She called me a fake bitch!

My friend fell out with me — and her husband is my husband’s best friend! How can I make it right?

Talk it over with your husband, says our elder. But it might not be as bad as you think.

Dear EWC

My husband’s best friend’s wife is causing me extreme anxiety. We hit it off when we first met two years ago. Our kids got along good and had a good time together, until my husband and I went on a trip with another couple. She got jealous and called me a fake bitch and it’s been downhill ever since. I can’t talk to her because she’ll make her husband stop hanging out with mine. Also another factor is that our kids are friends, so it would ruin their friendship. Please help!

William replies

Thank you for sharing your issue with us. I agree it doesn’t seem fair or reasonable that you have to put up with the hard feelings. In my opinion, while this seems like a classic “false dilemma,” it probably isn’t. In case you are unfamiliar with the term, a false dilemma is defined as a type of logical fallacy, which is a belief or claim based on mistaken reasoning. It presents an “either-or” kind of argument. Two choices are given when more might exist, and the claim is made that one is false, and one is true — or one is acceptable, and the other is not. In your situation, it appears that you either have to put up with the negativity of your husband’s best friend’s wife or fight/argue with this woman and will affect your husband and children. I think there are other alternatives.

Let’s look at other options. First of all, if you have not already done so, you should talk this over with your husband. He probably doesn’t understand how much angst this is causing you. In a marriage, one’s loyalty ought to be to their spouse. You appear to be under the impression that if you say anything about this, he’ll lose his best friend, and your kids will miss the companionship of their children. Is this really true? Were it me, I’d talk it over calmly with my spouse and explain how much it’s affecting me. Certainly, he wants to maintain his friendship. Does he feel it has to come at the cost of stress and anxiety for his wife? It’s possible that if you convince him of the toll it’s taking on you, he’ll likely find a way to “fix” this.

I’ve had male friends in my life where I haven’t cared for their wives. My wife has had friends whose husbands didn’t think a lot of me, either. We discussed this as adults. Usually, we came to some agreement or a compromise that, while not perfect, was better than the either/or solution. Once we understood the friction, we maintained the friendship(s) in question and minimized the contact our respective spouses had. Not going out as couples wasn’t a deal-breaker. I would hang out with my friend(s) without bringing my wife, and my wife did the same. It wasn’t a common occurrence, but it solved the problem. The key is to convey your concerns to your husband. Make it crystal clear you don’t want to harm his friendship, but that it appears you can’t associate with his friend’s wife anymore. I don’t know why, in your words, she “got jealous and called me a fake bitch.” Seems to me you and your husband ought to be able to go out with different couples without it setting off an exchange like that. My guess is there is some other underlying reason, and you may never know why. Often people just don’t like each other for reasons even psychologists can’t explain. For whatever reason, I think your husband should be made aware of the situation and work it out with his friend. Guys often can sit down and shrug this off. They agree it’s not worth “forcing” their spouses to be together if it is going to cause problems.

The next option is to try to talk this over with the other woman. I know you said it went downhill, and this may not be easy. However, if you have lunch with her alone and talk about this in a coolheaded, adult manner, I suspect you both can get to the bottom of it. Obviously, if it’s degraded to the point where you can’t be together without a screaming match, that won’t work! Based on your letter, I *think* you two can talk this out before it gets worse. Let her explain what’s bothering her, and don’t drive in your heels and fight back. Tell her you are glad she explained why she feels the way she does, and ask her what you can do to resolve it. That doesn’t mean you are in the wrong. Maybe there’s something of which you are unaware that is simmering in the background that’s easily fixed. We can’t read minds, so you have to ask. People don’t call other people “a fake bitch” without reason. Please, I’m not suggesting this is in any way your fault or that she’s right. What I’m saying is you two ought to have a heart to heart talk to see if you can work this out. Stewing over the unknown won’t fix it. Also, if you try to guess what’s wrong and make a list of five things you think it might be, it’s usually the sixth reason! That’s why you need to talk. Humans are not mind-readers.

You mention you don’t want to destroy the relationship between your kids. I agree that’s a significant concern and it’s one of the reasons why I suggest you try to repair this. Either by talking it over with your husband, the other wife, or both. Don’t let it simmer, and hope it will get better.
If this fails, and the relationship is permanently damaged, then you have to accept it for what it is. No doubt, there are other couples (and other children) that your family can socialize with. I may be incorrect when I call it a false dilemma. Sometimes there really are either/or situations, but usually not. That’s why I strongly urge you to talk to those involved and try to find a workaround.
I hope things come together for you soon, and you are to figure out how you want to proceed.

Letter #: 450918
Category: Friendship

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