My husband has a friend from secondary school days and his wife and I developed a friendship. The four of us have gone to dinner, travelled together and obviously visited each other’s home. I have always thought the man seemed a little sharp so I don’t like my husband going out with him without us wives there. Anyway, recently the lady confided in me that her husband cheated on her at least three times that she knows of and actually raised his hand to her when she pulled his phone to check it. She asked to stay by us for a few days to figure things out and I told her yes, but my husband is saying no because he doesn’t want to get involved. I think he is being selfish and inconsiderate and I am wondering if he is really on the wife’s side or if he is supporting the husband. Should I let her come anyway because I’m too embarrassed to tell her he said no and now I’m wondering about him?
This has to be a tough situation to be in – wanting to help a friend but, at the same time, not wanting to have that help cause tension in your home. I don’t think you should automatically assume that your husband’s reluctance to have the friend’s wife stay there is a sign that he is not loyal. Maybe he genuinely does not want to get involved in a situation that could have multiple layers and get complicated. Maybe he does not want to take any sides and so staying uninvolved seems like the safer thing to him.
Communication between you and your husband is important. Let him know what your concerns are and why you think it is best to support her by letting her stay over. You also have to listen to his perspective as to why he does not think it is best, because communication is a two-way street.
You also have to remember that you are only hearing one side of the story. By bringing her in, it might be sending the message to the husband that you and your husband are taking sides; that could have an impact on both households and the long-standing relationship of these men. How do you think that will make him feel, considering that they are friends?
You also do not want to strain your relationship with your husband. So see under what circumstances he would be comfortable letting her stay. Maybe he would want to give the husband a head’s up but that should only be done with the wife’s consent.
If he eventually agrees to let her stay, please make the boundaries clear that it is just to provide a safe place for her to figure out what she wants and you and your husband are not getting involved or taking sides.
Encourage her to consider utilising a mediator or a counsellor with her husband to iron out these issues. Taking a break is helpful, but it is certainly not a long-term solution. She deserves to feel safe and not feel physically, mentally or emotionally threatened.
There is also the option of asking her if she has a sister or another friend who is not connected to her husband who she can stay with. That’s also an alternative that would not impact the men’s friendship, unless of course the man was really misbehaving and your husband was able to consciously ask him what’s going on and, if necessary, call him out on his behaviour. Yes, her safety is of utmost importance but we have to examine all factors.
The situation is challenging but communication and compassion are needed. We don’t want in your haste to help another marriage, you end up causing problems in yours. So the ideal thing is to help her as much as possible, with your husband’s support and in a way that does not affect the men’s friendship.