It’s February 22nd, 2023 — my birthday. I’m surrounded by my blessed family; my kids adore me, and I have a doting husband.
But despite this, I didn’t feel like celebrating. And it’s all because of one man—a male chauvinist.
I had no idea that this man would react so negatively. I wish I could have handled the ordeal differently. The emotional weight of what happened was too much to bear, and I broke down.
Sometimes life puts us in difficult situations, and we have to act according to the circumstances. So, I set my grudges aside and welcomed them with an open heart.
To make the situation worse, my friend’s husband acted like a pretentious gentleman in front of my husband while showing his true side to me by making hostile jokes and pointing out unnecessary things that began to break my confidence.
And more so, he waited for us to be alone before making these comments. This time, I couldn’t hold back. With a raised voice, I asked him to stop giving unsolicited advice. We didn’t need his opinion on how we brought up our children. And in fact, he began trying to be friendlier with me, almost as if my rage had softened his attacks.
But I knew his true nature and ignored him the rest of the time they were there. It was then that I decided I wouldn’t. No, couldn’t ever speak to this person again. Now, I’m torn. I’m unsure if my actions were right or wrong.
However, I know one thing, because of this, I have lost my best friend.
One who firmly believes that we live in a patriarchal society and women are less important and able than men and should be largely excluded. Whenever we spoke about our girls or women, he would never fail to interrupt with unsolicited advice, often making the women seem like victims.
My first ugly encounter with him was when I shared an opinion about a common girl friend, a positive one, whom he dislikes. The two of us were alone at the time; my husband was in the other room, putting our children to sleep.
What makes this worse is that this man isn’t just anyone. He is my best friend’s husband. Nearly a month later, my best friend called and told me she and her mom were visiting DC, which is near my home. I still felt uneasy about the bizarre incident that had happened the last time he visited.
More so because I hadn’t spoken to my husband or best friend about it. But I didn’t want to decline either. It was Maha Shivaratri, and my husband and I were fasting. While I cleaned up our home, my husband prepared chickpeas and puri for our guests.
From the moment they arrived, I could feel the unpleasantness of our past encounter rising in my throat. In those few hours, my husband did pick up on something — it was clear he knew that I wasn’t ‘myself’ and our guests had something to do with this. However, he decided it would be best to discuss this after they left.
Somehow, we managed through the evening, and I contained all my thoughts and feelings about having him in our home.
The next day, I wasn’t so lucky. As we sipped on our morning tea, a discussion on parenting began. My best friend’s husband began accusing me of my suppressing my child. Thankfully, the incident didn’t stretch further, and no one added further to my outbreak.
They were to leave around lunchtime, so I prepared a meal for them. While they initially declined, they readily accepted when we pushed them a bit more. Our guests are akin to God in our culture, and I couldn’t let them leave our home on an empty stomach.
Especially since my best friend’s mother needs to eat at regular intervals. I maintained my composure as they sat to eat and as I served them. But the emotions within me were unsettling. I went to the washroom and broke down after they left.
Overwhelmed with this decision, I finally confided in my husband, who was appalled that he missed these signs and was frustrated that he couldn’t handle the situation when they stayed at our home.
He wanted to call them immediately, but I convinced him otherwise. I wasn’t ready to face my best friend with these accusations.
My husband advised me against being in touch with these people. Especially if I valued my self-respect.
I am open to any advice or guidance on how to handle this situation.