Guest Contributor, Jennifer Thomson

Giving your opinion on someone else’s relationship.

Image:Greg Ceo

Image:Greg Ceo

I was watching a re-run of Sex In the City the other day, titled “The Awful Truth”. In it, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) is asked by her friend Susan if she should leave her husband – this after the friend trash talks hubby to the nth degree.

The scene made me cry. Why? Well, admittedly hormones come into play when I cry during SATC but this time — this time it was because I fell into the trap of giving your opinion on someone else’s relationship, and I lost the friend.

One of my best friends, in fact.  She’s married, and like all couples, the union isn’t perfect. It’s had issues.  While there is the really good passion, there’s the bad passion and, as a result, have separated three times.

The first time was before I met her, when he immigrated to Canada and the culture shock was overwhelming for them both. She sent him home.  Absence made the heart grow fonder and he returned ready to commit to being better to one-another.

Since knowing her, she told me how they fight about the same issues, mostly him wanting to move back, his unrealistic view of what life should be like here, his constant reminder that she made him move here (this is my main bone of contention) On top of all of this, there’s a 10 year age difference, she’s older and has a child from a previous marriage.  It’s a constant struggle for her to deal with his behaviour and so, she vents to me, and like Carrie, I sit and listen.

They separated last year — but again — missed each other and reconciled. When they separated for the 3rd time this past spring, it seemed final and her venting went into greater detail. She had compiled a list of his “bad traits”, of the chronic issues and when she read it to me it – honestly – made me cry.

It was shocking.  Maddening and sad to hear how he’d treated her.

And so I said IT.  “This isn’t healthy for you and I think you can do SO much better than him”

Flash forward to this past summer and well, they are back together and now our friendship is different. It’s changed. There’s an awkwardness. I’m afraid it will never be the same. I love my friend, and support her decision, but I don’t want to hear about “how he’s changed” and how “it’s different this time”. 

I don’t believe it – I just don’t. I can’t seem to forget “the list”.

Again, this is one of my best friends – so – what the hell am I to do?  Regret having told her my perspective? Should I have kept my mouth shut? Is it my duty to “drop it” and buy in, let her enjoy this happy time they’ve rediscovered?

Am I bad friend if I don’t speak up?

Can anyone really know the dynamics of a marriage based on just one side of the story?

Of course not.

It’s tough, however, to ignore what I know, what she’s told me: The good, the bad and the ugly.

Doesn’t letting go, giving in and ignoring “the ugly” make you a bad friend? SHE who wrote the list, SHE read it to me. Should I have just listened and kept my advice to myself?

I believe in good, strong, friendships where you say the truth to each other, even if it is tough to stomach.

Because right now, I feel like I’ve lost a friend over saying what I thought.

Samantha was right I think.

Image: Shayna Kerri

Image: Shayna Kerri

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5 Comments

  • Reply Wendy Beckett October 1, 2016 at 8:49 am

    The truth is the truth and no-one changes that much……you were right to encourage your friend to part with him.

  • Reply Robyn Brown October 1, 2016 at 9:21 am

    I would definitely tell the truth, very often not saying anything can lead to dire consequences, far worse than a strained friendship…true friends value each others opinions.

  • Reply Anne October 1, 2016 at 9:28 am

    I’ve been in the same situation. She doesn’t tell me those things anymore. I’m happy to not hear them. It’s just one of those things we don’t talk about. Sometimes friendships thrive with boundaries. 😉

  • Reply Jess October 1, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I’ve seen friends with significant others who have not been the best for them. Those friends can do better, deserve better. A couple of times I’ve said things, and it’s either ended the friendship (I backed out of being a Maid of Honour once), or put a serious strain on it going forward. That being said, none of those relationships lasted for those friends. They eventually broke up with their guys. The couple of times I haven’t said anything, the friendship obviously maintained well, but it hurts me to believe that my friend may be suffering and not living their best life since at least one of those friends is still with that person.

    I had a ‘friend’ who was hit on by my boyfriend at the time. She turned him down…but never told me. Eventually we broke up (thank god) but come on! She could have saved me a year of a struggling painful relationship by being an honest, caring, GOOD friend. Tell me I’m worth more and that I’m not being treated well.

    I love friendships where anything can be said. When friends understand that the other just has their best interests at heart. Perhaps not taking things so personally and understanding that the friend sees something from the outside of the relationship and just wants you to be happy and fulfilled.

  • Reply Simon October 11, 2016 at 9:44 am

    I’m going through the same situation and it’s probably the toughest thing I’ve dealt with, because there is no right answer. As much as you want to be there for your friend, you also have to do what you think is best so it doesn’t eat you up. Personally, I decided to say something, as quote goes “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.

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