Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Friend Became a Liberal and Now Refuses to Talk to Me”

I’ve been very close friends with both “Molly” and “Sarah” for over fifteen years. Sarah is married to Molly’s brother, so they are both friends and sisters-in-law. We are very close to each other and with each others’ families. About two years ago, Molly moved away to a major city and became extremely liberal, which is fine. I was happy that she was growing as a person and finding her own way in life. However, our friendship began to be strained around the 2016 election. We have very different political views, which I am totally OK with but Molly is not. She stopped speaking to me the day of President Trump’s inauguration, but then she reached out to me a month later to apologize. I accepted her apology, and we acted as though nothing had happened.

Everything came to a head last August, though, after the Charlottesville riots. She and I had extremely different opinions on the situation. We did not get into an argument about it; we simply debated back and forth. A few days later Molly texted me that she no longer could be my friend because we share a “different morality” and she believes I am a racist, bigot, and Nazi sympathizer (which I am not). She refused to talk with me further about the situation. She wrote me off instantly, blocked my number, and blocked me on social media. Sarah told me she didn’t want to be in the middle of it because both Molly and I are her best friends. Sarah and I have remained close friends since the incident.

Molly recently came home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was told by Sarah I could not visit her home during that time because Molly refuses to be near me, which I can understand because it would be have been uncomfortable for everyone involved.

Here is the issue I’m having: Sarah is due to have a baby in the next few months and I assume Molly will be in town for the birth because the baby will be her nephew. I refuse to be told I can’t visit Sarah at the hospital because it makes Molly uncomfortable. Sarah and I have not had a conversation about this because I don’t even know how to bring it up. I don’t have a problem at all with Molly. She’s the one who ended our friendship. I can be an adult about it and be around Molly for the birth of the baby, but I doubt she’s willing to do the same for me.

Sarah is one of the only people in this world that I care for and I know she would want me to be there for the birth of her first son. What should I do about this? Should I put my own feelings aside and be the bigger person for the sake of Sarah and her family, or should I tell Molly to figure out a way to deal with my presence?

​I would really appreciate your input.​ — Desperate to Be Included

You’re making a lot of assumptions about the birth of Sarah’s baby — who will be invited to the hospital, whether Sarah would want you (or anyone!) there, whether you will be welcome or not — without anything at all being communicated to you. You are deciding that you “refuse to be told you can’t visit Sarah at the hospital,” when: a) no one has told you you can’t visit Sarah in the hospital, and b) someone else’s labor and delivery isn’t about you. If you are, in fact, told you can’t visit Sarah in the hospital, the best way to support your best friend — a person you say is one of the few people in this world you actually care about, is to let her know that you understand and would love to meet her new baby whenever it is convenient and comfortable for her.

Having a baby is physically and emotionally exhausting. It’s very possible Sarah will not want anyone at the hospital but her husband and maybe immediate family. It’s a given that she will not want drama, and whether you like it or not: you + Molly = drama. Why invite that drama into the hospital? Seriously, why? Because you can’t wait a few days to meet the baby? Because you think Sarah won’t know how much you care about her if you don’t force yourself into the hospital as soon as you possibly can? Because Molly won’t know you’re Sarah’s favorite if she doesn’t choose you to be there over her? Come on, grow up. This is not about you. I don’t say that because my political leanings differ from yours; I say it because it’s true and I’d say it to Molly, too. Sarah’s labor is not about either of you so cut the damn shit.

You want to be a great friend? You want to let Sarah know how much you care about her? Ease the potential anxiety she might be feeling at the thought of you and Molly fighting over who gets to be at the hospital to support her and say: “Sarah, I’m so excited for you to become a mom, and I cannot WAIT to meet your baby! I would love to visit you at the hospital, but for any reason if that isn’t best for you, I will understand and hope to be among the first to visit you and baby when you get home. Please let me know if there’s anything specific I can do to support you in these final weeks of your pregnancy.”

If you “refuse” to make that message clear, because you “refuse” to be told you can’t visit Sarah in the hospital because you “refuse” to accept that someone else’s needs might be more important than yours for whatever reason — even if that need is for Sarah to have peace in the hospital because she just gave birth and she doesn’t want to deal with drama, even if said potential drama isn’t your “fault” — then you’re being asshole. I would say that to someone who didn’t vote for Trump, too, and who didn’t believe that those young men marching in Charlottesville in August with tiki torches yelling “Blood and Soil” and “Heil Hitler” were anything other than Neo Nazi terrorists.

“Winning” isn’t always worth it, friendships often have expiration dates (and realizing you do not share a similar moral compass or world view is as good a reason as any to move on from a friendship), and the best way to support someone isn’t always what is most fun or convenient or satisfying for you. And since this is unlikely to be the last time you feel competitive with Molly over your friendship with Sarah, the faster you accept that there will be occasions when Molly’s role as family trumps (no pun intended) your role as best friend, and that any exclusion that may result is not a reflection of your prominence in Sarah’s life or heart, the better off you, and everyone else, will be.

I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for three years. We’ve been living together for about a year. I have a 9-year-old daughter who lives with us fifty percent of the time (and the other time with her father). My boyfriend is an only child, is eight years my senior, has never been married, and has no children of his own.

In the last few months, I feel like our relationship has begun falling apart. He quit his job back in July to pursue a business, and the added financial and career-related stresses are not helping. I am trying to be as supportive as I can, but over the last couple months I’ve noticed increasing co-dependency and selfishness on his part. For example, he will ask me to get him something or lend him a hand when he is perfectly capable of executing said task on his own. Yesterday he called out to me from another room to get the razor he left on the counter while in the shower, a literal arms-reach away.

From a selfishness perspective, he cannot seem to help me out without direction. And when I do give direction, he half listens. He also seems to fail at taking initiative to help me. Take last week, for example: We were leaving for Christmas out of town (driving) and several things needed to be done. I asked him to get dog food for our sitter and he failed to do so. Then he left it on me to decide what to do when we had to go and we had no dog food around. He sat on the couch while I gathered the things to put in the car. Then, while we got to our first stop on the road and we were getting ready for bed, he helped my daughter get the pullout bed out while I brushed my teeth. I came back into the room from the bath to find my daughter lying on the bare mattress with just a pillow while he was lying in bed playing on his phone. He got pissy when I asked why he didn’t grab the linens and at least give them to her!

I’m frustrated and feel that, without help from him, I am like the train conductor of our “life train”–or his mother! I don’t know what to do. — Not His Mother

 
Well, the obvious reply is: Have you discussed with him how you’re feeling? If you have, what is his response? Does he say one thing and do another? Did he talk to you about quitting his job and “pursuing a business” or did he just do it without consulting you? It seems fishy that mere months after moving in with you — and, I assume, merging finances, or at least, merging household expenses — he took an enormous step like quitting a job to pursue a business — a step that he must have known would put some financial, if not emotional, strain on him (and, by extension, you).

Did he think moving in with you allowed him some financial freedom he didn’t have previously to quit his job? Did he talk to you about it? Are you feeling resentful about this step he took? Because I sure would be if it weren’t something I was really onboard with. Moving in with a partner — especially one who has a child who lives with her fifty percent of the time — is enough of a transition without adding such a big one on top of that so soon. It sounds like he hadn’t yet adjusted to the demands of parenthood and that perhaps you the two of you — well, three of you, really — hadn’t yet figured out what his role would be as a father-figure in the home, as evidenced by his total disregard toward your daughter in the example you used.

If you haven’t already, you need to be really clear about what role you see him playing in your household. How much help do you want with your daughter? What sorts of tasks do you expect him to take on in regards to raising her? What financial role do you expect/need/want him to play? How long are you ok with his business pursuit being a financial strain on him/ you/ the household? Really, these are all questions that should have been discussed extensively before you moved in together. With a child involved, there should have been total clarity about expectations and roles. Maybe there were and what you are describing is fairly new behavior. Maybe your boyfriend is depressed. Maybe the business venture is not going as planned and he’s worried. Maybe the way you think you’ve been supporting him isn’t the kind of support he needs.

Clearly, he is not supporting you in the way you need. You have to communicate this to him, stat. The two of you need to get on the same page immediately — like within a couple of months — or I think you need to call this cohabitation experiment finished and move on. As a mom, you don’t get the luxury of figuring things out at your leisure. Your daughter deserves a home where she is emotionally, physically, and financially supported, where she feels safe and cared for, and where roles are clearly defined and respected and relationships are not on trial. That does not sound like your home currently as you describe it.

If you feel like you’re mothering your boyfriend, that needs to change asap, and you need to focus on the child whom you are an actual mother to. She deserves better than this, and I think you do, too.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​dearwendy.com.

70 comments… add one
  • avatar

    LisforLeslie January 2, 2018, 9:30 am

    LW#1 – you’re clearly hurt that your friend sees you differently than you see yourself. Wendy’s right. This birth is not about you. You don’t get to dictate who comes and goes to that hospital and if you want to show your friend that you are a mature and caring person then just follow the terms as she lays them out. She has bigger issues to deal with than your feelings, specifically expelling a human from her body.

    LW#2 – did this guy live with a very doting mom before moving in with you? Has he ever lived alone? Maybe he wanted to move in with you because he figured life with you would be like living with Mommy again. Well fuck that shit. He’s a grown ass adult who needs to start living like one. He’s sitting on the couch while you’re getting things together? Hell no.

    Here’s the key though, and I want you to take a really good look at your own behavior: When he does something, do you criticize him for not doing it the way you would do it? Are you setting a standard that he can’t (or won’t reach)? And is he not reaching it because if he screws it up – then you’ll just take it on? Like screwing up the laundry and ruining your sweaters or not getting all the baked on stuff off of the bake wear? If that’s the case, don’t follow up behind him and make it “right”. Let him fail. Obviously, there are limits, but I’m of the mindset that if I had $10 place settings and dear partner continually broke them as a passive aggressive way to not wash dishes anymore, I’m going into our joint account and getting $50 settings because then maybe he’ll be more careful. I have no patience for people who can’t reasonably maintain a household.

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  • Portia

    Portia January 2, 2018, 10:17 am

    Yeah, I’m with Wendy on LW1 – the only person who gets to choose who visits a new mother and her baby in the hospital is the new mother. End of story.

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    • avatar

      JD January 2, 2018, 10:33 am

      It never ceases to amaze me how people assume they are coming into the delivery room. Assume no one will be there. Plus, why is it even something one wants to do so badly. You can wait 48 hours, avoid the drive to a hospital, parking fees, barely being able to even see mom or the baby as doctor are in and out. Good grief.

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      • Cleopatra Jones

        Cleopatra Jones January 2, 2018, 12:11 pm

        Not only that but the number of people who think that a new mother wants to entertain after she’s pushed a human out of her nether regions is quite staggering.

        I don’t know about anyone else but after birthing a child the last thing I wanted to do was entertain or talk to anyone. I wanted my hoo-ha back to normal, I wanted sleep, and to just relax before going home with an infant. It was sometimes exhausting to have my husband there much less friends and family.

        LW, give Sarah some time and space to deliver the child, and adjust to being a new mommy. This isn’t the time to ‘stake your claim’ to Sarah. She can still be friends with both you and Molly without a bunch of drama.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros January 2, 2018, 11:56 am

      Exactly. Saying that you *refuse* to be told by a new mom you can’t be at the hospital when they give birth is a sign of a true jerk. If she says you can’t visit, you can’t visit. I surely wouldn’t want someone that entitled at the hospital…

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark January 2, 2018, 10:44 am

    LW1). Yeah, no sympathy from me. Love to hear your intellectually brilliant take on the Nazi riots… seriously? Fuck the fuck off… And then? Go to hell
    .
    That aside, stop making your friend’s labor ALL about you. (So narcissistic! No wonder you LOVE Forrest Dump!!). Your friend has every right to NOT want to deal with YOUR vapid political drama right now. And NEWSFLASH! a sister inlaw typically “trumps” friend who needlessly stirs the pot… Then again, your friend may want NEITHER of you there. My own sister — who I am VERY close to really wanted a few days with just herself, her new baby, and her husband… And nobody in our families thought that was weird at all. We came and met the baby when they were eager for us to do so… we didn’t all barge into the hospital uninvited!!
    .
    LW2. He sounds… fucking useless. I say — he shapes up or he ships out.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph January 2, 2018, 11:10 am

      *APPLAUSE*

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    • avatar

      Jen January 2, 2018, 11:37 am

      People like you, Bittergaymark, are the reason why so many once great friendships are now over due to politics. You refuse to acknowledge that people may have different views from your own. You sound like a supreme asshole.

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      • avatar

        dinoceros January 2, 2018, 12:04 pm

        I think it’s interesting when people use the word “politics” to imply that it’s trivial. “Politics” affect actual lives. Because of politics, some people can’t afford medical care and will die. Because of politics, Nazis march around and kill someone with a car. Because of politics, there are children who are detained away from their families with no end in sight. When people differ on whether certain demographics of people should exist or not, then friendships CERTAINLY should be affected.

        Also, acknowledging people have differing views doesn’t mean you have to like them. Do people have different views? Sure. Do I want to be friends with people who think Nazis are no big deal? No, I do not.

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 January 2, 2018, 12:05 pm

        I don’t think there is a single person on this earth that should have a different view of what happened in VA than somebody else. If there is anyone who thinks what happened there was ok, and had some type of reasoning for it, then why would somebody ever want to be friends with that person. I mean they are kind of ending the friendship themselves by being ignorant to what was really happening there.

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      • Cleopatra Jones

        Cleopatra Jones January 2, 2018, 12:20 pm

        Politics is one thing. The wholesale oppression and intimidation of other ethnicities & religions in the U.S. is something altogether different.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant January 2, 2018, 12:23 pm

        I agree. I never understand people who say they have no political views or opinions. All political leanings are are the operation of your value and worldview. They are important, and everyone has to have a stance. Your political stance is who you are, what you believe in.

        While I definitely think it’s possible to be friends with people who have different values and worldviews, there are limits. There are deal-breakers. Can some people be overly strident, purists, and dicks about their political views? Sure.

        But I definitely think it’s valid to assess someone by their political views and find them to be so far from your own, so far from your own values and beliefs, that you just know there’s no common ground between you and them.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark January 2, 2018, 2:25 pm

        Jen, idiot/sweetie/darling that you are … NEWSFLASH! Anybody who both gleefully voted in the Great White Idiot AND then has the gall to coolly rationalize away the abject horror of Charlottesville was never a “great friend” to me anyway.
        .
        Far from it.
        .
        Forrest Dump’s regime is facist, evil, oh and absurdly anti-gay… people who support that? Uh, yeah. Sorry, Jen. You can all just go fuck yourselves. My patience is at an end. And you’ve done that. So pat yourself on the ass and grab your pussy in a pride. You’ve made me hate you when you could have just left me, my rights and my life the fuck alone…

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      • avatar

        anonymousse January 3, 2018, 12:29 pm

        No, people supporting literal Nazis is what ruined those friendships, and if that’s not that last straw for you, then I feel sorry for you. Also, I love how you are denigrating Mark for his views and calling him a supreme asshole for having an opposing view! Pot, meet kettle.

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    • avatar

      Cinna January 2, 2018, 4:13 pm

      Whoa! I can feel the cold waves emanating from my computer screen. It almost sounds like someone got dumped on NYE…… ☻

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  • avatar

    Hannanas January 2, 2018, 10:51 am

    LW 1 I also think you’re picking the wrong battle(field) here. I mean even if you would both be welcome , there’s no reason you’d have to go at the same damn time. I get it, it sucks that someone close chose to drop you as a friend, especially for something you may not think of as a deal breaker, but leave Sarah and her unborn baby out of this. Stop this drama, move on and find some new friends (I’d suggest Molly do the same).

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  • avatar

    for_cutie January 2, 2018, 11:14 am

    LW 1: “Sarah is one of the only people in this world that I care for” Ever think that this may actually be the problem? Maybe if you cared for more people – those you know, those you don’t know, those you may never even meet – then you wouldn’t be so desperate and clingy to your best friend. A newfound awareness of how others live, and an appreciation for those differences, might go a long way in making you happier.

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  • avatar

    va-in-ny January 2, 2018, 11:19 am

    LW1 – I’d like to think that the intent of your letter had more to do with the poor treatment you’ve felt from Molly and the strain it’s put on your relationship with Sarah and how you don’t think that is very fair….. and not about strong-arming your way into Sarah’s birth. (I hope)

    In a way, the impending birth of Sarah’s baby has likely increased the hurt you feel from Molly’s pushing you away. Either way, this is the time to show Sarah that you’re not all of those things that Molly thinks you are. Show Sarah (AND Molly) that you’re a kind and respectful friend that would be there for her exactly when and where she needs you. (really, though, it’s probably not at the hospital – there’s already enough going on there that an extra visitor is probably not needed).

    Sarah has been placed in a very bad place by her sister-in-law, and, she probably already knows this but can’t really do much to change it. Don’t add extra stress to Sarah at this time by making her play referee between you and Molly. Be kind and generous (yes, even to Molly!) and hopefully one day, you and Molly can put aside your political differences and be there for Sarah and the new baby together.

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    • courtney89

      courtney89 January 2, 2018, 12:02 pm

      THIS.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros January 2, 2018, 11:48 am

    LW1: I think you’re overthinking this and maybe assuming Sarah has less autonomy than she does. Like Wendy said, none of this has happened yet. You’re getting worked up and stewing over things that you assume other people are going to do but haven’t done yet. Wait until people actually do things to get mad at them. Also, if Sarah truly thinks it’s that important for you to be at the hospital, then she’ll tell you to come to the hospital. I think going to the hospital for a friend’s delivery is an odd hill to die on because the vast majority of people do not want their friends at the hospital. They want to give birth in peace without having to deal with guests. If she doesn’t invite you, then consider that she wants peace and quiet, not that she’s being mean to you. Maybe she doesn’t want to worry about whether you two are going to snipe at each other and maybe she doesn’t want bad vibes at the birth of her baby of two people who hate each other. Don’t assume she’s a sort of puppet that Molly is forcing to ignore you.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros January 2, 2018, 12:29 pm

      Also, since you presumably live in the same area as Sarah, I’m not sure why not being about to go to her house for a month was a big deal. I assume she can go to your house, you two can go out other places, and the other 11 months of the year, her home is open.

      I think a lot of folks on your side of the political spectrum felt a sense of relief when Trump was elected because it became less “taboo” to express certain beliefs. But there’s always consequences to expressing them. First Amendment gives you a right to say things, but not a right to expect that there will be no negative consequences to expressing something that other people don’t like.

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  • avatar

    Ron January 2, 2018, 11:49 am

    LW #1
    I can understand frightened seniors, and even people over 50, voting for Trump out of frustration or poor economic futures or inability to cope with the rate of change in our society. Even a lot of those people can look at the Nazis and KKK coming onto a peaceful college campus with the intent to disrupt and cause trouble as distasteful and object to it. That you cannot, suggests that you strongly identify with white nationalism. That is a much less common stance among those your age. It also is a particularly distasteful political position to take. Cheers for Molly for severing her relationship with you.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor January 2, 2018, 11:57 am

    Love hearing from Trump supporters whose synagogues aren’t getting surrounded by nazi parades, whose families aren’t getting deported, who aren’t living without drinking water and then getting called lazy by the president, that they don’t understand why people aren’t more respectful of their opinion.

    If nothing bad is happening to you and you don’t care about the people to whom it’s happening because they don’t look or sound like you, it’s easy to not get worked up about these things.

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    • avatar

      VeeLee January 3, 2018, 11:25 am

      Amen. #teamMolly

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 January 2, 2018, 12:15 pm

    So since my wife had our baby, I feel bad for all of my friends I have visited in the hospital when they had their children. I had no idea how hard it was. It’s a special moment, that is physically the most draining thing you can do, and 17 times harder for the mother, so having more people than you want there is just not fun at all. And that goes for the next couple of weeks at home! Even my family, after having them there for pretty much the first 72 hours, I felt I didn’t learn as much as I should have, and kicked them out, and said if we need you we will call, and they totally understood. My friends with kids did the same thing, the texted me and said let me know when you guys want visitors, we know how hard it is right away! So LW1: unless she is asking for you to be there, don’t just show up and shove your way in. Molly is family she should see this kid before you.

    Things to do: If you know her well enough, drop some food off leading up to the birth that they can just reheat. Text, and offer your services to help keep the house clean, or do laundry things like that. But this is if you don’t think she has people already doing that.

    Things not to do: Don’t get the kid a MAGA beanie, or a swastika

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph January 2, 2018, 12:45 pm

      Yeah as a fellow new parent I was thinking the same thing. My parents visited us in the hospital to meet their first grandchild, but even they didn’t stay very long.
      When I was pregnant I was a little bummed that since all our families and many close friends live out of state that nobody would be there to visit us in the hospital. But man oh man what a blessing in disguise! Having to put on clothes and put my boobs away so I could receive visitors was really too much in those first few days.

      Text after a few days and offer to come when she’s ready, and come bearing food when you do come.

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    • avatar

      Vathena January 2, 2018, 1:01 pm

      Agree. I wanted NO ONE to visit the hospital. It was me, my husband, and our baby for 4 days. I was even annoyed at all the lactation consultants and nurses and whatnot. A week later, a few friends came by the house for short visits here and there. Even that was a little stressful, because I didn’t know if I’d be in a state of undress, if the baby would scream the whole time, or blow out a diaper, or if I’d remembered to brush my teeth that day. The way to be a good friend is to NOT stress out a new parent. As SpaceySteph said, the most helpful friends bring food and don’t make demands.

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 January 2, 2018, 1:24 pm

        So I have this friend who is really bad at this. HE invited me down to another friends of ours house to meet my friends new born baby the week they had the baby, and to have dinner. I thought that maybe my friend who had the baby set this up and was ok with it. Well I got to the house before my friend who invited us down did, and asked the new dad if he invited us down, and he said no, Johnny McRocket invited you guys down and himself as well. And I have felt like shit ever since. Well the same friend who did the inviting, came to visit my wife and I in the hospital the 1st full day we were there at 7:45pm which is 15 minutes before visiting hours are over, and then also came over to my house the first week we were home, and they were appalled that nobody else had come visit yet. This is the only close friend I have left who doesn’t have kids, and I guess he just doesn’t get it, but it’s just really tough, and the baby does what it wants when it wants, there is no schedule! Well at least not at first.

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 January 2, 2018, 1:26 pm

        I still love him though, he is one of my very best friends, but with the sleep deprivation, limited food, and a baby who wouldn’t latch I had to keep all sharp objects away from my wife when they got there.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph January 3, 2018, 10:47 am

        Ugh I remember the first friend who came to visit us came after work one day. I had said earlier in the day that it was fine but go figure it was right at the first time the baby took a real nap the whole day and instead of getting to lie down I had to put on a bra and say hi.
        Its nice that people want to visit, but I prefer people who will leave food on the porch and slink off.

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    • othy

      othy January 2, 2018, 2:01 pm

      The only person I’ve ever visited at the hospital post-baby was my SIL, and this was after her direct invitation. We swung by, dropped off some flowers for her, and stayed 10 minutes before leaving. We visited her again later in the week with food in hand, and again stayed for a few minutes before leaving. With her later kids, the only times we visited in the month after her kid was born was to steal the older ones for something fun for a few hours to get them out of their parents’ hair.

      I can’t imagine visiting a friend in the hospital post baby, and I didn’t even ask when my BFF gave birth.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant January 2, 2018, 12:19 pm

    LW1 – Yeah you really need to cool your jets here on being at the hospital with Sarah until you even know what her plan is.

    And frankly, in my social circle, you DON’T go to the hospital unless you are like, husband or parents. That’s it. Everybody else meets the baby later, once you come home. I mean, I didn’t go to the hospital when my niece was born, I definitely wouldn’t expect to go when my best friend has a baby.

    So, just wait until you know whether or not Sarah wants you there, AND IF SHE DOESN’T, don’t presume it’s Molly’s fault and be graceful about it. While it may not be your “fault*” that there is now a rift between you and Molly, if you are pushy and pressure Sarah (who seems entirely faultless here), then you do become a contributor to the problem. And if Molly is a SIL, you’re gonna lose when push comes to shove.

    I know you’re probably not a fan, but remember Michelle Obama’s words: “When they go low, we go high”. Keep taking the high road, or else you’re eventually going to lose Sarah too.

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  • avatar

    CSP January 2, 2018, 12:26 pm

    LW1 – I am guessing that you don’t have a child so you might not realize how rough it is for women after birth. Each woman is different. My younger sister can be very private. She made it clear that she wasn’t telling us until after the baby was born. So we did not know when she went into labor and didn’t know the baby was even born until hours later. She was discharged from the hospital only hours before we even knew there was a baby. That was her choice. I think in sitcoms you see the people waiting in the hospital but most women I know want no part of that. You have a lifetime to get to know this baby. Don’t worry about the first 48 hours.

    Also, a big plug here. The best friends of mine, came over to my home with food and offered to help with chores. My best friends came over and threw in a load of laundry and washed bottles and loaded the dishwasher. I had friends who made frozen crock pot meals in gallon bags with instructions on the cover (see pinterest). They also would say, “I will watch the baby if you want to shower or walk the dog.” Heck, walk the dog for them. And my son is adopted so I wasn’t even recovering. These friends who came armed with muffins and dinners, these are the true friends more than who saw the baby first.

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    • Lianne

      Lianne January 2, 2018, 2:25 pm

      Yes to all of this. YES. YES, YES.

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    • avatar

      HowdyWiley January 2, 2018, 6:51 pm

      This is exactly what I did too! I’ve had three babies and no one knew besides my husband they had been born until we were home from the hospital. Hallelujah.
      I don’t understand people visiting at the hospital unless it’s immediate family, which Molly is.

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  • avatar

    Autumnrose January 2, 2018, 2:11 pm

    LW1- side note* The lecture talk about new mommies and birthing rules. Some women like visitors and some don’t. I’m certain this topic has come up between the bff and it sounds like bff has planned her to be there. Anyway, at LW1 I understand what you are saying. It sounds like the SIL is a “snowflake” who can’t handle anyone’s options but her own. She sounds childish and needs to mature a lot. I could understand the SIL if you were probably a racist etc and so forth but you cleared that up in your letter you are not. Its not fair to you that your relationship with your bff has to suffer at the hands of her SIL. That’s wrong to put the bff through this and I’m sure its very stressful on her. She doesnt want to chose between you guys and wants there to be peace but she’s going to have to grow a back bone and tell SIL to “move on”. If she doesn’t do something now than the SIL will dictate her for the rest of her life when it comes to gatherings and functions. And when you are around this ex friend, don’t talk politics. If she brings it up tell her like it is, its not worth causing more drama. I suggest asking your bff what she wants right now and how you can help support her during that time. She may be the SIL but that doesnt mean squat. Your family too if shes your best friend. This need to be squashed before that baby comes. If it doesn’t than you could end up losing a friend. I don’t think you are best rude or selfish… I think you are being an adult trying to rationalism a non rational person on how to handle future situations.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark January 2, 2018, 2:43 pm

      Claiming NOT to be racist while singing the praises of the Charlottesville riots? Oh please. Give me a fucking break.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant January 2, 2018, 2:45 pm

      Okay – great that you agree with the LW’s stance, but ultimately it’s on Sarah to decide how she wants to manage her relationships with both these women.

      If the LW pushes Sarah on it, if she tells Sarah to grow a backbone, then she becomes an equal part of the problem. If she gets into it further with Molly, she becomes an equal part of the problem.

      She really only has one choice here – remain above it all and gracious with Sarah, whatever she decides.

      Or, I suppose if she doesn’t like how Sarah is dealing with it, and thinks Sarah is picking Molly over her, I suppose she could fade out on her friendship with Sarah.

      But she’s in no position to tell Sarah what she thinks about Molly and pressure Sarah on how she thinks she should manage both friendships.

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    • avatar

      AW January 2, 2018, 2:50 pm

      It actually says right there in the letter that they haven’t talked about it. She’s assuming Sarah will want her there. And for what it’s worth, saying “I’m not a racist” actually doesn’t mean you aren’t a racist. It means you don’t identify as a racist, which is totally different. Plenty of people say “I’m not a racist,” but actually are.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph January 2, 2018, 2:57 pm

        +1. I laughed out loud at that line in the letter.

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    • Cleopatra Jones

      Cleopatra Jones January 2, 2018, 3:07 pm

      I could understand the SIL if you were probably a racist etc and so forth but you cleared that up in your letter you are not.

      L.O.F.L!
      People don’t ever self identify as racist. Even the KKK don’t label themselves as racists they identify as white nationalists.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph January 2, 2018, 3:52 pm

        Can you imagine a LW saying “She accused me of being racist (and I am but…)?” Nope!

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      • avatar

        artsygirl January 2, 2018, 11:17 pm

        David Duke actually ran a campaign video directed at POC stating that he was not a racist (and that the media made him seem like a racist) despite being a card carrying leader of the KKK

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        dinoceros January 3, 2018, 8:21 pm

        Yeah, it’s literally part of nazi/white supremacist plan to come across as more mainstream and less “hatey” so that people feel more comfortable coming on board. It’s pathetic to see how many people are falling for it. (Well, falling for it in the sense that they don’t realize they are being manipulated, not in the sense that someone is making them be racist.)

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      ele4phant January 2, 2018, 3:18 pm

      I mean…I’m trying hard not to engage in the political aspect of this problem because ultimately it comes down to what the LW can reasonably expect between her and Sarah, not her and Molly, but yes, if it was as easy as saying “I’m not racist, I’m not sexist, I’m not homophobic, I’m not whatever” we would have no more problems anymore.

      Humans are not self-aware, we do not want to claim bad traits about ourselves, even if they are true. Racism has successfully been branded as a “bad thing”, so no one willingly takes on that label, not even card carrying members of hate groups.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros January 2, 2018, 4:32 pm

      Sure, some women like visitors. If they like visitors, they will invite people to visit. The LW is straight-up saying that she refuses to be told she can’t come. You don’t get to say, “WELL, SOME WOMEN LIKE VISITORS, SO INVITE ME ANYWAY.”

      The whole “snowflake” thing is such BS. It’s OK to decide you don’t want to be friends with someone who has completely different values than you. And it’s OK for a mutual friend to say they don’t want to hang out with you both at once because it’s awkward. Writing an entire rant about how you can’t handle not being invited to a birth seems a lot more snowflakey to me.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom January 2, 2018, 4:41 pm

        It seemed snowflakey to me too. It was way too much if you can’t do exactly what you want in a situation that only involves you peripherally the other person is a snowflake. Sure.

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        ele4phant January 2, 2018, 5:04 pm

        I will NOT be told NO! I refuse to hear no! I have a god given right to be where I want, when I want, other people’s wants be damned!

        Yeah, there’s nothing self-centered or fragile about that attitude…

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    • avatar

      anonymousse January 3, 2018, 12:48 pm

      I’m so tired of hearing the word snowflake. You realize your grandparents fought and died to destroy Nazism, right? Standing up for people who are more vulnerable than you is honorable behavior. Standing up for murderers and literal Nazis is so sickening. I don’t think wishing genocide upon other races should really be put under the umbrella of “different beliefs.” If your beliefs involve genocide, no one has to respect them, sorry!

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 2, 2018, 2:14 pm

    LW1 I’m assuming you’ve never had a baby. I’ve had two so I’ll share a little bit about what happens. Sarah will probably have stitches. Whether from an episiotomy, a tear or a c-section won’t matter. They will hurt. Not just a little but constantly. They especially hurt if you move or sneeze and you have to move to take care of a baby. It hurts to sit and to stand and to walk and to lift the baby. Then there is the blood. There is blood pouring out of the body in quantities you’ve never experienced requiring lots of trips to the bathroom and every one of those trips hurts because of the stitches. If she is breastfeeding she will be learning how to do that along with the baby. It took my son and I two weeks to get good at breastfeeding. The last thing you want while trying to learn to breastfeed is an audience. The last thing you want for any of this is an audience. Unless Sarah asks you to come to the hospital you should stay away. That’s what good friends do. You also stay away from her home until she is ready for you. Don’t run by to drop something off unless she has told you to come over. Try texting so that you don’t wake them up if they are sleeping. It is the worst to finally fall asleep and have someone wake you up when you are severely sleep deprived and you can assume if they have been home a day or two they are severely sleep deprived. It is annoying to have someone wake up the baby. It is annoying to have someone feel entitled to come into your home just because they think they deserve to come in. I’d give Sarah at least two weeks before you try to go and see her unless she invites you to come sooner. Then go when asked to go.

    Before the birth tell her that you would love to meet the baby whenever she is ready for you to meet the baby. Ask her to text or call when she wants you to come over. Tell her you will understand if it ends up being weeks before she is ready for you to meet the baby. You can say that of course you would love to meet the baby sooner but understand if it ends up being later.

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    • Lianne

      Lianne January 2, 2018, 2:23 pm

      Also, make or pick up some food for them to heat up quickly so they have something to eat. Do this no matter how long after the actual birth it is. And offer to throw in a load of laundry/fold a load of laundry/empty or load the dishwasher while you’re there too.

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    • avatar

      scorpio January 2, 2018, 4:54 pm

      Also just because she says “come over whenever” before she has the baby, doesn’t mean she will feel the same way once the baby is here. After the baby arrives ask again to have her let you know once she is ready for visitors. One of my friends told me for weeks leading up to the birth of her son that she wanted me to come to the hospital. When he arrived I asked her again, let me know when you are ready for visitors, and she said she would prefer I wait a couple days as they were bonding as a family of four now. Which I totally understood and as soon as she was ready I was right there to walk the dog, do a load of laundry and hold the baby so she could shower.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 2, 2018, 2:31 pm

    At no point does she say that she was invited to be there. The LW actually says I know she would want me to be there not I know she wants me to be there. Those are two different statements. The first is the LW assuming. The second would be if Sarah requested the LW to be there. They are hugely different things.

    At no point does she say that Sarah considers the LW to be her best friend. The LW considers Sarah to be her best friend. They aren’t necessarily the same. We don’t know what opinion Sarah has about the LWs political views. We do know that Molly is a SIL and will therefore be notified of the birth along with the other family members. In general, family is invited to visit a baby before friends. All in all it will depend on the new parents and who they decide to have come visit. They may choose no one. They may choose only grandparents. They may choose everyone.

    Friends and family are two different terms because they have different connections to a person. They are different words because they are considered as having differing value in a person’s life. You can’t assume that a best friend is the same as family. In this case only Sarah and her husband can determine that.

    In the end the mother and the father get to say who comes to the hospital and who comes to their home. The father has far more say than the LW. Molly is either married to the brother of Sarah or to the brother of her husband. Either way she is more closely linked to them than the LW.

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  • avatar

    dmarie January 2, 2018, 3:41 pm

    This is really pretty simple. Just ask. A lot of the women on here have talked about how they didn’t want visitors but I loved it. Most of my girlfriends (we became friends around 11 so I had been close to them for more than 10 years) came and I liked seeing them. I was the first to have a baby in our group and it was fun sharing some of the experience with these women who have supported me through everything. But as they have had babies I have always asked them when they would like me to visit. Some I went to the hospital and some I saw at home. It is really a personal choice that only the mother can make but don’t make assumptions. Ask her what she wants. Oh and bring muffins or something/offer to help her around the house if you see her there. It’s such a stressful time, every bit helps.

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  • avatar

    MMR January 2, 2018, 3:41 pm

    This whole thing is getting muddied by politics. (For the record, I don’t understand how you could have two VERY DIFFERENT opinions about the riots, but anyway…)
    You’ve previously been asked to stay away in deference to her SIL/other friend, which means you’ve discussed this exact same thing with Sarah before. There’s no reason you can’t bring it up again. It sounds like you know what’s going to happen, and you want to know how to change her mind.
    As other’s have said: The kindest thing you can do for your best friend is accept her decision about what would be best for her. In fact, since this seems to be hanging over your heads, the kindest think to do may actually be to offer to stay away from the hospital – give her the gift of not having to worry about this. Maybe you can walk the dog or stock the fridge or something while they’re there. You need to re-frame this situation around what would be best for Sarah, rather than what you want.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom January 2, 2018, 4:00 pm

      You’re right when you say that this situation was already decided at Christmas. Sarah made a decision at that time and her decision was to put family first. The LW must realize that the same thing will happen with the birth of the baby and she wants to fight it but it isn’t her choice.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant January 2, 2018, 4:24 pm

      Yeah – I think a lot of us are getting distracted because the LW’s politics are different than ours, and we naturally align with Molly’s point of view.

      BUT, if the disagreement wasn’t over politics, but something else (like – if instead they got into a disagreement over parenting philosophies or something and Molly decided to cut off the friendship), the advice would be:

      “Sucks that Molly has decided to end your friendship when you would’ve preferred to stay friends, but that’s her right, and it’s Sarah’s right to decide how she wants to balance her friendships with the both of you. If Sarah decides on occasion to keep you at arms length on occasion so as not to offend Molly, your two options are to be graceful and understanding, or end your friendship with Sarah because you don’t think she’s being a good or fair friend to you. You don’t get to dictate how you think Sarah should manage her friendship with Molly. Sarah clearly deferred to Molly once before for the holidays, if she does it again for the birth of her child it’s not really your place to strong arm your way into the hospital. Sarah gets to choose who gets to be there, not you.”

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      • avatar

        Ron January 2, 2018, 6:57 pm

        True, but white nationalist/Nazi politics is so nasty that it just shouldn’t be overlooked and let’s just move on to the question you actually asked. She doesn’t think she’s racist, but how else do you cast Nazis and KKK deciding to march through a college campus with guns and flaming torches? And they came from all across the country to do this. LW: likely your grandfathers fought against the Nazis, practitioners of an awful ideology who slaughtered millions upon millions of Jews, Gypsies, communists, the mentally ill, those of low IQ or with birth defects, socialists, and just everyday other civilians whom they thought might oppose their murderous aims. So you approve of those who approve of one of THE greatest evils in human history. And you think your friend is wrong to drop you, and probably Sarah feels the same, just because your political views are different. Tolerating Nazis and the KKK goes WAY beyond differing political views. This takes us to the outer 1% worst fringe of Trumpism — not just racist and xenophobic, but exemplars of same, and with semi-automatic rifles in hand. Nice. But of course you are entitled to your ‘different’ point of view, since you aren’t a self-describe racist.

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        dinoceros January 2, 2018, 7:17 pm

        I think the advice most people are posting would hold regardless of whether it was over politics or not. The points that a new mom gets to decide who visits or not or that a person caught in the middle of a feud between a friend and family member has the right to limit interaction with one of those people have nothing to do with politics.

        If the LW didn’t want to have the political beliefs addressed, it would have made sense to just say “we argued over politics” and leave it at that.

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        MMR January 3, 2018, 3:21 pm

        To @Ron and @dinoceros: I think you make fair points.

        The Charlottesville riots were disgusting, blatant examples of racism, and the LW deserves to be called out on it. If she didn’t want this to be about politics, she could have left out the specifics, but she chose to include them on a site which is obviously, outspokenly and unabashedly liberal.

        But I do think the politics and the friendship triangle can be pretty easily separated in the context of this baby.

        Challenge to the LW: What do you think racism is, and how does that description differ from the events in Charlottesville? It’s genuinely something that you need to be able to answer in clear, unambiguous terms if you can really, honestly tell yourself you aren’t racist.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 2, 2018, 3:58 pm

    LW1

    Watch this clip from the Charlottesville march and try to explain how what they are chanting isn’t racist and isn’t neo-nazi.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIrcB1sAN8I

    What do you think Jews will not replace us means?

    Look up the phrase blood and soil. See where it comes from. Try to explain as anything but an imitation of the nazis and an attempt to bring fascism to the US.

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  • avatar

    HowdyWiley January 2, 2018, 6:42 pm

    Honestly it’s hard to focus on anything else in this letter besides the whole sympathizing with nazis thang.

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  • avatar

    brise January 3, 2018, 9:41 am

    LW1, you sound hurt about Molly’s breakup and you fear now to lose Sarah. Be cool. There is no reason Sarah will exclude you, unless you act as entitled and obsessed as your post. You seriously need to compromise in your attitude or you will be in more pain. You don’t get any right to visit her at hospital (even more, to be there for the birth, what an odd idea). If she calls you, you may come for, say, twenty minutes. Or you will see her later, when she is at home, there is no hurry, the baby won’t be dramatically different a week later. Anyway, you have to know that visits to a new mother must be very short because the exhaustion is enormous. Don’t put so much pressure on your friend, relax and open your friendships circle to other people. You need other friends, not just one. Try to move on from Molly’s break up and consider your own responsibility. Seriously, you must have said something unacceptable to provoke such a clash. Avoid political discussions, be more careful, try to be more in the compromise and empathy, this will help your life in general.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 3, 2018, 11:19 am

    “Sarah and I have not had a conversation about this because I don’t even know how to bring it up. ”

    You don’t know how to bring it up because it isn’t your place to tell Sarah that you should be at the hospital. I think you know that and that is why this is so hard. You have to wait for Sarah to invite you and you are at some level afraid that she won’t. You don’t have to assume that Molly will be at the hospital for the birth. Not everyone has their entire family waiting in the hospital while they are giving birth. Some do and some don’t. Molly won’t be able to stay in town waiting for the baby to be born. Unless there is a scheduled c-section or unless labor is induced the time will be a surprise to everyone and Molly will need to do her usual things like go to work. Molly will then have to travel to your town. Molly will probably be invited to the hospital to see the baby before Sarah goes home just because she is family. It may not seem fair but that is how these things work. If Sarah is your best friend act like it. Be supportive not a nuisance. You really aren’t her primary focus as she prepares for the birth of her baby.

    Your choices are to wait until Sarah invites you or try to push your way in and look bad.

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  • avatar

    Sarah January 3, 2018, 2:41 pm

    LW1 – You want to instill that you are Sarah’s best friend then have amazon or uber eats deliver what her and her husband like to eat once or twice a week after the baby is born, and mail cookies and cakes. Believe me I still remember with great affection my male boss at the time we had our daughter who had an intern bring us a Costco delivery package with Deli chocolate chip cookies, deli muffins, a cheesecake, 2 reheat-able dinners, some microwaveable snacks, and snack packages (nuts, granola bars, candy) and bottled waters and cokes. It was so wonderful 6 years later writing this I still remember crying getting that 2 days after we were home. To this day it may have been the best gift we received and I am forever grateful that he sent an intern I had never met to deliver the package so I didn’t have to have a conversation. On another note Molly is her sister in law and new babies aunt so she is always going to be at every event going forward, so its time to get used to the idea that you are not going to be there. So if being at these events are that important to you, you are going to need to apologize to Molly and change your views.

    LW2 – your not married and even if you were not participating in your life together (paying bills, being an equal) is a deal breaker.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark January 3, 2018, 5:15 pm

    It’s interesting how many of you agree — or have similar thoughts as mine about mom’s not wanting or needing a lot of visitors right away. I’ve always been befuddled by the reaction some had when my sister had her baby — several of my (hah, now that I think of it, NON-parent) friends gave me grief for not trying to be there at the hospital etc. “Are you going to be in the room?” One even asked. I was like — what? No! That seems HIGHLY inappropriate. My mom also had friends bugging her if she felt bad that she wasn’t asked to be in the room. My mother was aghast…. She was — needless to say, not the LEAST bit upset.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse January 3, 2018, 6:25 pm

    Sarah already made her decision. It is surprising to you that your alienating views have, in fact, alienated yourself from the people you say you care about. Sarah is saying she is going to choose her family over you. Respect that and move on.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse January 3, 2018, 6:28 pm

    I wonder why your former best friend thinks you are a bigoted racist Nazi sympathizer….

    Yes, do bring this all up with Sarah. Let us know how that turns out.

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  • avatar

    Another Jen January 3, 2018, 8:42 pm

    Since the Trump-loving and family values crowds have a lot of crossover, this shouldn’t be difficult for you to grasp: Molly is family. Family comes first. Regardless of her newfound liberal politics, Sarah and her family seem to have found a way to comfortably spend time with Molly whether they share her beliefs or not.

    If Molly’s beliefs have changed since moving to the city, I have to imagine that at least some of Sarah’s extended family have beliefs that are similar to yours…has Molly drawn the line with any of them? Maybe there’s a line you’ve crossed that they haven’t? Or, maybe she’s choosing her battles and finds it easier to throw down about seeing you than deciding she won’t ever talk to her in-laws again.

    The thing with disagreements over political/religious/what-have-you beliefs is that you don’t get to decide how offended the other person gets to be. And the fact that you had a discussion rather than an argument makes no difference…as the Trump administration shows us daily, it’s entirely possible to spew hate-filled, racist garbage with a smile on your face.

    If you want to maintain the friendship with Sarah, be a good friend…you can start by recognizing that her baby’s arrival isn’t all about you. Let her know you’re excited for her and eager to meet the new baby and then follow her lead. If you try to force the issue and make her choose, you’re not going to like the outcome.

    AJ

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  • avatar

    JMM January 3, 2018, 9:17 pm

    Nazis are bad. Period.

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