Now Janet is asking to stay in our vacation home without us there. When my husband didn’t answer her right away, she texted several times asking again. She didn’t take our subtle hints that it wasn’t ok. We invited her and her husband to come with us the next time we were going, and she claimed it was too expensive to go at that time.
My husband’s brother stays in our vacation home when we are not there, but he’s family. We also trade a week’s vacation with a friend who lets us stay in his vacation home while he stays in ours. She just assumes that she can have a week now that she lied her way into staying in our home without us there.
How do I get my point across to her without ruining my husband’s friendship? He is sick over this, but I am angry that she has been so pushy. He thinks we should just let them go, but after being lied to, I refuse to be taken advantage of. I also think it will lead to more problems in the future if we do allow it.
What do you think we should do? — Don’t Want to Be Taken Advantage Of
Clearly, you don’t like Janet, and that’s fine. But your husbands are best friends, and you *say* you don’t want to ruin your husband’s friendship with Janet’s husband. One super easy way you could help not ruin your husband’s friendship and maintain friendly ties with this couple without the pressure of spending tons of time with a woman you don’t like would be to, you know, stop vacationing with them, so I don’t understand why you’re pushing a another joint vacation — why you’re telling them they can join you in your vacation home but can’t visit without you. Unless they were terrible guests who made a huge mess they didn’t clean up or who damaged or ruined something without offering to pay for it, I don’t understand why you’re so hellbent on making sure they only stay there when you’re present. Because Janet lied about the flights that one time? Because you want to punish her? Because you don’t want to be taken advantage of? Again, this would be all well and good if you wanted to cut all ties with the couple, but you *say* you want your husband to maintain his friendship with Janet’s husband, so being petty for the sake of being petty probably isn’t going to help accomplish that.
If this is about not wanting Janet to get a completely free vacation in the home you’ve obviously paid for, charge her and her husband a cleaning and maintenance fee. Explain that in the past when you’ve had guests stay there without you, there has usually been an exchange in place, and, in lieu of that, you’re asking for X amount to go toward the electricity and energy they’ll be using and for hiring cleaners after they leave.
But, really, I still think you’re being petty. I live in a neighborhood in Brooklyn where it’s fairly common to offer up homes to acquaintances — for free — when you’re going to be away for a week or whatever so that visiting family members and friends of said acquaintances have a place to stay that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg like most hotel rooms here cost. There are literally pages on Facebook devoted to this. I’ve had acquaintances offer their weekend homes to me and my family just to be nice (again, for free) — just because they were lucky to have something they thought we’d enjoy and we live in/mutually create a culture of generosity and hospitality. I’m not saying this kind of system is for everyone or that you’d never get taken advantage of, but I do think that being generous for the sake of being generous is so much more beneficial than being petty for the sake of being petty. And that’s just when we’re talking about acquaintances or people you aren’t super close to. When it’s your husband’s best friend, and you want to deny something that is super easy to give just because you *think* you caught his wife in a white lie once or you’re afraid of “future problems” that you don’t/can’t elaborate on, and your husband is “sick over it,” well, that’s pretty fucking petty, and I don’t think you really care about your husband’s friendship — or his feelings — as much as you say you do.
If this still isn’t resonating with you, look at it this way: compare the worst-case scenario of letting them stay in your vacation home without you (they ask to stay again some time or maybe they break something?) to the worst-case scenario of telling them no (it ruins your husband’s relationship with his best friend and, while you never have to deal with Janet and her husband again, your husband is forever mad at you for ruining his friendship). Whichever outcome is least preferable to you, do the other thing.