Dear Ms. Vicki,
I’m not a military spouse, but my boyfriend and I have been together for a few months. We’re really happy together. We’re both flexible about almost everything and just try to make each other happy. He’s a senior airman and I just graduated college with my bachelor’s degree -- so now we're ready to take on the world! (Or at least that's how we feel.)
In college, I made a close friend. I love her, and we have been friends for three years now. I have seen her baby grow up, and I love the little girl too, but my friend is older than me by 10 years and graduated two years earlier than me. She moved down to Key West, Florida, around a year ago. We always met up, hung out, went shopping and talked about the guys we were dating.
Last year, she met a Navy officer online and, within four months, they got engaged and then got married in December. I was ecstatic for her. She had been in a previous relationship with a guy in the Army (that's when she had the baby, and he was abusive to her).
I was so happy she got this really nice, soft-spoken Navy lieutenant. But when she started living on base in officer housing, she got a big house and she got snobby. I didn’t care at first and was just happy for her.
Fast-forward a few months and I'm getting serious with airman, who is a jet mechanic. One day, my friend and I were having lunch, and her husband was there, as usual. I was talking to her about how I told my boyfriend that if he doesn't want to re-enlist and just wants to go to school for a while and be poor, it's OK; we will figure it out. She right away came out and said, “He’s enlisted -- he's already poor!”
I didn't like that one bit, but she says stuff like that all the time. She always tries to one up anything I say about me and my boyfriend. I'm not trying to compete with her. I'm happy for her and her husband, but I love my boyfriend. I don't want her to say anything ugly about him or to say anything like that in person to him when we all hang out next month.
Another example is when I went down to see her in Key West, and she showed me the enlisted housing. I said, “Oh, they are cute!” and she said, “They are disgusting! They have terrazzo floors. I would never live on the dirty enlisted side!” If she said something like that in front of my boyfriend, I would kill her
I'm so happy with him and I love him, but I love her too. She has been my friend for so long, but she keeps being petty and it's hurting me.
My boyfriend is not excited to meet her. He calls her a “dependapotamus.” I feel that was my fault. I should have painted a better picture of my friend for him but, at the same time, I wanted to warn him in case she says anything rude.
What do I do? How do I handle her? I still want her friendship, but I want her to calm down with the whole military thing. She has no reason to judge my boyfriend for anything. I don't judge hers for anything!
-- My Friend Is Being Judgmental
Dear Judgmental Friend,
You sound like a very nice and thoughtful young lady, a real class act. I think your friend is at a crossroads. Furthermore, I think you should cross that road without her.
My grandmother used to say that not all the people who start on a journey with you will reach the destination with you. For example, we may start a flight with some passengers who catch different connecting flights or they may reach their destination before you reach yours, and that’s OK. I talk to a lot of passengers along the way, and I wish them “safe travels."
I think you are at this point with your friend: Wish her safe travels. Your friend is married now, she’s in a good place and hopefully she has a good support network. As a married couple, she and her husband should take care of each other. She sounds like a woman who has never had anything and, now that she lives in officers’ housing, she thinks she’s “arrived.”
Well, good for her. If this gives her a sense of success, then she gets a round of applause from me. On the other hand, she is rude, crass and classless. Moreover, she has been showing you that she is not a good friend. Why would she say such things, especially when she knows your boyfriend is a proud enlisted man, as he should be? What kind of woman says the things she has said? I mean, Wow!
Honestly, you have to take care of your boyfriend too. You absolutely should not let him meet her and her husband. He will feel uncomfortable, and the moment she makes some crazy statement, you will “go off.” Why put him in that situation?
If your boyfriend and her husband grew up together, that would be different, or if they were attending a unit function together, that would be OK. I know you’re wondering whether you should talk to her. Why? She will only accuse you of being jealous of her.
I really don’t see your friendship with her lasting any longer. Wish her well, but distance yourself from now on. No more trips to Key West!
-- Ms. Vicki