Do I tell my best friend that I’m in love with his girlfriend? Should I share my liberal beliefs with my conservative in-laws? How do I tell my wife I don’t like the music she listens to?
I am in the middle of a situation that you’ve probably heard a million times. I am totally in love with my best friend’s girlfriend. Cliché, right? I’m in my late 20s and I’ve known my best friend since I was a little kid. A couple of years ago he introduced me to his new girlfriend. She seemed fine. Since then, though, they’ve had their share of ups and downs and when they’re in the middle of one of the downs, I’m the one they confide in or vent to. At first, I felt like I could be supportive of them both and not try to fix it, just listen. Getting to know her this way, though, I have fallen for her hard. And now I don’t feel like I can be supportive and if I’m totally honest, I find myself trying to say things I think she wants to hear to make myself look like the guy she wishes my buddy was. I’m so conflicted, sometimes feeling terribly guilty and other times not being able to wait to be the one who can run to the rescue. She’s never led me to believe I’m anything more than a friend to her, and I think they’d probably both be shocked if I revealed how I felt. But I don’t think I can continue to do this. I’m so confused. Do I let her know how I feel, not expecting her to leave him to be together, but just so she knows? I don’t know what to do. I need advice.
It’s easy to do the honorable thing when doing so gets you what you want. It’s infinitely harder when it leads directly to what you don’t want. But that’s what you have to do, and the honorable thing is pretty clear: you can’t hit on your best friend’s girlfriend, and you can’t keep letting yourself be their shoulder to cry on now that your motives are not what’s best for them. Next time this happens, tell him or her that you consider both of them friends and you feel like you’re kind of getting caught in the middle. Don’t get drawn in. Should they break up, I think it’s okay to tell her how you feel after a little time has passed, but it would be unrealistic to think the two of you can be together without undermining your friendship with your buddy. Only you can decide if that’s worth it.
We’re all taught it’s good to express our feelings, and it usually is. This isn’t one of those times. That’s painful, but it’s also right.
I have been married for two years. My marriage is fine; the problem is my in-laws. My husband’s family is very traditional and conservative – extremely so. When we go to visit them (a couple of times a year; they live several hours’ drive away) I have to brace myself for some of the opinions they are not shy about sharing. Opinions about women, gays, popular culture, current events, and anything else they find morally offensive, which is just about everything! (As background, they were not happy about our engagement and they wanted my husband to marry someone “religious,” as they said, but to be fair, they have accepted me and seem to try to make me feel welcome when we’re there.) The problem is that I have equally strong feelings in opposition to many of the things they say. I feel like I am betraying my most deeply held beliefs when I don’t respond, but at the same time, if I were to do so, visits would be nothing but one long heated argument. Not fun. What should I do?
Tired Of Biting My Tongue
It can be hard to strike a balance between being a polite houseguest and letting offensive comments go without a response. Obviously, your in-laws have a right to express their opinions, and they are doing so in their own home. Without knowing exactly what it is they say that sets you off, I think there are a few things you might do: you could establish a mental line regarding which comments you can ignore and which demand a response. I don’t think you should be rude, but you could certainly challenge them: “What’s wrong with people loving whomever they want to love? What concern is that of yours?” It can’t develop into an argument if you don’t engage, so you can say what you have to say and move on. You’re not going to change what they think anyway.
Another option is for your husband to get involved. Where’s he in all this? What’s his relationship with his parents like? If possible, perhaps he could tell them that you all have very different opinions about a lot of things and it would be nice if you could agree to disagree and they could forego the barrage of provocative comments. Obviously, I have no idea if that will help the situation, but it might be worth a try.
The third possibility? Just stay home. Let your husband visit them by himself if he wants to. You have no obligation to visit people whose views you find offensive. I would try the other options first, though.
My wife and I have never agreed on music. We both think the other likes crap, to be blunt. Over the course of our marriage, this has been expressed through a lot of good-natured teasing, not hostility. It has not been the least bit of a big deal, although we are both really into the kinds of music we like. But now it has become a problem, albeit a minor one, because we have a young daughter who’s seven and the only music my wife listens to is top forty radio, I guess you’d call it. And she listens to it with my daughter all the time. Needless to say, my daughter likes it. The music is very kid-friendly. But the lyrics are definitely not. It really bugs me when I find out my little girl knows all the words to songs that strike me as instructions for how to be a pregnant high-school dropout. I’ve tried talking to my wife about it, but she thinks it’s no big deal. Suddenly, I realize what was never a problem may be becoming one. What do you think about this? Not the big deal I’m making it out to be, or what?
Good Music Lover
Dear Good Music Lover,
It would be nice if your wife took your concerns seriously, but it sounds like she won’t, and turning this into a recurring battle would be worse for your daughter than the music she’s being subjected to. Fortunately, you and your example will have a far more profound effect on her development than the things she’s hearing on the radio. Since she’s hearing (if not understanding) these things, talk to her about them in a way that’s appropriate for her age. Explain why you don’t like the way girls are talked about in a particular song, or why you don’t think the man who’s singing sounds very nice – whatever your objections are. Those are the lessons that will stay with her as she grows.
Originally appeared at GoLocalProv.com.