Dear Carolyn • We have had houseguests for a week. They are (thankfully) leaving today. It’s my husband’s friend and his wife. They wanted to visit the major city we live in. I expected our place to be their crash pad, and that we would hang out in limited amounts. But instead they have wanted to hang out almost every evening after work. I have bowed out approximately half the time and let my husband deal with them on his own. I don’t really click with the wife. The couple themselves don’t get along, and they have started arguing with each other pretty badly. I feel like I did my part by agreeing to let these near strangers stay in my guest room. I was not interested in playing tour guide or entertaining them for more than one or two evenings. I thought we made it clear when they planned their trip that we would be busy with work and would have limited time to hang out with them. I think the husband has been leaning on us because he really hates spending time alone with his wife, but frankly I don’t view that as my problem. I am struggling with my resentment and irritability toward them. My husband is more generous and sympathetic, especially since his friend is stuck in a terrible marriage. How would you parse this? Is my perspective reasonable or am I being a (w)itch?
Dear Host • I’ve found that it’s almost impossible for people who are not in this moment with you to judge how nuts you can feel in this moment. Nothing brings out the crazy quite like having someone in your personal space for too long. Actually, your houseguests could speak to this pretty well themselves, since their own overstaying houseguest is their spouse. Painful. So, no, I don’t fault you for your irritability, though sympathy might help. If you can’t summon any for this unhappy couple, then maybe you can for your husband, who just cares about his friend. That bit of conscious warmth might be all you need to rally, which in turn will be good for your marriage. Given your aggravation levels, by the way, excusing yourself from half the festivities was the right call.
Carolyn Hax’s column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
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