I recently reconnected with a childhood friend who’s fun, warm, and a good guy.
But he complains a lot - about his wife, his kids, his life.
I wouldn’t mind listening and giving helpful advice, except his complaints come from the choices he’s made himself.
He complains that his wife doesn’t work, cook, or do much with the kids. But when he wooed her, he said she’d never have to work again (he’s in his father’s very successful business).
He now says she’s highly pampered and boring.
He complains that his children are spoiled, yet takes them skiing in Europe, to New York for concerts, etc.
He doesn’t have to work much, so also complains that he’s bored.
I work hard to put food on our table. My wife also works, does all the cooking and laundry, and takes our children to all their activities.
We can afford the basics, but haven’t been on vacation since the youngest was born, five years ago.
How can I respond to the complaints of a spoiled rich-kid?
Richie Rich’s BF
As an old friend, you have an opportunity to speak up, as in, “hey, you can change some of those things you complain about, if you really want to.”
“And the easiest one to change is your own boredom.”
Point out that he’s extremely lucky to be able to immerse himself in a project that engages him and brings value to others, as well as his own life.
Examples: a project improving an environmental problem, a charity for an underfunded health issue, an education fund that gives scholarships to deserving students who can’t afford the fees, etc.
If nothing catches his interest and he still complains, two choices for you: 1) spend limited time together, doing an activity that allows less time for his whining; 2) distance yourself.
My husband’s parents are in the middle of a divorce and their split is bitter and ugly.
Until now, they’d both been lovely grandparents to our children.
Lately, they’re calling us independently of each other, asking for outings and sleepovers with the children.
I feel and fear that they’re using our children as pawns in their ugly games of competing against each other.
They used to sometimes pick the kids up from school as a special treat.
Now I worry they may try to pick them up, not to hurt them, but as part of these new one-upmanship games.
To protect my children, I feel I have to put them on a no-admittance list at school.
What are your thoughts?
If your children are young, the school should have a policy (and you can reinforce it if they’re lax) that only parents and/or a named babysitter, can pick them up from school unless you’ve called ahead to permit someone else.
If they’re older, they can be told by you that at this time, if their grandparents show up unexpectedly, that they’re to wait for you or call home.
Explain to the school that the grandparent situation is currently unstable.
Tell your children gently that their grandparents are dealing with some problems and it’s best that you only see them when you and/or their father are around.
Since you don’t mention any fear of extreme and dangerous behaviour, such as kidnapping or actually harming the children (neither of which would accomplish anything positive in their personal battles with each other), your worries for your children are hopefully exaggerated.
But keep a watch on their behaviour.
Recently, I experienced a first outbreak of an STI (sexually transmitted infection). I didn’t have symptoms before my last relationship, which was abusive.
I haven’t dated anyone else since.
The source can only be my abusive ex, especially as I notified a couple of ex-boyfriends before him and neither have symptoms (they were sympathetic and concerned for my health).
Do I have to expose myself to more abuse by notifying my ex? I’m sure he’ll not react in a mature or non-retaliatory fashion. Should I break my No Contact rule for this reason?
Talk to your doctor, who can provide a letter with this information, so you can mail it as official notice without calling or emailing personally.
Also, talking to your physician may help you decide.
Though you owe an abuser no kindness, the information may mean that he’ll get treated and not infect other innocent partners.
At least you’ll have tried to help them.
Tip of the day:
A complaining friend needs a reality check about his extreme good fortune.