There are times when I have a couple signing up for library cards together and one introduces the other as the fiancé. Sometimes one will do all the talking, or fill out the forms for both of them. Or worse, will talk down to or belittle the other. I want to say to them to not get married to each other, that this is a train wreck waiting to happen.
I don’t, in part because of the unwritten rules of customer service. I don’t, because it is up to each person to live their own lives. I don’t, because people never listen anyway.
People don’t listen when their friends tell them not to marry someone. Why would they listen to a stranger?
Sometimes I’ll say “be nice” if someone is being rude to their partner. If nothing else, it tells the other person that what just happened to them isn’t normal.
Now, it isn’t just engaged couples that do this. Married couples will be hateful or condescending in front of me sometimes too. But they are already married. My hope with the engaged couple is that they still have a chance to back out.
It is a really bad sign if one member of a couple is talking down to or trying to embarrass their partner in front of a stranger. It means that it happens all the time when they are alone.
But, for me to say something is to get involved in a codependent kind of way. It is up to the hurt party to stand up and set boundaries. It is up to that person to say “You can’t talk to me like that.”
It is still hard to see. I feel kind of helpless when it happens.