· ·

Your Turn: “His Friends Are Screwing Up Our Marriage”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

My husband and I have been married about two years, and everything has been going great except for one big area recently: his friends. We went to the same college and met there; as a result we have a lot of the same friends, so when I say his friends, I also consider them mine as well. I love them, they were in our wedding, we have great memories together, etc. Three male friends in particular happen to live in the city we moved to last year. At first, I was happy that my husband had so many close friends in our new city, but it quickly went down hill. He lived with them in college, but in the years since then, we moved away together, he got a great job, got promoted and started grad school, and we got married. Basically, we grew up and started building an adult life together.

His friends seem to forget that life has changed a bit for us, and I feel like I’m in a frat environment 24/7. I deal with derogatory comments about other women when we’re out, and I have a pretty big tolerance for dirty comments. Two of them lived with us in between their leases for what was supposed to be “a few weeks” and that turned into a 3 1/2 month stay, with them pitching in absolutely nothing, not even for groceries. All of the household bills skyrocketed, and all of a sudden my husband mentioned that *my* spending should tighten up until they moved out. Well, I flipped out, and he agreed to talk to his friends about pitching in, but he then waited a week to say anything. When he finally did talk to them, his one friend mentioned that my husband “has a great job, so he’s definitely not hurting for it” and brushed him off.

We always end up picking up the majority of the tab when we go out, put up with their needling when one or both of us doesn’t want to get “smashed” on a Tuesday night, and take care of their out-of-town friends when they ditch them for some random chick without warning. I’m starting to feel like their parents, and I’m really resenting my husband for all of this. We fight constantly, and it always has something to do with his friends. In the six years we have been together, we have never fought this often. It’s important to me that he has friends, especially ones that he was so close with for so long, but I feel like he’s in a different place in life than they are and that, by catering to their needs all the time, it’s really hurting our marriage. I’m not sure what to do at this point. — Over His Friends


You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].


  1. well, you cant force your husband to do something, right? so this is what i’d do, if its really that dire of a situation:

    1. stop going out with them. just say no, everytime.

    2. track everything he spends on his friends.

    3. establish a strict budget that your husband only gets a certain amount of “whatever” money he can spend per month. if he blows it on his friends tab, thats it until next month.

    if you dont want to go that route YET, i would explain to him that if nothing changes, thats where you are heading. he needs to understand the seriousness of this, which is the part i dont think is getting through to him- there his buddies, his college friends, its whatever, just a dinner here and there, right? thats how he sees it. you need to show him, through some solid math and hopefully some shitty wednesday mornings at work, that he doesnt have to act the way he is. now, if he honestly wants this life, you have way, way bigger problems…

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I like the budget idea.
      I’d love to say have him talk to his friends, but sounds like they won’t get it since they still live like children.

    2. Good advice, esp. number 3. If he wants to blow his own cash on his friends that’s fine, but there’s no reason why YOUR lifestyle and spending should suffer for it.

    3. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

      The budget idea could be a bit tricky to enforce since the LW apparently doesn’t work herself. (She makes no mention of it.) Not that there is anything wrong with that… But hey, he definitely can put forward the “it’s my money, I say how we spent it” argument with a bit more force in these situations… Especially, if you aren’t, you know, say, raising the kids.

      Frankly, it sounds like your husband has A LOT on his plate, demanding job and grad school. He probably likes having his friends around to blow off steam. He probably NEEDS to blow off steam.

      Look, it’s easy to blame your friends for all this, LW. But its really NOT your friends behavior so much as your husband’s reaction to it. You two need to have an honest conversation about this, and then LET it go… Stop CONSTANTLY fighting about this. It sounds like his friends are VERY important to him. Making someone choose between you and their friends is always a very bad idea. Hey, you just never really know who your spouse might pick.

      1. Just a side note, so the advice doesn’t get off track, I do work full-time and am in school full-time as well. The money part bothers me because we share finances 100% so it is my money being spent as well. To give an example of how extreme this has gotten, our bills and regular spending went up $700-$1000 monthly, which is a significant amount.

      2. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Oh. Wow. Interesting… Then by all means, draw up THAT budget stat! It’s long, long overdue.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Damn! Yea, seriously get a budget. That’s absurd. Why can’t these friends chip in on bills and stuff? I’d demand it.

      4. kerrycontrary says:

        Honestly…I couldn’t be friends with people who essentially took $3000 from me without any plan to repay it, and who were so ungrateful for the favor at that. I get that your husband wants to be friends with them but I wouldn’t even be able to spend time with them.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        I feel like I sorta was giving them a pass bc ‘oh they’re just still in the college mindset, blah, blah’ but that’s bullshit really. For them to be so ungrateful, and expect it just bc the LW and her husband have careers, is so obnoxious.

      6. artsygirl says:

        Has your husband sat down and realized how much money is being spent on the friends? If he hasn’t I would take a power, water, etc bill from before they moved in and a new one – same with groceries, bar tabs, etc. Maybe if he realized that it was not just incident changes but major chunks of money he might pull back a bit.

      7. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        $1000 a month? On a friends living expenses? Hell no. Draw them up a bill, pack their bags, and tell them they have 24 hours to vacate. That would not fly in my house.

      8. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

        LW, download or sign up for Mint. It’s a budgeting service that is free and awesome. If both your and your husband’s cards are under the same set of login credentials that you use to log in to your online banking, you can have all of those accounts funnel their transactions into the Mint service.

        Go through your transactions and categorize them every few days. Any time you see a transaction from a night out with his buddies, categorize it into a “College Friends” tag. It’s also helpful just to categorize all your transactions in general as well. By the end of the week or month, you’ll be able to pull up a detailed listing of just how much he is spending on college friends versus every other area of life. They have printable pages. I bet you anything that he has no concept of just how much he’s spending while out since he’s probably intoxicated. The pie chart that Mint provides will be an awesome, shocking visual aid.

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        Great suggestion. I would only add that they do this together. If she sees these high amounts, she’ll freak and maybe go off on him. If he’s seeing it when she does, I think it’ll be more beneficial.

      10. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

        Okay, I agree with that. Both would benefit from getting involved with it… I have become a far more conscientious spender since downloading that app. Whenever I have a particularly indulgent week, I get a little bit ashamed of myself having to categorize all my transactions and see my Restaurants bill climb up and up. The next few weeks, I’m practically a Scrooge thanks to the tinge of guilt that really looking at my expenditures causes. It helps even everything out, and I finally have a savings account with a consistent amount of money in it!

      11. Trixy Minx says:

        I should download that app!

      12. I definitely didn’t get the impression from the letter that she doesn’t work. I think she was just outlining his work/life accomplishments to clarify how his life has changed in comparison to his friends, although I could be wrong.

      13. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        The line about her needing to watch HER spending implied to me that the money was all coming from him. Also, if I was IN this situation, and I was working, too, I simply can’t see myself not saying something alone the lines of — “I don’t work as hard as I do for him to blow OUR money paying for his layabout friends…”

      14. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        If she isn’t working then that is another issue altogether that they need to work on. When one partner isn’t pulling in an income and they are sharing finances then they need to find a way for the non-working partner to be doing equal “work” (housework, cooking, raising children, paying bills, etc.) so that the working partner doesn’t get resentful.

        On the budget- I don’t think one partner should ever just set up a budget and demand the other partner adhere to it. Finances are something that couples should work on together. After all, it’s about keeping yourself afloat, but after that it’s about long term goals (retirement, vacations, etc.) and if it’s more important to one partner to spend and have fun then the other who would like to save for a down payment, that couple needs to figure out together where to compromise.

      15. My ex used to nag me about “my spending” when I was supporting HIM. Sometimes people are clueless. But I suspect you just jumped to a “women are useless freeloaders” conclusion because you dislike women.

      16. She (or someone pretending to be the LW) commented above that she works full-time and is in grad school, just FYI.

      17. Yes, but she didn’t sign up to be a den mother for a bunch of lazy, irresponsible frat boys. And her husband blaming the money troubles on her spending is ridiculous. I’m all in favor of blowing off steam, but these leeches need to be put out, asap.

      18. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        He’s not BLAMING her, but rather probably saying. “Yikes with these guys here we really need to tighten up. You, too. Watch the spending till they clear out.” I get that it’s annoying. But I hate how some around here always paint the guy in the worst possible light. Frankly, I don’t get why so many commenters here do that. His behavior is maddening enough. It needs to further exaggeration to make your points…

      19. lets_be_honest says:

        Right, but why the hell should she have to “tighten up” bc he’s blowing his load on his moochy friends? That would’ve pissed me off too. Imagine I told my boyfriend he better cut back bc I spent $800 on a new purse this month.

      20. You always run off to the other extreme and assume the woman is a cold, calculating harpie. Or idiot.

  2. lets_be_honest says:

    Send your husband this letter.

    1. Great idea! Maybe he will get it this time.

  3. at the beginning you say that they are your friends too, so why don’t you talk to them? if your husband failed to send the message, i’m sure you’re very capable of doing a better job. i also agree with lets_be_honest: show this letter to your husband

  4. This happened to a friend of mine. Her husband’s friends came to visit and ended up staying. They ate the food, used the power, even dumped their laundry in front of her expecting her to do it. They also smoked a lot of pot. She tried to talk to her husband about it, but he didn’t want to make waves, so he never said anything to his friends. (He’s kind of a passive guy.) He also accused her of “competing” with his friends. Finally, she packed a bag and informed him she was leaving and staying gone until they left. He finally realized she was serious and the friends were gone the next day. Unless your husband mans up and tells his friends to move on and move out, your situation will not improve. When diplomacy fails, it’s time for action.

    1. THIS. Yesterday. Do it.

  5. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    It’s not the friend’s that are causing the problem, it’s the way the two of you are handling them. If you blame outside sources for the troubles in your marriage then you are ignoring the root of the problem (e.g. husband cheats but it’s the other’s woman’s fault for enticing him). So ignore the friend’s and look at the issue besides them. You can’t change their behaviour anyways, only your response to it. You have issues with:
    1. Setting boundaries with money spent on friends. Your priorities on what is appropriate are different.
    2. What you want your day-to-day life to look like- getting smashed on a tuesday night. Is that appropriate? How should you handle requests like that? You need to get on the same page and put up a united front.
    3. How much you want friends involved in your life- crashing on the couch, time spent with them.

    Talk about these issues with your husband. Let him know that working through these will lead to less resentment and fights. Don’t wait until an issue has arose before bringing it up. Know that you will need to compromise. Your husband has a right to spend his time/money the way he would like to in the same way that you do, except that you are sharing both of those now and so you both need to give a little.

    1. Good advice. It’s their relationship and commitment at issue – not the specifc friends. They need to be, or get, on the same page, which they’re not on right now.

    2. And where are their boundaries? Why on earth would they put themselves out for people they don’t even know, just because the friends ditch them? They’re not responsible to host anyone thrown in their way. Let’s make some choices about what we do and don’t want to do for and with our friends and then stick to that. It can be one night a week with them, but no more stayovers, and no hosting people they don’t know.

      1. kerrycontrary says:

        About the taking care of out of towners ditched by friends…So long story short, a long time after my ex-boyfriend (from college) and I broke up he invited this girl to stay in town with him for a few days. They were sleeping together, etc…But then my ex’s ex-girlfriend (not me) was in town as well. He left this out of town guest to go sleep with her! So my friends and I had to take care of the new girl for a full night. She was from a different state and didn’t have anywhere else to stay for the night. It was so shitty and awkward. But you would just feel so bad leaving a semi-stranger in a new city with no place to stay or nothing to do. So its more just the nice thing to do, but it would get old REAL fast.

      2. SpaceySteph says:

        I think it’s really different when you’re in college though, where a lot of people would be lost in a new town and not have anywhere to go and might not be able to afford a hotel. Since these are grown men, you would assume their out of town guests are also grown people. If their (shitty) friends ditch them, they should be capable of taking a cab to the nearest motel and dealing with their own selves.
        And hopefully after that they would learn not to visit their douchey friends who abandon them at bars.

      3. Oh my god. I don’t know if this is weird or anything, and it might not be you, but this same thing happened to me, and the guy in question had an ex named Kerry. I wonder if you’re talking about me. I was so upset that I got blackout drunk and acted like an idiot. It was probably the most embarrassing night of my whole life. At least I learned some lessons… Just to verify, this happened at Penn state. Anyway, hope this isn’t weird!

      4. kerrycontrary says:

        omg sarah…I don’t know if you’ll see this. But it IS me. Just so you know, he left to go sleep with Jacky (NOT ME!!!!). Everyone just felt horrible for you in that situation and it was SO shitty of him. Don’t be embarassed, it’s all his fault.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        HOLY CRAP!

      6. kerrycontrary says:

        DUDE I know!!!!! How freaking weird is that. I hope Sarah sees this. I have met her ONCE almost 4 years ago after I graduated college. God my ex was an ass.

    3. kerrycontrary says:

      WLGS! This reminds me of the letter writing about her husband’s lazy friend. The problem is her husband, not the friends. I think its a good idea for any couple to establish how much time they want to spend with friends, what their day to day life will look like, and definitely budget on “recreational activities”. I also think because they moved to a new city they may be in a period of transition where they have to figure out their new lives. A couple’s life and routine may be totally different from one town to the next depending up on the available activities and social circle. It’s all about re-establishing boundaries and sticking to them.

    4. see but given that the LW says that they fight constantly about this now, i feel like they are past “lets talk about this”. this is the time where the LW says, “things are going to change in X ways, or this is going to have serious consequences for our marriage. either you change the behavior or you dont.”

      drastic times call for drastic measures, right?

      1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Thats how I envision their fights- “you need to get your friends out!” “don’t tell me how to live my life” kinda thing. The result of the conversation that they need to have is the same thing- changes need to be made. I just think that the best way to go about it is to decide on them together rather than one partner dictating the other partner’s moves. That would just breed resentment.

      2. it just seems to me like they have talked, and he hasnt changed. like, that tactic hasnt worked.

        and yea, one partner shouldnt dictate the others actions, but like i said, if he actually *wants* to be living this way, there are waaaaay more problems here then how he interacts with his friends.

      3. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        She says that she flipped out and that they have fought, that doesn’t read to me that they have had an in-depth conversation about the expectations they have from each other/life/friends etc. That would be more dealing with the root of the issue rather than dealing with the issues as they arise- then there is an expectation to uphold that comes from somewhere, the pre-agreed terms that they have hammered out. Without that then they are just guessing that the other knows what they want and people aren’t mind readers. So if they have dealt with that conversation and he goes back on what he has agreed to do, then ultimatums could be given.

      4. i guess you could be right… i assume that if they are having regular fights, those have escalated from the initial in-depth conversation where 1. they didnt agree or 2. they did, and he hasnt changed anything.

        i guess i dont go from fine to fighting? i go from fine to discussion to fighting… haha

      5. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        I’m the same way, except we never make it to fighting but we’re just that kind of people. I’ve actually never heard my husband yell and I’ve never yelled at him. But a lot of people don’t communicate very well. 90% of Wendy’s letters could be answered by “communicate what you want.”

      6. Avatar photo theattack says:

        By refusing to ask the friends to change their behavior or leave, isn’t he also telling her how to live his life though? He’s been dictating her life for three and a half months! And no, it shouldn’t be a tit for tat kind of thing, but her insisting that they leave is not dictating his life. It’s getting hers back to the way it was before he started dictating what hers was like. (Not that I think that dictating is a good word to describe what’s happening here. More like deciding for her with no room for discussion)

      7. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        I’m not saying that she shouldn’t insist that they leave, absolutely she should. But I think that they need to look deeper into the issue and hammer out an agreement of how they want to live their lives. Getting the friends out of the house and stopping the spending on them is part of that conversation.

  6. I agree with the commenters so far:
    – they are also *supposed* to be your friends, too, so call them out on stuff
    – put your foot down to your husband and the friends, most of this stuff you are putting up with, so people get away with it (seriously… taking care of out of town guests when they ditch them for random girls? that one is totally on you. I’m assuming everyone here is over the age of 12.) Stop acting like the mom, and they will stop expecting you to be one
    – make a real budget and show what is being spent on these friends… also, make a plan with your husband what you want to do with any ‘extra’ that is really being spent (wouldn’t a really nice vacation alone be way better than several drunken tuesdays?)

    I know that even though they are your friends, they might be his friends more, so these could be difficult sometimes (I have the same situation with my husband), but I’m not clear either how your husband actually feels about this. Is he really enjoying this, or is your husband just a pushover here, too, and completely agrees with you? If it’s the former, you have another problem, and should get to counseling or have a heart to heart on what you really expect for your life together. If its the latter, you both need to stand up for your coupledom together. And your husband seriously should have punched the friend who said he’s ‘not hurting for it’ — last time i checked finances were none of friends business, and especially ones that were moochers.

    if its a combo, then, well, do both things… first agree what is really important, and stand up for it, and continue to take the non-important crap for the sake of friendship until the rest of the boys grow up.

  7. Every group of friends has a couple who has their shit together better than the others. You can’t ask your husband to stop hanging out with them because your lives are more “adult” than theirs. That won’t go over very well and you won’t look good. As the “mature” couple in the group, you should start acting like it. Stand up for yourself, your principles, and your way of life. Don’t be afraid to say no or to give them direction. Get your husband to back you up on this and tell him you’d love to keep hanging out with these guys but you’re not in college anymore and sometimes that means being selective on when you party or go out, and sometimes that means you may need to do things that “aren’t cool man” in order to respect your privacy and your relationship. Simply put, stand up for what you believe in. And do not, whatever you do, give your husband some sort of “budget” when hanging out with them or start tracking his spending. Your relationship will go down hill faster than it is now. It seems like a sensible thing to do and you can probably justify it as being “budget conscious,” but you will come off as controlling and untrusting to both your husband and his friends.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I love your comment. But, the budget thing, at least how I was seeing it, is that they make a budget together for them, not her telling him.

      1. That would be ideal, but he sort of sounds like he doesn’t care enough. But maybe actually sitting down and seeing the numbers would help…

    2. tracking a budget is more of a “hey, husband, look how much money we are BLOWING on these other people” kind of thing, and then making a budget is just a smart thing to do, always. it doesnt have to be her making the budget and making him stick to it- that wont work. nothing that involves her making him do something will work. but, assuming that he wants a nice, sustainable, able to keep a savings account and still go on vacations lifestyle, he has to be shown that this isn’t a sustainable model, and that the behavior needs to change.

      1. My budget comment was more in response to a few comments that suggested the LW track what he spends when he is with his friends or give him some sort of allowance spending fund for “annoying friend time.” Of course they should have a budget, any smart couple should. But my point was exactly as you pointed out, it should not be something she is making him do or in some way enforcing. They need to discuss it together, not her demanding receipts after a night out. It can be approached in a more general, less accusatory way such as “looks like we’ve been going out a lot, lets start spending more nights in to save money.” This was she doesn’t alienate their friends and it doesn’t make him think she is actively trying to sever the relatinship.

  8. Avatar photo theattack says:

    I would tell your husband how serious you are about it first, but if that doesn’t work, I would just either kick them all out or leave. Why can’t you tell them to leave? It’s your house too, and if your husband refuses to fix this for you, it is not at all out of line for you to do it yourself. You’ve given him plenty of chance to take care of it his way, and he’s failed. You cannot live like that. You two might have enough money to cover them, but that money could be put into savings for a new car or a future baby or whatever. It’s not like their stay doesn’t effect you financially just because your paycheck covers it. Tell your husband that right now he’s choosing his friends over those big important things. And if you’d rather leave for a while than kick them out, he’s also choosing his friends over you.

  9. The problem isn’t your husband’s friends, it’s your husband. Specifically, it’s your husband’s unwillingness to tell his friends to stop freeloading and find a place to live by X date and to chip in with bills and groceries until they do. Frankly, if any guest stayed with me for 3 1/2 months without contributing anything and then, when asked to do so, said that I made enough money to cover them, that’d be the end of the friendship. But that’s me. Obviously, being mooched off of by a bunch of childish ingrates isn’t a problem for your husband. But, what do you do?

    Sit your husband down for a one-on-one talk and tell him that while you just love Mooch and Moochier, they’ve outstayed their welcome. Tell him that they have to be gone by X date. And stick to it. It is your home, too.

    This is weird, but stop buying groceries for 4. Seriously, stop stocking the house with stuff for them to eat, drink, use, etc. There’s no reason for them to be comfortable in your house. Don’t feed them. Maybe it’s like strays, if you don’t feed them, they’ll go somewhere else.

    And just say no to the out-of-town friends. Seriously. Say no. Say there’s no room. Say we have enough people staying here. And if they show up anyway, tell them they cannot stay with you. I cannot even imagine staying with someone for free and inviting other people to stay there, too, but, what do I know? Anyway, it’s fine to tell random people you don’t know or barely know that they cannot stay in your house.

    And, when you all go out, insist on separate checks. Just tell the waiter/waitress at the beginning that you and your husband are together and the friends are on their own tab. And split things like pitchers of beer, appetizers, etc. onto each check (either 1/2 and 1/2 or just one on your tab one on theirs). Stick to this one, too. Every time. And, don’t just try the “put it on one tab and we will split it ourselves” thing because they’ll inevitably only have $5 to contribute to a $50 tab.

    As for the rest of it, the derogatory comments, the nagging you to go out on Tuesdays, there’s not much to be done for that except to wait for them to grow up. And try to make different friends, if you haven’t already. The less time you spend with these guys, the better.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Love this! The more you give, the more they’ll take!

    2. First Rule for a Successful Marriage: You side with your partner first. Always. Over friends. Over family. No matter what. If you think your partner is wrong, sort that our between yourselves, but never involve others.

      Miss MJ is right. This is about the husband’s respect for the marriage IMO. If he doesn’t see that the friends are being disrespectful of HIM (“he’s not hurting for money”) and using him, he’d better shape up. Eventually, this is a dealbreaker. Even if it wasn’t about HER hard-earned money, why should she put up with this? Who the eff regularly gets hammered on a Tuesday?

      I blow off steam, but my friends don’t freeload repeatedly, disrespect me or my wife, live at my house free of charge or let me pick up a cheque any more than they do so themselves. People like that are NOT friends. There’s plenty of room in life to blow off steam with your guy friends, party up, cover a friend who’s short now and then, etc, without ANY of this shit happening. I dealt with a LOT of freeloaders during grad school – people who would repeatedly come to house parties and never bring their own booze but just drink others’ without asking when we were all equally poor, people who would always short the tip and make their friends cover it, people who try to make themselves extended houseguests. People like that are assholes. Sort your own life out. Pay your own way. If you can’t do that, you don’t get to go out drinking and eating in restaurants.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Agreed! And this is coming from someone who doesn’t see anything wrong with drinking it up once a week.

      2. Nothing wrong with it if you are not causing a problem to anyone. nothing wrong with getting hammered on a Tuesday, if you have a reason, or even if a buddy drops by. But often? And scoffing at a person with a job for not doing it? No WAY I let those fuckers sleep off their hangovers while i go to work to pay for it. Not a fucking chance.

        Sorry, users just totally get under my skin.

      3. I wholeheartedly agree with this. Your S/O is always first, & the two of you are a united front against the world. The husband here is not acting like that.

    3. The only problem I see with “Stop buying groceries for 4” is that if both the LW and her husband are working full-time all day, and these moochers are at home sleeping off hangovers, what’s to stop them from eating all the “food for 2” that’s left unattended? (Unless it’s locked up – and that’s one surefire way to send a message to the McMoochen Brothers!)

      1. Extra points for putting a padlock on the fridge. And, if the husband has to eat carrot sticks because his freeloading buddies ate all the good stuff, well, that’s one more incentive for him to get them the hell out, right?

    4. So true. I can pretty much predict that when you and husband are not with the friends, topic #1 of conversation is what fools you are and how easy it is to leech off you. Your husband likely 1)yearns to be back in college without the restraint of a job and career and 2) is being played by his friends who guilt him for selling out to the man and, likely, his nag wife. They feel better about their lives if they can dump on and leech off your husband and consider themselves to still be cool, while you and husband are not.

      Yes, this is largely on your husband and lack of communication in your marriage, but your friends are losers. You really should be getting some new friends who share your new life circumstances — married couples with jobs. Not that you should totally give up your old friends, but you seem to be trying to be half grownup and straddling two worlds. This won’t gain you approval, sympathy, or support in either world.

      Your husband is not doing his friends any favors by allowing them this responsibility-free extended childhood. THey also need to be preparing for their adult life.

      I hope husband is at least fully sharing all of the added housework that comes from having these friends as permanent guests.

      Your husband owes you a gold star. Just this very extended loss of privacy must be galling in the extreme. A wonder he doesn’t feel the same way. Is he using his friends as a buffer to avoid serious discussions, shared activities/chores, and non-sexual intimacy with you? That might be part of the reason for wanting the omnipresent friends.

  10. SixtyFour says:

    Make some other friends. Try finding some girlfriends that you can spend time with while your husband is out with the guys. Even better if these girls have serious boyfriends or are married and you can go out together with your husband.
    I’m not saying that you should convince your husband to totally drop the friends he’s got now and only hang out with other couples. These guys from college will always be his friends. But I think it would just be natural that as you move in to this more adult phase of your life that you both have more adult friends.

  11. The only reason why your friends are screwing up your marriage is because you invited them in to do so. Your friends are taking advantage of you and your husband’s generosity – big time. Rather than bickering with your husband as this is a roommate-like situation, the two of you need to communicate about the interference in your marital home. Your friends also need to start respecting that time and space for the two of you to bond as husband and wife. Both of you need to team together and approach your friends as a unit with the idea that they either should start contributing (Are you leasing the property you live in? Why aren’t they paying rent if they’re there 24/7?) or move out. If your husband is acting like this now with regards to his friends, how is he going to be when you decide to start a family and have kids together?

  12. Trixy Minx says:

    This sounds like something written in before..

    Oh! I remember who the lw is. 🙂

  13. Like everybody else said, it’s not the friends— it’s your husband. He needs to remember that he’s in a different stage of life now, & learn to draw boundaries with these people. Honestly, they sound…like assholes. (“You’re not hurting for it” was the response when your husband tried talking to them about pitching in?)

    I don’t even know what advice to give, because the change needs to come from your husband. Why does he think this is okay? How does he respond when you bring up all these issues? Does he make excuses for these guys? Is he all “Calm down, they’re just a little rowdy” or something? It sounds like he’s not separating the time he lived with them from now, when he’s living with you.

    1. The friends have recently moved out, thankfully, but the high expenses and their general attitude has continued (not paying when we go out, leaving us to deal with their friends, acting like grown frat boys, etc).

      My husband gets annoyed sometimes, not to the extent I do though, and will vent to me, but then when it’s time for another shot at the bar, sizing up the 100th girl of the night or to pay the tab, I’m on my own and he just goes along with it. I’ve been really hesitant to say something to them myself, for fear of being the “uncool wife” who has her husband “whipped”. I don’t want to alienate him or his friends, who I generally liked before this for reasons I now can’t recall.

      1. Ah, okay. This is tricky as hell, & I really wish your husband was MORE annoyed, so this would be easier. I know how it feels not to want to be the “naggy, uncool” woman in your dude’s life, but if that’s how your friends wanna label you? Let them. You can label them as rude, immature, ungracious assholes in return.

        I really wouldn’t hold back in this situation— sit your husband down, speak calmly, & remind him you’re all ADULTS now, & list specific examples of the friends’ discourteous behavior. “Uh, husband? Johnny left you with the tab again. Real friends don’t do that, & he is clearly taking advantage of your better monetary position in life.” I know that sounds formal & false, but it’s a very clear statement that leaves no room for interpretation.

        If he loves you & realizes he needs to be on the side of his WIFE, not his fratty friends, then you’re not going to alienate him. Will you alienate the friends? Yeah, maybe. But honestly, these people sound super shitty. Regardless of the outcome, you need to spend less time with them/only see them under certain circumstances. (Like, if Johnny consistently turns into a girl-crazy, freeloading douchebag after a few beers, invite him to the movies or something).

        My boyfriend has this one friend with whom I get along, BUT I don’t like the guy as a person. And earlier in our relationship, whenever my boyfriend would turn down spending time with this guy, both the guy AND his bitchy girlfriend would say things to him like “ohh, you’re so whipped, get your balls back” etc. & I was like, WTF. But my boyfriend spoke with the guy, explaining that he WANTS to spend time with me, that he doesn’t always have the energy to do all this bar stuff anymore.

        Basically, the point of that is: your husband should have your back. If your speaking to him results in this huge divide, then you’ve got a problem on your hands (& the problem ISN’T the fact that you spoke up). Hope this helps a little!

      2. I know how it feels not to want to be the “naggy, uncool” woman in your dude’s life, but if that’s how your friends wanna label you? Let them. You can label them as rude, immature, ungracious assholes in return.

        AMEN Fabelle! I hate that this LW is so concerned about how this jerks are going to view her… they have no respect and aren’t worth consideration unless/until they grow up!

      3. Also, LW – I would suggest reading the Seven Principles of a Successful marriage book – there is a whole section about needing to turn towards your spouse and have their back, etc. etc.

        I know I had much smaller, but similar probs, with my fiance and we read this book and a few others together… I think it helped him see – from a 3rd party standpoint – that I wasn’t being demanding or asking something of him that wasn’t expected/encouraged from your partner for life. Maybe in addition to counseling you try those out, because if your husband isn’t even willing to spend an hour or two reading through something and talking with his wife about how you both envision your future — you have MUCH bigger problems on your hands than a couple of freeloaders.

  14. Also, I’m unclear if the friends are still staying with you or not? You say it turned into a 3 1/2 month stay, so is that the total time & they’re out now? Or is it 3 1/2 months & counting?

  15. I wish I had some good advice LW! I don’t really have anything helpful, but wanted to comment on a frustrating trend I’m noticing. So I don’t want to have another big 80s baby debate, but it sounds like this is just another manchild refusing to place husband over ‘cool frat guy friend’ I don’t know why this is even an issue but I see SO MANY men in my age range (mid to late 20s) still acting like college frat guys. Grad school doesn’t really help, neither does real work–and if it comes with a job and $ all the more for him to spend on beer. I call their behavior as teen plus behavior. The demeaning comments and lack of respect towards others would wear at me fast and make me wonder why anyone who doesn’t feel the same wants to hang with these guys anymore. People always say show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are. Is there anyway he’d prefer to spend time with his grad school coupled friends? Friends are totally important, but there is a time and place for everything and the time to be a irresponsible frat guy is when one is single, and in a college frat.

    I’d HIGHLY recommend couple’s counseling, because I’ve had a friend go through something similar, she was basically panicking at having been in the same relationship since college and feeling really trapped–we all called it her delayed quarter century life crisis– she was 27 when it all began. While t he counseling didn’t prevent her divorce, it helped her realize how stuck she felt and how she missed out on so much since she was with this guy since she was 19. So now, its been really interesting to see her do what so many of us did years ago, while she was with her ex. Including ONS, hookups and makeouts in bars, drunken nights in the middle of the week, living alone and decorating as she pleased. feeling lonely and having tv sh ow watch parties all the time etc. She just has a bit more $ now and none of the school pressures.

    1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

      I wonder if the 80’s baby thing is a regional issue. I don’t see that at all where I am, most of my peers have their shit together. Hell, I’m 24 and I can think of 3 other couples friends who own their houses as well.

      1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Make that 4, just remembered one more.

      2. WOAH I would never have guessed you’re 24! You have your l ife so together (married, pregnant, house etc!) It might be a children of upper middle class thing since most of my friends are pretty ‘babied’ still and we’re all 27-28. We also live in a pretty urban area (Seattle) so the housing market combined with our mobile lifestyle makes us a little hesitant to invest in houses just yet. I do have one guy friend who bought a town home and he’s had a good job for a while (in tech!) and family $/parents are here so he has no desire to leave this state. The rest of us are open to moving, and a little too addicted to our happy hours/shopping.

      3. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Just turned it 😉 My husband and I actually bought our house when I was 20, which obviously is out of the norm especially since we weren’t even engaged at the time (but when you know, you know) I’m not far from you, just in Canada! My husband plans to stay at his job until retirement so settling down wasn’t an issue! Plus after the first couple years of getting used to all the expenses of a house then you can still go out and have a good time! Unless you get knocked up, then you just drive everyone home resentfully 😛

      4. Its so fascinating how a few miles (and another country!) make all the difference. The people I know with houses all have rich parents. Two friends are divorced (one before 30!), and I don’t think the one still married couple in my extended circle is anything to aspire for (he’s already cheated on her). I feel like my whole friend set is a bunch of people who are living teen plus lives, dating teen plus men. NO one plans to stay in their job forever, everyone moves constantly to live in the next cool neighborhood. Concerts, trips to the beach (Hawaii and CA) take up a chunk of our incomes, the rest is spent on clothes and booze and student loans. I feel so frivolous when I write this all out! But its really my norm–I wish I had more of the settled friends, but I guess they just fall off the radar since we live such different lives.

      5. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        I’d say half of my friend group are married/engaged and another quarter are in very serious relationships. They are also mostly a few years older than me. There are a few with kids. We were really lucky to kinda all make the transition at once. Our closest friends used to rent a bachelor suite and we’d all get drunk and my husband and I would sleep on an air mattress 5 feet from their bed and within the last year they’ve had a kid and bought a house with a real guest room and we plan to have sleepovers with the kids while they grow up. The seriousness of our relationships has a lot to do with it, I’m sure.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Mindblown. I can’t believe you are only 24.

      7. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I’m friends with people from a huge socioeconomic range, and I’ve noticed it correlating with that. My friends who grew up working class have their lives together and work hard for everything they have. My friends who grew up poor are trying very hard to get their lives together, which IMO, is a huge step toward having it together. My upper middle class or wealthier friends though? They’re riding the grad school gravy train and acting like 18 year olds all through their 20s.

      8. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        That probably does have a lot to do with it. I’m middle class, straight up. My inlaws are probably upper middle class in the money range but not at all in the lifestyle range (like their couches are 25 years old and ratty yet I’m pretty sure they have a few million tucked away)

      9. kerrycontrary says:

        Not to start a huge debate, but oftentimes people remark that middle/working class children will “end up better”than those in upper middle class/wealthier families due to their work ethic. Unfortunately, the opportunities that are present to upper middle class/upper class people when they are younger have a HUGE impact on their success rate. Not to mention the networking and job opportunities through family members, friends of family members, etc…Furthermore, they often have a model of success to follow after. Statistically speaking then, upper middle class children often end up in a better position career-wise and financially in the long-term (not to mention marriage rates and family stability).

      10. kerrycontrary says:

        Actually, I’m going to say lets not make any broad sweeping references to socio-economic groups. Not all middle-class people are hard working, not all upper class people are lazy.

      11. my theory is that its all about parenting.

        the parent who is in a “lower” economic class will likely not be able to support a kid throughout college, grad school, ect, and so it forces the child to become an adult and support themselves. the parent from a “higher” economic class who will throw money at their kid til they die wont have a kid who learns to take care of himself. now, switch the economic classes- im sure there are lower-middle class parents who still throw money at their kids, and those kids are going to end up without those life skills of taking care of themselves and “growing up”. and then, of course, the “higher” economic parent who doesnt give into their kids every whim will have a kid who will take care of themselves.

        i also think it has to do with parenting because of how involved and crazy parenting has become in our day and age.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        Not all about parenting though. I agree with your points, there are so many people with crappy poor or crappy rich parents who turn out more than fine.
        But parents often play such a huge role, whether good or bad, in how a child is as an adult.

      13. well, sure, there is a lot of individual drive involved too- but to the lili’s larger point about why do me and all my adult friends still live like children? my answer is parenting. because the parents let them.

      14. lets_be_honest says:

        lol, I kinda wanted to smack myself after piping in with a ‘not always’ comment.

      15. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        WKS. Teach your kids independence and that is what they will learn. Teach them that their stupid mistakes don’t matter because someone will always be there to deal with the consequences so they don’t have to hurt, that is what they will learn. Falling down is an essential part of growing up that I think a lot of parents aren’t letting their kids do.

      16. lets_be_honest says:

        what both of you said. I love your last line, and I fear its something I will struggle with.

      17. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        My husband’s parents do. It’s a struggle for us because we are the ones who have to set the boundaries because they would never say no. If we asked for a new car I know that they would say yes. They offered to pay for any post-secondary education I wanted when we were dating. I told them no thanks! In a few years I was going to be staying home with kids and that’s not the best investment of their money since I’m not planning on a career. It’s really hard to want to be independent and feel like you’ve earned your life when there is the easy way out right there. It’s hard to say no because when you give in and let them fill up your gas tank or pay for that costco bill then you feel guilty and spoiled. I wish they didn’t offer us so much.

        My parents are the complete opposite. They had lotsa kids and even if they didn’t, they don’t view parenting as giving your kids what they want. They view it as teaching them to become hard working, independent individuals.

      18. lets_be_honest says:

        Its funny because I can’t stand spoiled people or handouts. I never had them, grew up without money, etc. I know it does the child no favors by giving handouts, yet I look at my kid and see this perfect child who does no wrong and tell myself she deserves x, y, z. When I had her, the most important lesson I wanted to teach her was independence. Still is. You’re right, there is nothing like knowing you’ve earned it yourself. But even knowing all of this, its very hard.

        She got her savings account statement in the mail last night and I took it as an opportunity to start a discussion about now that she’s getting older, its time to talk about more mature issues, one of them being $. We talked a bit, and I said I want to set her up with a budget and allowance. So we will try to do that soon. (thx to everyone who gave me advice on this the other day!)

      19. Avatar photo theattack says:

        LBH, how old is your daughter, if you don’t mind me asking? I’ve always tried to figure it out but never have

      20. lets_be_honest says:

        I’ve never said actually. Almost a tween which I’m reminded of often.

      21. LBH- maybe this is the difference. you say shes an awesome kid who deserves x, y, z. what about when she *isnt* an awesome kid? have there been times when, for instance, she has not completed homework and you have gotten the teacher to extend the deadline for her? does she get punished? is she ever responsible for bad things?

        i think thats the difference. because there is nothing wrong with having a great kid and giving them stuff, but everyone screws up eventually. the shitty parents will fight with teachers to get their kids special treatment or higher grades, they will not punish a kid, they tell the kid that “its not their fault” about things that are their fault, ect…

      22. lets_be_honest says:

        I hope that’s not how I’m portraying my parenting! Yes, of course there have been times where she’s not perfect and gets in trouble. Actually, my mom (who grounds you for 1 week only to let you out that night if you complain enough) says I’m way too strict with her. My brother too. I think its paid off. Kids should be “scared” of their parents if they do wrong. Keep in mind, I’m at work missing her when I write in here, not at home after seeing an unmade bed or sloppy handwriting on her homework.
        But for the vast majority of the time, she just blows me away. So smart, loves school, genuinely caring and grateful, thoughtful, responsible. The thoughtfulness she has I wish the whole world did. She donates her stuff to the library or homeless shelters (granted I help her with this, but still). She’s not spoiled, at least I don’t think. She’s packed her own lunch every day for school since 1st grade. She cleans or tidies her room and bathroom every day. Things like that. But, because of this I feel like she does deserve these extras. I think she’s a better kid than I am a parent. She’s definitely a better child than I was. So its hard not to give. Sorry for the ramble. (btw, when I mentioned the savings account, its bday $ and stuff like that not from me)

      23. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Maybe you can extend the thought “she deserves x, y, z” to “she deserves x, y, z and the pride that comes with knowing she earned it.” Although I’m sure you are doing a great job- you don’t get such a perfect child at that age without doing something right 😉

        My husband is going to have a really hard time saying no to our kids. Not because he can’t say no but because he isn’t going to want to say no. He does agree with me that it is better for them to hear no and he also agrees that we need to be a united front with our kids so while I anticipate arguments over this, at least the kids won’t have to deal with the wishy-washy that goes on. Because that has to be much worse than hearing yes all the time.

      24. lets_be_honest says:

        I love your add on to x y z. Thank you!

      25. Don’t worry, you’ve never portrayed your parenting that way, haha.

        That’s just what those shitty, helicopter, my-kids-can-do-no-wrong parents do. So if you not doin that, I’d say your doing it right!

      26. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I’m starting my parenting class Tuesday, and that’s pretty much the entire premise of it.

      27. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        OMG for a second I thought you meant a class because you’re becoming a parent. Not a class you’re teaching about how to be a parent!

      28. Avatar photo theattack says:

        hahaha! surprise! I’m a new mommy!….. of a cat.

        I guess I should probably clarify that I’m teaching the class whenever I talk about it to people. That could get interesting.

      29. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Very true. A major theme in my friends is the ability to manage money and lifestyles. One of my best friends grew up rich, and she’s a very hard worker and wants to be settled and stuff. But she has absolutely no ability to manage money because no one in her family ever had to balance a checkbook or anything. They just threw money at things without looking. Now she’s in a ton of debt after working for only eight months (She bought a brand new loaded SUV the very first day of her new job), and she doesn’t understand that she needs to stop spending and start saving to reach her goals. We make the exact same salary, and I’m very meticulously keeping track of everything I spend. Our checking accounts look very different even though I just started working, and that’s because I grew up learning how to be poor. My parents taught me how to be poor, and I’m mostly acting poor and saving money.

        In summary, I think the culture surrounding socioeconomic status is a major factor in how someone behaves financially.

      30. lets_be_honest says:

        Its an interesting topic, and I do understand where the others were coming from, and see that myself.
        But I also believe that yes, upper middle class children come out well too sometimes. Sure some are spoiled and never learned to work for their money, but others do “inherit” a lot more than just $ from their families, like you said: job opportunities, etc.
        To me, there’s a big difference between someone from lower middle class who “make it” and someone from upper middle class who “make it.” The l/m worked for it, while the u/m, though contributing themselves, also are handed opportunities and know that they can try and fail a few times before actually succeeding.

      31. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Lets not make too many sweeping generalizations here. I grew up “upper middle class” (I think – I’m not exactly sure what the cut off is there – it might be closer to just straight up middle class though) and I have received zero networking/job opportunities because of family. My parents moved back to Canada when I was 17 and we lived in a smaller town. Now I live in a big city and am in a completely different industry.

      32. lets_be_honest says:

        I wasn’t. My first line was agreeing with a totally different set of opinions. I would never apply an “all” to my comments.

      33. kerrycontrary says:

        yeh I think the sweeping generalizations is getting us into bad territory.

      34. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m really not seeing any. I’ve loved reading everyone’s different perspectives from different areas. I know some spoiled brats who have done nothing but mooch off their wealthy parents, I know some hard workers who have worked their butts off to achieve the goals their parents reached. Same for middle class and lower.

      35. Avatar photo theattack says:

        It’s not true for everyone, but it’s definitely true for many people.

      36. Temperance says:

        I grew up lower-income, and while I have definitely seen my friends growing up buy houses/get married/have kids earlier than my middle/upper class friends from college and law school, my college and law school friends have more earning power and have better careers and much nicer stuff in general.

      37. artsygirl says:

        I am a millennial too and while we were the first to purchase a house, a lot of friends have since followed in the past few years. On the other hand, I know a guy who still live with his parents, is unemployed, and sleeps in until 2 every afternoon and has have expressed no interest in change this behavior.

      38. kerrycontrary says:

        Maybe it depends on who you spend time with? I’m 25, and all of me and my boyfriend’s friends have their shit together. Most don’t own houses, but that’s due to living in a city (most mid-twenty-somethings cant afford a 400k house) and/or student loan debt. Yeh I’m upper middle class and I went to grad school, but I needed that degree for my career and I’m paying my student loans myself

      39. I wouldn’t say my friends don’t have their shit together–we all have jobs, I think its just that its not any sort of ‘permanent and settled’ feeling. Everything just feels so disposable and easily ‘traded up’ on. If that makes sense. And thats where my idea of teen plus behavior comes in. Its all just a show of ‘basic responsibilities’ like we pay rent and stuff, but at the core nothing indicates we’re ‘settled and not children’ anymore. Jobs are traded up, spouses divorced etc.

      40. kerrycontrary says:

        See we all feel pretty settled. Like everyone is in long-term relationships (all of which survived long-distance after college years), don’t go out that much, etc…

      41. lets_be_honest says:

        I think that’s a good place to be for someone your age actually. There’s nothing wrong with not being settled in your 20s. I do love your honesty about it though.

      42. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        For sure! There is no wrong or right age to settle down. Do what you are happy with. Lots of people wouldn’t have wanted to settle down at the age I did, they wouldn’t have been happy or they would have felt that they missed out on things. For me, it’s perfect.

      43. Thanks! Its just really frustrating at times to feel like what my parents had is so out of my reach (the good job, with a livable wage, a loyal partner wh o sticks by you through thick and thin!) and I always wonder why is that?!

      44. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Because they didn’t have to go to school to work at starbucks back then. My husband took an apprenticeship to get his red seal (do they have that in the states? It’s for trades) and it took him 4 years but none of that required him to pay, he just worked for a small amount of money while learning. We knew that I would be staying home so instead of me going to school and racking up student loans I worked low income jobs in the meantime. Now, my husband makes $70,000 a year with great benefits. It’s enough for us to be happy and not worry but it isn’t enough for vacations and stuff. But we don’t have debt and are happier with the idea of me staying home than both of us working + student loan debt. We made that decision 4 years ago and I don’t regret it at all. Sure I took a lot of shit working as a cashier from people who thought they were better than me because I had to wear a uniform, but that’s their issue. I was doing what was best for our financial future. My point is- if I had chosen to go to school we would be 10 years behind where we are now financially.

      45. Thanks! Its just really frustrating at times to feel like what my parents had is so out of my reach (the good job, with a livable wage, a loyal partner wh o sticks by you through thick and thin!) and I always wonder why is that?!

      46. Avatar photo Northern Mermaid says:

        Yeah. I don’t really think of graduate school as a “gravy train.” I just quit my (low paying, but field related job) and took a huge pay cut (I am working as a house cleaner/nanny) and a giant loan so I could finish my degree in a timely fashion. Even though I come from an upper middle class family, I’m paying for graduate school by myself. I pay my own rent, and I work really hard. Graduate school might be something people do to delay reality, but for some of us, it’s a necessary step. I can’t get a real job in my career field without at LEAST a Master’s degree.

        I’m in the same boat with kerrcontrary. I’m 24—all of my friends are graduate students who don’t own homes, but work one or two jobs to stay afloat and in school.

      47. kerrycontrary says:

        well said.

      48. Eagle Eye says:

        Yep, basically in the same boat, plus I’m mobile, I’m in a LTR but I could be moving across the country for a while for work, so not buying a house makes sense because for my work I will need to be pretty mobile for a while.

    2. Speaking in really broad terms about men in our generation (I’m 25)…

      What I’ve heard from men on this topic of manchildness is that men in our generation are sort of facing a void in terms of a cultural role model for what and who they are supposed to be as grown-ups, compared to other generations. We’re living in the age of the empowered woman who can get a job, buy a house, and have kids without a man being in the picture at all, and that’s produced a trend of people our age getting married later (or not at all), having kids later (or not at all), and men lingering longer in post-adolescence. Generations before us had much more defined ideas of what it is to be a Man, a Father, a Husband, etc.

      So from that perspective, the trend you’re noticing, Lili, is a byproduct of blurring gender roles. A lot of progressive people tend to view that breakdown as a good thing because they see gender roles as prescriptive and restrictive, and thus harmful. While that may be true, it’s also true that without those expectations and standards for adulthood and in this case Manhood, it only follows that men in our generation are floundering a bit in establishing themselves as functioning adults.

      Again, I’ve heard this from men themselves, so I’m not just pulling a bunch of gender theory out of my ass. (And I think that columnists and others who speculate about The End of Men are being a bit hyperbolic.) I associate with some older men who are part of mentorship programs or otherwise working with younger generations and these are the observations they’ve made, I’m just paraphrasing. (There are other things that play into it too, like how education for the past couple decades has been shaped around making sure girls get what they need while leaving the boys behind, or that boys/men are treated as ‘disposable’, but that all goes much deeper than I have time for right now.)

      1. see, this explanation i just dont understand because being a productive member of society has zero to do with being a father, man, husband, ect. its like the basic levels of things we ask for (man or woman) as a society- be productive. have a job. live somewhere. pay your own way. the husband/father/coach/foster parent/whatever else are things that you personally add on. you dont have to pick any, and you can pick them all. thats up to you.

        i just dont get how that is so difficult for guys to do.

      2. That’s just the thing, though, and it’s evidenced in the very word we use for this behavior: manchild. When we talk about that, we mean that we want a guy to stop being a boy and start being a man. But what does “be a man” even mean today? In past generations, it was clear: be Clint Eastwood, or Ward Cleaver, or James Bond, or Mike Brady, or Sylvester Stallone, or Gordon Gekko, or whatever. Be a family man, be a worker man, be a wealthy powerful man. With the breakdown of the socially-condoned gender roles, there’s no clear example to follow. In being told they can be whatever, or nothing at all, young men find themselves directionless.

        (These are really broad generalizations and speak to trends, so it’s not going to be true for everyone.)

        Maybe it’s tough for us women to understand because we’ve grown up immersed in Girl Power language – you don’t have to be a housewife, you can be anything you want! You can be good at math, go be an engineer if you want to! Go to college, pursue your own career, don’t just get a “MRS.” degree. Etc. etc. We’ve essentially been bombarded with encouragement, support, and resources aimed specifically at our gender. I don’t have study data at my fingertips, but one of the repercussions of this generally well-intentioned movement is that boys are getting left behind in a classroom that favors girls. It’s like the pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction from patriarchy that boys are now suffering the same way girls used to suffer.

        One explanation I’ve seen (and I’m not saying I necessarily agree, just presenting it for thought) is that young men don’t have social goals to work towards early on. It used to be you finish your education and go straight into the workforce (or the family business) and start saving away money as soon as possible so you can get your dream house for your future wife and kids and provide for them for years to come. But our generation views none of the above as guaranteed, and as a general trend, we value those societal markers of Job/Spouse/Kids less than generations before us did. We value instead pursuing fulfillment of our personal dreams and desires, choosing a major whether it will help us get a degree or not, renting instead of buying so we have the flexibility to move on a whim, treating relationships differently (a rise in FWB vs. committed relationships, as an example), etc. We’re less interested in what society wants us to be, and more in what we want to be. But we can’t pretend that doesn’t have social consequences.

        It reminds me of an interview I heard with Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, recently. He was talking about class roles, but I think it applies to gender, too. Back in Downton Abbey times, class roles were rigidly structured and rather permanent… and people rather liked it that way. Instead of viewing their socially-prescribed roles as unfair and oppressive, the way we might view them today, they liked knowing what was expected of them and performing that role to the best of their ability. And society functioned well because of how those gears all moved together. It wasn’t until the World Wars that the feudal systems really began to break down.

        Anyway, point is, back then there was no confusion about what role you’re supposed to play in life. Nowadays, there is, largely because we’ve abolished the roles in favor of more liberty to pursue our dreams. I’m not advocating for turn-of-the-century class structures, by the way, or suggesting that we need to be more rigid and defined, just commenting on the consequences, good and bad.

      3. I really like your analysis KKZ! And mad props for bringing it back to downton 😉 I love Matthew, but seeing the ‘downside’ to his high minded morality in the season opener was really interesting!

      4. Moneypenny says:

        Oooh, yeah! High five for the Downton reference! And again, good points!

      5. Oh and this has to be my favorite line I’ve read in a while: We’re less interested in what society wants us to be, and more in what we want to be. But we can’t pretend that doesn’t have social consequences.

        I’m TOTALLY bringing this up for discussion with my friends tonight at–coincidentally–happy hour.

      6. Ha ha ha everybody loves Downton.

        But please no spoilers about Seasons 2 and 3! I’ve only seen Season 1 because of Netflix and haven’t gotten around to catching up. I really really want to, it’s just I never think about it until something reminds me.

        I’m also a huge Jane Austen fan, and I remember reading some of her classics and thinking to myself, OK, yeah, women were treated as property and second-class citizens and that’s B.S., but I can see the appeal in this sort of life and knowing exactly how one is supposed to behave, dress, speak, etc. I’m guessing it’s the same part of my brain that likes things to be insanely organized that sees the benefit of prescriptive gender roles.

      7. Skyblossom says:

        I think part of the problem for young men in this country is that when parents divorce the children almost always live with the mother and visit the father. Boys have very little time with their own father and lose him as a role model. Fathers whose children visit them don’t behave in the same way as fathers who live with their children. A father who lives with the children is involved day to day in making sure the child does homework, pays their library fines, gets to practice on time and so helps to keep the child responsible. A father who just has the child as a visitor in their home wants to make the most of that time and tends to try to do fun things and to not be the enforcer in the child’s life. So the child sees men as people who do fun things and women as the people who do the serious things. They don’t see their dad going to work but they do see their mom going to work. Mom makes them do homework but dad takes them golfing/swimming/to the movies etc.

        The second bad thing about divorce is that the parents are usually very negative about each other and the child will live with their mom and hear bad things about their dad and about men in general. I have been around so many divorced women who made scathing comments about men, right in front of their sons and daughters. It has to, over time, cause both boys and girls to have a negative view of men.

      8. Moneypenny says:

        This is an interesting point, KKZ, and I kinda agree with you. It reminds me of articles I’ve read about the effects of feminism on men over the decades. I think you make a good point.

      9. Thanks MP. I want to say too that little of the above reflects my own opinions, this is just stuff I’ve gathered in reading about this issue and talking to men about it. I don’t have coherent, well-formed opinions on these things, but I do see the logic in the explanation that young men face a void in viable role models.

    3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      This is a really interesting topic. I am from a pretty wealthy area and attended boarding school with a lot of wealthy kids (with a few middle class kids and a few low income kids on full scholarship). (My family is more upper middle class. We were given a lot of scholarships to the school because we were a member of the specific religion and they wanted to up their percentages.) Just about all of my wealthy high school classmates are busy galavanting around the globe with no solid employment, living off of their parents money. The one’s who came from a more middle class background (my self included) are all at some stage of the get married – buy a house – have a baby track all while both spouses are working full time. Most of the kids who came from lower income backgrounds are either divorced with children or unmarried with children. I never really sat down and thought about it. How weird.

      1. OOO don’t get me started on how jealous I get seeing all the globe trotting pics in my newsfeed!

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        You know, I don’t think I am jealous. They are so so out of touch with reality. Sure it’s a pain in the ass to work from check to check and not be able to take lavish vacations (I have a few friends who are in India right now, which is my dream vacation. I’m so jealous of their FB pictures!) etc etc but I know the value of a dollar and I appreciate my expensive purse so much more because I had to work for it. I love my Kia I bought brand new after I got my first job. Sure it’s not flashy but it’s my car I worked for. These kids live in la-la land. I don’t want that and I don’t want that for my hypothetical kids. (I will take a vacation though!)

    4. Moneypenny says:

      This is an interesting point to raise, and I really don’t know what the answer is. From reading all of the replies, I don’t think you can say that there is -one- defining factor in how people behave when they are adults (acting like one, optional). Yeah, maybe it’s partly parenting, and how much independence and responsibility parents instill in their kids. Or not spoiling them to where they will expect mom and dad to be their fall guy. Maybe it’s partly economic status, which ties in to parenting. In my experience, I grew up in a middle class area, and had a pretty comfortable upbringing. So did most of my classmates. Most of the people who I know had pretty well off parents are doing pretty well for themselves these days, with good jobs, and are settling down (we’re all 28-29). Also, I think a big thing is region / urban vs. not. Seattle is a similar city to mine, both in pretty big metro areas, west coast, expensive rents/properties (my city is much more pricey), and LOTS of options for things to do, eat, drink, spend $$ on. I wonder if that sort of draw attracts people who are still looking for a good time, generally younger, and are not intent to pick a city and stay for a very long time. I am totally speculating here. In general though, I think the answer might be a combination of all of the above.

      1. Great Points! yeah I don’t think its one easy answer, and the west coast is notorious for being ‘laid back’ this is one of th ose areas too I guess. The recession has really hit a lot of careers too, and its harder to break in, so I feel that some people delay real life with grad school and internships and all that just because its frightening to not have a decent wage. Plus, any kind of social life, which people with means are used to is going to cost $. I also wonder what it is about cities that attract all the commitment phobic men?

      2. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Just want to add, I’m on the west coast of Canada and my city is one of the most expensive real estate markets in all of Canada. I moved to the outskirts and my house cost us over $300 K. Most of my peers bought townhouses or moved farther away, more of the $200 K market.

      3. Ok I need to learn budgeting tips from you. Because unless Canada has different lending policies, no one I know has $30k available for a down payment! You guys must really budget way better than us!!

      4. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        TBH we put 20%- $60 K but that was all my husband. After high school he lived with his parents for a few years and socked away every penny for a down payment for when he was a bit older. It’s crazy, I know. When he told me that he wanted to buy a house I kinda freaked because I was 19 and had about $20 in my bank account. But beyond the down payment, our monthly finances are all me. There is a lot more to a house than a mortgage payment, thats for sure.

        Because I’m going to be a SAHM this worked really well for us: we only lived off of my husbands income for the last few years. All of mine went to savings. Paid for our wedding, honeymoon, baby savings, another vacation, car savings, etc. Now that we are going to lose my income we are already used to it so it won’t be a shock, plus we made good use out of that extra money we did have.

      5. Moneypenny says:

        Ha, my 500sf apartment cost $410k! The average rent for a 1 br apt here is $2500. Buying a house (forget a house, try a condo?) is pretty out of reach for many many people. Let alone someone in their 20’s just out of school or starting their career. It’s ridiculous. You have to go a good hour away to find an actual house that is affordable.

      6. Moneypenny says:

        Oh and also, I have to add- major props to you for planning so well. Clearly things are working out great for you! 🙂

    5. zombeyonce says:

      I don’t believe it’s a “child of the 80s” thing at all; I think there are moochers and users in every generation. I believe that the reason you notice it more in young people is because the older people get, the more responsibilities they usually have (careers, homes, kids) and they have less time and money to give in to these kinds of people, so you’ll see fewer of these kinds of people around stable people the older they get.

      Of course, this leads me to picture groups of moocher 50-year olds trying to live off of their kids, which is an ugly image.

  16. artsygirl says:

    LW – I have been in your shoes. I had to live with my husband’s man-child college friend for 3 months and it was HORRIBLE. Besides being expensive to house another adult for free, it is exhausting to feel like you can never relax in your own home (it is exacerbated when you no longer like the person).

    It was hard but I put my foot down with my husband, but I told him that I was growing to resent his friend and that we needed to get him out of the house. My husband ended up setting a move out date for the friend. We said we would not be able to house him after that point and luckily he agreed that he needed to find his own place. Unfortunately for us, we ended up having to pay his first month’s rent because he did not bother saving any money during those three months he lived rent free (this is a man who is almost 40). For your own sanity, set a date with your husband of when the guys need to be out of the house – after they move out that should take care of a lot of the budget problems. I would also put my foot down on the comments they make in front of you. If they say something offensive, call them on it. If they make fun of you or disregard your feelings then leave. You do not need to put up with bad behavior though I imagine some of the resentment will go away when you don’t have to deal with them on a daily basis.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I’m so angry for you after reading you had to give a grown man his first month’s rent check. Do people really have no shame?!?!

      1. artsygirl says:

        Nope he does not… he actually just hit us up for money a few months ago because he wants to buy a house but doesn’t have a down payment. I will say the rent was some of the best money I ever spent and much cheaper than a defense attorney because I was about ready to bunny boiler this guy.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        What are your age differences? Is it that maybe? Your older and wiser? Even that though. I just cannot fathom asking friends for downpayment $, or any money! Does he think you’re his parent?

      3. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Yeah that is just ridiculous. Also, if you can’t come up with savings for a down payment then you can’t afford the maintenance of a house! It’s so much more than just a mortgage payment!

      4. artsygirl says:

        Exactly, he doesn’t plan well. Tends to be really spontaneous (he is the “I want a new car because it will be shiny despite my old one being fine but I don’t have funds so I take out an insane loan with high interest because I also have really shitty credit from lots of bad financial mistakes” type) and never ever has money despite working. Since he was my husband’s friend, I let my husband deal with it because my likely response was going to be to laugh in his face and then kick him in the balls.

      5. artsygirl says:

        My husband and I are in our late 20s and he is in his late 30s (manchild)

      6. UGH!!!!

  17. I think you need to realize that your husband hasn’t matured as much as you think. Otherwise he would have gotten tired of this situation by now. I also think you need to admit that you don’t want to be friends with these guys anymore. I think you ideally want your husband to end the friendship also but that is trickier. I think you need to do some self-examination. Has your husband really grown up and wants a more mature future plan? Or are you projecting your perspective on to him.

    I don’t think you can really address the situation all together unless you have truly had enough and ultimatum time has come. If you haven’t reached the line in the sand point then I would address this issue piece meal. First I would quit going out with them. Let your husband go but you stay home or make other plans. Plan events with your husband that you want to do and hopefully ones that the friends can’t or won’t do. Try to make new couple or married friends, which is long process of finding a wife you like and a husband he likes. Have him invite people from his work to your house for dinner. Put your foot down when he wants the friends of friends of the friends to stay at your house. This could be the difficult one. If he still has them stay then tell him he gets to clean up and cook for them. Someone mentioned you could use the money he spends on his friends to purchase things for yourself. So come up with something, a car, a vacation, remodeling, etc. But find something he would want. That way when he goes out with the friends he will be less willing to spend his money. Don’t tell him that is the plan but let it be a subconscious thing he does. Make some friends of you own.

    I guess I’m saying to manipulate the situation in your favor because the direct route hasn’t worked. If that doesn’t work then it has become a big problem. You will have to try counseling. In the end you may have to tell the husband it is you or them. It would be nice to know if you work, which is fine if you don’t. However if you don’t then it could put you on uneven ground with him. It is wrong but then it is a matter of his money and his house. More of that self-examination to see if this is where he is coming from.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I hesitate to call the husband immature. I can somewhat sympathize with his position, to a small degree. To this day, if I’m out with certain friends, I slip back into the behavior I used to have way back when with them, again, to a small degree. I’ve had years to adjust to adulthood, whereas the husband hasn’t. Its hard to become a grownup when all your friends aren’t.
      Still though, he must put his wife higher than his friends.

      1. i had some friendships end or change drastically because i was out of college and some friends werent… its amazing how people act, in my opinion… it makes no sense.

      2. I don’t want to say that the husband is immature, but that he isn’t as mature as her in what they see for their present and future. It seems the husband lets his friends use him and I wonder why. Does he have low self esteem? Is he afraid of losing them? Does he not want to admit to himself that they are only friends with him for monetary reasons? Is he scared of the future so he is trying to go back in time with his friends?

      3. I agree with you— obviously, if he’s letting all of this happen, he isn’t as settled with the idea of post-college, grown-up life as the LW is.

      4. Temperance says:


      5. I LOVE LOVE this…

  18. I hate moochers…these friends remind me of this guy I was dating…he would always conveniently forget his wallet when we would go out (never paid for anything the 3 months we were dating!)….the one night he came to my house, so I ordered a pizza and some wings and on his way home he went into my fridge and packed up the left overs! (i dated some doozies!)

  19. Sounds like these friends have some entitlement issues. Because your husband has a good job and can afford to pay their way, they think they’re entitled to free room and board, nights out, etc. But they aren’t your kids. They aren’t even your siblings. They’re grown ass adults who will keep taking money and resources from your family pot to make their lives easier. If it were me (and I’m not really the confrontational sort), I’d maybe start by laying down some new rules in a subtle sort of way. Like when you’re all out at dinner, before anyone orders anything just say something like, “I know we’ve covered the check in the past, but because we’re saving for a house, (or some other big purchase), we’ll only be able to cover ourselves from now on.” Even if it’s a lie, who cares. That’s a tangible reason why they can’t have access to what they presume to be an unending supply of free money.

    As for the house guests, hosting out-of-town guests, and going out on Tuesdays, just say no. I know it’s hard when others aren’t stepping up and doing the right thing (when it comes to ditching guests), but remind yourself how resentful it’s going to make you toward those friends before you let the offer slip out of your mouth. If your husband wants to get lit mid-week every once and a while, that doesn’t mean you have to join him, be DD, or take in strays. Once people have a full-time job and are out of college, a lot of them don’t really enjoy mid-week, mid-day, mid-morning drinking like they used to. That’s fine. Say so.

    But you also need to be a united front. Tell your husband what your expectations are: no house guests, no one crashing at the house after a Tuesday bar crawl, and stick to that. Have a few stock answers ready, like “We’ve decided to keep our house just for us for the good of our marriage, so you’ll have to find somewhere else to stay.” Always ask for separate checks when you’re going out. Tell the bartender that no one uses your tab but you.

    You basically need to play some tough defense for a while to keep your marriage, home, resources, time, and money just for your and your husband. And there’s nothing wrong with that as long as husbo understands that it’s time to cut off the little leeches. Who knows, maybe these friends will get great jobs/enroll in grad school, or at the very least, buy their own damn groceries once your husband stops being their ATM/Mommy.

  20. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    It is totally okay to say no to your friends! If they are hitting you up for money, “fuck off” is a perfectly good response.

  21. In addition to the things that have been said, I’d like to point out that part of what I imagine is going on here is that your husband’s immature friends are his last link to his carefree days. He’s probably got a lot invested in keeping that link unsevered: just keep that in mind with whatever approach you decide to take. It may be that he’s afraid to feel like an old, boring married dude and these boors enable him to feel connected to that earlier version of himself. Just because he’s being a grownup in terms of his job and school doesn’t mean he’s entirely mature – his behavior of late has demonstrated that. He’ll let go eventually, but recognize that his friends are performing a function/purpose for him psychologically.

  22. I wonder if you’ve tried talking to the friends directly rather than having your husband do it? If he has a hang up about not being the bad guy and not seeming like he’s “whipped,” then it may just be time to embrace the bitchy wife persona and go for it.

    Recently, my fiancee’s friend of the same ilk stayed at our house and the two of them proceeded on an drinking/gambling bender that ended with a loud return home at 3am on a weeknight. I have to get up at 6am. They BOTH got a piece of my mind. I addressed the friend directly and explained it was my house too and explained what did and didn’t fly with me. He was very remorseful about it and the message came through a LOT more clearly because it came directly from me and not in some watered down, apologetic version from my fiancee.

  23. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    These aren’t friends, they are parasites. Friends don’t treat you this way.

    Ask your husband to prioritize your marriage over the parasites, except say it in a nicer way than that.

    Both of you need to learn to set boundaries and to back each other up.

    Calculate how much you’ve spent on these guys and then compare that to something the two of you really want to buy. Tell your husband that you’re not willing to give up the things you both want, whatever they may be like new furniture, new car, down payment on a house, vacation, etc. Ask if he is willing to keep giving these things up for his friends.

    Before going out next time announce that everyone will have their own tab/bill. Tell them that if they can’t cover themselves they can’t come along. If they do go along make sure you mention that you have your own tab when you order.

    Give the friends a move out date and then if they aren’t gone on that day move their things outside and leave them out. Also be prepared to change locks on the door that day. You basically wait until they aren’t at your, change the locks and move their things out. If you rent you’ll have to talk to the landlord about this.

    Why are they staying with you and why aren’t their families helping them. Probably their families are tired of their freeloading and won’t financially support them so they’ve gone to the people who will. They will never grow up unless forced so when you keep giving them a free ride they remain childish. For their own good, and yours as well, you need to stop supporting them.

    You may have to quit keeping food in the house for a while. Meet your husband and get something to eat or pick up enough for two on the way home and don’t share it with the moochers.

    Expect to be treated with respect and quit tolerating their rudeness.

  24. Geez. This would piss me off so much. You should start doing ridiculous things to “cut expenses.” Like cancel your TV and Internet. Start making him lentils and rice every day for dinner. Stop buying toilet paper, etc.

    Just kidding. This probably doesn’t help the current situation (because it would probably be seen as really aggressive and bitchy to change it up now), but this is a good reason not to pool all your money together. It’s just hard when both parties have to be on board with every decision that’s being made with the money, even if one person is acting crazy.

  25. Older and (hopefully) wiser says:

    This is not really about the friends. It’s about your husband’s insensitivity to your obvious displeasure. He’s not putting you first. That’s the issue that you two need to address.

  26. I think it’s hard for a lot of people to just dump friends they have such a long history with. Your husband may not want to stop being friends with these guys. I think it is definitely okay for your husband to retain a friendship–just perhaps not as closely. Also, you and he need to discuss how to set up boundaries with these friends and stick to them. That is incredibly important.

    One other idea is to have the two of you start branching out and trying to make new friends– especially becoming friends with other couples. As the two of you find new friends, perhaps he will not be spending as much time with his old friends.

  27. LW there must be something else going on with your husband if he feels the need to side with his buddies over you. The only thing I can think of is that he feels like he rushed into being a grown up so quick with work and marriage, that he really just wants to be out there with his friends partying all of the time, and living carefree. You need to start saying no to going out all of the time, and kind of put your foot down.

  28. This letter reminded me of that other letter where this couple (if i remember correctly they had just married) was housing a friend of the husbands and well things were NOT going well. We never got an update on that one 🙁

  29. There’s a lot of issues to be addressed with this letter, but one thing I’d recommend to you, LW, is to stop hanging out with these friends. Let them just be your husband’s friends. It’s obvious that their immaturity and lack of respect makes them very unpleasant for you to be around (and very understandably so), so, stop associating with them. By continuing to go out with them and see them acting like immature deadbeats, it’s just putting you in a situation that makes you very angry, and that can be avoided by not going out with them. Of course, you’ll probably still have to hear about their infuriating ways because your husband appears to still enjoy spending time with them, and will probably remain friends with them. Which is fine – you don’t have to have all of the same friends, and you don’t even have to like all of your spouses friends. Again, there are other issues to be addressed here, for which there is plenty of advice up above, but you yourself should definitely stop hanging out with these guys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *