I am working on a very good question from a woman going through a divorce and struggling with continuing disappointment from a man who has long disappointed her. What is it about human beings that makes them so stubbornly immune to truth?
We will do a deep dive on that tomorrow. Today, let’s explore the subjects of gender inequality, money issues, and how to save a friend from making a big mistake.
No, this is not a rerun. I can say that because I edited it. If you disagree and have a complaint, please contact the complaint department at 1-800-FUCKOFF.
My best friend from college (“Kim”) divorced a year ago after a ten-year marriage (he left for someone else) and right away started dating someone else (“Chuck”) she met online.
None of her friends can stand this man: he is loud, obnoxious, rude, drinks too much, flirts with all the other women and is generally a giant douche bag, especially for someone almost 50 years old.
They went to Vegas for Thanksgiving and she came back sporting an engagement ring. She tells me they are getting married on St. Patrick’s Day because they are both Irish. Classy.
She has no kids (she is 35) but he has four under 12, all of whom live with their mom. Thank God he had a vasectomy after the last kid. She has a great job and owns her own home but he is an often-out-of-work software sales guy with child and spousal support. I have noticed she ALWAYS picks up the check when we go out.
My question for you is should I keep my mouth shut, or should I tell my friend that marrying this guy is the biggest mistake she will ever make? I don’t want to lose a friend but I feel weird not saying anything at all.
First let’s address the sexism inherent in your complaints about the financial disparity between Chuck and Kim. For example: you noted Chuck doesn’t often pick up the bill.
Stop that Sexist Shit!
If Kim has a lot more available cash than he does, I see no problem with her paying, nor do I think we should rule Chuck out as a suitable partner because of his obligations to his children born from his first marriage.
If we are going to live in a truly equal society, we have to throw away the old construct that women should always marry “up” but never “down.”
Inherent in that paradigm is the notion that we women, child-like and helpless creatures such as we are, need someone to take care of us and that someone is a man. I find such regressive reasoning outdated and insulting to my gender.
Regardless, Chuck is Gross
You have plenty of valid reasons to be concerned about this marriage, not the least of which is that he is a drunken boorish cad, so for the sake of your argument’s validity I would stick with the facts unrelated to his finances.
When we chatted last night you admitted you had never brought up your concerns about Chuck to Kim, even though they have been dating for several months. I can understand why: your friend was fresh off a divorce, having a good time and you probably assumed she wouldn’t marry this guy so why rock the boat?
Now that she is engaged it’s time to do that boat-rocking.
Take Kim to lunch.
No, on second thought, this talk requires a dinner. Dinner allows for more wine and as usual with an AskDesCamp Advice-by-Numbers conversation, wine is the lubricant that keeps the machine humming.
1. Ask Kim how she is processing her divorce and if she is over her first husband and the sudden end to their marriage via his affair. Express sympathy and a concern that in her efforts to move past the pain she may be rushing into a second marriage without giving it the requisite amount of thought.
2. Ask her if she has truly reasoned through the aspects of being an instant stepmother to four young children. Kim is in her mid-30s and certainly could still have children of her own. Has she thoroughly considered the implications of marrying an older man who cannot (without a very tricky surgery and even then the chances aren’t great) father any children she may want in the future?
3. Now for the hard part: express your specific concerns about his personality. I am not above telling someone I think their beloved is an obnoxious prick if indeed he is one. Tell your friend you love her and want what is best for her and you don’t think he is it.
4. Step aside and wait for the blowback. People in love don’t like friends criticizing their partner choices. I have to imagine Mr. Patience and Understanding dealt with a lot of this when we became engaged!
Raw honesty must come with the realization that your words may either end the friendship or at least strain it for a significant period of time. For people in your position, a decision must be made whether you value the friendship more than the friend. Think on that for a spell while I blather on about me.
Many of us go through periods in our lives when we cannot bear to face the truth inherent in our bad decision-making. Many years ago a very good friend felt compelled to excise me from her life when I was making some really stupid choices. She gave me her thoughts on the subject which I immediately rejected in anger, because I was not ready to face the truth.
Years later we reunited after I was finished with my (first) midlife crisis, and she had the extremely rare pleasure of hearing me say,
“You were right, I was wrong. I’m sorry.”
For that reason, Mr. Patience and Understanding is very jealous of her.
5. If you can’t dissuade her from the marriage, help her find an attorney who can draft a pre-nup that will stand up in court in the inevitable divorce.
6. If Kim takes a step back and does not go through with the marriage, you damn well better be there for her when she is lonely and needs a shoulder to cry on. Be more than a friend – be a comprehensive support system.
7. If she marries this man, I offer the same advice as above. Something tells me she is going to need a good friend if she goes through with this lunacy.
You have very little time to get your message across so start today. Please let me know how it goes.