Social Question

Aster's avatar

Would this be a deal breaker for you in a potential relationship?

Asked by Aster (19949points) December 7th, 2016

I have a good friend who’s married to this guy who has the most peculiar and annoying habit. He calls her names then, when she acts insulted, he says, ‘oh, I was just kidding.’
Last week I was on the phone with her and , in the background, I heard him say, “Aster is a heathen.” It’s a good thing I wasn’t there when he said it. I assume he smiled afterwards; I don’t know. But I think it’s unacceptable, stupid and rude.

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28 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

The guy is an ass.

The “just kidding” piece is a way of him saving some face when he says something that he knows is wrong.

You’re not going to change him, and apparently his wife isn’t either. I don’t see why she puts up with it, but these aren’t people I know. I’d say that since she lets it continue, she is an accomplice to hs being an ass, which tells you something about her.

It comes down to you and your tolerance for nasty people. Is your friendship with her worth the rudeness and assholeishness that her husband brings?

Only you can answer.

Aster's avatar

Yes; it’s well worth it since I never see them! They live 45 miles away from us and my conversations with him are few and far between.
He is also a raving racist and doesn’t try and hide it. She’s Hispanic.

marinelife's avatar

The just kidding line doesn’t work if the guy is repeatedly saying things that are hurtful or insulting. For me, it would be a deal breaker.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

This guy sounds extremely passive-aggressive. He calls his wife insulting names, no doubt because of some suppressed anger or a need to demean her, and then refuses to own his comments. The aggressive part is the name-calling; then, passive comes into play when he smiles and tries to dismiss what he’s said. This isn’t a healthy relationship.

Now, the man’s doing the same things to you, by extension because he’s married to your friend. At least for me, this would be a deal-breaker.

Aster's avatar

It is particularly hurtful and infuriating for her because she had a dreadful childhood followed by two bad marriages and now this. Raised in Mexico she had medical procedures that almost killed her, got HepC from a transfusion and her mother dumped her. She was raised by a sadistic aunt she hated with a passion and hasn’t forgiven. So the guy in question seemed to her like quite a catch after what she had been through.
I do think he’s terribly worried about his Charcot Marie Tooth disease and is scheduled for another surgery in January. He may also be stressed out having to depend upon her for his care when she is in fairly poor health. I know, however , this doesn’t excuse name calling to let off steam.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

There was a guy like that back in seventh grade. He also used to walk through the halls between classes and punch people in the arm. We buried him out behind the football field. Every time they mowed the lawn back their all the guys in my class would kind of freak out.

Aster's avatar

So people can be buried behind the football field and it’s legal? You die and your family plans to have you put in the ground right next to a football field? What does this have to do with verbal abuse?

ucme's avatar

No, it would be a neck breaker though, soppy fucker.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think it would end a marriage very fast, but it would likely cause a strain. My husband sometimes calls names and I hate it!

Cruiser's avatar

How long have they dated/been married? Has he always called her names in this fashion? Is this now bothering you because he is now involving you in his name game?

I think everyone has one or two annoying habits that are exhibited in private that spouses or SO’s live with. But if this annoying habit was executed in public, it would start to creep into deal breaker territory especially if it involved demeaing me in front of people that know me.

Sneki95's avatar

If she doesn’t like it, then it is a problem. Don’t joke with people if they don’t like it.

Since you asked would it be a deal breaker for me, I say: it depends on the name.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

That would not fly with me at all. He’s a childish fool.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

This guy’s post-name-calling smile? I’m wondering whether it’s really a smile at all, or if it’s more of a smirk.

When I picture someone who just said something rude or insulting, and then who “smiles” and says, “Aw, shucks, I didn’t really mean it,” I get the image of a smirk. I’m seeing someone who’s very smug and irritating.

Zaku's avatar

Depends on how mean it is. People can call me a heathen, especially if they’re some flavor of bad Christian, and I might take it as a funny unintentional compliment from the likes of them.

But I can see how it could be a problem – it’d be about the specifics and the relationship and so on, and that would be the issue (or non-issue), not the specific behavior.

DarknessWithin's avatar

It depends on the context and whether or not there is a mutual understanding and acceptance.

In my family, we call each other things like “bitch” and “ass” as well as even flip each other off in good humor and it’s entirely understood as such because we all share that sense of humor plus we’re laughing and/or have exaggerated tones the entire time. The word ‘heathen’ would actually work well in our routine.
I’m not only fine with this but rather enjoy taking part and actually idealize a partner who fits in with it.

You didn’t paint a very detailed picture of your friend’s end of these exchanges, however, the phrase ”acts insulted” is able to be interpreted as that she’s playing along and ergo it’s a mutual game.
What is his tone and her response after he does the “just kidding”/smile bit? What kind of a smile is it exactly, a soft playfully amused smile or an annoyed or arrogant smirk? Whether or not his insults are genuine and if it’s acceptable regardless is entirely dependent on these factors.

Now the “raving racist” thing is a huge hell no for me regardless of what the case is with the insults.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I see no sense in continuing in a relationship where there is no mutual respect. To put up with that is fucking sick and that will surface later in very ugly behaviour on the part of the abused.

snowberry's avatar

Your friend needs help and she needs to understand that “Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe.”

I would stick with her if for no other reason than to encourage her to get help while she still has time. I did that for one friend recently and she did get help.

JLeslie's avatar

@Snowberry That can be true, but I wouldn’t worry about that if he doesn’t have any other controlling or isolating behaviors. If you assume people who yell and call names are always on the road to physical abuse you have to lock up half the Italians and a good percentage of some other cultures too. Im stereotyping of course, which isn’t usually good, but there is some validity to cultural difference regarding disagreements.

cazzie's avatar

I think the racist thing might be more of a deal breaker for me, but maybe I’m just more of a sticks and stones person, but ignorant hate, I just won’t abide it. I don’t think being called a ‘heathen’ would hurt me, seeing as how it’s true. I draw the line at ‘fuck-up’, ‘bitch’, ‘fat-cow’, ‘ignorant cunt’. I kicked that arsehole out of my house.

Aster's avatar

This is his third wife. She loves certain things about him but he would never hit her in any way.
He is very generous. He is very clean. He helps out with the housework without being asked. He keeps the yard immaculate. He has lovely table manners. He’s smart.
They’ve been married for 25 years, approximately. She always receives flowers on her birthday and on their anniversaries. But he tosses his dinner in the trash often saying it’s “inedible” and says when they’re at his daughters house, ” I wish >>>> could cook like this. This is great.” And then we have a “bait and switch” he pulled on her regarding sex after six months of marriage. I bet that gets your attention! All this crap and he sits there at night reading the Bible. Big deal; what for?

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ Grand gestures, including floral bouquets, mean nothing to me. Yes, flowers are nice, and so are boxes of candy and other treats, but only when they’re given by nice people and for good reasons.

Such gestures become disgusting when they’re used to manipulate another person or cover for bad behavior. Actually, one of the calling cards of a chronic abuser is verbal, emotional, or physical mistreatment, followed by a big gift that’s meant to fix everything.

I’d much rather pass on the birthday flowers, be treated kindly when my cooking’s subpar (even the world’s top chefs have failures), and not be embarrassed in front of family or friends.

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie He sounds like my hubby used to be. And the abuse slowly, incrementally got worse over time. Eventually I woke up and realized that life with him was slowly killing me (making me sick), and I didn’t want to die like that. I told him p, “it’s divorce or counseling. Choose quick or you won’t get a chance.” He chose counseling, and turned around. We’ve been married 40 years.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I can’t believe that anyone would stay in the same house with someone like that. I would think the one who is harassed would either internalize and become suicidal, or externalize it and become the biggest bitch in the world. She needs to save herself.

JLeslie's avatar

Most of the world has nice people, who have nice qualities, like a sense of humor, show they care in various ways, good work ethic, etc. The problem is that isn’t enough when the bad part of their personality is really bad, or something that drives you crazy.

We all have negatives, the question is which negatives are tolerable.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

It’s Aster’s business.

It would get old really fast for me.

Aster's avatar

@MollyMcGuire it’s really not my business. I bring it up because my friend keeps telling me what he says to get my reaction. I don’t wish to increase her depression; that isn’t right. After their 25 years together I doubt she’s going anywhere! She’s terrified of living alone and has a very comfortable life with this guy. Many women stick around due to fear of the unknown if their surroundings are acceptable enough. Besides, she really isn’t in shape enough to pull up stakes and file for divorce. She is in fair health and over 70! She just gets so tired of being called names from her childhood until now. I’m sure that many people in their twenties and thirties think divorce and relocation are fairly simple. I can assure you that after 65 you begin losing energy. You’ve given up looking for Mr Right and settle for Mr He’s Alright . I don’t know of one single woman who has divorced her husband in her 60’s or 70’s. It would probably kill her! And not one single time has she even hinted she was considering it.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

If you think what you described is reason to divorce, you don’t understand commitment in good times and bad. Things like this should be addressed and many people, especially women, prefer to deal than bring small things up for discussion. After years all of those small things are big things, but love remains. The way you talk about divorce is very flippant and immature in my opinion.

Aster's avatar

Did I say she should divorce him? Where did I say that? She never even mentioned it! She just said to me so many times he insults her, even in front of his family , never compliments her, throws her dinner into the trash often, says she can’t cook but that he hangs all the Christmas lights and gives to charity monthly. He also buys her flowers at the appropriate times and helps around the house. I never once suggested to her she should divorce him! I’d feel terribly rude and even guilty had I done that ! She is not going anywhere.

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