Giving someone a taste of their own medicine isn't always as cathartic as it sounds.
On paper, getting sweet revenge on someone who wages psychological warfare on you is a cathartic dream. But in reality, it can lead to guilt and even more conflict, landing you in a worse spot than you were to begin with.
AITA for telling my wife's friend that her taste in men is the reason she's a single mom?
I [29M] have known my wife [30F] and her best friend Jess [29F] since we were all 11. We attended middle and high school together, but I wasn't in their social circles at all. I was always one of the sort of nerdy awkward kids and the two of them were both very popular. My wife in particular was extremely popular because she was (and still is) extremely beautiful, kind, and intelligent.
She was our student body president and valedictorian. Jess was also very pretty (I even had a tiny crush on her back then) and similarly popular. My wife and Jess have been best friends since kindergarten. My wife and I started dating our senior year of high school after we were paired together to complete a project in one of our classes.
We realized that we got along really well, and she asked me out, and I definitely wasn't saying no to her. Jess from the very start, did not respect our relationship, and firmly believed that my wife could do much better.
She has, in the decade-plus since, consistently told me that my wife is out of my league, that I was lucky she settled for me so young, and that my wife belongs with a more attractive and successful man. Now, I'm the first one to admit that my wife is out of my league.
She's far more attractive, makes more money, and is just generally an amazing human being, but hearing it so often doesn't exactly feel good. Jess also has tried to convince my wife to cheat on me multiple times and has even tried to set her up with other men, because she doesn't approve of my wife and I being the only s*xual partners either of us have ever had.
Jess has a daughter [5F] whose father bailed on her and raises her as a single mom. Jess actually dropped out of med school to raise her daughter once she realized the father was not going to be in the picture. My wife and I absolutely love her daughter and love having her over.
Jess had a date on Saturday night, so she left her daughter with us for the night and came to pick her up on Sunday, and stayed for lunch. As I was preparing lunch for everyone and her daughter was playing in the yard, Jess and my wife were talking about her date. Jess was going on and on about how attractive the guy was, how good he was in bed, and all of the details, but I just ignored it.
Jess then looked at me and said 'You're lucky you locked her down when you were so young before she knew that there was better out there' and then turned to my wife and offered to give the guy her number in case she wanted to 'try him out'. I got really angry at that point so I just said 'I doubt you know anything about better, since your taste in men is why you're a single mom and not a doctor right now.'
Both of them just stared at me in shock, and then Jess called me an a**hole and left quickly with her daughter. My wife has been upset with me since, so I have to ask. AITA?
Edit: I just wanted to point out that my wife acknowledges that what Jess said was inappropriate, but thinks that what I said was unnecessarily cruel. It was always Jess's dream to be a doctor like her dad, especially after her dad passed away, and now that's probably never going to happen.
Jess has said this to me before, so I was aware of it, and my wife thinks it was uncalled for to press on something that's so clearly a pressure point for her. Jess also frequently bemoans the pains of being a single mom, and about how all of the guys she goes out with ghost her as soon as she mentions her daughter.
This is mainly why my wife is upset with me, because she thinks I purposely hurt Jess, while Jess's comments are a joke and aren't meant to hurt my feelings, which is probably mostly true.
NTA. Your wife is the biggest a**hole. She's allowed Jess to talk down to you for years and done nothing. YOU deserve better. YOU are out of her league. Jess is obviously an AH for treating you like crap and trying to get your wife to see other men for years. She should be banned from the house.
NTA. And your wife should not be allowing Jess to disrespect you, especially in your own home. I think you should lay some ground rules out for your wife about Jess treats you and what you are willing (or not willing) to tolerate. Jess is very much the AH here but your wife is a close second for not stepping in.
NTA. At all. They might be mad at you and maybe I could understand why if I was your wife and had more loyalty to my friend than to my husband, but alas no. You gave brutal honesty to someone who was long overdue and honestly, your wife's friend sounds pretty trashy. You brought to light a hard truth that I'm sure she's aware of.
Your wife's friend may also be a bit jealous of your wife and the life she's made with what seems like a nice person (idk you though so healthy skepticism lol). I think you have more of a wife problem. What I mean by that is that your wife consistently lets her 'friend' disrespect you and y'alls relationship. What's more is that I wouldn't put it past your wife's friend having feelings for your wife and/or you...
NTA. If she can't take it she shouldn't dish it out. I'd take the initiative here, if I were you. Ask your wife what her thoughts and feelings would be if one of your friends was always trying to set you up with other women. And then listen. You're not on the defensive here. You want to know her perspective. Just be patient and silent until she answers the question.
NTA. I’m a late commenter and OP may never see this, but dude, if your wife isn’t an a**hole, then show her this post. She needs to know that she is complicit in making you feel like crap. It sounds like she is in a codependent relationship with Jess, and afraid of rocking the boat. If she knew how much the person who disrespects HER is bothering her lifemate, perhaps she would wake up.
Edit 2: Alright, so I talked to Jess. Yeah, everyone said not to apologize, but honestly, sometimes you can acknowledge that you did something bad, even if the other person also did a bad thing.
And yes, what I did was bad. Part of the reason I posted here in the first place was because I was feeling guilty about it, because I knew I'd been overly mean to her, and I was hoping that this post would make me feel less guilty. That didn't really work, unfortunately. So yeah, I was going to call her to apologize, but Jess actually beat me to it.
Apparently my wife had texted her and told her how I felt about everything she was saying, and that led to Jess deciding to talk to me myself. Honestly, I'm pretty impressed, because my wife showed me the texts, and my wife didn't actually even tell Jess to apologize, so she did that on her own. I do believe it was genuine, especially because when he called me, Jess sounded pretty distressed.
So she apologized, profusely actually. She said that she really didn't mean for me to take it seriously, and she felt really bad when my wife told her. I talked to her for a long time and basically detailed everything she'd done to disrespect me and our marriage, and how I felt about it. She did apologize for it all, and said that this was how she was with all of her friends.
She told me all about how she would frequently tell my wife that she'd steal me from her, or that she'd set me up with another woman that she knew. I told Jess she needed to stop that too. It wasn't right directed at me, and it wasn't right directed at her. She accepted that. She said the only reason she thought her jokes were okay was because it was 'so obvious we'd never cheat on each other.'
Apparently, Jess was never serious about giving my wife's phone number and would never actually disrespect our marriage like that. So at least she has some boundaries. Jess even said if my wife 'ever even came close to cheating, she'd be the first to stop it', which I doubt, but there's no reason to rock the boat.
I apologized to Jess for what I said, but I pretty much just flatly told her that her and I were not friends, so it wasn't appropriate for her to talk to me like that.. She was pretty hurt by that, but said she understood. I then asked her if she had any jealousy towards our relationship, and she admitted that she did.
She said she wished she had a relationship like that, and that it was pretty clear that my wife and I truly did love one another. So everyone saying she was jealous gets a cookie. So yeah. She apologized and I apologized. Do I buy it completely? Of course not. Do I think at least some of it was performance, just crocodile tears? Yes, absolutely. Do I think she is sorry and will be better? I'd like to think so.
It sounds like he had a thorough boundary-setting conversation with Jess. Hopefully, she was telling the truth about her intentions and the negative comments stop.