Miss Manners

I have a friend who is married, but probably shouldn’t be. Her husband has betrayed her and it’s pretty bad. However, she still hangs out with him, and that really blows my mind. Whether or not she will get divorced seems questionable. She thinks she is stuck, and I think she doesn’t want to be alone. I am having a party, and I did not invite him, but of course I invited my friend. I have no desire to have the husband at my house, or in my life. To top it off, she has now told everyone what he has done so we all feel weird around him. The question is: Should I talk with her about it before the party? I really don’t want him there. I really don’t like him and my guests don’t either. I know it would cause some awkwardness(okay, not some, but a LOT). But, until they are divorced, they are technically married. What is the etiquette on this situation?

9 thoughts on “Miss Manners

  1. Dennis Hong says:

    [Yeesh, that sounds like a pretty awkward situation. Before I throw in my thoughts, I’m curious about a few things:

    1. What is (or what do you think is) her reason for telling everyone what he has done? Is she looking for advice on what to do? Or is she looking for sympathy and to vilify him?

    2. Before he betrayed her, how close were you to the husband? That is, did you hang out with both of them regularly? Or did you tend to hang out more with your friend without the husband being there?

    3. How many people will be at this party, and how likely will the husband be to find out about it afterwards were he not to be invited?

    The reason I ask #1 is that if she’s looking to vilify him, then I think you have an easy way to not invite him: Just be upfront and tell her that, given what he’s done to her, and given the fact that she’s told all of you, you don’t feel comfortable inviting him and would prefer that she attend alone. The only way I can see this request being awkward is if she starts defending him and making excuses for his behavior and whatnot. Given the way you’ve described the situation, though, it doesn’t seem like she’ll do that.

    I ask #2 and #3 because even if she’s understanding about him not being invited, you still have to figure out a way to not let him find out. If you and she are used to hanging out together all the time, then that will probably be easy. Just say it’s an “old friends’ get-together” or something like that. If he’s used to attending your get-togethers, that might be a little trickier.

    Either way, I think the first thing you have to consider right now is this: If you simply tell her that he’s not invited, how will she take it? Will she be understanding, and the two of you can then figure out a way to not let him be there without creating awkwardness between your friend and her husband? Or will she not be understanding, in which case you’ll have to figure out a sneakier way to un-invite him?

  2. lilredbmw says:

    [Sooo…I don’t know why she told us all. I think she needed to vent and she wants people to talk with about her cheating, lying husband. She knows what our advice will be since they have been on the outs since I met her 2 years ago. I figured after she told us all, that would be the end of their marriage. But, she still does things with him. Now I feel weird about knowing. Before all of this went down we hung out with him because she doesn’t go anywhere with out him, but I work with her so we have our own time as well. I have never liked him because he has always been horrible to her, and he is extremely rude and embarrassing to be around. But I love my friend. If he doesn’t go, he will know about it because she will tell him. I am sure it would be weird for her to go anywhere without him. There will be up to 30 people at the party, or less.

  3. Dave Jag says:

    [The etiquette is simple: As long as they are married, they are one entity, and must be treated as such. You cannot invite one without the other because the one no longer exists. Your chance to dispute this ended at their ceremony; only they can decide to absolve their vows now. If you are her friend, you must respect her marriage and her decisions. If you cannot, then you should not be inviting her to parties. As long as there is no physical abuse, this ball is in HER court. Not easy to watch, I know… but you would want her to do the same if the tables were turned.

  4. lilredbmw says:

    [UPDATE: I took a little bit of everyon’es advice here. I told her how I felt about the husband. I said, “I love you, but I am still really angry about what he has done to you. I don’t know when I will get over it, but I want you at my party and if that means that you bring him, then that is the way it will be.” I left the ball in her court. She had decided to not bring him. She knows how everyone feels about him and she has told him that his actions affected more than just her. She told him that he burned a lot of bridges, and as such she wished to attend the party solo. He cried. Well, it’s MY party and he can cry if he wants to.

  5. Happy Pants says:

    [It’s your party, and you can exclude cheating husbands if you want to. You’re under no obligation to invite him, or really to tolerate him in your house. But since you know she’s not going to end things, or at least she’s not likely to, I say be very frank with her. Maybe she’ll realize if a close friend is purposefully excluding him, it’s probably time to make some changes.

    And if all else fails, you can always just give him a good ol’ Ex-Lax brownie, which will assure his quarantine in the bathroom for the duration of the party.

  6. PKP says:

    [No one should tolerate someone who’s reckless with their loved one’s heart. Even if your friend puts up with it, you don’t have to. Part of being a friend is expressing the outrage that friend should be expressing. Sometimes it pisses off the friend, but a good friend doesn’t do what you want them to, but what you need them to. In this case, I think not inviting him and being clear about the reasons should be a sign to your friend that she needs to get rid of this guy.

  7. Maracuya says:

    [Seems to me she has no intention of divorcing this guy. He was probably a philandering guy before this last incident. She probably wanted to vent, but then ‘make up’ with him because change is too scary. If they’ve been on the outs since two years ago (a time frame in which normal people would consider divorce) then they’ll probably still have a while to go.

    But even though you know of it, I’d still suck it up and, if other spouses are being invited, invite him. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing she’d defend him if you tried to tell her he couldn’t come. And if she didn’t want him there, SHE could forget to tell him about it.

  8. theattack says:

    [You don’t have to personally associate with him, but if it’s a social event where partners are invited, you can’t just choose to exclude him. Your polite options are: 1) Don’t invite any friend’s partners at all (ie: make it a girl-night only), or 2) Invite both of them and act like a polite host anyway. She may not bring him along anyway. But it is an absolute faux-pas to invite other husbands and yet exclude him.

    To get to the real issue here, even if your friend is making a horrible decision, it’s still hers to make. You can’t change her mind, and you can’t control her life. You can provide guidance, which it sounds like you’ve done, but if she refuses to take it, then you’re stuck with either accepting her entirely – bad decisions and all – because she’s or your friend, or you can let her go completely. When you’re truly someone’s friend, you see them through their tough times, and you love them unconditionally. She might be making a decision you don’t approve of, but she’s probably hurting, and she needs a friend right now who can refrain from judging her and just love her.

  9. resullins says:

    [I kind of agree with theattack. If you want her around, you’re going to have to include him unless you make your feelings known to her. You have to talk to her, but I will go ahead and tell you that she’s not going to take it well. You will either have to risk losing her friendship by telling her to man-up, or you’ll have to put up with her husband.

    You’re right in that she probably shouldn’t be married to this twat-waffle, but that’s not your call. You can tell her how you feel about it, but if she’s not woman enough to leave him on her own, you probably won’t convince her.

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