Etiquette Questions, Answered: Social Situations
Should I Let the Wife of Friends Who Are Divorcing Stay at My Home?
Q. My husband and I are friends with a couple who are divorcing. The wife moved out of their home and asked if she could stay
with us. Should we let her?
A. Uh-oh. You are on the verge of being dragged into the middle of someone else’s acrimonious battle. Is that really where you want to be?
If you allow the wife to bunk at your home, there is virtually no chance that the husband will see your action as neutral. He will be annoyed and may even feel betrayed by you. Depending on his personality, he could turn cold and unpleasant, chew you out, cut off your friendship—or, in what I would consider a worst-case scenario, become so enraged that he ends up standing at the foot of your driveway at 2 A.M., yelling up at darkened bedroom windows.
Instead, tell the wife—and the husband, when you have the opportunity—that you are uncomfortable getting directly involved. Say to each of them: “My husband and I are so sorry for what both of you are going through, and we’re here to give you any emotional support that you need. But we value the friendship enough not to compromise it by taking sides.” If they haven’t lost all of their perspective during the divorce battle, they will understand
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