Sage Advice: Lake House Dust-up Harms Friendship

By Amy Dickinson | October 15th, 2019

If a friend and a spouse don't get along, do you have to choose?


Rejected Friendship Lakehouse Image

Dear Amy: Recently, I went to join my two closest friends and their husbands at “Betsy’s” lake house. I arrived early. My friends had gone into town.

Betsy’s husband was sitting outside, and I walked down and said hello, but he didn’t acknowledge me. So I asked him, “Do you want to be alone? Should I come back later?” He said yes, and I left in tears and drove the two hours back home. He was so rude and unkind, and I felt so unwelcome.

I texted Betsy that I was heading home and told her what had occurred.

She said she dislikes the way he treats me, but didn’t want to end her marriage. They’ve been married for 10 years and she and I have been friends for 20.

We have gone on family vacations and have had many holidays together. I consider her my family.

I have always excused his behavior as him being socially awkward. I’ve never reacted or taken it personally until now.

I’m at a loss. He texted a half-hearted apology days later, but I’m fairly certain it was under pressure from his wife.

Even if my friend was willing to have us in the same space again, I don’t know how I would not take his occasional rudeness and shortness with me personally. It IS personal.

I don’t want to lose Betsy, or to miss out on our family trips and holidays.

What now?

– Bereft

Dear Bereft: “Betsy” seems to believe that she needs to choose between you and her husband, and I assume you hope this is not the case, because adults should have the freedom to maintain whatever healthy friendships they possess without their partner’s participation. However, are you boxing her in?

I would urge you to consider and accept that the guy just doesn’t like you – and unless you can take responsibility for a specific incident or attitude that might have contributed to this dynamic … so what? It’s on him. (If I refused to be in the company of people who don’t like me, I’d never leave the house.)

Leaving the scene in tears demonstrates a level of sensitivity toward this man’s behavior that he probably doesn’t deserve.

The ability to be in peaceful proximity to people who don’t like us is one mark of mature adulthood. It is something for you to work on.


In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2019 by Amy Dickinson

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