Background: I live in Germany and come from an eastern-european country, I am 30 and female. The man in question, let's call him Ben, is from Germany, he is 55, he recently married Alice, she's 40 and also comes from an eastern-european country (and speaks my language). Alice is a friend of my ex, through whom I met both Alice and Ben. We have seen each other only a handful of times.

So Ben is a nice guy, me and him have similar jobs, he's very considerate towards Alice and will do anything to make her happy. But he's pretty lonely since most of his friends have somehow lost touch with him (family lives and the like), he likes me a lot and wants to be friends with me. Me and his wife are passionate about the same sport where normally one needs a sports partner. So he really wants me and her to do this sport together.

The problem is, I don't want to be friends with Alice. She is totally not my type of person. She's a kind person, but - I'm sorry for being blunt - incredibly stupid. Please just believe me on this. Ben also knows this (everyone knows this). But he doesn't understand that the fact that Alice herself likes me doesn't make me like her. I don't want to go in for sports with her, sometimes that might involve going away for the whole weekend, and I most definitely don't want to spend my whole weekend with her. On the other side, I would probably like to stay friends with Ben because he is a nice person and I see that he needs a friend.

Another thought in the whole story is that I am inclined to believe that even being married Ben can't help having some romantic interest in me which might grow if I communicate with him more, which further complicates matters.

I am unsure how to handle this whole situation. So I guess I would like to ask, how could I tell Ben I can stay friends with him, but 1. with strictly no romance involved, 2. without having to communicate with his wife without him? I have told him numerous times I don't like her and why I don't like her, he doesn't understand and keeps telling me that she likes me. If all that goes wrong, I might opt for ending the whole friendship story with him altogether as well, but I really need to make it nice and not to hurt his and her feelings. Due to the same sport, I do bump into her sometimes and I don't want to cringe every time I do.

I hope I have made it clear. If questions arise, I will try to clarify.

UPDATE: I am sorry, I don't seem to see any comment button! Tried in two browsers already, previously I was able to comment posts, but now I just don't see any button=((( I will answer the questions here then:

  • Is alice aware that you don't like her, and why you dont like her? – yes, she very well is.

  • How/where/when do you interact outside of that sports thing? Is this specifically about asking him not to bring his wife to that sports thing anymore and only do the sport with you exclusively instead? – Ben does not do this sport. I communicate with him via messages and sometimes visit them. He just wants me to go in for sports with her, he knows both of us do it all the time and both of us are often in need of a partner. Visiting them is fine, I can handle her if he is there.

  • Could Ben be telling you he isn't interested in a friendship with you alone, that is why he is pushing you to his wife? – No, I am quite sure it's not the case. He just wants his wife to be happy and he actually thinks I will also benefit from communicating with her, but that will not be true.

UPDATE 2: For the curious: I didn't write them for a while (actually since starting this topic), Ben wrote to me yesterday and I told him I have a feeling he likes me not just a friend, so it's not the best idea for us to communicate more. He seemed to understand, so I guess that was the easiest option after all.

  • Is alice aware that you don't like her, and why you dont like her?
    – kscherrer
    Jun 18 '18 at 9:24
  • 1
    The "comment button" is a link that reads "suggest improvements". But answering a question in an edit to your question is actually preferred.
    – SQB
    Jun 18 '18 at 10:31
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    Ah, really! So sorry, that wasn't obvious for me at all. Thanks! Jun 18 '18 at 10:34
  • Could ben be telling you he isn't interested in a friendship with you alone, that is why he is pushing you to his wife?
    – WendyG
    Jun 18 '18 at 12:03
  • @WendyG No, I am quite sure it's not the case. He just wants his wife to be happy and he actually thinks I will also benefit from communicating with her, but that will not be true. Jun 18 '18 at 13:06

I think you've done a good job of explaining your position in this. You want to be friends with Ben. You don't want to be friends with Alice. The reasons why are unimportant. I accept that.

However, have you tried thinking about this from Ben's perspective? He loves his wife and he wants her to be happy. He wants you to be friends with her because he knows she wants to be friends with you. (The reasons why he wants you to be friends with her are equally as unimportant as the reasons why you don't want to be friends with her.)

He's unwilling to be friends with you alone, likely because he knows it would hurt his wife's feelings if she found out he was seeing you without seeing her. (Accusations of romantic involvement aside, it would hurt her feelings that you're willing to be friends with her husband but not with her.) Honestly, I can't really fault him for this logic. He has made a choice to spend his life with this woman. For you to come along and say you want to be part of his life but not hers is uncomfortable at best, and insulting at worst.

Does that sound like a position a would-be friend would put someone in? You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

You need to make a choice: Be friends with both, or be friends with neither. Whatever reasons you have for choosing one over the other is not our business, but continuing to play for the middle ground is only going to hurt Alice's feelings, and likely Ben's as well, if he cares for her as much as you say he does.

  • 1
    Thank you for your answer. Seeing things from Ben's perspective is the reason for me to post this. Because obviously I understand he wants me to be friends with Alice etc. The thing is, I personally think all people are different, and it's very normal to like one and not like another, even if that other is the significant other or a friend of the first one. I wouldn't mind if my husband had a friend who didn't like me. Jun 18 '18 at 13:58
  • We have discussed the subject of me disliking Alice with Ben many times and he seemed to still be willing to communicate with me. Apparently, now either not anymore, or he doesn't really understand. I'm also fine with ending the communication with both of them, as I mentioned in my post, but I am unsure how to do it (as I also mentioned). Jun 18 '18 at 13:58
  • @RandolphCarter The OP is the one who said the reasons don't matter. I'm merely taking her word for that.
    – Steve-O
    Jun 18 '18 at 20:39
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    @Arandomlady: it's very normal to like one and not like another Consider that "friend" is a spectrum. I consider my friend and his SO both my friend. Invitations are generally extended to them as a couple. Usually, me and him will interact much more than me and her (we have little in common), but that does not mean I go out of my way to avoid being around her. Treating members of a couple differently implies that they are not a unit; which (when a spouse were to implicitly allow your distinct behavior) is incredibly detrimental to the meaning of their marriage.
    – Flater
    Jun 20 '18 at 6:08

If you don't want to spend time with Ben's wife, don't do it.

From your words, i guees, you prefer not spending time with Ben and Alice rather than spending time with Ben and Alice. On the stage of planning any activity with Ben ask him about Alice in advance. You do not have to spend time with anyone, you don't want to spend time with(except some legal cases that are not relevant to the question). Doing so, will show you whether Ben wants to spend time with and and without Alice or he does not. Both cases are the way out of the awkward situation, where you have to spend time with the incredibly stupid friend's wife.

  • I feel this neglects to emphasise some potential issues, such as asking in advance putting Ben in an awkward situation or forcing him to choose his friend over his wife. Also, asking a friend to change who they spend time with, rather than accomodating their choices (when the person is just annoying and not actively beligerent) is not generally seen as a societal norm to the point it doesn't need explaining. I'm not suggesting your answer is not correct, but it definitely needs evidence (anecdotal is fine) to back it up, and should weight in any potential problems.
    – user10883
    Jul 10 '18 at 9:54

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