Male bonding, e-mail offensiveness: What does a wife do?

Carolyn Hax
Columnist May 14, 2013

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers. View Archive

My husband has had a close group of friends since his early 20s, and they communicate daily through group texts and e-mails. When we began dating, I found out that some of the guys send naked pictures of girls to each other or pictures of girls they were sleeping with. I found this so tacky.

Fast-forward five years, and I just found out they still do this. I think this is very juvenile behavior — they’re all in their mid-30s now and half are married — and the feminist in me just wants to scream. I’ve made it clear to my husband that it bothers me, but he says he can’t control what they send.

I know that’s true, but I’m disappointed — both with the guys for being so juvenile and with my husband for being so close to such juvenile guys. Sometimes I feel society gives a free pass to poor/immature behavior (”Oh, guys will be guys”).


(Nick Galifianakis)

I don’t have a question here other than, what do you think?

Deadlock

I think what I think isn’t relevant, and you have to decide how far you’re willing to go to protest this behavior. It’s not, “Guys will be guys,” it’s, “This is who your husband is. Can you live with that?” At best he’s silent in the face of the betrayal and degradation of multiple women; the worst I’ll leave to the lawyers.

Once you figure out how much of a stand you’re willing to take — do yourself a favor, and make it what your principles demand — then honor it. The pickle you’re in is that you feel you have to fight it, but you’re not willing to go beyond saying, “This is so juvenile!” That means the issue always lies between you both and is never resolved.

Re: Deadlock:

Hilarious that she thinks “society” gave the free pass to her husband when she’s the one who married him with full knowledge of this behavior.

Anonymous

There’s that.

Re: Deadlock:

Can’t she tell these women they could end up naked in a group e-mail? Caveat emptor, yes? Or tell the guys that e-mails like this become public very easily? Haven’t we learned that from recent, public e-mail stupidity?

Anonymous 2

Yes, good call, the women deserve warnings — but that’s not the end of it for Deadlock. She still needs to figure out what she has to do to be able to live with herself.

Re: Deadlock:

In discussions I’ve had with my boys re: inappropriate online behavior, I’ve brought the issue a little closer to home by asking them to imagine they had a sister and then think if they would like to have a naked picture of her being passed around electronically. For these older guys, you could use a sister or a daughter reference, since some of them are or may become dads. This is not to say you can stop their behavior. You can’t. But you can use this to help explain to your own husband why you find this practice so objectionable.

Anonymous 3

Explaining is almost too kind; they all deserve to have their mothers, sisters and daughters show up in these pictures. Though of course I wouldn’t wish that on any woman. Thanks.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or tellme@washpost.com. Sign up for Carolyn Hax’s column, delivered to your inbox early each morning, at http://bit.ly/haxpost.

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