Monday, November 22, 2010

My Friend's Evil Ex is Back and I Trashed Him!

Dear Grace:

When my friend finally separated from her awful, verbally abusive husband of 15 years, I took the opportunity to tell her just what I thought of him--having held my tongue until then. Big mistake. Several months later they reconciled, and now I am feeling awkward about having shared my (unsolicited) opinion. Any thoughts?

Grace Says:

Ah, other people's relationships...

We want to be completely supportive during a friend's break-up (pouring wine, handing over tissues, supplying vats of Ben & Jerry's, lending an ear for rants against the evil ex), and we want to be as accepting and inclusive of our friends' partners as we possible can be. If only the world were perfect, alas.

I suggest going on as if you never made the comments. If she brings it up, try, "Yes, I was harsh, but he hurt you, you were very, very sad, and I wasn't pleased with him at that moment. As long as you're happy with him, he's good in my book. You know I’m here for you no matter what." (The last bit leaves the door open for her when the inevitable next time occurs.)

When friends rant about their evil exes or current cads: Listen, nod, hug, provide the ice cream, even agree, "That was a rotten thing for him to do!", but try to refrain from calling the jerk a jerk, or indulging in rants of your own. Reconciliations happen.

In the throes of heartbreak (or reconciliation) your friend may not appreciate the humor in the following spoof, but after a week of shoveling ice cream into her sad self, picking up her used Kleenex, or clenching your jaw over her decision to reunite with Captain Creep, you might:

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