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May 28, 2017

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Monday, March 20, 2017

My co-workers ruin our lunches with their husband-bashing. Should I speak up?

By Andrea Bonoir
The Washington Post
I regularly eat lunch with a multigenerational group of female co-workers. The common denominator seems to be complaining about husbands a lot of the time. I find it uncomfortable. My husband and I get along well and have a respectful relationship, and even if we didn’t, I would not use it as fodder for lunchtime gossip. But I feel like these women expect me to chime in with stories of my own. Is it better to stay silent or to try to redirect them to other topics?
That depends on what you want. If you just want to be around these women for the camaraderie and are OK with their venting, then there’s nothing wrong with staying silent. Perhaps, over time, the lack of positive reinforcement will even shift the conversation on its own.
But if you are looking to curtail the talk more immediately, the best way is to come armed with mutually interesting alternative topics — which will be uniting — rather than merely trying to steer them away from what they’re talking about, which would be dividing. Unless you wanted to suggest that kvetching continually to others about your spouse likely won’t solve whatever’s causing the problems — but proceed at your own risk on that one.
My husband has been mostly unemployed since we married two years ago; he wants to work but is a weak interviewer due to social anxiety. We love each other, but I married him so he could have health insurance. He’s lied to his family that he has a job. I pay for everything and am so stressed. He refuses to utilise resources to help his interview skills. At Christmas he expected me to buy plane tickets and gifts to visit his family, yet on Christmas Eve I was begging the water company for more time to pay. I’m going to seek a marriage counsellor. I want to run away, but my husband has no income of his own.
A logistical marriage requires logistical solutions when things go south. He needs to bone up on his interview skills, utilise job-seeking resources and take any job he can, even temporarily, to help you both climb out of your financial hole. He must tell his family that he is between jobs, at least for reducing the expectation of your bearing trinkets next holiday, but ideally for additional emotional encouragement and help.
Yes, get support through this so that you can make the hard choices if it comes to that. And don’t feel guilty; running water should not be optional when you yourself are employed.    .                                         w
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