My Best Friend’s Wife Hates Me. Should I End Our Friendship To Avoid Damaging His Marriage?

I am a single woman and I recently connected with my male best friend from childhood. We lost touch for about 10 years and when we reconnected I found out that he is now married. We were never romantically involved, but we both have told each other throughout the years and even 3 months ago that we love one another as deeply connected friends and nothing more.

His wife doesn’t appear to like me, despite the fact that he declares that she does. Plus he is trying hard to keep the friendship going, but keeps me separate from his wife at all costs. I don’t believe he feels anything for me but friendship and I have a strong conviction not to hurt him or his marriage on our quest to maintain our friendship.

Please note I have attempted on numerous occasions to include his wife in our friendship. I even sent her a birthday card and gift in the hopes to show her that I care for her and would like to be her friend too.

I know society says Married Men/Women shouldn’t be friends with the opposite sex, but I am confused by this mentality as I have integrity and a strong moral compass when it comes to the sanctity of marriage. Plus I love my friend and would never want to hurt him or his loved ones.

Is it possible for me to stay friends with him knowing that his wife is not accepting of our friendship? Keep in mind I know nothing of the inner workings in their marriage. He keeps his marriage very private and we only talk about fun topics, personal growth, careers, the news, etc…. We are both smart enough to keep each other out of our romantic relationships to avoid confusion and potential issues.

My other concern is that his wife may feel threatened by me because of our long history, but he chose her for a reason and he loves her. Not to mention I live in a different state, so we don’t even spend time with each other. Our reconnected friendship has mainly been through one visit to see both of them, brief phone calls, text messages, and emails. I have nothing to hide and I always try to include her in any conversation to ensure that she understands my intentions are purely platonic.

Our friendship has lasted over 25 years and we have always been on good terms. We only lost touch because both of our lives took different paths that did not allow us to stay connected for that gap of time. In my experience great friends can lose touch and reunite as if no time has passed. My fear is that I will lose my friend in the end if his wife starts a hate campaign against me and makes him choose. My friend is also a good man and he is faithful to his wife, he has already started to get distant so where do we go from here?

I have gotten the impression that if I had a boyfriend or husband only then would she be accepting of the friendship, but I can’t just rush out and find a man to keep my friend. My instincts are telling me to let go, but my heart is telling me to hold on and just back off. We lost touch once, but if his marriage is meant to last forever I lose my dear friend without the possibility of reuniting.

Thank you in advance for listening! I look forward to your response!

Kristy

Kristy,

I’m with you. I think jealousy is a wasted emotion, indicative of insecurity and weakness. If a marriage is strong and both parties are trustworthy, there is never any reason to be jealous. And if his marriage is not strong or one party is not trustworthy, why is it a marriage in the first place?

So, morally, I completely support your friendship, deplore the jealous wife, and think that your best friend should stand up for your relationship. Part of marriage is accepting all of someone; it’s not about telling your spouse, “I love you, but you have to drop any female from your past.”

And yet. And yet.

SHOULD the wife be secure enough to accept your friendship for what it is – a warm whiff of nostalgia that doesn’t remotely threaten her marriage? You betcha.

You’re having a really hard time accepting the passage of time. He’s your childhood best friend. He’s married. He lives in another state. How much is this friendship actually giving you? How much could it possibly give you in a perfect world? Would you expect him and his wife to come visit you? Would you like to come and visit them? Both seem somewhat unrealistic when I think about old friends with whom I’ve reconnected on Facebook.

SHOULD men and women be allowed to be platonic friends? Absolutely.

SHOULD your friend tell his wife to back off? I sure think so.

SHOULD the wife be secure enough to accept your friendship for what it is – a warm whiff of nostalgia that doesn’t remotely threaten her marriage? You betcha.

But none of that actually matters. What matters is that they’re married and you’re a single woman from his past who lives in another state and desperately wants to keep your old friendship alive. That shouldn’t be his wife’s problem. It shouldn’t be your friend’s problem. It’s really your problem.

My advice to you is to put your attention on finding a more meaningful relationship with a new man in your state.

So you can feel free to share this blog with your friend, providing further validation why you should still be allowed in each other’s lives. But really, my advice to you is to put your attention on finding a more meaningful relationship with a new man in your state. And when you do, I promise, you won’t spend any time worrying about how little you talk to your former best friend from childhood.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Julie

    Dammmmmmmmn you’re good Evan. 

    1. 1.1
      Dina

      There’s no like button, Julie so ‘LIKE’

  2. 2
    starthrower68

    I wonder if clinging to this friendship is either keeping her from finding a new man or fulfilling the lack of of one? I’m not faulting her for doing so, but there may be a deeper reason.

  3. 3
    sceptical

    Frankly, I’m suspicious of women who make any drama about their relationship with a married man, no matter if the relationship is sexual or platonic. Maybe it’s because I would never use words like “deep love”, “dear friend” or “reuniting” about a guy friend. Guy friends are great as long as they last but if the emotion changes into deep love and I feel that I don’t want to lose them from my life, they are not friends any more, no matter if sex is involved at that point or not.
     

    The wife may have entered their relationship believing that she and her husband are each other’s best friends, so she may be uncomfortable with the appearance of her husband’s “other” best friend in the picture. Therefore, I would not be demonizing the wife and assuming that we are dealing with an overly jealous person. People have different ideas of what distinguishes friendship from a relationship and where the boundaries of a relationship lie.
     
    So while I do not agree that the OP is morally right and the wife is morally wrong, Evan’s advice is spot on. Lady, you need to get yourself a life which does not revolve around this married man.
     

    1. 3.1
      Tiffany Bridgeman

      I agree as well as want to point out all we know about our friends is what we see and what they tell us. For all anyone knows they may have struggled with infidelity in the past and now it is hard to trust.

  4. 4
    Monique

    I complete agree with sceptical, and Evan gave a a amazing advice. 

  5. 5
    LC

    I was recently accused by an older male friend’s daughter of sleeping with her father even though we’ve never been anything but work friends for the past 8 years.  I don’t sleep with married men; I’m instantly turned off by married men and don’t even see them in a sexual way. My work friend is also as old as my father, not physically attractive to me, I actually hung out with his wife a lot, but I was STILL accused of trying to break up his marriage.  Men and women aren’t allowed to be platonic friends by society, and that’s just the way it is.  

  6. 6
    jeremy

    To most men, a friend is someone to “do” things with.  Maybe they play sports together, maybe they share a hobby, but usually a friend is someone that a man speaks to occasionally, and when they do speak, they speak mostly about what they are doing.  Men do not typically bond emotionally with their friends and do not rely on their friends for emotional support.
     
    To most women, a friend is someone to share emotional conversation.  Most women speak with their female friends frequently – even every day – and share details about their lives and what they feel.  Female friends are seldom people to “do” things with, but rather people to “talk and share” with.  That’s why when most women get together with their friends it is usually over coffee or a meal to chat, rather than an activity.  And by talking about emotions and daily events, women bond with their friends in a way that makes them feel connected.
     
    To most women, the only difference between a friend and a lover is sex and attraction.  Not so for (most) men.  Men connect emotionally with their girlfriends/wives in a way that, for them, is totally unique.  Because men share the intimate details of their emotions only with their girlfriend, that person is emotionally unique to that man – whereas the girlfriend will share the intimate details of her emotions with lots of people and will not generally view her emotional closeness with her man as anything different than what she has with others.
     
    This is why men and women can not, generally, be “just friends.”  Women can be friends with men, but men can’t be friends with women.  If a woman were to treat a man like she treats her female friends, that level of emotional connectedness would signify a romantic relationship to him.  If there was even the tiniest spark of attraction, that connectedness would ignite it from the man’s perspective.
     
    How is any of this relevant here?  Because the OP is a woman, and she does not realize that her concept of friendship is very different from most men’s concept of it.  The fact that she does not understand that when she and her old male friend declared their “love” of each other years ago, for her that love was un-special, since that is the way she loves all her close friends.  But for the man it likely was not, because men do not love their friends, nor do they share everything with their friends.  If he “loved her” and shared intimate secrets with her, she was more than a regular friend to him.
     
    So I don’t see this man’s wife as insecure.  SHE is supposed to be the primary recipient of her husband’s emotional intimacy, not some other woman.  Whether or not there is any sexual relationship between the OP and this man (and let’s assume there isn’t), the deep emotional relationship they shared is quite literally half of what a romantic relationship is all about from a man’s perspective.
     
    I therefore agree with Evan’s advice to the OP.  Let him move on, and do not come between him and his wife.

    1. 6.1
      sceptical

      “Women can be friends with men, but men can’t be friends with women.  If a woman were to treat a man like she treats her female friends, that level of emotional connectedness would signify a romantic relationship to him.” 
      This explains a few mishaps from my younger days *blush*

    2. 6.2
      Androgynous

      Totally totally agree with everything you said. Couldn’t have put it better myself. That’s why I thought Evan’s judgement (for what of a better word) of the wife in this story was a bit harsh. The thing here is that both these friends have known each other from childhood. While you’re right that men view friendships as something which they gain utility from -eg playing sport and doing hobbies with, helping each other with task etc their attitude to female childhood friends are more akin to a brother/sister kind of affection and caring. For that reason, and the fact that they never dated, I personally would not have been threatened by, or upset by this relationship, if I had been in the wife’s position. However, my position would be different had they ever dated, or if they had met as adults or young adults.

    3. 6.3
      Pat

      Jeremy – Excellent explanation.  Would like to print your comment and post it on my wall.  Thank you. 🙂

    4. 6.4
      Alicia

      Jeremy,

      You’re a wonderful man and it warmed my heart and made me smile…to see what you wrote. I could not agree more! The world needs more strong men like you! 🙂

    5. 6.5
      karen

      Thankyou, that was very well put.(6)

    6. 6.6
      Elaine Stone

      I totally  agree with you.  Every male friend I have had has come onto me. I don’t bother with men as friends -just acquaintances for that reason.  And I would definitely not let a single or married woman be my partners best friend -that would be my job.  Well said Jeremy

    7. 6.7
      Suzy Q

      Yeah Jeremy I don’t think that’s what Evan said. He’s not saying men and women can’t be platonic friends as you believe. He’s telling this particular woman to cut her losses, respect that his wife has an issue with their friendship, even if it is irrational, and focus on developing a relationship of her own. Sometimes the potential for drama and problems just isn’t worth it.

    8. 6.8
      Thomas

      “… men do not love their friends…”

      That is one of the saddest, most pathetic statements I have ever read.  How unfortunate for people who believe that.

       

  7. 7
    Sabine

    I agree with Evan.  The part that’s a bit of a head scratch-er is the, “I Love You.” part.  Yes, we can love our guy friends.  However, you both parted ways for 10 years and you reappeared into his life.  If you were friends consistently without the break, then I would say the wife is over-reacting.  However, popping back into the picture would make me raise my eyebrows if I were the wife.  I think it’s time to move on and connect with someone where you can have a real, face to face, person to person connection.  “I love you” is a powerful statement.  It feels great to be loved, even by friends.  However, it is a line crosser with a married male friend. 

  8. 8
    EmeraldDust

    Jeremy make good points that friendship with an opposite sex person means different things to that person.
    I would like to add when a woman “friend zones” a man, that means NO SEX.  This is why men HATE being “friend zoned”.
    When a man is “friends” with a woman that means NO RELATIONSHIP.  But he will gladly accept sex if she offers it, or yields to his physical escalation.  Which is why women HATE friends with benefits.
    OK, I know there are exceptions, so please no pile on about how the best sex in the world that you EVER had was with your friend with benefits.
    MOST (not 100%) women want a RELATIONSHIP, and if a guy wants to be her “friend” it means he doesn’t want a relationship with her.  MOST men want SEX.  If a woman “friend zones” him, he’s still going to try and turn it into a “friends with benefits” situation.
    I have actually had 2 succesful male friend relationships with heterosexual men in my past,  (distant past), but I admit they are more rare than a unicorn.  I have had many attempts at opposite sex friendships (in my distant past)  but none of them worked out, because either he was way  more into me, or I was way more into him.

    1. 8.1
      Jeremy

      @emeralddust

      When a woman puts a man in the friend zone it is a special hell for him because she still continues to bond with him emotionally.  For her this is nothing special (she bonds with all her friends) but to him he is in a burgeoning relationship (emotionally) that never goes anywhere sexually.

      Given men and women’s differing biological imperatives, this is not unlike a woman trapped in a physical relationship with a man that will never lead to marriage (or children).  Some needs are met while others never will be, but just enough pleasure is present to make leaving difficult. 

      And yes, for FWB relationships, the woman is a friend to “do things with” and with whom the man does not bond but rather “talks about what they do.” This is a classic male-type friendship that would not likely ever lead to a real relationship since no emotions are involved. 

      1. 8.1.1
        EmeraldDust

        Totally agree with all you said.  Big reason why I don’t have a friend zone.  I don’t want to put men through hell, nor do I want to go there myself.
        Morris “feels sorry” for us, but I think he is the exception rather than the rule.  Morris is “mature” enough to not feel the fires of hell being in a woman’s friend zone.  I have hurt men by letting them be in my “friend zone”  (to just be “friends” was always their idea, but now I know to decline such friendships)  and I once attempted an FWB with someone I had a major crush on.  Now I know why it’s called a crush, it was crushing.
        With my 2 exceptional “friend zone” men, one had been a childhood friend since 10th grade.  So we almost felt like siblings, so I think that’s how we managed a friendship with no hurt feelings.  The other had been in a long on again, off again relationship with a woman who ran hot and cold on him and treated him like crap.  I met him when they were “off”.  I became the big sister whose shoulder he cried on.  Again, he felt like a little brother to me, and believe me, I couldn’t stand his on again off again girlfriend, not because of jealousy, but because she continually played games with his emotions.  (all of his friends hated her too).  And he had way to many feelings for his “girlfriend” to have any romantic/sexual feelings for anything else.  Yes, his “girlfriend” had a problem with me, but that was HER problem.  They were “off” more than they were “on” in the years that we were friends.  Of course he would fade away when she snapped her fingers and he would go running, but a few days later, he would be back crying on my shoulder.  We were even room mates for a year.  He was a fun friend/room mate to have (when he wasn’t crying about the ex) and NEVER tried to turn us into FWB.
        But those 2 exceptions in my life won’t make me change my rule about no male friends.  (unless they are gay) 
        I don’t need to be pitied, I have a ton of female friends.  I have a very fun social life with my female friends.  I have male company from family members. 
         

        1. Ishita Banerjee

          Thanks to You and Jeremy for sharing such a valuable advice in this blog.Actually I was quite confused about making friends with the opposite sex because of my distasteful past with two of my male friends and both of them turned out to be conventional men.They somehow fell for me and then the same happened to me later on and by that time they were over with the feeling and in the process I got hurt.

      2. 8.1.2
        twinkle

        Nah Jeremy, I usually agree with u, but I disagree on this. Male-female friendships are a beautiful thing, as beautiful as male-male friendships and female-female friendships but in a different way. My life would be sadder without the joy that some of my close male-female friendships bring to my life, and I think those friends of mine would agree. I think male-female friendships should be encouraged–one doesn’t need many, but one or 2 are very nice.

        1. jeremy

          I never said there weren’t exceptions, twinkle.  You and Morris and Julia all claim to have good male-female friendships, and I am certainly not accusing you of falsehood. 
          But I do wonder whether your perception of your intersexual friendships is the same as the men’s perception of it.  As I wrote above, women are very capable of being friends with men.  It is men who are, by and large, less capable of being “just friends” with women in a deep, intimate, female-style friendship.
           
          I know so many women who believe they have lots of male friends, but those men were really male “orbiters”.  My cousin, for example, was “best friends” with a girl for years.  They would call each other constantly and speak for hours – sharing intimate details in a very female-style friendship.  She was convinced that he was her best friend.  He was secretly hoping she would date him, though he never came out and asked her.  When he ultimately found another girl to marry, he broke off the “friendship.”  It never was a friendship from his perspective – only hers.
           
          For the people here who have good intersexual friendships, I wonder whether these are female-style friendships or male-style?  Are the phone conversations frequent, long, and deep (as per female-style friendships), or are they infrequent and involving hobbies/things to do (as per male-style friendships)?  If they are male-style friendships, I fully agree – it is possible for men and women to be friends on those terms.  But if they are female-style friendships, I think it takes a man with a certain personality type (essentially, an MBTI “feeler” who has an abundance of romantic options) to be fulfilled by such a friendship without perceiving/needing more.
           
           

        2. Julia

          Well, maybe its a generational thing but I don’t spend hours on the phone with ANY of my female friends. Everything is internet/face to face based. As for my male friendships-I don’t do activities with these men. They tend to be people I meet for lunch/drink and we discuss what it is that we are connected in, much like I do with women. Most of these men are married, attached or gay. I don’t believe any of them want to sleep with me, in a real way at least, many of them I have become acquainted with their wives as well. There is one male friend I have who is single and straight who calls me on the phone, he is about 6 years younger than men and suspect looks at me as sort of a big sister (a role I take on well as I have a brother 5 years younger.) I think the fact that I have only one sibling and he is a younger brother maybe sets me up for male friendships. That plus I like comedy a lot and work in a completely male dominated office (computer programming.) But even the men at work, we have a small clique, dine together several times a week, hang out for happy hour a couple times a month, we discuss relationships (romantic, work, inside jokes and social issues.)

        3. twinkle

          @jeremy:
          I’m confused as to where to reply to u, as your comments are scattered around; I guess I’ll start here. 🙂
           
          You’re right about some male friends merely being orbiters (although I won’t go so far as to say it wasn’t even ‘friendship’ from his perspective, though I agree maybe not a close friendship). I had a difficult experience where friend I’d been close to for years asked me out, I turned him down as I found it awkward, and then -poof- suddenly he was mostly out of my life. We’re still friends, but nowhere near as close as we were.
           
          However, like u acknowledge, I believe there are exceptions. U make a good point that perhaps it’s the male ‘F’s according to MBTI who are likelier to make good friends with women. My close male buddy (friends since chlidhood, though we lost touch for some yrs) is an ‘F’ (though his ‘F’ is not very strong compared to his ‘T’) and he and I have been exchanging long daily text messages for months. I confide in him, but he also confides in me eg when he was stressed while considering changing jobs. We also meet up when we can for movies, chatting etc. So it sounds like a ‘female-style friendship’ by your definition. Maybe due to being a ‘feeler’, he needs some women friends as many of his male friends don’t provide as much emotional bonding.

        4. twinkle

          @ jeremy: (continued) “I think it takes a man with a certain personality type (essentially, an MBTI “feeler” who has an abundance of romantic options) to be fulfilled by such a friendship without perceiving/needing more.”
           
          Yes, along with being a “feeler”, he already had a girlfriend when we restarted the friendship, So maybe u are right about those criteria being conducive for close intersexual friendships.   🙂

    2. 8.2
      Janie

      Interesting way of putting it! I saw a post online on FB asking viewers if anyone had ever made it out of the *friend zone* (and into some kind sexual arrangement, however they phrased it). A few claimed to have. My thought was, how about daring to ask if anyone had ever made it out of the *booty call department* into an actual relationship. I have yet to hear of any woman who has.

  9. 9
    Morris

    I feel really sorry for the posters who think men and women can’t be friends. Most of my close friends are women. Never had any issues. Not with them, their friends or husbands. There is nothing hard about having female friends if you’re both mature adults. Men and women are different. And I absolutely love what my female friends bring to my life.

    1. 9.1
      Julia

      I totally agree Morris, I have a number of male friends and female friends. No one is “friend zoned” My fiance also has close male friends that he can count on for emotional support. I am glad to have so many men in my life who are evolved past the bounds of traditional masculinity,

    2. 9.2
      twinkle

      I agree with Morris and Julia and agree 100% with the raccoon. Men and women can be friends, like brother and sister, especially if it’s a long term friendship that started in one’s youth…I’m guessing the wife is one of those types that starts making her hubby cut out many parts of his life that don’t involve her. That’s no way to live, for him or her.

    3. 9.3
      Adrian

      Morris, Julia, and Twinkle, I think you three are missing Jeremy’s point. He never said that it isn’t possible, just that for “men” on average it is harder. Go back and re-read all the blogs Evan did on how a man can sleep with a woman he doesn’t want to date or isn’t attracted to, and the one about men not having many friends who they are emotionally connected to; a man can sleep with a woman even if she just see’s him as a friend and if he connects with her emotionally, he will want to be more than just friends.
       
       
      Julia what you spoke of about the younger guy, I would bet any amount (because I would win this bet) that as long as it isn’t awkwardly brought up, he would sleep with you in a heart-beat. Again, you see him as a little brother, I doubt if you are a attractive woman -that is the key-, no matter how nice you are to him, he would sleep with you, and if there is a emotional bond, then he most likely even has a crush on you, you calling him a little brother is what is keeping him from acting, fear of rejection by you and embarrassment.
       
       
       
      Morris the word in your post that stuck out to me was “close” friends, I think I remember a post  by you a few years ago that stated that you are the type of guy that many woman are attracted to (though I may be confusing you with another poster), if that is the case, then I think what is going on with Julia and twinkle, these woman are attracted to you, but know you would never consider them for nothing serious, so they just remained on a friendly bases with you. I have seen it many times with woman, hanging onto men hoping he would see them as more, but they refuse to be just another girl he uses for just sex

      1. 9.3.1
        Morris

        Although I have had a couple friends who where interested in me at some point I don’t see that as an issue.(I was interested in a friend once as well.) It happens and it’s not a big deal. Dealing with a few awkward situation in my 40+ years of life doesn’t discourage me from having and making female friends.(And gay friends since I had one tell me they likes me as well.)

        And I doubt my female friends are hanging around for anything. Most are now in a relationship or are married.

        I realize some guys and some girls just can’t be friends. Obviously those kinds of girls aren’t friends with me either. They would naturally disappear from my life whether I liked it or not. But that leaves me with true female friends.

        If your experience with the men is that they ALL try to sleep with you. Or try to be more than friends even after you told them you only want a platonic friendship. I’d get not wanting to have male friends. That’s just not me or my experience. So I guess I’m just thankful for that.

  10. 10
    yb

    I think Evan was waaaay to nice to this woman who already knows the answer to her question.  She sounds like an emotional and clingy leech.  She needs to understand he married his best friend, she is NOT his best friend anymore. If she loves this man, why is she putting him in a difficult place?  Maybe she should start by respecting his boundaries.

    “Plus he is trying hard to keep the friendship going, but keeps me separate from his wife at all costs.”

    “My friend is also a good man and he is faithful to his wife, he has already started to get distant so where do we go from here?

     

    1. 10.1
      Adrian

      It is interesting how you are attacking this woman for a friend she has had longer than his wife has known him, but you don’t address what Morris, Julia, and Twinkle have all stated, some people -mostly woman, in my and Jeremy’s opinion, which is what the OP is- can just be friends with someone of the opposite sex without wanting to date, sleep with, or steal them from their wife.
       
       
      I think Evan was just right in his response, if you go and read some of his previous blog subjects, he address everything from keeping old photos of ex’s to having ex’s who are still attracted to the partner still call them, and he is consistent, if you trust your partner, then it is okay for them to have opposite sex friends, if he/she betrays or cheats on you, then drop them, simple.
       
       
      YB, you are the one who sounds insecure, the OP doesn’t sound like a “emotional and clingy leech” to me and apparently others on this blog agree. It like the woman who want their boyfriend/ husband to drop a female friend of his that he has known for years because, the woman is more attractive or because she has a better body, or because, she is still attracted to him, so he does it to make the girl happy, then they break-up and he has now lost a “friend” that he has known for years who he never planned to cheat on his girl/wife with, why..? Because she felt insecure and didn’t trust him, and what’s the average (wo)man’s excuse… I’m worth it, or if he/she wants to make me happy/love me he/she would do it.
       
       
      It is like the current porn debate that is going on in another post, where some woman can’t believe that their lack of faith and trust in their partners will only cause him to lie and yet when he is caught YB, I am sure you and others like you would call him the one who is doing wrong, when it was your actions that pushed him to lie, no wander EVAN praises his wife so, her faith in him is out of this world, I would trade super models for one woman like Evan’s wife. Do you receive his news letters? Did you read the story about the young guy who was dancing with his wife, did you see Evan’s reaction? Did you read the blog or news letter -I can’t remember which- where Evan’s wife found another woman’s panties? Did you see how she reacted?
       
       
      YB, I am not making this about you, I just didn’t like how you attacked this women who was putting herself bare emotionally before the world asking for help, and you self-righteously tore into her… why? What if she is lonely and just needs someone to talk to, Evan’s way of dealing with her, causes less embarrassment for her and actually helps not accuse her, you were just witch-hunting the poor woman. Finally go back and re-read the blog when Evan was saying that many men, lack close friends, so they cling to their wives and make them their best friends. I remember many of the female commenters were not praising their husbands for making them there best friends, it only comes into play when another woman is around

  11. 11
    SusieQ

    You said that “we only talk about fun topics, personal growth, careers, the news, etc….”   But before you reentered his life, he probably talked about fun topics, personal growth, careers, the news, etc. with his wife. The relationship doesn’t have to be physical or sexual for his wife to have lost some of his time and attention, and resentment is a natural reaction to that.  

  12. 12
    Gail

    I agree with yb.    In addition, it has been my observation and experience that the “friendships” between men and women usually have one side with an agenda.  Ie, one side would like more from the relationship than just friendship.  

  13. 13
    twinkle

    Hmm I think it’s the wife who’s being unfairly insecure here. The lady writer seems ok. I may be more on her side because I also have the tendency to be nostalgic about long-term friendships with my guy and gal pals. I’ve heard of the unspoken rule that u don’t actively make new friends with people of the opp gender once u’re married, but old friendships should be allowed.
     
    Sure, emotionally the guy may start confiding in his old friend and confide a bit less in his wife than before, but if their marriage is strong, it should be ok. I don’t believe people should cling on so tightly to their partners, give them some freedom and breathing space!

  14. 14
    HippieDiva

    I think it’s imperative for married couples to have outside interests and friendships.  However, like any relationship, friendships evolve.  They may have been tight at one time, but there’s a new sheriff in town and that sheriff don’t like old friend.  Old friend needs to put on her big girl panties and realize that the loyalty of her old friend lies with his wife now.  Be mature, back off and not pursue.  There are plenty of other friends to be made.  Doesn’t mean your friendship is over, just different now.

  15. 15
    Peter 51

    How can a woman deny her husband attention if there is another woman around offering it.  It completely undermines her power.  Of course the wife is being hostile.  She will lose control.

  16. 16
    Clare

    Whilst I am of the school of thought that men and women can be just friends, and have very rewarding friendships, for the life of me I can’t understand why the poster would want to be put herself through the pain of having a married man for a best friend. Their friendship is always going to come second, and there is 10 to 1 always going to be some level of tension from his wife. He is not going to make you a priority, or have much to give the friendship in terms of time or emotional investment. Too much hassle and agonizing for too little in return.
     
    If the poster is desperate to still have him in her life, she needs to accept that their friendship is friendly acquaintances at best, and to stop hankering for the days when they were like peas and carrots. Just let it go. Accept what he has to offer, keep a friendly distance, and go and look for friends who are more available.

  17. 17
    Michelle

    Sorry, gonna have to play the wife’a advocate here. The biggest priority in the man’s life is his marriage. He’s a married man and that’s where it needs to be. A lonely friend from the past, even one without bad intentions, is not his priority. He can ask the wife what she is comfortable with concerning the interactions of him and his long lost friend, and then respect her feelings.  I may get some flak for this, but the marriage comes first, whether the wife is insecure or not.    😉
           
               
          
                        
               
                 

           

  18. 18
    Skaramouche

    There’s something about the OP’s story that rubs me the wrong way and doesn’t quite add up.  She mentions that they are not in the same city, have only seen each other once and most of their communication is by email/text, etc.  What in the world does the wife find worth objecting to in this sort of relationship?  On the other hand, they’ve already told each other they love each other and are trying to be best friends after a 10 year absence.  I see two possibilities: either the wife is extremely insecure or OP is taking up a fair amount of her friend’s time/doing something else that really bothers the wife.  It’s hard to say without hearing the other side of the story.  
     
    Without knowing that, I can only relate this to experiences in my own life.  My husband has a few female friends who text him occasionally, email him, etc and I have no problem with these. There’s another old female friend of his who doesn’t contact him often but when she does, it is at least a 4 hour conversation.  She is a very nice woman but has some strange beliefs.  She tells him about the problems in her life (sometimes caused by these beliefs) and he tries to comfort her.  She does not want advice,she doesn’t want opinions, she just wants to complain about the things that are wrong in her life.  I will admit that this friend irritates me a bit.  It has nothing to do with insecurity but rather with the somewhat unfair feeling that she is taking up time that belongs to me.  If this were a mutually beneficial relationship, I would be happy because my husband was getting something out of it.  But that is not the case.  He ends up tired and frustrated at the end of these calls while she goes merrily on her way, none the wiser.  If he’s going to listen to any woman for hours on end, that woman should be me!  Other women should find their own husbands :P.  I’m half kidding.  Anyway, I realize I’m being silly and I let it go.  It only happens every couple of months anyway and if he’s lending a sympathetic ear to an old friend, I should appreciate his kindness.
     
     
    I’m not saying that this is the wife’s case but I just think that I might find myself a bit resentful of an old friend who suddenly appeared after 10 years and demanded my husband’s already precious time.  It wouldn’t bother me if he wanted to keep in touch and see her occasionally…old friends are old friends.  However, he already has a best friend: me and if his old friend tried to reprise that role, it wouldn’t work.  

  19. 19
    Skaramouche

     
    In the comments, opinions seem to be divided with one set firmly in the male-female friendship camp and the other against such friendships.  I’d be very curious to know the ages and the marital statuses of individuals on both sides of the argument.  From personal experience I have found that when I was young and single, I had many more close male friends than I do now after two years of marriage.  This doesn’t mean that I have abandoned my friends.  It just means that I have more responsibilities and less disposable time than I did in my carefree 20s.  Some of my more flirtatious friendships have disappeared.  Other friends have moved away and we only keep in touch via email.  Still others are now friends of my husband as well.  What I do know is that those friendships which thrived on long, meaningful conversations into the night are all but gone.  They had their season and it’s over.  I have my husband for that now and would feel mildly disloyal to him if I had that sort of emotional connection with another male.  I would like to stress that this doesn’t mean that I have given up all my male friends.  We still get together for dinner or a movie, with or without my husband.  The same applies to my husband and his female friends.

    1. 19.1
      jeremy

      “I’d be very curious to know the ages and the marital statuses of individuals on both sides of the argument.”
      38 and married (9 years) 🙂   And I agree, intersexual friendships are easier when single.
       
      “Some of my more flirtatious friendships have disappeared.”
      If they were flirtatious, they were not friendships, but rather orbiters.  If you were flirting with them, you were attention-seeking.  You don’t flirt with your female friends, do you?
       
      “I would like to stress that this doesn’t mean that I have given up all my male friends.  We still get together for dinner or a movie, with or without my husband.”
      In other words, intersexual friendships are ok if male-style (brief, infrequent conversations that revolve around an activity), but not female-style.  This is what I’ve been saying.  You have no problem with your husband’s female friends who maintain a male-style friendship with him, but you have a big problem with the one who tries to maintain a female-style friendship with him.  And, from his perspective, after spending 4 hours on the phone with her, providing emotional support and validation, he likely feels like her boyfriend minus the sex.  Very frustrating to him, and understandably upsetting to his wife.
       
       

      1. 19.1.1
        Julia

        You keep saying “female style” I have no idea what you mean. I rarely sit around with women and gush about emotions. When I had lots of emotions I paid a therapist. When I am around my female friends we often discuss politics (that’s how I know most of them), film, comedy, food. We also do activities together. When I am around my male friends we often discuss politics(that’s how I know most of them as well), film, food, beer, comedy. So maybe I am a weird woman that I am not constantly drinking wine with the girls and talking about our mom’s and our men…..

        And to answer the original question, I am 33 and engaged. Most of my friends both male and female range from late 20s to early 40s and about 90% of them are married. Some are gay (men and women) most are straight.

      2. 19.1.2
        Adrian

        I  could be wrong, but Jeremy, doesn’t it seem like it is the guy who maybe see’s this as more then just a friendship, from most of the woman I know, they are only insecure if they are given a reason to be, I think that like Julia, the OP see’s it one way, but the man see’s it another, and the wife is subtly picking up on that… this of course is assuming that he never gave her a reason to mistrust him in the past and that the OP and the wife are on the same attraction level, if the OP is better looking then it’s just plain of insecurity

    2. 19.2
      twinkle

      I’m 26, unmarried. 
       
      Btw my male friendships are not at all flirtatious; I am a bit of a prude when it comes to male friends as I don’t want to give the wrong idea. Maybe women who have had flirtatious male friendships are more likely to get resentful if their partners have close female friends. Like with many many things in life, it’s projection. 🙂 
       
      If my partner has close female friends (with ‘female-style friendships’), I’m ok with it as long as he tells me they have good character. My close male friends have terrific character and I reassure guys I date about that, if they express resentment. 
       
      The thing is, long-term close genuine friendships are rare, and thus precious. Me and my close male buddy once talked about this (because my then-bf had gotten jealous), I asked “would u listen if your partner told u to end your close friendship with a girl?’ And he said “I wouldn’t even date such a person”.
       
      That said, in this example, the wife may be unreasonable, but the husband made his choice, and the lady needs to deal with that. But if the husband decides to stay close to his female friend, and the wife is angry, I think it’s more of a grey area (as to what the friend should do).

    3. 19.3
      Adrian

      30 unmarried
      I don’t think the wife is wrong for feeling the way she does, if we had the power to feel or not feel a certain way on command, I would be married to the over-weight, and average looking girl who would treat me great instead of the sexy  ex-college-model who thinks that because of her looks she should be treated like a queen. The reason I’m on this blog is because I’m trying to learn to be a better guy to attract a better woman… who I also find attractive <(‘-‘<)…
       
       
      I don’t think either woman is wrong, again I have seen too many examples of men giving up their female friends for new girlfriends and when they break-up, he has lost or greatly damaged his relationship with the female friend… for what? The OP said she tries to be nice to the man’s wife to show she isn’t a threat. 
       
       
      I do completely agree with what you said, that once the OP finds a serious boyfriend, she will contact the man less 

    4. 19.4
      Skaramouche

      Thanks for your comments, everyone.  I’m 32 and married.  Some things I found interesting:

      @Jeremy
      I’m interested by your “male-style” and “female-style” friendship distinction.  I see what you mean but I have very few friendships that fall neatly into one of those categories.  I guess some people do.

      @Jeremy and @Twinkle
      Re: flirtatious friendships, I was not the one initiating the flirting….that is not my personality. However, I was also never the type to let innuendo laden comments just pass.  I would engage the flirter and fire back myself but not necessarily because I was interested.  I hope that makes sense.  That’s what I meant by flirting.  I don’t know about orbiting…perhaps in retrospect, I can see that some may have been orbiters but not all of them were.  Do people who have no actual intention of sleeping with you and never will but might have if circumstances were different count as orbiters?  I have a colleague who just has a flirtatious personality.  He’s happily married and I don’t think he’s looking for anything.  He’s careful with me but will happily trade innuendo with any woman who’s willing to play.

      @Julia
      Your friendships sound like mine.  I’m a rather private person so the only people with whom I have “female-style” friendships as described by Jeremy are my sister and my husband.  Also my parents to some extent, I suppose.  Other than that, there isn’t a lot of difference between my male and female friendships.  We generally hang out in groups, occasionally one-on-one. Sometimes do activities and sometimes we don’t.  

      I think this is normal for most people, whether single or coupled.  The only difference that I can see is that single people sometimes have close friends of the opposite sex with whom they have “female-style” friendship.  I know I did when I was single.  I don’t know if it had to do with my youth or my single status (probably the latter) but I had male friends with whom I would chat for hours, generally over dinner or drinks.  Some were orbiters but not all were.  I remember time spent with one particular friend very warmly and that is probably because he definitely was not an orbiter.  He was very happily engaged and I had no relationship interest in him either.  If anything, he still feels like a brother to this day.  So while these friendships are rare, they are possible and precious.  The reason he was available for such a friendship was that his fiancee was overseas and didn’t mind.  There was never any flirtation of any sort.

      I’m sorry for this very long post but the point that I’m trying to make is that I feel that the sort of friendships Julia described are healthy for any couple.  But the sort of bond that the OP is describing, even though it’s long distance, wouldn’t sit very well with me. 

      1. 19.4.1
        Jeremy

        The issue of male vs female type friendships is not my own idea.  It is definitely something I’ve observed, but was clarified by Deborah Tannen’s work on the subject (I’d recommend her books if you haven’t read them).  She talks about the differences in the ways that men and women tend to communicate and how those differences affect friendships and relationships.

        The one area where I disagree with her somewhat is that I don’t think these differences are based on gender, but rather on personality and temperament.  It just happens that the majority of women tend to be “feelers” (specifically E/ISFJ and E/ISFP, with an occasional NF in there as well) while more men tend to be primarily “thinkers”.  Because personality type tends to stratify by gender, so does communication style.  And this style is further reinforced by our earliest friendships, which tend to be same gender friendships – so we learn to communicate with people who communicate like us.

        From my experience, most women who enjoy hanging out with the guys and have male style friendships are women who have atypical personality types for their gender.  This doesn’t mean they aren’t feminine – they may be extremely feminine – but rather their personalities have more in common with more men than most women.  Similarly, men who tend to have female style friendships tend to be feelers, unlike the majority of men.  This does not make them effeminate, necessarily, in fact, they may be quite the ladies’ men.  The most popular boys and men are the good-looking “feelers.”  But their personality type is not the typical for their gender. 

        Thus, I believe that my comments are generally true, with exceptions based on personality, not gender.  For example, I don’t know Evan personally, but I’d guess that his is a feeling personality.  After all, you can’t be a relationship expert otherwise.  This would explain (at least in part) his past success with women, and also his feeling that it’s ok for men and women to be close and emotionally intimate while married to other people – a feeler, male or female, does this naturally with all their friends.  But for men who are less feeling-based, they derive their emotional “fix” from their spouse, and obtaining it from another woman leads to feelings of more than friendship. 

  20. 20
    jessy

    Wow, this woman is a piece of work. She needs to back off this man’s marriage. Go find yourself a man that is unattached woman!! you are sounding like a child, oh my friend, oh my friend !! A marital relationship is backed up by the law. This friendship dribble is recess stuff. Grow the … Grow up!!

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