Q. Husband dislikes friend: My husband and I bought a condo a little over a year ago. During the process, I grew friendly with our real estate agent, who happened to be a dual agent also working on behalf of the seller. (I know, I know.) Fast forward: I have met up with her socially a few times, but he disapproves—he thinks she knew we were getting into a not-great situation. (There is a shady guy who has a lot of power over the building and has made things difficult for the condo association, and she probably was aware of this, as she has sold many of the units in the building.) My husband acknowledges that she was just doing her job and we could have done more due diligence, but he feels that to hang out with her socially would be humiliating. He refuses whenever she suggests that the two of us hang out with her and her partner. I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, as I don’t know for sure the extent of what she knew or didn’t know. I also realize I can’t make him do anything he doesn’t want to do. Where I feel stuck is: If I continue seeing her one-on-one, it will likely become awkward when my husband keeps refusing to meet up as couples. My dilemma is whether to back away from the budding friendship or keep meeting up with her once in a while. It might sound silly, but I’m torn about this!
A: If you don’t know how much she knew when she sold you the house … why not ask her? If you don’t like her answer, or if you don’t trust that she’s telling you the truth, that’s pretty useful information right there; if you find her answer compelling and trust her sincerity, you won’t have to keep giving her the “benefit of the doubt” since you have the power to get rid of that doubt in a single conversation. I have no idea how much power this “shady guy” has over your building, or how out-of-the-ordinary the way he runs your condo association is, but surely you have some sense of whether his power is monstrous or life-altering or simply frustrating or petty. If you’re generally happy in your home, and you can have a straightforward conversation about whether she represented you well during the sale, then by all means keep getting together every once in a while. You say you’re in a “not-great situation” and that your husband thinks it would be “humiliating” to spend time with the agent who helped sell you the house. If it’s really that bad, and your husband’s read of the situation is accurate, then I think you should drop the acquaintance. But if he’s slightly overstating things—if you have an otherwise nice home with a slightly overbearing condo association that posts a lot of signs about where and when you’re allowed to park—go ahead and keep meeting her for a drink once in a while, and just politely demur when she asks to make it a foursome.