Monday, 18 July 2011

Agonising Aunt: if in doubt, do not ask Amy

Take my hand, beloved reader, and come with me to the Museum of Really Fucked Up Advice From People You'd Hope Would Know Better. Spoiler alert: the moral of this story is "Don't Ask Amy, Ask Me!"
My husband very strongly dislikes my best friend. He feels that she is a “bad influence” on me, as she is still dating and hasn’t settled down in her late 20s, goes to a gym that offers “pole fitness” classes, and had an abortion a year ago.
How exactly this "bad influence" is exerting itself is unclear, given that Confused has clearly "settled down"; why exactly "still dating" in one's "late 20s" (SPINSTER!) is evidence of scarlet harlotry I dread to think - similarly, how merely going to a gym which offers classes in PORNY PORNOGRAPHY STRIPPER SLUT DANCING or terminating a pregnancy demonstrate bad influenceness is beyond me. But then, I'm not a misogynist!
He also knows that I confide in her when he and I have a bad fight or when I need to vent about something relating to our relationship. She and I have been very close since before he and I started dating, and have known each other since we were in elementary school. She is always very supportive and I try to be there for her.
My friend does not harbor any ill will toward him, but she is frank about her concerns that he can be controlling at times.
So she's supportive and he's critical and controlling: okay, you're painting a very vivid picture here.
He is always angry when I am talking to her on the phone and has gone so far as to hack into my e-mail account and read our e-mails to one another. Heaven forbid the e-mail contain a reference to an acquaintance of ours we find attractive or a (justified or not) complaint about a habit of his.
He snoops into your private communications with a supportive friend who worries that he is too controlling.
I hate having him sulking and angry, but I feel like I should be able to chat privately with my friend.
So hands up who is going "well, relationships are hard; maybe they should compromise". Now hands up everyone who's thinking, "without wanting to pass judgement on a stranger's relationship solely based on a few hundred words in an advice column, this relationship sounds like it could be abusive, and any responsible agony aunt would flag that up". Let's see what Ask Amy has to say:
Your husband is being unreasonable. But then, so are you.
Oh yes, it's so unreasonable to expect one's husband to respect one's privacy! It's all "I want, I want, I want" with you, isn't it? Having a supportive friend, someone you can talk to about relationship niggles, being able to live your life in a reasonable fashion without having to navigate your husband's tendency towards being "sulking and angry"? SO DEMANDING.
The problem here is that you are putting your friendship with your girlfriend in the middle of your relationship with your husband.
OR, "the problem" here is that Conflicted's husband is threatened by her having a close relationship with someone who isn't him.

Delightful Ask Amy also recommends that Conflicted act more "like a grown up". High fives, Ask Amy.

You know, last night I read a piece on The Pervocracy entitled "Why does she stay with that jerk?" Reading this garbage, I'm depressingly reminded of number 6. It's terrifying being in any kind of advisory capacity - I'm only an administrator, but I'm the first point of call to anyone coming to this organisation for financial support, and being approachable and non-judgemental is the single most important part of my job. If I forget to write down their date of birth, no one cares. If I make them feel guilty, embarrassed and frightened, they might never come back - and their financial situation could spiral madly out of control and end up with County Court Judgements, attachment of earnings orders, eviction, prosecution, and prison. So, no pressure.

With that in mind you'd hope that Ask Amy would be a bit more aware of the power of her position, and the responsibilities attached. If Conflicted is in an abusive relationship, and this is the first time she's tried to reach out - well, having read Ask Amy's response, do you think she's going to ask anyone else for help? Yeah.


  1. I absolutely agree with you!
    Hopefully that woman will seek for some other advice (and I do hope, she will find your blog and read it!)

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