Caroline Moss is an author and host of the podcast "Gee Thanks, Just Bought It," which helps people find the products they need to make life easier, better and more productive. Now with this column, "Asking for a Friend," she's helping people with the advice they need to make life easier, better and more productive. To submit a question, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My best friend's wife sucks (note: they are both women). Ever since they met and started dating, I have gotten the worst vibes whenever Alison* (not her real name) is around. I just don't get her. I think her energy sucks, and she's kind of rude and controlling in terms of plans and decisions. It seems like she's always calling the shots on things like restaurant plans, where they're going to live, vacations, the car they buy, etc. My BFF doesn't see this, and I've only tried broaching the topic once when they got in a big fight and I assumed maybe it would be relationship-ending (it was not).
I don't think it's abusive, but I also don't think my friend gets everything she deserves from her wife, and that's hard to sit with. When Alison's behavior ever gets in the way of anything in the larger social circle we’re all in, my friend has endless amounts of excuses for why. But it's all the time, and it's definitely hurting our friendship because I am not that great at pretending to like Alison anymore.
IDK what to do. Is there anything to do?
I miss my BFF
Hi BFF misser,
Ah, well, that sucks. The best thing in the world is meeting your BFF’s partner and immediately loving them. There's nothing better than seeing someone so close to you in a relationship of which you approve, and one that makes sense to you. You clearly love your friend, and you have high expectations and standards for the kind of woman she would marry. Unfortunately, Alison does not meet the standards or expectations you have set. That is disappointing for sure. You are allowed to — silently — think that your friend could do better than Alison. You are also allowed to not like Alison. Your BFF’s wife does not have to be your BFF. Would it be easier if you loved Alison as much as you loved your BFF, and the three of you could hang out all of the time and be BFFs together? Um, yes. But, sorry, this is not your reality.
"Your BFF’s wife does not have to be your BFF."
It sounds to me like you are grappling with a few things: wanting the best for your friend, but also realizing that you guys seem to have totally different ideas about what you want your marriages to look like. For your friend, she may love being with someone who is so decisive about restaurant plans. The car they drive may not be a big deal to her. You say “my BFF doesn’t see this,” but maybe she just doesn’t have a problem with the things that would ultimately be red flags for you. It’s possible she likes all of Alison’s decisions, even if that feels impossible to you. This type of partnership wouldn't work with your personality, and maybe you’re surprised that someone you are so close to can have a vastly different vision about what constitutes a loving and committed spouse.
If the relationship is not abusive, and you intimated that it was not (for a reason, I am sure), then unfortunately you need to take a deep breath and be supportive. Unless your friend is the one asking for help to get out of her marriage or she’s bringing these problems to you and asking for help, your opinion on the inner workings of their relationship is frankly none of your business. If you were to present this to your friend, even in the context of caring about her and wanting the best for her, I imagine it wouldn't end well. It would be unfair to make your friend think she had to choose between you and her wife. Also, you need to know it would be very unlikely that you would be the one she chooses. They are married.
I think you would do well to practice your poker face, but also try to set up more 1:1 time with your BFF that doesn’t include Alison. It’s OK to not want every single hang with your friend to include her spouse. When Alison is around, do your best to not let her get to you or make yourself scarce if you don’t think you can fake it. After all, you’re not the one who is married to her — you can take comfort in that!
Have a question for Caroline? Email us at email@example.com.