Every person out there has suffered through a close friend's boyfriend or girlfriend that they couldn't stand. It's a fact of life. Sometimes spending time with them is avoidable, and sometimes it's not. You have to invite a significant other to almost everything, especially if they live together. It's the rules. At least at the beginning.
Some couples are easier to hang out with because they each have their own lives and friends, so they do things separately and together. He lucks out because she has her own life too, so she doesn't want to play in his fantasy football league or party-crash Wednesday poker night. Most men hear that we're doing a ladies' night at home and don't want to be anywhere in the vicinity. They understand they aren't invited even if the party is at their own house because, by definition alone, they don't qualify.
I had a very close girlfriend who married a guy that none of the rest of us were overly-thrilled about. That said, she's suffered chronically from PMS -- Poor Mate Selection -- for most of her life, so the fact that this guy had a good job, was single and had no illegitimate children scored him big points even though he was annoying and had bad manners. All things considered, he was one of the best guys she'd ever dated. Except that he was ALWAYS there from the minute they moved in together.
He worked from home, and whenever any of the girls went over to hang out with her, he would join us. Every time. There was no more alone time with her. And I honestly don't believe it was a control thing -- I think he's just a clueless moron who doesn't get that he's not the most interesting thing going on in the room all the time. So at first, we played along and humored him because we figured he could be taught. We were wrong.
Those of us who are married or living with someone enjoy the all-girls factor of "Ladies Night" and, over time, having him around was the ultimate buzz kill. You can't talk about girl problems with a man sitting there. You don't want to, even if he's happy to listen. It wasn't fun when he was there, and we felt badly when we caught ourselves getting together behind her back to avoid him. It was only a matter of time before we'd get caught. So we had a pow-wow about it and decided to have the next girls' night at my house and confront her together. Just explain that we like him, but we miss alone-time with her. Sounds like a good plan, right? Except she brought him with her. Without warning us, of course.
It was the final straw for a couple of girls -- one single woman who had reached her limit simply faked an emergency work email and left three minutes after she arrived. The rest of us pouted and tried to ignore him. Screw being polite at this point. See, this man isn't easy to ignore. He MUST be the center of attention, and when he thinks our subject matter is lame, he says so. And he's no shrinking violet, so having him there is about as much fun as inviting your Southern Baptist aunt to your naughty lingerie bridal shower.
The night was ruined and obviously we weren't going to be able to have "the talk" with her -- and since neither one of them are terribly smart, they didn't realize they were the elephant in the middle of the room. He bitched about the beverage options (dude, who cares what you drink -- you weren't supposed to be here) and the food (we'd all made cute little appetizers to munch on while we drank our champagne cocktails with floating raspberries and he wanted dinner). It was a girly night because there weren't supposed to be ANY men there. We were wearing sweats and ponytails.
This guy changed our music without asking, and when the conversation got serious about a problem one woman was having and he got bored, he got down on the floor and started wrestling with my dog in a really loud and distracting manner. As my father would have said, he was "rude, crude and socially unacceptable." Nobody could really talk. Nobody had fun. And so, the night ended early.
Everybody went home complaining to their own boyfriends and husbands about the party-crashing boyfriend and, surprisingly, most of them were pissed this guy was hanging out with us if they weren't invited. Not mad at their wives for not bringing them, but mad at him for thinking the "no-men" rule didn't apply to him. Remember, all our partners had been good about finding something else to do when girls' night in was hosted at their homes. This guy was actually party-crashing by showing up at another guy's house on a night when the guy who lived there had been told to skedaddle. No bueno.
While the new guy's behavior did not go over well with the other men in our group, nobody really wanted to rock the boat and cause a rift in our friendships over something so stupid and obvious. The guy was an idiot, but he was still better than any guy she'd ever dated, so we stayed quiet. Until the next co-ed gathering when he had the nerve to bring up something he'd overheard at girls' night in front of everyone -- one couples' IVF progress. Ay dios mio.
In truth, probably everyone there knew that couple was going through fertility treatments -- but it's NEVER OK to ask about it in public. I mean, really? REALLY??? In this case, the clueless bastard did more damage than he could have imagined because the couple trying had just found out the IVF had failed again, and they couldn't afford to keep at it. When she burst into tears and ran for the door, two girlfriends followed her while her husband scowled and went to get their coats without saying anything to Mr. Big Mouth, who was standing there with a look on his face like "what did I do?"
Our friend's husband said quick goodbyes to everyone in sotto voice and tried to pass by Mr. Offensive without any contact, but that guy just couldn't get the hint.
"Look, I'm sorry IF I said something I shouldn't have... I thought we all knew about it," he put his hand on the angry man's upper arm. He was lucky he didn't get punched -- by anyone in the room at that point -- but all my friend's husband did was pull away violently and snarl at him.
"The girls are right -- you are an a*shole."
There was an awkward silence in the room for about 30 seconds before everybody started picking up glasses to put in the sink and gathering their belongings together. A fun night was ruined, there was no saving it, and two people we all loved had been emotionally distraught when they left. I didn't have the slightest idea of what to do and nobody else brought it up. Of course they were the last to leave, prolonging the torture.
The very next day, several of us went over to see her when she mentioned he would be out at a hockey game. Call it what you like -- ambush, intervention, reality check -- but it had to be done. Immediately. She was devastated to find out two of her friends wanted nothing more to do with her if she was with him, ever again. And they were serious. I wasn't nearly as harsh because, honestly, I was still reeling from the awfulness of her last two serious boyfriends (admitting to myself that this one could possibly be worse wasn't something I was willing to do, yet). But I took up for the friends who had been humiliated the previous evening and made it clear that if she couldn't explain the definition of "girls' night" to him, I'd be happy to do it for her.
Truth is, he didn't get it, and she didn't rejoin our gatherings until after they were married. I'd like to say he's become less offensive over the years, but really, everybody has simply learned to tune him out. Sometimes when we all get together they aren't invited. And over the years, she's stopped asking why and creating awkward situations. They spend more time with his friends because those people actually like her husband. She knows we still love her, but we don't hide the fact that most of us can't stand him.
It isn't the best solution, but it works so far. And since every one of us knows some couple they'd prefer to avoid half of, you know how hard that can be on a friendship. At the end of day, none of us married him and we don't have to go home with him. But it was what she wanted and we try to support her life choices. We just choose not to interact with him ourselves -- and that's one of our life choices.
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!