Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Should I say something to my husband?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42477points) February 15th, 2015

He has a friend named Kent (not his real name.) He’s not exactly a best friend, and he’s been a male chauvinist asshole toward me, but we’ve kept up with his life for the last 13 years. I actually met him the first time, before Rick and I got together, because he worked for Cox and he installed my cable on Sept 12, 2001.

Then he became a customer at the shop a year later, and became a friend. Often he would show up at the house unexpectedly and was always welcome. I just made sure to never be alone with him because he’d hit on me.

He and his wife have two kids. Their daughter, Mary, is now 18.

They seperated about 3 years ago, about a year after Kent lost his job with Cox, where he had worked for years and years. But, for some reason his ex has refused to sign the divorce papers, even though she initiated the separation.

Kent went through a series of menial, low paying jobs. His wife/ex wife, is the director at our local hospital. He went from riches to rags. .

Well, yesterday Rick went to the grocery store. When he came home, he came to the room I was in and stood in the doorway. He said, “You know Kent?” I nodded. Of course I know Kent.
Rick said, “He’s dead.”
I threw my hands over my face and turned away. I could feel the tears burning. He wasn’t my favorite person in the world, but still…..

Then, again, really casually, Rick said, “They think it was suicide.” Thinking of the misery that poor guy must have been in didn’t help my tears. But Rick was so…flat lined. I can’t believe he announced it so casually. He’s shown more grief over burning dinner. In fact, I got the impression he was enjoying the shock value.

Apparently he had run into Kent’s ex-wife at the store and she talked for an hour about it.

Then he called another mutual friend of theirs, who he doesn’t talk to very often. He said, “Hi Paul! It’s your long lost brother!” And he busted out laughing. I couldn’t believe that was the way he started a conversation, with a stupid joke and a hearty laugh, when the purpose was to tell him their friend was dead. It was like he couldn’t wait to be the first one to tell him.

Then he spent the rest of the evening, passing along the gossip, given to him by Kent’s wife, about the condition of his house (trashed) and the fact that it was his 18 year old daughter who found him (which is why he didn’t use a gun, because he knew who would find him) and on and on so fucking CASUALLY. It was so STRANGE. I finally asked him to stop.

I have to take into account he comes from a very large family and death is pretty common for him. It isn’t for me, though. Plus his big fat Greek family gossips. God they gossip. The men as well as the women.

I’ve really been wrestling with this. He’s out of town, and I thought about sending him an email, telling him how upset I am.

Should I just let it go, or should I say something?

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31 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

Is it possible that this very odd response is some kind of shock reaction? Has he known well anyone before who has taken their own life? I think you need to talk to him about this since it upset you. His actions were inappropriate, whatever the reason, and you need him to understand that your feelings here have validity.

I am sorry you are going through this difficult thing.

chyna's avatar

I think I would say something, but not in an email. I’d wait to talk to him in person.
That way you can gauge his reactions by his facial expressions.

gailcalled's avatar

I would talk to him in person rather than email. Email is callous and impersonal no matter what lwords you.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Talking to him in person I run the risk of him getting really angry. He’s one of those who doesn’t handle criticism or disagreement well.
After he’s had time to think it over, though, he reacts differently, with more understanding.
He’s out of town for the next week.
Email appeals to me because I’d have the time to choose my words carefully.

gailcalled's avatar

Well, then, there’s your answer.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But I didn’t know if that’s just “his way” of grieving. If he really is grieving I shouldn’t criticize that. The thing is, I don’t get the impression that he is, which is weird.

gailcalled's avatar

You are entitled to tell him how you are feeling.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Just his awkward way of dealing with shock. Leave it, let it subside and casually refer to it at some point asking him why/how he took it so lightly.

Dutchess_III's avatar

He’ll deny it, angrily.

Dutchess_III's avatar

IF I send it, this is what I have. Feel free to critique:

Rick, something has been bothering me a LOT. It just keeps gnawing at me. You were so dispassionate about Kent. The way you delivered the information was so flat lined. You’ve gotten more emotional about ruining dinner than you did about your friend. It was almost like you rehearsed the best way to tell me about it to get the most shock value out of it.
“You know Kent?”
Wait 3 seconds.
“He’s dead.’
Pause 10 seconds.
“He committed suicide.”
And then, when you called Paul, I was utterly shocked that you started the conversation out with a silly joke and a big, hearty laugh.

I just wanted you to know how I feel, and how very much it disturbed me.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@Dutchess_III it may prompt him to ask: ” Why is it such a big deal to you?” That will obviously get to you and it may spark off an argument. Poor man is gone may he RIP, just let it go. He may have known something more about him than you did. I am not excusing the approach, just guessing.

gailcalled's avatar

The letter is predominately about what you perceived as his feelings. “You were…” : the way you delivered…” ” You’ve gotten more emotional about…” ” you rehearsed…”

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Plus, it must have touched him to make him discuss it for an hour with the ex-wife.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It wasn’t a big deal to me. I mean, it touched me, and tears were stinging my eyes, but I just covered my face and let it ride for about 5 minutes. I didn’t break down sobbing or anything.

Rick will talk with anyone about anything for an hour so that’s not a bit unusual. As I said, he loves to gossip.

I’m listening @gailcalled.

longgone's avatar

I wouldn’t say anything.

Grief is complicated. Some people cry, some laugh, some shut down. If I’ve learned anything from the deaths of people close to me, it’s this: In grieving, don’t trust yourself.

Your perception may be right, or it may not be. You’ve known Rick for a while, though, haven’t you? Does he seem cold to you, in general? I think we need to give grieving people the benefit of the doubt, and try not to let their shock reactions colour our relationships.

When I lost that friend who killed himself, I didn’t even know what I was feeling. We always talk of our feelings overpowering us – what that implies is a loss of evaluating those feelings. It’s scary – and I think it would scare Rick, no matter how many deaths he’s had to deal with.

It sounds like both you and Rick were rattled by this. I hope you can find a way to share your grief, though you may be expressing it in different ways.

I’m so sorry about your loss. Feel better soon!

Dutchess_III's avatar

We’ve been married 8 years, been together for 13 or so. Sometimes things seem ass backwards to me. He has more compassion for animals than he does for people, for example.

@longgone it’s not affecting me that much. Shit. The man tried to sexually molest me every chance he got! As far as I’m concerned he was an asshole. But , he had some good traits and he was Rick’s friend. It’s the fact that I actually knew him that has me shocked. And I feel badly for what he must have been going through.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I just talked to him. He’s at the Denver airport.
I said, “Man, I just can’t get over that with Kent. I feel so bad for the kids.”
He said, “There’s lots of pretty snow here!”

longgone's avatar

Commenting on snow…It seems pretty clear to me that he’s actively avoiding the subject.
Have you ever seen him react to a death before?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, he’s experienced a lot of it. I know his mom dying really affected him. She died about 6 months before we got together. He called me when it happened, and he sounded very down. Then, after we got together he broke down crying about her once.

His dad is 93, and I know that’s going to be a tough one for him, too.

However, I’ve been to 3 funerals involving his family members since we’ve been together. He seems more interested in the food. Maybe he’s just used to it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m not going to say anything. It was just eating at me so bad. It seemed….pathological or something. I feel better having talked to you guys.

dappled_leaves's avatar

First – I’m sorry that your friend died.

I’m reading your story, and I appreciate that you wish your husband had behaved differently, but you seem to have very low expectations of his ability to change. I guess my questions for you before you proceed would be:

What do you want him to understand about the way he told you? Do you just want to communicate how you felt, or do you want him to change the way he talks to you in future? Or do you want him to think differently about such things? Is he capable of that kind of change, and would he even understand why you would want it?

There’s no right or wrong answer to any of these questions, of course, but it might be helpful if you know how you feel before you have such a conversation, so that you can focus your questions, and more sensitively gage his answers. I realize that you say now that you won’t bring it up… but eventually you might.

longgone's avatar

A pathological lack of compassion/empathy would be visible with animals, too, I’m sure. Doesn’t sound likely.

As to not saying anything: Good for you. If you feel like this is a problem in general, you can always address it when neither of you is likely to be emotional.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I felt very dismayed. I also felt like he took this sad, sad situation to turn the spot light on himself, and I felt repulsed.

Then he called their mutual friend, and when he started the conversation off with a lame joke, and a big hearty laugh, I was really shocked, dismayed and repulsed.

To me he didn’t seem to understand inappropriate it was. Again, he’s drawing attention to himself, playing the funny, great, good old boy, like he always does. Usually it’s cool, but it was like he couldn’t see that it was time to drop that persona, at least for a while.

Now I’m feeling kind of pissed. The attention needs to be on the KIDS and the ex-wife, not on him.

livelaughlove21's avatar

It’s really not up to you to decide how he should react to death. You can be as emotional as you want about it if that’s your genuine reaction. Why should he feel like his attitude about it is wrong? It’s not – we’re all entitled to deal with death however we see fit.

Who are you to say how appropriate it was? How we react to things like this is a very personal thing – this could just be his way of handling his true feelings. A lot of men express every “hard” emotion as anger, others just act unaffected. As long as we’re not hurting anyone, it’s no one’s business.

You can certainly tell him how you felt about his reaction, but don’t expect that discussion to change his behavior. He’ll probably react negatively to your criticism and get defensive. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth all that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

As I said, @livelaughlove21, the thing that bothered me most was the attempt to take this tragedy to make himself the center of attention. I know of another person who does it, and it’s disgusting.

Dutchess_III's avatar

BTW, @livelaughlove21, see my comment here before you get all riled up to attack again.

tinyfaery's avatar

Oh, good gawd. You are making this into a big deal when it’s not. If he acts that way when a close friend or relative dies, then talk about it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks for the advice everyone. I can feel the tide turning so I’m out.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Dutchess_III Riled up? Attack? You’ve got to be kidding me.

Just another question where you get defensive when you don’t hear what you want. Big shocker.

longgone's avatar

^ To be fair, I said almost exactly what you did. @Dutchess_III responded by changing her plans. I don’t think she was looking for someone to tell her what she wanted to hear in this thread.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Admittedly, I didn’t read all of the responses first, but I’m far from the first person on Fluther to do such a thing. Regardless, what I said was hardly an attack.

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