Friend ponders marriage intervention
Dear Amy: "Curt" and I have been friends for about 15 years. I admire him as a great volunteer for a group we both belong to. He has a bit of a challenging personality (he can be self-centered, and too talkative), but he is a nice guy and a good friend.
I recently met his wife for the first time. My problem is that, once the wife figured out that I knew "Curt," she wasted no time launching into a diatribe about him. She cited chapter and verse, with examples, of what a horrible guy he is and how much she hates him.
In the moment, I tried not to register my shock (remember, I had just met her). Maybe she just needed to confide in another woman, and would have done the same with anyone.
My dilemma is how to proceed. I almost feel obligated to tell Curt what his wife said so that he can save his marriage if he wants to. (Yes, it was that bad.) But I also wonder whether if hearing this from me would be more embarrassing than helpful.
Curt can be so oblivious to other people that he may not, in fact, be aware of this. My other option is to leave well enough alone, but that feels like betrayal. What if they do divorce and I could have done something to prevent it? What's your advice?
-- Knows Too Much
Dear Knows Too Much: "Curt's" wife should not have launched into a detailed diatribe about his awfulness, certainly on your first meeting.
But -- just as she should not have confided in you, you should not try to help Curt "save his marriage, if he wants to."
Of course, you have absolutely no way of knowing, but it is possible that Curt is not actually the nice guy you think he is - to his wife, anyway. Many people operate comfortably in a duality - showing one side of their character and personality at home, and a polar-opposite side elsewhere in the world.
Are you so insightful that you know how this person behaves in his other relationships?