On being straightforward

Dear Coquette,

When I married my husband I introduced him to a guy friend of mine and they became very fast friends, but since then the guy friend has become a complete and utter pig, to the point that it makes me uncomfortable that my husband is around him. My husband acts and speaks very differently when they are together and he suddenly morphs into this complete asshole.

I am not the controlling type and don’t want to cause a fight and try to tell him they can’t see each other anymore, but it bothers me to see my husband acting like someone I never would have married. What do I say to tell him how much this bothers me without sounding like I am trying to control who he hangs out with?

First of all, yes, you are the controlling type. You’re just not very good at it, because instead of communicating directly about what bothers you, you get passive-aggressive. I’m sure it drives your husband nuts.

Second, your guy friend has always been a complete and utter pig. He may have acted differently in the past, but he’s not the one to have changed since you got married. You are.

You’re pretty vague about the details of the behavior, but the crux of the problem here is that when your husband is in the company of this friend of yours, they both act in a manner that you consider to be disrespectful to you in some immediate way.

Well, the obvious solution is to tell them both to stop it. (Yes, it really is that simple.) You’re afraid to do that for some reason. Maybe it’s because you don’t have the force of will, or maybe it’s because you don’t want to seem like a nag, but you need to get over yourself.

Start being direct about what bothers you. Quit being passive-aggressive. (Yes, you are.) Don’t make it about who your husband hangs out with. Make it about a standard of behavior, and be straightforward about your expectations.

When in doubt about what to say, just say what you mean. Start with, “I’m not trying to control who you hang out with, but this behavior bothers me, and it is unacceptable.”

Use your words, darling. Grow a backbone and tell them both to their faces to stop acting like assholes. That doesn’t make you controlling. That just makes you someone who won’t put up with disrespect.


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