Inside His Head: Your husband’s (bad) best friend


Hey guys,

I really dislike my husband’s best friend. He comes over and treats our place like a frat house, stays too long and isn’t particularly friendly to me. What would you three think if your wife told you to just meet him out, but not to bring him home?

greg.jpgGRAY: Personally, I wouldn’t care one way or another, but I’m not really sure that answer satisfies anyone. My house isn’t just MY house, but the house I share with my wife. If she doesn’t want something or someone in it then I respect her opinion on the matter. Nevertheless, I would be curious if her objection says more about me or her.

Is the problem with me? Do I turn a blind eye to my wife so I relive some of my glory days? Or is the problem with her? Is she jealous because I spend time and have a few laughs with my friend instead of her? Isn’t the real problem the friend? No, not really. People are who they are, but as a couple we’re constantly alert to possible influences in our lives, both good and bad. And while friends are hardly the only influence in our lives, they do present us with an easy image to contrast our significant others against.

But while you’re comparing your husband to his friend, how you treat him can be a way your husband’s judging you. To kick a best friend out of the house is, to some extent, kicking some of your husband’s beliefs out with him and it’s going to make him think about it. Are those beliefs you’re kicking out deep or shallow? There’s the kicker.

Most of the time friends embody many of the same values we do, but on occasion there’s a disparity that worries us. It’s weaseling out the depth of that disparity that can be hard work and might help figure out if this is a battle worth fighting. Have you ever heard your husband say “Man, I’m glad you aren’t more like that,” in reference to a behavior of one of your friends? Was it for something as innocent as being graced with the gift of gab or because she seemed to take joy in spreading nasty rumors about her neighbors? Well, one important thing to figure out is whether a friend, especially a best friend, simply has bad manners or whether he’s a destructive influence.

In the end, I’m always going to care more about my wife than any friend, and her opinion of things will always be paramount. And I’m going to keep saying things like “I’m glad you’re not like her,” because I’ll want to check in on the values she and I share to make sure they’re mutual. As long as we’re seeing eye to eye then the rest is secondary.

john.jpgMAVERICK: To answer this question properly I have to set some important parameters. This answer assumes my wife’s assessment of my pal’s antics are basically accurate. That he’s treating both my wife and our home with disregard.

This also assumes she doesn’t have it in for him because we’re hanging out and having a few moments of camaraderie and fun. Some women just can’t stand that their husband is enjoying himself without  them and often the “best friend” becomes an easy target. Eliminate the best friend, eliminate the fun.

That being said, I’d honor my wife’s request and meet my friend away from the house. This is after I’ve had a talk with him to determine why he’s acting like jerk followed by a determination of whether he’s gonna continue to act like one in my home and/or around my wife.

It’s a pretty simple decision really. Even if this guy is my best friend, he’s disrespecting my wife by treating our home like it was a “frat house.” He’s also disrespecting her person by at least not being civil, if not “friendly.” Nobody should feel marginalized inside their own home.

Besides meeting my pal out, I think I’d owe it to my wife to assess this friendship.

Does my pal need to grow up? Do I need to tell him so? Does he really dislike my wife? How come? I owe it to both of them to find out, resolve the situation and find a solution, even if it’s to end the friendship. In the rock-scissors-paper game of marriage, wife beats everything.