response was pure PC garbage. This daughter should run from this as fast as she can.
DEAR DISGUSTED: The daughter didn’t write to me. The mother reported that her daughter’s partner was a nice person and that the daughter was undaunted by this situation. People have the right to partner with the person they love.