My Wife Wants Me to Choose Sides in Divorce

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Robin:

My wife and I are having the same general argument we always have but on a different topic.  Our main problem always seems to boil down to loyalty.  For example, this week’s fight is over her best friend’s ex-husband James, who I am friends with and have been for over 15 years.  

James left his wife 6 months ago and apparently this means I am not allowed to hang with him any more.  By the way, we spent a lot of time with them and I have never been around a more unhappy couple in my life.  She was a total bitch to him and he is finally happy.

James and I and 5 other guys take an annual camping trip in Southern Idaho every September and a couple of days ago I mentioned shopping for some gear this weekend to my wife and she blew up.  She is pissed I am even considering going on this trip and says it will be a “slap in the face” to James’ ex-wife Kim.

Regardless of how we work out this particular issue, this is a common topic.  My wife has a very skewed perception of what “loyalty” means and I’m tired of being asked to make the same choices about people and yes, even dry cleaners, because she has decided they aren’t in her life anymore.

So what do I do about the trip and my wife’s crazy head?  LOL.

Steve 

Dear Steve:

There is a difference between:

a) a loyal man; and 

b) a mindless slave to the whims of another, a.k.a. a “Pussy.”  

Your wife wants you to be both.  I’d like you to stay within the realm of option “a.”  

The difficulty is properly identifying which is which because it requires a situation analysis each time the question arises.  I think we need a decision tree, don’t you?  

Unfortunately, after I spent hours yesterday and this morning finding the right WordPress plugin, installing it and creating the Loyal Man v. Pussy Decision Tree, the feature isn’t working.

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In reality, as Mr. Patience and Understanding pointed out to me while witnessing me banging my head against the keyboard this morning, we don’t need a decision tree to answer your question about your friendship with James.  Let’s start with that before we tackle the bigger issue of your wife’s “crazy head.”

Advice: Under no circumstances should you bail on this trip or on your friendship with James.

This demand is wholly unreasonable and if you capitulate you will be deemed a whipped pathetic mess of a man by not only me, but also my millions of readers.  I will publish your real name* if you go this route, and I’ll tell you why:

Absent abuse or truly terrible behavior during a marriage and/or divorce, people who choose sides and carve up friendships according to who was “to blame” are dicks.  

Yeah, I’m calling your wife a dick.

When The Original (also known by Mr. P.U. as “The Canary in a Coal Mine”) and I divorced, we saw this first-hand and given the fact we stayed best friends and still hung out together (and still do) it was very odd to witness what happened to our social group.

One by one they all started inviting just one of us to parties we had always attended together, usually ostracizing the one they blamed for the divorce.

In other words, I missed a lot of parties.

One person in particular not even in our social group was and is really bothered that The Original and I remained so close and that Mr. Patience and Understanding and I regularly socialize with him and his new wife (“The Pistol”).  

This person derisively and condescendingly referred to us as “Bruce and Demi,” as if getting along post-dissolution was a bad thing.

I’ve seen other cases in which people are ousted from their friendships because one spouse wants to play the victim: a purely innocent player in the drama that unfolded in their lives when their mean, awful, terrible spouse left them.

Divorce is usually an end result from years of a bad relationship, so to blame one side is both convenient for the victim-mentality party while also sure to stymie their personal growth and ability to move past the divorce and into a happy future with or without a new partner.

Just this morning you updated me and told me two men had bailed on the trip under pressure from their ball-busting bitches wives.  

Please give these men my blog address and ask them to write me, because at some point they will decide they want their testicles back and help will be needed in locating them.  I have developed an app called “Find My Nutsack” which will be available for download soon.

James has committed no sin: he got divorced.  If your wife makes this into a really big deal, she has issues.  Serious issues.

Let’s talk about your wife.

I’m not going to be too rough on her because I understand why she is the way she is.  Her parents went through an ugly divorce that went on for years, and she never dealt with the emotional problems that arose when her father left the family, remarried, and basically never saw the kids again.

What an asshole.

I can see why the concept of loyalty is important to your wife, but if this type of ridiculous demand is being made on a regular basis that woman needs some therapy.

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When she asked you to switch dry cleaners because she picked up your clothes once and felt that the woman was rude to her, that was unreasonable, especially since you have been going there for years, it’s right next door to your office, and you have never had a problem with them.

When she asked you to not donate money to the political campaign of someone who had been repeatedly rude to her over several years, that was reasonable, because we shouldn’t reward bad behavior in others by giving them money.

When she asked you to dump James, that was unreasonable for the reasons mentioned above.

I won’t totally punt here; I’ll give you another option to try first:

  1. Make a nice dinner for your wife and open a nice bottle of wine.  Why wine?  Why not!
  2. Have a list of examples over the years of times she has asked you to make ridiculous choices based on the concept of “loyalty,” either to her or someone else.
  3. Tell her you think this issue may stem from feeling abandoned by her father.  Ask her if she thinks that’s possible.  Be kind and listen.
  4. Raise the issue of James, your friendship, and that you won’t abandon him simply because he got a divorce.
  5. Ask her how she would feel if you guys divorced and everyone dumped her.

If you don’t get anywhere with this conversation, please see a marriage counselor.  This type of controlling behavior only gets worse as we get older so you’d best tackle it now.  Please keep me updated!

-Robin

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 *just bluffing; I wouldn’t do that to you.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Tamara

    A wise counselor once told a friend of mine “in a marriage you get where you are together”. I think Robin is correct Steve should not miss the trip or change his friendship with James. The older we get the more valuable good long term friend become to us. I think Robin is correct again that Steve needs to work out this loyalty guilt trip word in his marriage. I do however wish Robin had followed her good instincts and not given up so soon on her decision tree idea. I would like to suggest part of that tree should be based on thinking about where a decision will lead. In this case, Steve might find himself very unhappy without his guy friends and would feel resentment that would not be good for his marriage. On the other hand, stuff like picking up your dry cleaning? I have a different rule for that one….if you want a chore done your way, do it yourself or shut up (it’s next to his office!). However, I think that one is just a twig on the decision tree.

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