How to best deal with a despised close friend of my SO?
December 19, 2013 12:36 PM   Subscribe

For reasons that I find entirely justifiable, I despise one of my significant other's closest friends. Until recently, we have gotten along, and although he treats his girlfriend terribly and frequently complains about their relationship to my SO and me, I thought he was just unhappy in his relationship, and dismissed it. Recent events have brought to light that, not only does he dislike me deep down, it appears he genuinely thinks of women in general as nothing more than inconsequential beasts with breasts that somehow continue to exists despite their obvious stupidity and inability to do anything of value. Obviously this revelation makes me a little uncomfortable with the idea of he and my SO cavorting about together without me being around to deter the "I hate women" diatribe. Snowflake details inside.

Let me start off by saying that my SO is nothing like his friend, and also realizes how much of a dick he is to women. However, my SO is also very much a go with the flow type and would rather brush over something than ruffle feathers and start a fight. So while I trust that my SO would not return his sentiments, I still feel uncomfortable with someone that so clearly does not like me or my entire sex, having an open table to vent his frustrations over dinner and drinks.

What brought about my realization was playing co-ed softball this fall with this guy. He was given the impression that he was co-captain (along with a girl, who unlike himself, had 20+ years of experience playing the sport, and who was clearly the best player on our team). However, he took this to mean that he was captain, and could consider the wishes of the feeble woman at his will, but should he not want to do something a certain way, it would not be done. Over the course of the season he : openly implied that none of the women on our team could catch a ball, stated that having mandatory women in the infield was a stupid rule and it was a shame we had to abide by it, yelled at just about everyone, threw a dugout hissy fit because a girl was uncomfortable subbing at my base and asked me to swap with her, stated that if a woman chose not to take a "walk" when given the opportunity she was being selfish and making the whole team suffer because there is no way that a woman could hope to take a swing and do better than a single, directly targeted me at every given opportunity and a multitude of other offenses. Being the strongwilled hyper competitive person that I am I did not take his sexism lying down, and along with the other girl infielder, was one of the only two to take him on and tell him he was wrong, which is why I know he now detests me as well. His behavior just makes me realize that his sexist jokes and implications he has made since I known him were not jokes... I now know that he actually believes all of these things, and truly does not think women are capable of anything but making a sandwich better than a man could.

This part is really just for my satisfaction... I would just like to state that he benched me for a game and played first in my stead, and raised the count to two women on the team that were better at playing infield than he was. Point being there was not even any justification to his belief that the women on our team were automatically awful, and could never dream to be better at anything then men are. Because we were better than him, and many other men on our team.

Anyway, my question is... how do I put this aside and move on. I sometimes have a really hard time letting go of this type of thing, and I know that it isn't fair to my SO to try to prevent him from hanging out with his long time friend. And I would never do that, however it really gets under my skin anytime they go out together and the girlfriends are not invited. Until now I have just been trying to hide my annoyance, but it is really troubling me every time. Should I just suck it up and get over it? Or should I explain my perspective to my SO? I don't want him to lose a friend, I just want him to understand why I may be quiet for a while when he returns from a night out, without being accusing or starting a fight. Advice on how to handle this kind of thing?
posted by Quincy to Human Relations (32 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, for sure don't play on his softball team anymore. Can you just have your SO not tell you when he's out with Asshole Friend? Like, just eliminate this asshole from your consciousness? Maybe I'm way out in left field but I feel like telling your SO, "I never want to hear anything about That Asshole" would send a message that you're serious about how awful you find him, and if your SO was able to actually follow through on that it would mean you wouldn't have to be weird and quiet when your SO gets back from going out with That Asshole.

I mean, you say you don't want to prevent your SO from hanging out with this asshole; you presumably know that you can't change this asshole; but maybe you could arrange matters so that this asshole is taking up a little less of *your* personal headspace.
posted by mskyle at 12:45 PM on December 19, 2013 [5 favorites]

Make it into a game. He hangs out with the misogynist, he puts some money in the EMILY'S List jar. It's like carbon offsetting. The bro never needs to know about it. (Although, you could make the donation anonymously in his name, and that would be hilarious.) And you'll be able to refocus your anger into something productive.
posted by jph at 12:45 PM on December 19, 2013 [17 favorites]

it isn't fair to my SO to try to prevent him from hanging out with his long time friend. And I would never do that, however it really gets under my skin anytime they go out together and the girlfriends are not invited.

So you're getting annoyed because you aren't invited out with a person is an asshole?

So if my twist myself around, I can understand your perspective and I'm not trying to tell you how to feel But if you don't want your SO to stop being friend with this asshole, -- which you've stated -- then you don't get to be upset that he hangs out with him. You can tell him you think his friend is an asshole. But if you're not going to make this a deal breaker, then you've got to accept his friend.

So if your question was "how do I deal with hanging out with this guy who is an asshole?", I'm not sure I could help you. But your question clearly ends with him hanging out with him without you around, so I go back to my opening:

Why are you pissed that he's going out without you? It sounds like the only solution, honestly.

(This is sort of a rhetorical question that I don't expect you to answer. I would just think about why it is bothering you. You say you trust that your SO isn't also an asshole; if that's the case, you have to trust that he's not going to suddenly turn into one based on exposure.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:46 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

however it really gets under my skin anytime they go out together and the girlfriends are not invited.

Without speaking to the merits of the softball drama, why is it a problem if your boyfriend and his friend(s) like to go out without their girlfriends? It is very normal for them to want to do that. Don't you spend time with any of your girl friends without the boyfriends tagging along? This is the norm, in my experience. And frankly, I don't understand why you are annoyed that you aren't invited to spend time with a person you despise.

The way you put it aside and move on is to realize that you trust your boyfriend enough that he can be the sole judge of whom he wishes to have as a friend and how they spend time together. You don't need to spend any time with your boyfriend's friend if you don't want to, but if you boyfriend wants to spend time with his friend, you should "suck it up and get over it", as you put it. It really isn't your business if this unsavory character has dinner and drinks with your boyfriend.
posted by Tanizaki at 12:48 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

If your SO is a great guy, then his buddy's shit will eventually get old. As we age, our tolerance for bullshit diminishes. You may find that without you there to buffer that your SO will discover that his friend is an asshat and he won't want to hang with him.

I think that in the back of your mind, you're thinking, "Why would my awesome boyfriend put up with this jerk?" It's in the front of my mind. The reason you resent their bro-time so much is because you worry that your BF isn't as put off by this odious behavior as he should be. It worries me. I'm just saying.

That may be another conversation, for another day. I think you should declare that you don't want to be anywhere near this yutz, but that if your BF wants to grab a beer with him, he should do it in good health.

The world is full of insecure dillweeds, limiting your exposure is the best thing you can do.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:48 PM on December 19, 2013 [34 favorites]

I disagree. It's great and everything to be a go with the flow type, but when you're just "going with the flow" as someone actively carries out their hatred of other classes of people and belief that they are subhuman, and continually spews it into the world, it's no longer just being "going with the flow." It's making a choice to look the other way as people are being harmed because objecting it would be too hard or you don't feel like it or it would kill your buzz or you would have less of a good time.

If your SO knows that someone actively preaches and practices sexism and it's his choice to just look the other way, that says something about his character. This is not a family member of your SO that he is stuck with, it's a person he chooses to associate with. The people we choose to associate with reflect on who we are. I am sorry to say these things because I know that it is not a great experience to hear negative opinions about the behavior of someone you love, from a stranger.

I also do not think it would be fair to "prevent" your SO from hanging out with this guy, because nobody has the right to dictate to another adult what they can and cannot do with their social life. However, I think it would be fair to have a conversation with him about his thoughts on whether it is moral to just look the other way when someone is harming other people, so that you can keep having a good time with that person.
posted by cairdeas at 12:54 PM on December 19, 2013 [48 favorites]

To clarify... the only reason I care that they go out without the girlfriends is that I know that opens the table for whatever this asshole wants to say about women in general...specifically me. I hope that makes sense. I don't care if he goes out with the guys as I go out all the time. Its this guy particularly.
posted by Quincy at 12:56 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

Should I just suck it up and get over it? Or should I explain my perspective to my SO?

What is your perspective on this? Or, rather your goal of explaining it to your SO? Do you want him to not hang out with his friend? Do you want them to invite you two along? Right now, what he's doing is probably what he thinks needs to get done: he is keeping you and his friend apart because of the bad blood.

So if you tell him this behavior is making you upset, you need to follow that up with a way he can fix it. You said you don't want him to lose a friend, and if you mean it, that means "stop hanging out with your friend" is out. So that leaves "invite me and have him invite his girlfriend when you two go out."

So let's say you get that. Now you're invited out with a person you sincerely loathe. You're stewing because you're hanging out with a guy you don't like. Your SO is probably confounded because he did what you asked and you're still upset and on top of that you're upset because you got what you wanted.

I'd say "suck it up and get over it" but it doesn't seem like you have a great grasp on what it is you need to get over. Figure that out first and foremost before talking to anyone about anything.
posted by griphus at 12:57 PM on December 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

I know that opens the table for whatever this asshole wants to say about women in general...specifically me.

Is this something your SO confirmed or something you suspect? Because if your partner is hanging out with someone who is lambasting their partner, that's bad news. But if you're only suspecting it, why not just ask?

I have friends who have maybe not the best opinions about things, but absolutely nobody is going to talk shit about my wife to me in her absence because I will not tolerate that for a moment. If your partner is a good person, neither will he.
posted by griphus at 12:59 PM on December 19, 2013 [21 favorites]

I know that opens the table for whatever this asshole wants to say about women in general...specifically me.

Yes, and it bothers you because your Boyfriend isn't shutting it down cold. THAT's the problem.

So...why do you suppose that is?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:03 PM on December 19, 2013 [20 favorites]

I'm with cairdeas. If my SO hung out with someone who actively spouted, for example, racist beliefs, I would seriously question his character. Life's too short to keep bigots as friends.
posted by lalex at 1:07 PM on December 19, 2013 [11 favorites]

this revelation makes me a little uncomfortable with the idea of he and my SO cavorting about together without me being around to deter the "I hate women" diatribe

however it really gets under my skin anytime they go out together and the girlfriends are not invited

OP already stated the reason that it gets under her skin when her boyfriend hangs out with his buddy alone, which is that she imagines that it turns into a misogynist version of a KKK meeting. So other interpretations, i.e. she is insecure or controlling, are not made in good faith.

OP, can you have a conversation with your boyfriend about this? Ask him what actually goes on? For example, I used to be get distressed about men going to strip clubs because of my (incorrect) assumptions of what goes on there; now that I've been to a few, I find it stupid rather than disturbing, which is much better!

I think one potential red flag here is that this guy is "one of your significant other's closest friends". This is something that would make a difference to me personally. An old drinking buddy who is misogynist/racist/homophobic is one thing - a true, close friend is quite another. This is the main thing I would want to understand, personally.
posted by rada at 1:07 PM on December 19, 2013 [8 favorites]

Anyway, my question is... how do I put this aside and move on.

You don't have to 'put it aside'. Just don't spend any time with him, He's a dick, and you don't like him. So cut him out of your life. Once you've done that, you never have to think about him again.

I know that it isn't fair to my SO to try to prevent him from hanging out with his long time friend.

That's good...

And I would never do that, however it really gets under my skin anytime they go out together and the girlfriends are not invited.

That's not good, and also makes no sense. Why do you care if you're invited? You don't like this guy. You don't want to control who your SO hangs out with, and you also don't want to hang out with this tool. Let your SO go do his thing, and you can go do yours.

Should I just suck it up and get over it? Or should I explain my perspective to my SO?

Yes to both. Tell your SO that this guy isn't your cup of tea, but your SO can go hang out with him without you. Problem solved, no conflict.

By getting upset out this, you are letting some misogynist pig waste your valuable brain space. You can cut him out of your life. Do so, and then forget he ever existed.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:09 PM on December 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

I think the point a lot of us are circling around is that you kind of either have to ask your SO to not be friends with this guy anymore (which is problematic but might be warranted in your situation) or you have to learn to ignore him and not worry about what he's saying. There's no way for you to keep tabs on this guy and his relationship with your SO without driving yourself crazy.
posted by mskyle at 1:15 PM on December 19, 2013 [6 favorites]

Here is what I would do in your situation.

First, I would tell your boyfriend that you've had some conflicts with this guy, you don't like the way he talks to you or that he talks to other women, and you're not okay with his sexist jokes.

Second, I would bear in mind that most of your story is going to be a non-starter if your intent is to prove to your boyfriend that this guy hates women. I personally don't doubt it at all, and he sounds like a real dickhead, but this is your boyfriend's friend, and this is something people do with friends - even when we recognize that they're abrasive in ways, there's a tendency to try to give them much more benefit of the doubt than is warranted. I kept reading your story waiting for the moment when the guy openly stated a disdain of women, and it didn't come - the best I got was that he openly implied that the women on your team couldn't catch. This means that he has a degree of deniability. What you're looking for here is not implication or interpretation, but statements which have no other interpretation than misogyny, such as if he made a serious claim that women are just naturally bad at math and should only be allowed to be stay-at-home moms or whatever.

In the absence of that, limit yourself to the facts only, and don't try to push the narrative of what you believe the guy's motivations to be, even if you're probably right. I hear a lot of inference in your story, and that spells bad news when trying to overcome whatever denial your boyfriend may or may not be in about what a shitbeard his friend is. I trust that your boyfriend's a good dude but I've had this conversation a million times - we have blind spots about assholes in our lives, and you're invariably going to hear something about, "I know he's a jerk sometimes but he's totally been there for me in the past (or whatever thing) and I know at his core he's a good guy." This sort of thing drives me crazy when I hear it, but it's easy for us to sit here on the internet and say your boyfriend is awful for not casting this guy out of his life. People are messy and strange and don't always do wise things.

That being said: Whether he was a jerk to you because he hates women or he was a jerk to you for whatever other reason, he was still a jerk to you and that's shitty and your boyfriend, if he's a good guy, will probably care about it.

Third, I would ask that your boyfriend keep this guy away from you. You don't want to see him. State plainly that it is okay for your boyfriend to go out with him and do whatever. Explain that you're not asking him to stop being friends with the guy; you're asking him to keep this guy away from you. He can make up whatever excuse he wants, but there it is.

Fourth, resolve - and tell your boyfriend this - that you will not shit-talk the guy in your boyfriend's presence. He knows you don't like the guy, you've stated your case and that is that. Keep schtum on the subject from here on out. It may suck, and you may feel kind of like you're going along to get along, but this guy is an asshole and the only possible way to emerge from a conflict with an asshole without getting dragged down is to take the high road. This means that you become a known quantity (you are silent in this matter, demonstrating class and aplomb), so you can only gain; this guy, on the other hand, can only lose if he talks about you to your boyfriend.

Finally, I would trust your boyfriend. Trust that he is the kind of guy who will not be cool with others shit-talking his paramour, if indeed that is happening (and, again, this sounds like inference on your part unless I'm missing something). Trust that if this guy starts up with his hogwash, your boyfriend will at the least say something like, "Hey man, I get that you're angry, but this is my girlfriend we're talking about here so can you back off?" If you don't trust that your boyfriend is that kind of rad dude, go find another boyfriend. The New Year is coming up and that's prime time for new beginnings.

And when the two of them are hanging out, occupy yourself. I usually take up some kind of creative project to get my mind off of crap. Find something that's easy for you to get lost in and let yourself get lost in it.

It's not a perfect solution and it doesn't end with the guy getting his comeuppance and maybe landing in a mud pit like a nerds vs. jocks comedy, but there are human beings in the mix here and there's a certain amount of chess you need to play. The guy sounds like a fuckwad, and fuckwaddishness will out sooner or later. Bide your time until then. Like I say, by taking the high road but making your feelings known (so's your boyfriend can respect them), you can only gain and he can only lose.

Good luck.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:15 PM on December 19, 2013 [16 favorites]

the only reason I care that they go out without the girlfriends is that I know that opens the table for whatever this asshole wants to say about women in general...specifically me.

This is policing conversations your boyfriend has outside your presence. Griphus put it very well. If this friend is defaming you in front of your boyfriend (do you have any evidence of this?), I should hope you can trust your boyfriend to tell him to knock it off.
posted by Tanizaki at 1:17 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think you have to stop pretending that you are actually okay with your SO being friends with this guy. That doesn't mean that you have to force him to choose between you, but passive-aggressively punishing your SO every time he hangs out with this guy solo (by being "quiet" upon his return) is not going to fly.
posted by sm1tten at 1:18 PM on December 19, 2013 [10 favorites]

I think letting it go is important here, but I also think it's fair to ask your SO: "If you were in a relationship with (say) an Asian woman, or a Jewish woman, and you always hung out with a guy who said racist things about Asians or Jews, would that bother you? Would you consider that offensive and worth confronting, or something to just brush off? Would you understand why your Asian or Jewish partner would be offended or upset that you continued to spend time with him, and continued to brush off his racism? Okay, now what if we change racism to mysogyny? Same questions."

Ultimately, this bothers you, and what bothers you seems to be that your boyfriend tolerates this behavior (and so implicitly endorses it.) I think it's completely reasonable for you to raise this up to a conversational topic with your SO, in the context of why he doesn't seem to be bothered by his friend's blatantly mysogynistic behavior...because this isn't really about the friend at all (or it shouldn't be.)
posted by davejay at 1:18 PM on December 19, 2013 [13 favorites]

You can't control with whom your SO spends time, as that would tread into abusive and controlling territory. And it's up to your boyfriend as to with whom he spends his time.

But you don't have to be okay with your boyfriend hanging out with this guy. And you don't have to be okay with him letting his friend trash talk women. You don't have to be okay with the questions that raises about your boyfriend's character, his own beliefs about women, his tolerance of misogyny or chilly climates or his lack of willingness to protect the downtrodden. I think you need to stop thinking this is about the other guy. It's about your comfort with your boyfriend. And I'm so sorry. It's really hard to have to look at these things.

I used to live with a guy who had a jerk for a friend. The jerk trash talked women, made horrible misogynistic jokes, used hate words for people from a variety of places and so on. My boyfriend swore up and down that he did not have the same beliefs, that his friend was just young and working through bitterness about an ex girlfriend, that it was all talk, that it didn't mean anything, etc. I set a limit that he could not invite this friend to our home and that he was not to invite this friends to events/activities with me. I was fine with him having the friend - I wasn't about to control him. I strived to believe my boyfriend was a good guy and that he was just trying to be open-minded about a long-time friendship and that my boyfriend didn't believe any of this.

Then, one day, my boyfriend threw me across a room and kneed me in the back.

I moved out. But I wish I'd seen the red flags earlier. I wish I'd never been through the attack. I'm not saying your SO would ever hit you. But I think you are right to listen to your inner voice about this and take more time to process what this means for you and for women and for creation of societies that oppress women. You're uncomfortable for a reason.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 1:26 PM on December 19, 2013 [27 favorites]

Quick anecdote:

You basically described a former acquaintance of mine. I (male) put up with the ridiculous statements about women for a while and wrote it off to him being jaded. Until one day he turned that negativity towards my SO. This quickly elevated to friends pulling us apart after it turned physical.

Later apologies were exchanged and accepted. However after that point I felt his true colors showed and I refuse to associate with individuals of weak moral character so we no longer see each other.

If you trust your SO to be a good guy, I do not think he will stand for someone speaking negatively about you.

Disclaimer: violence is never the answer.
posted by Stan Grossman at 1:32 PM on December 19, 2013 [12 favorites]

I get the impression that the root of the problem is that you are worried that your SO is such a go-with-the-flow kind of guy, that he'll even let his shitty friend insult you without opposing him. It is perfectly understandable if that bothers you. It would bother me. I feel bad for people that don't like

Maybe you should ask your SO point-blank if he defends you when his misogynist friend puts you down or if he just lets the shit-talking flow. If he doesn't defend you, then you have to decide whether or not this is a dealbreaker.

This is not "policing." It's just asking for a level of respect from your SO that is reasonable, if not universally understood to be expected.
posted by ignignokt at 2:03 PM on December 19, 2013 [9 favorites]

I dunno, I trust my partner, and if she was hanging out with someone I hated - I'd be grateful, frankly!

I don't care overmuch what people I have no respect for say about me, whether my partner's there or not. Presumably she knows me better than random dickwads, and I certainly value her opinion more.

I trust her to say, think, or do the right thing. And the right thing for our relationship. I would also add that in my experience friendships where the SO actively dislikes or even hates the other party generally do not last for very long; they dry up, even where the friendship is really close. So I think you just have to wait it out. But don't be "quiet" when your SO gets home. Just be like, "How is Hieronymous? I hate that fucking sexist douchebag."

I know that opens the table for whatever this asshole wants to say about women in general...specifically me.

You cannot control what this guy says or thinks, put it behind you. Life is too short to obsess about dickheads, truly.
posted by smoke at 2:10 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would consider someone being good friends with a misogynist who hated me a COMPLETE deal breaker. I'd be interested in knowing why it isn't one for you.

The only solutions I'd have for your problems would have been to kick him off the softball team (or leave if the team didn't agree with that and let them know why), and I'd walk away from the boyfriend for very clearly condoning this person's behaviour.

I can't imagine anyone I was close to being friends with someone like that, or anyone I've dated recently (there was one jerk in my past, we all have regrets). If you were in your early 20s or a teenager I'd see this as one of those learning moments we all seem to have gone through (see past regret).
posted by Dynex at 2:18 PM on December 19, 2013 [7 favorites]

OP, I understand your sentiment about this topic. I've been on the receiving end of sexist comments or treatment.

The one thing that I see that you could work on to help you with this is to realize that you are reacting to a followup conversation that you are now having in your head rather than what your partner is actually doing or saying. Lots of people do this, by the way. The dangerous part is that the fictional conversation can become so loud that it can over ride other neurocircuits and space in your brain.

In addition to Famous monster's suggestions, I would consider doing the following actions, too:

- Ask yourself how often do you really hear your SO gossip? For some people, it is all the time, but there are many people who almost never talk about other people or about the ones that they love (this may help reduce your fears). The other question to ask is have you heard your SO discuss women in the same manner? If both those things are no, the likelihood of your fictional conversation happening is low.

- I would go another step (normally, no, but it has become central for you based on your description and this is a SO after all). Tell your SO what happened. Then tell your SO that you are sharing this because it is bothering you and you have wondered if misogynist guy is his friend, do they have these conversations about you? I think that you have to go there because you are filling in an imaginary conversation in your head with the silence. Let him answer (it may be hell no, he would never tolerate it, they only talk about interest Y, whatever). BUt give him a chance to tell you the real conversation and reality. Then you can share that you just don't feel comfortable with the person and do want your partner to be friends and not jeopardize it.

- If I were in your shoes, OP, I would volunteer with some organization that helps young girls (or whatever charity helps vs. sexist type beliefs). Just because that guy took up space in your brain for something horrible. Make plans how to change this in the world and fight it (but don't think about him anymore).

Good luck.
posted by Wolfster at 3:40 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

I don't want him to lose a friend


I get that your SO is a "go with the flow" kind of guy, but there are going to be choices even he has to make. Such as: do I choose my misogynist friend or my female SO?

If this is truly your concern: whatever this asshole wants to say about [...] me--why is your SO hanging out with him? There's huge a difference between him having a friend you don't particularly like and him having a friend who is hateful toward people like you and nasty toward you specifically.

Obviously I don't know your situation, but I'm baffled as to why your SO would want to be friends with someone like that.
posted by Meg_Murry at 4:19 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

The problem isn't with this guy being an asshole, it's your boyfriend's refusing to stand up to him. You're telling me that this guy spent an entire summer bullying and harassing you and your boyfriend is totally OK with that behavior? I... ugh, I hate being one of the pessimistic crowd, but this does sound like one of those learning experience relationships. Being emotionally and physically intimate with someone who is totally A-OK with the fact that their friends don't respect you grinds you down. Even when you KNOW you're right, when it's something as idiotic as "bitch, make me a sandwich" sexism. There are some basic respect issues here, and your boyfriend is not ready for a healthy adult relationship if he can't address them.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 5:03 PM on December 19, 2013 [19 favorites]

Okay, btw, not to say that you should dump him or that the relationship is doomed; this sounds like it could be a real learning/growing experience for both you and your boyfriend within the relationship too.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 8:26 PM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm really put off by all the equivocating commenters are posting in this thread.

It's not OK for your BF to go along with it when his friend shit-talks about the woman he's dating, you, and especially women in general.

And that last part is truly the crux of the problem.

Some people remember a time it was "normal" to be sexist, such that your BF might not realize how so very offensive his friend is.

It's OK to talk with your BF about this. It's 2013 and hate speech isn't as socially acceptable as it was even 20 or 30 years ago. It would be a kindness if you clue your guy in to the fact that his friend's hate speech directed at women makes him (your BF) look bad by association.

OTOH, if you know for certain the friend shit-talks you, and your guy still considers this asshole his friend, then DTMFA! A genuine lack of character like that in an SO is the very definition of "deal-breaker," and I don't see how to mitigate your BF's choices in such a scenario.

Your BF shouldn't break bread with anyone who actively hates you, obviously, so you really need to talk to your guy and find out what's going on.

It's not controlling to have boundaries about sexism, hate speech, and the like.

Maybe don't focus on the fallout from the softball season? Let your BF talk more than you do, actively listen and try to hear where he's coming from.

I'm hoping once your guy hears himself trying to defend this asshole he wises up on his own!

Good luck!!
posted by jbenben at 10:36 PM on December 19, 2013 [7 favorites]

Jbenben, agreed completely. I hope I didn't come across as equivocating or excusing the friend's behavior and the boyfriend's complicity. But the OP sounds young and like her social circle hasn't totally shunned the sexist friend, so I wonder if it's possible that this might be her bf's first time having to really take a stand against bigot friends. If he is capable of that, great; if he's not, time to go. And yeah, quoted for emphasis, "It's not controlling to have boundaries about sexism, hate speech, and the like."
posted by moonlight on vermont at 10:59 PM on December 19, 2013

My partner works in a ...retrograde... industry, shall we say. Lots of drinking, bigotry, that sort of thing. He hates it, rails against it, works against it where he can (openly if possible).

What he doesn't do is recruit close friends from work so he can 'enjoy' their banter at home as well.

I would absolutely side-eye my partner if he were close friends with someone as explicitly bigoted as you've described. I have said, previously, that X or Y's attitudes hurt/scare/enrage me (mostly family, a few acquaintances) but nothing as blatantly horrible as what you're talking about. The reason I would side-eye it is because if he doesn't challenge Dipwad's BS then he is tacitly supporting it and I am not down with that on a longterm, ongoing friendship. Not because I want to control my partner, but because I want to be partnered with a good person.
posted by geek anachronism at 2:40 AM on December 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

I can't believe people are suggesting you have no right to be upset that he hangs out with this guy!

I would just tell him (and your softball team, too, by the way) that it hurts you that he isn't outraged enough to stop spending time with an aggressive, bullying bigot who has actively targeted _you_.

Then just stop there and see where the conversation goes. I can't imagine being repeatedly bullied by some asswipe that my SO then goes out and buddy-buddies with! WTF?!

Do you have a right to tell him he's not allowed to hang out with this douche? Hell no. But do you have a right to tell him how much it hurts you that he wants to/chooses to do that? HELL YES!
posted by ravioli at 6:48 AM on December 20, 2013 [8 favorites]

I had a boyfriend who had a bro who was the way you describe. For my (then) bf, he never saw this side of his friend as a problem, mostly because he didn't feel affected by it. The friend was wonderful towards my boyfriend, and could turn on the charm if he liked a girl, but towards me and most women? A jackass.

At the time, I tried to bring up my discomfort of the friend to my bf, but felt like it was dismissed. I didn't want to make my bf change his friends, but it wasn't until after I realized how much his friendship was hurting me. I didn't want to ask my bf to change his behavior for me, even if his behavior was hurting me.

While things ended between my bf and me, I came to a good place when I realized that I was allowed to need my bf to acknowledge how his friend's attitudes and verbalizations hurt me. I also told my bf that I would tell the friend when he said something stupid, something my bf didn't like. I tried to make an effort to get to know the friend (needless to say, not successful). In the end, I realized that my bf cared more about his friend than me, and that was a situation was something I wasn't happy in. Coupled with a lot of other stuff, things ended.
posted by troytroy at 7:49 AM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

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