Social Question

leezer30's avatar

How close is too close for opposite sex friends with married individuals?

Asked by leezer30 (214points) July 13th, 2011

I am trying to put something in perspective for myself and it has to do with an issue I have been battling in my marriage. My husband has this woman friend he text everyday, has had wine with her at her house and our house while im at work, he has went out drinking with her, he has had her bring him food while working nights, much more things of this nature have occured. My husband says it is silly or crazy of me to worry about this relationship because he married me and she means nothing to him, but to me it seems completely innapropriate. So is this appropriate or innapropriate?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

46 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Hard to say.
My best friend happens to be a man that I am very close with, and I’m married. I have adjusted my relationship with my friend in order to make my husband more comfortable with it. I think situations like this are very much dependent on the individual relationship. If it makes you uncomfortable, your husband should probably help to build your confidence that there really is no reason to be jealous. If that means not hanging out alone and drinking, then that should be fine by both people.
I don’t know that I find these things “completely inappropriate,” because if that is all that is going on – it’s really not a big deal. If he were doing these things with a male friend you would probably not be concerned. But I do think that couples should make a genuine effort to ensure their spouse in situations like this, after all, actions speak louder than words. Saying “nothing is going on” isn’t nearly as effective as changing your behavior to show your partner where your heart really is.

Jeruba's avatar

If it means nothing, he shouldn’t have any trouble putting a stop to it.

ucme's avatar

Have him invite her round for dinner so the two of you can meet, claws fully retracted of course…at first. Maybe you’ll get more of an accurate picture of what’s going on, or not as the case may be.

leezer30's avatar

He actually invited her over for my 5 yr olds bday party and I found out she was invited after she showed up. He almost the entire night talking to her, I felt very ignored as his wife and when I told him that I was told he was just being a good host and im an a hole for saying that.

athenasgriffin's avatar

I’m not married, but if a boyfriend of mine was so intimate with a female friend, it would make me a little bit insecure. I wouldn’t bring it up, but it would be one of those things that you can’t put your finger on why it bothers you.

I’m fine with guys having close female friends, but I must say that I feel more happy if the close female friends have a boyfriend themselves. It really is very personal. Some people are more easy going than others. I personally, would not be very upset because I’ve never worried about cheating, everyone I’ve dated has been very trustworthy.

But I agree with @Jeruba. The “she means nothing to me” explanation is not acceptable. That he used that excuse raises a red flag for me. We don’t spend long amounts of time with people who mean nothing to us.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@leezer30 he really called you an asshole?

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

Be wary. I don’t know either of you, but I know situations. Trust your intuition. The woman is interested in him. Imho.

leezer30's avatar

@ ANef_is_Enuf yes he did

Plucky's avatar

You are his wife. For him to attempt to remedy the situation by telling you it’s nothing and that you are silly is ...well, not right. You are right to be concerned. Your husband needs to be respectful of your concerns. He needs to be willing to compromise – this should be easy if she means nothing to him. Again, you are his wife – she is not. You should come first.

It almost seems, by how you describe it, that he’s not taking your concern seriously. How have you talked to him about it? Have you accused him of anything? Or have you asked him outright? Have you expressed your feelings regarding the matter – I mean how this is making you feel? Have you two sat down calmly and talked about it – or has it only come up in heated arguments?

I’m sorry, but something is just not right here. If I were you, it would certainly feel inappropriate to me.

leezer30's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet I agree, I think she is interested in him too. She is unhappily married, her husband is in the military and out of the country, she treats my husband like he should be her backup husband while hers is gone, she finds reasons he needs to stop by, I dont get a good vibe from her at all.

rooeytoo's avatar

I wouldn’t like it at all and would be inclined to tell him to make a choice. But I never had kids so I think that makes my perspective a bit different. The thing is, kids see the relationship of their parents and usually assume that is the way you do it and grow up to enter into similar relationships. So if there is something amiss, your kids are learning this is the way.

leezer30's avatar

@Plucky I have tried to have a serious talk with him about it, I have told him why I am concerned, I have told him I am not comfortable with the situation. He gets very defensive with these conversations, he tells me I should trust him and stop tripping out over nothing, he tells me im crazy, he occasionally tells me that he will just stop talking to her if its that important to me, but it never happens.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Gadzooks, I was all about maybe she was an old friend and they have history back before he was engaged to you and if that was the case, do not sweat it. The birthday deal and him calling you an asshole, but then I know plenty of couples who call each other some pretty bad things, if he doesn’t have a thing for her, I am sure he is the asshole because he seem clueless. If anything, he should see he is placing you on the back burner and give you way more face time than her. As clueless as he seem he may think he has you all the time so he don’t need to make an effort as he does with her. He doesn’t seem to be really hiding anything but he does need a check up from the neck up, because he is seriously f****** up.

Plucky's avatar

@leezer30 Then, in my opinion, he’s not being a very good husband (or human being for that matter).

Hibernate's avatar

If they are friends why do you want their relationship to stop?
He married you but he’s faithful [at least till now].
He might think you are always there for him because you are his wife and he needs to spend time with her or else that relationship will end. But remember this; at some point you’ll provoke his jealousy too and he’ll think the same thing.
The other woman might be interested in him though you should TRUST him and give him the benefit on the doubt.
In any case it takes time for this sort of situations to get a solution.

cookieman's avatar

Suggest to your husband that she come for dinner one night. She’s clearly lonely, what with her husband away so often. Perhaps she could use a female friend and you really haven’t made an effort to get to know her.

Suggest this to him. Sincerely, and with a smile. Be persistent.

If he says, “Sure, great idea” – then you have nothing to worry about and can actually get to know her.

If he becomes nervous, defensive or tries to weasel out of it – then call a lawyer. You got a problem.

Pele's avatar

@leezer30 Does she ever hangout with you? I once was friends with this married couple. I enjoyed chilling with both of them. After a while the husband and I would hangout alot exactly like you described in your situation. He texted me. We went out drinking. He came over and brought food and wine. I didn’t think much of it, mainly cause I shared common friends with him and we related and a platonic level. I thought of him as a brother type. I repected his wife and she was a close friend as well. After a while, she started to get upset a little so I stop hanging out with him and just her. I started to realize it was NOT appropriate to be so close to a married man. One night I ran into him out clubing and he was wasted. He told me that his wife didn’t want us to hangout at all and it upset him. I thought it was fine to not be so close Then he told me that he was in love with me and we were soul mates and so on. He tried to kiss me and I made his cousin drive him home. I was kind of shocked and sad for their marriage. I ended ties right then with both of them. I think I was nieve, mainly because I was younger and didn’t have married people as friends and the time they were a little older than me. Anyways, thats my story and point is that it’s not cool to be so so close to a married man. Besides, I’d worry about her too. Just make yourself clear. All situations and people are different. Communication is key. Tell your husband how you feel about it straight out.

Jellie's avatar

You know in these situations I always think it’s the responsibility of the one with the friend (in your case your husband) to make sure you are comfortable. He should include and involve you in activities with her. He should ensure that you both build a friendship and a relationship apart than just his husband’s friend.

rooeytoo's avatar

@sarahhhhh – that’s a very sensible approach. ga

MilkyWay's avatar

I smell something fishy. Proceed with caution.

poisonedantidote's avatar

“has had wine with her at her house and our house while im at work”

That’s crossing the line.

chyna's avatar

If you are uncomfortable with it and feel it is inappropriate, then it is. Throwing it back on you to make you look like you are jealous or a complainer is just him casting doubt in your mind as to what is actually going on.

Cruiser's avatar

This relationship crossed the line the minute your husband called you and “a-hole”. I think you may be changing addresses in the near future if this “friendship” continues.

Pandora's avatar

He is either cheating on you or he’s a blind idiot to what is happening. Any woman who would come to my home when I’m not there or would entertain my husband in any way at her home without inviting me to come along is trying to seduce your husband.
Hell, my claws would’ve come out long ago. Even when I was single, and had married guy friends, I wouldn’t think of being alone with them without the wife being there as well. A real friend would never want to create any suspicion between a husband and a wife. She would want all things to be above board.
Make no mistake. This woman either has designs on your husband.
I would’ve already told my husband to stop seeing her. He wants a female friend than that is what a wife is for. He wants a male friend, then he can go at it. If he wants advice from a female perspective about you or your marriage than he can call his sister, his mother, or his aunt, or grandma. But he doesn’t need advice from a woman who is trying to get in his pants. She will only paint you the bad guy in every senario till he learns to despise you.
You are suppose to be his best friend.
Even if he is innocent of any wrong doing, he obviously likes the attention she is giving him and doesn’t care about your feelings.
I’m sorry your husband is such a douche.
I’m sending him one virtual kick to the nuts.

cookieman's avatar

@Pandora: Is there any postage on that?

Pandora's avatar

Nope. So long as you make the kick so hard his mother could feel it in her womb. :P

cookieman's avatar

Aah yes. The ole’ “womb-ball-kick”.

Judi's avatar

Our marriage rule. Neither of us will have a friend of the opposite sex who is better friends with us than they are to our spouse.
The relationship you describe would be a total deal breaker for us.
I read your question to my husband and he said you need to get the best divorce attorney in town before he does.

aprilsimnel's avatar

OK, I’d go directly to her at this point and tell her that while you’re sorry that her husband’s tour of duty is a hardship for her, she’s got to find new friends.

If she balks, or tells you that you’re imagining things, stick to your guns. And then tell your husband that you talked to her. Once he called you an asshole? All bets were off. He got defensive like that for a reason. This dishonesty and hedging is worse than having the friend!

Jeebus, junk like this makes me wonder why people get married if they clearly don’t want to stop playing the field.

Nip this crap in the bud and find out why he’s so eager to have this sort of friend, though I imagine a puffed-up ego (along with some other things) is at the bottom of this.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@leezer30 I feel for you. Like I said, trust your intuition. My ex of 18 years was messing around and I just knew. I felt it then caught it. You should put your foot down and tell him no more. If he can’t seem to let go of her, you have your answer. I wish you well no matter what happens.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

When I just read the details of your q, I thought you were being ridiculous and that it’s perfectly reasonable for him to do this with a friend (why do people always think that when it’s an opposite sex friend that these shows of affection or support are no longer appropriate, I think that’s ludicrous). However, after reading some of your other comments (and keep in mind, I don’t know whether you’re a peach during a fight either) but he shouldn’t call you an asshole for trying to claim some of his time during an important event. Frankly, if you trust your husband and he says not to worry, you shouldn’t. However, if you are so insecure that this drives you mad, you can ask him to stop spending time with her (though I don’t believe ‘wives come first’ over anyone, that’s childish) – beware, though, that kind of ‘no, don’t touch that ever’ makes a person who’d never even think of their friend in that way think of them in that way. I hope he’s not cheating on you. However, if my partner actually told me ‘either your good friend or me’ after I’ve told him that nothing is going on, I would never choose my partner simply on principle that nobody in this world gets to tell me any such thing. Nobody. Trust me, I’ve had many loves and relationships and many friendships (with all sexes and genders) and no partner of mine ever told me to stop a friendship or was ever unhappy that I had kept all my friends.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

How long has he had this friend?

Where did they meet?

Did you know this was going on before you married him?

What do other friends think of the relationship?

Just guessing around here but it sounds like he has an extra spouse, platonic or not. The two of them might be very comfortable in their friendship, so much so that they forget most spouses like a degree of intimacy they believe is just between the two of them.

I can speak from experience, my ex husband having also been my best friend for over 25yrs that’s it’s easy to do. It’s easy to assume everyone around understands the friendship. It’s easy to forget as spouses/SO’s come and go that it’s best to back off a little and let that relationship be the main one.

Pandora's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir, you said (though I don’t believe ‘wives come first’ over anyone, that’s childish) – beware, though, that kind of ‘no, don’t touch that ever’ makes a person who’d never even think of their friend in that way think of them in that way
I made it very clear to my husband before we married that I expected to come first before anyone except any future children. And I made it clear that it would be the same for him. I told him if this was not what he wanted he was free to not marry me. I’ve witnessed many times how other people can purposely destroy a good marriage. You only need one partner to be blind to what is happening. I don’t think its childish to expect to come first. Your marriage should come before anyone else.There should only be two people in a marriage. Thats why its called a couple. Meaning two. Even if her feelings are wrong he should respect that this relationship is causing her pain. If he loves her more than his friendship than it should be no problem letting the friend go.
If telling your spouse that they can’t be friends with someone makes them want to sleep with them out of spite than they were already doing it or ready to do it, no matter what was said.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Pandora Of course partners can destroy a marriage and of course a marriage can come first and I get that’s how people like it, that’s the dominant tale, etc (you see how many agree with you) but I was offering the OP another lens, that’s all…a lens that works for me…it’s not okay, in my opinion, to tell a spouse ‘that friend of yours has got to go’ and expect them to simply do so because the ‘marriage is more important’. It’s just not the right thing to do. I stand by that. Imagine how many people would be gone from people’s lives because our society is obsessed with jealousy, ownership and ‘now that we’re two, there are only two of us.’

chyna's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I think the bigger problem here is that her husband treats her like crap and calls her an a hole. If he showed her respect and brought the friend around, I would think that the poster was a little over the top. But from what she has said, he doesn’t seem to care about her feelings at all.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@chyna Agreed, that’s a different story.

Pandora's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I agree that jealousy isn’t a good thing but I don’t see a couple as being a possessive thing. As a couple you both aim for the same thing in life, love, trust and someone whom you can trust to be with you all the way through thick and thin. I always believed, friends come and go. Most of them will disappear when you need them the most. My dad was the kindest man I’ve ever know and all his friends where too busy with thier own lives when he was very ill. At first they would visit but in the last few months they all would promise to stop by and visit when he was home sick alone. That never happened.
Not even his sisters who lived near by came to visit. It was my mom who was their every minute when she wasn’t at work. They were never jealous or possessive but my mom had nothing to be jealous about. My dad treated all his friends equally and spent his extra time at home helping my mom with us when she needed a break. When a friend needed his help, they would both help as a couple.
Some friends can leave positive feelings in your life and some can leave you with a sour taste. He’s spending time with her instead of his wife. She doesn’t sound jealous. The Op just sounds aware that his defensive behavior towards this woman is more than friendship. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and has web feet like a duck, than its a duck.
I don’t think its necessary to have the duck crap on your head before you point and say it is a duck.

tranquilsea's avatar

Your situation crosses the line in my world. I would never attach myself to a guy that way. I would be very concerned about your husband’s defensiveness.

I read this question to my husband and he thinks the situation stinks too.

Judi's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir; from other posts we know that you are not in a traditional relationship. While I respect that the arrangement works for you, most people go into marriage with more traditional expectations. You are looking at this from a different paradigm that I’m sure the OP didn’t buy on to before the marriage. Sharing her man with another woman was not what she (or most traditionalists) had in mind when she said “I do.”
It works for you and that’s fine, but you knew what you were getting into.

Seaofclouds's avatar

There’s nothing wrong wikth having friends of the opposite sex until that friendship starts to cause strain/trouble in the marriage (considering most people consider thrit marriage to be their primary relationship). That really goes for anything though (same sex friends, hobbies, porn, masturbation, etc). Once something outside of the marriage is causing a strain or trouble in the marriage, it’s time for the couple to look at what’s going on, what the problem is with it, and how to fix it together.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Judi – my god, all of my friends are in monogamous relationships but that doesn’t mean they don’t have opposite sex friends, this has nothing to do with whether or not my marriage is open. I was married before and monogamous, same story. We didn’t just stop being friends with people because the other said so. What a person may feel about a friend of their spouses doesn’t at all have to actually be true. How can any of you let go of a friend that your spouse thinks is disposable but you don’t. I don’t know if he is cheating on her, again and he should consider her feelings of course but I’m just saying that it makes no sense to me to let go of friendships just because my partner said so. I used to have a good friend (we slept together at the beginning, once and then were very good friends, he came to my wedding etc.) and he had this partner who knew that years ago we slept together and she could never get over it. She told him to stop talking to me and he apologized and did but I know what a coward he felt he was and there was nothing going on between us and to this day, you can’t possibly tell me they’re happily in love. She’s delusional.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir While I agree that people in a committed relationship should be able to have friends with the opposite or same sex without jealously or worries, this is a particular case. The OP’s husband is brushing it off, not willing to discuss the concerns, and even stooped so low as to call her a derogatory name. He may be innocent from having an affair, but something is amiss.

lonelydragon's avatar

Your husband and his friend do sound a little too close for comfort. He may or may not be cheating, but they are getting awfully close emotionally to just be friends. She is “taking care” of him in ways that a romantic partner normally would, i.e. bringing him food at work and the like. Also, your husband’s secretive behavior (inviting her to parties without telling you) and the defensiveness (calling you names when you confront him) are big red flags IMO.

Plucky's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I think most of us are not saying the OP should demand her husband drop this friend. That is not the point. The point is that he seems to be careless of his wife’s feelings/concerns regarding this friend. This doesn’t sound like a simple jealousy situation to me. I agree that a person should not demand that their SO drop a friendship just because it suits them. I really don’t think the majority are telling her to do that (in this thread). If he is not cheating, there really needs to be some compromise. It wouldn’t matter if it were a same-sex friendship he was giving all this attention to – her husband is acting disrespectful and selfish. Clearly, something is not right – whether he’s cheating or not.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Plucky I really can’t extrapolate on what’s going on with OP’s situation. Either way, I’ll be wrong to all those who think my views must be about my open marriage views. Kind of done with this thread, m’love.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther