Advice Column: Response to Newly Married and Confused

Dear Hailey,

My husband has a friend who is very sheltered and comes off as judgmental at times. My parents divorced when I was younger and did not grow up rich but was not poor either. This friend often comments on where I grew up in a negative way. He recently sent my husband an article about the negative impact of divorce upon children and upon children when they grow into adults. There were many impacts listed (most negative), one which stood out to me being how divorce can have a negative impact upon the child’s own marriage when they grow into an adult.

The friend wanted to share this information with my husband and said that he thought that my husband could share it with me if my husband “deemed it appropriate.” I thought this was very random and out of line. This is a very personal issue for me, and happened over fifteen years ago. How do you think I best respond to this and what do you think the intention was behind sending this? (I do not see anything positive coming out of sending this other than pointing out how I could have been negatively affected from my parent’s divorce and brought that into my own marriage). My husband and I are newlyweds.

Sincerely,

Newly Married and Confused

Dear Newly Married,

I agree with your statement that your husband’s friend’s actions were both random and out of line.

It’s hard to imagine that his intentions were good with sending that article, and difficult to determine what he was trying to accomplish with that action. It is honestly very bizarre. The divorce of one’s parents as a child is a traumatic enough event without having it used as ammo against you later in your life. It’s highly inappropriate, and I’m sorry that it happened.

There is no way to know exactly what your husband’s friend was thinking. A few thoughts though…

1. You mentioned him growing up sheltered. Often people who grow up sheltered are very entrenched in their own view points, and don’t consider the feelings of others when it comes to issues that they perceive as moral. I have worked with people who feel that way, and they had similarly inappropriate behavior such as shaming unmarried pregnant women, condemning people for not attending church, etc. This certainly does not make it ok, but it is one possible explanation.

2. Your husband’s friend could have a disability that makes it difficult for him to evaluate what information is appropriate to share. Individuals with autism for example, struggle to filter their conversations and communicate appropriately.

3. He might miss the time that he was able to spend with your husband before you were married, and he is actively trying to undermine your marriage in order to reclaim that time.

There is no way to know his motivation, and there are other possible explanations. What matters the most is how you and your husband handle this issue together. This is something that you do not need to respond to on your own. Make it clear to your husband that this behavior is incredibly hurtful. It needs to be made clear to the friend that his judgment on this issue (and all issues) is inappropriate, and unwelcome.

I wish you luck,

Hailey

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