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His former friend with benefits

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  February 7, 2011 08:50 AM

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Q: Dear Love Letters,

I need help!

My husband and I were married, then divorced, and have been re-married for six years. During our time apart, he lost his license. He then began hanging out with one of his sister's female friends, who became his chauffeur. Well, one thing led to another and they became friends with benefits. They decided not to pursue a relationship. The problem is, years later, this girl attends every family event hosted by my sister-in-law. She is referred to as "Auntie." I am not jealous -- actually, this girl is unattractive and very loud. The problem is, we are invited to her surprise birthday party. I definitely will not be attending -- it is bad enough that I have to spend time with her at family functions. She is not related to me nor is she my friend. My question is, am I wrong for asking my husband to not attend?

– Don't Want Her Around, Boston


A: This one's tricky, DWHA, because your husband's relationship with Auntie is really about his relationship with his own sister. He's not inviting Auntie to your house for family meals. He's not proud that he knows Auntie. He's seeing Auntie when he sees his sis -- and Auntie seems to be a big part of his sis's life.

My advice is to sit down with your husband and pose this question: "What's the best way for us to deal with Auntie without alienating your sister/family or making me feel awful?" Maybe the answer is to attend parties like this one but to leave within 45 minutes. Maybe the answer is for both of you to skip these events and tell his sister why. Maybe the answer is for your husband to go to these parties for a bit and then meet you after for a great dinner.

Just know that there's no perfect answer. It would be great if his sister approached you and said, "Feel free to skip these parties. I don't want anyone to be uncomfortable." But she's not going to do that. She loves Auntie. And your husband wants to be present for his sibling.

You just have to get through these events with temporary solutions. That's the best you can do. There's one annoying person at every party. There's always someone from the past who shows up to haunt relationships. Don't make it a fight. Take a deep breath and deal with it together, one party at a time.

Readers? Am I wrong? Should he have to skip the party? Does the LW have the right to be upset about Auntie? Are we concerned about the husband's loss of license and the fact that he was using Auntie for rides? Thoughts? Discuss.


– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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