November 10, 2008,
T.D. asks from Katy, TX on October 28, 2008
Husbands and Female Friends
Calling any ladies whose husbands have close female friends...I would love some insight/words of wisdom on how I can get past feelings of fear or jealousy and relax and enjoy life? As long as I've known my hubby (15 yrs), he's always included a close female or two in his circle of friends (and his friends are very important to him.) He has always treated them the same as his male friends and they have gone out of their way to befriend me. However, I was raised with parents who discouraged male-female friendships and also saw my parents' marriage end because of an affair, so I have always felt very threatened by other women. As a result, three very nice girls who my husband considered good friends in college and grad school have come and gone in our lives and I unfortunately wasted those years constantly worrying and feeling turmoil instead of having fun. I rarely wanted to go out with them and stayed home a lot so I didn't have to deal with my feelings. In retrospect, they were harmless and we could've had a great time. Nothing in my husband's past actions would cause worry, but I just can't seem to get past the feelings of inadedequacy that he enjoys their company more than mine. Anyways, he's in the career world now and of course counts one of the girls at work as one of his best friends. She is married with a child, he's friends with the husband, and she has tried repeatedly to befriend me. I shouldn't see her as a threat but I still can't shake the need to be the only woman that he'd want around. I don't want to continue going through life constantly being uptight with everyone; I'd love to be able to show my relaxed, warm side. Also, since my pregnancies I'm more hormonal and have become suspicious, asking who/where/when, etc., and my husband is disappointd that after 15 years I don't believe in him. I don't like the person I'm becoming. My husband will probably always have female friends, I don't want to ask him to stop just because I can't handle my insecurities; I see it as something I need to work on. I am sick and tired of wasting my energy on these feelings. Please give any thoughts that might help me work on myself. Thank you :)
PS- I've had one close male friend for a long time, though rarely hang out with him since I married, and my husband has been ok with that friendship.
B.S. answers from San Antonio on October 30, 2008
My husband would never even think of having another lady as a close friend. You should be his close friend.
M.H. answers from Houston on October 28, 2008
My husband has women friends. It doesnt bother me. To tell the truth, until I read your post, I didnt give it much thought. I think it depends on what he is doing with these gals. I mean, its not like he is going out one on one to a candlelit dinner!!! I think its a matter of trust.
I also will have to say that my hub has one woman friend that I CANT STAND!!! Its not because he is friends with a female, but rather because I just plain dont like her. The girl has no morals and just generally irritates me!!!(for what its worth, I dont like her hubby either)She's the type that would park in a handicap parking spot, (catch my drift!?!) There are women at his office he eats lunch with...as well as men. So, if I were you, I would dig down deep and find out "why" this bothers you. Like you said, you are probably missing out on these friendships also. Another point I would like to make is, is your husband one of those guys that people like? Mine is. There are men and women out there in the world that others just naturally gravitate to. Consider yourself lucky to be married to one of these people, I am.
Good luck in your quest to solve your problem, and remember, you can chose to go against the grain and be miserable or go with the flow and be happy!!!
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M.B. answers from Houston on October 28, 2008
Well, girl, I personally don't think men should be hanging out with "women friends". My husband doesn't have any, other than my friends, and couples that we are friends with both. And on the other hand, I don't hang out with any guy friends. (And ALL of my friends were male BEFORE I married!) I just think it's a bad idea. Kind of like my daddy used to tell me, "locking the doors just KEEPS an honest man HONEST". In other words, I feel we are supposed to be cautious in the circumstances we include ourselves in, as we are all human, and ALL OF US are capable of making a HUGE booboo. But if this is how it's going to be (which I TOTALLY think is a bad idea!!) then all you can do is get over it, I guess. I think your worries aren't insecure though, I just think you are smart enough to know that even the best of men (and women) can find themselves in a bad spot. Sorry girl, I know this isn't what you were looking for, I just had to share my thoughts, and let you know that I don't think there is a problem with YOU and how you feel.
Best of luck to you, and many big hugs......
****For the record, I'm not saying he shouldn't speak to a women, or befriend a woman at work, or whatever. I just don't thinks it's peachy if they are "hanging out" alone, having a tight nit friendship that is exclusive to the two of them. That's asking for trouble.
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W.C. answers from San Antonio on October 28, 2008
My husband has no female friends and I would see this as a red flag in our relationship, BUT that is ONLY because he has never had female friends and his male friends are not close. I, on the other hand, have close friends of both genders. It has never bothered him because this is the way I was when we met. You knew this about him when you met and he has given you no reason to think otherwise.
My best advice to you is the same advice I gave my own husband. Step out of your comfortzone. These women could end up being your greatest asset in this relationship. Befriend them and you have eyes and ears into his "friend world." You can not only us that to "babysitt" as most women might, but think about hte gift potential! LOL. She will know what you want and help lead him in the right direction and vice versa. LOL. Ok, I'm kidding a little there.
Relax. There is nothing htat you can do to stop him if he were going to do something. You can love him. It sounds like you do, but have faith in your marriage. Know that what he sees in these girls, though they maybe be best friends, is another flawed human being. I know the one thing that I have learned from having close male friends is how FANTASTIC my husband is. I may go out with them and have a great time, but I am always more happy to come home to my husband. When he began coming out with us, he began to see the same thing and was just more comfortable with hte whole thing. Relax and have a good time and take comfort in the fact that these women are part of your sisthood, even though they may be his friends. No women wants to see a friend get hurt.
Best of luck to you.
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J.B. answers from Houston on October 28, 2008
Well I think all marriages have their own flavor and what works for them. If it was never understood initially that your husband needed to leave his female friends behind when you two got married that may be tough to change. However just as you have been married to him for 15 years, he has also been married to you and must know that his being buddy buddy with the gals bugs you a lot. So I think this is one of those that someone is just going to have to give in. It isn't wrong that you aren't comfortable with his having female friends and it sounds like he isn't doing anything wrong in these friendships. Since you are the one that has the difficulty here, you will probably have to be the one to surrender. Sorry!! If acceptance is all you do right now, that's fine! You don't have to force yourself to like something you don't, but you can choose to realize this is who you married, you love him, you trust him, and just focus on the great parts of your marriage. Now if this just continues to irk you on and on you guys may need to go for a bit of counsel on the subject. Wish you all the best!!
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H.G. answers from Houston on October 28, 2008
If they are just talking at work about work stuff, around other people it is probably not a big deal.
But going out to lunch alone or out alone after work is entirely another. It is when married folks of the opposite sex start talking too much, sharing too much, getting emotionally invested when things can go wrong. Men want to be admired and respected by women and he should be getting that from you and not work lady friends. Hopefully he isn't and they just chat at work about work.
Don't feel down on yourself. Take care of yourself, buy a couple of cute things or make a bath and body run, things that make you feel pretty about yourself. Acting confident (even if you have to fake it somedays) is a huge turn on for men. Remember those not so pretty girls in high school that the boys drooled after? And all the normal girls were like "why do they like her, she isn't even cute or that nice?!" Well they were confident and acted like they were all that--signals men subconsciously pick up on. He married YOU not someone else and he'll remember :)
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L.A. answers from Austin on October 28, 2008
Wow, I am so surprised by the women who do not think men and women can just be friends. My husband and I have been married for almost 30 years. I have NEVER worried about him having female friends, because I have male friends and would NEVER consider them anything other than good friends.
My husband works with women, for women, is married to me (a strong woman)and we have a very strong daughter. He respects all of us. My husband has gained insight into the other women and their thoughts, their marriages and their ideas. He uses his experiences to help them with their relationships.
This is your marriage and you have feelings. If you really do not feel comfortable, you have to let him know. At the same time, he is a grown man and if he does not agree with you he is free to do what he wants and you will need to decide what is more important to you.
Pick your battles. Marriage is for a lifetime and there are going to be lots more important things to care about or put your energies into. Is this a deal breaker to you? Is this a deal breaker to him?
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H.P. answers from Houston on October 28, 2008
Okay, here we go. I didn't get married until I was over 30 and my husband was 40. Though marriage ushered in a new set of insecurities, I had spent my 20s learning who I am and what makes me tick. I knew that I couldn't be with a man who wouldn't let me have my friends. I had lots of male friends because I've never been one to have many female friends. Also, I like mixed conversation and opinions, and I can't get enough of that with a bunch of insecure, tight-lipped women. Men tend to be more my speed. My husband had female friends, too. I didn't mind, though I had to get comfortable with it. I sometimes still have to remind myself that I want him to trust my relationships, so I need to trust his. As long as he gives me no reason to believe that there's something else there, I have to just relax. He has to be sure to take care of home first, meaning that I can never feel neglected or that he's putting them ahead of me. He talks about me so much and brings me around so much that anybody who doesn't like that has kinda faded away. (It's balanced itself out.) I'm fine with that. As long as she knows my presence and shows respect for my marriage, I'm okay.
The key is in knowing my husband and trusting his intentions. He is in sales and has to stay in touch with "the community". He's built to schmooze and work the crowd. I notice a difference in him when he's been closed off with only me for too long, though we are best friends and truly enjoy each other. I have to send him out (or go with him) to be social with other people, just like I sometimes have to send him out to play golf. He tells me about women at work, and I let him know if I think that he needs to "watch out", but our emphasis is on us.
His friends--male and female--mean a lot to him. They grew up in a neighborhood and in a time and under circumstances where they really leaned on these relationships as kids (like Alfalfa and Spanky and the rest of the crew), and I wouldn't dare try to take that away from him. This is how he approaches his relationships, and they feed him. He really loves to love people. I get that because I'm the same way. They genuinely like him, too--everybody loves my husband, and I feel proud! Now, there are only a couple of women whom he could periodically meet up with for a drink or lunch, and I love them. It couldn't be everyday, now, and he wouldn't do it without making sure that I'm okay with it. I've got a couple of male friends who could do the same with me. We communicate with each other throughout. He will even call me when he's out somewhere and will always answer his phone when I call him.
I'm rambling--sorry. This is the bottom line. It would be selfish of me to think that I alone can and even should meet all of my husband's needs. I expect to be the only one meeting his sexual needs. I expect for us to share secrets and other intimacies that we wouldn't share with others. If he is a person who is more fulfilled being able to share in the lives of others and have them share in his, then it is my responsibility as someone directly involved in his personal growth and development (we're supposed to always grow and evolve) to encourage him to be all that he can be. He is not my possession to be kept in my pocket and let out only for my own personal use. I have no right to stifle him. That makes it about me, and this marriage isn't about me. It's about us loving and learning together. We have individual paths to follow, callings to chase that didn't simply end just because we got married. Marriage made us partners and helpers in our individual callings. It gave us designated soft places to land during challenges and a built-in support system. We are human beings first, and we need different kinds of social interaction. I don't want to be the only feminine opinion that my husband knows. How can he appreciate that I'm the smartest and the prettiest if I'm the only one that he sees and talks to? I want him to feel free to be who he is and not feel forced to focus in tunnel vision on me. That way he knows that he actually likes being tied to me and won't need to wonder if he's doing the right thing. Also, I believe that my life is better in service to others. That requires that I interact with them, and I don't get to say if I help a man or a woman. It's about the service that I provide. Why would I not be okay with the same for him? Each of us has to be sure to set and maintain boundaries in our relationships.
I can't control what he does with them, especially if he's gonna go to such lengths to do something wrong. All I can control is how I allow him to treat me. If he gives me no reason to believe that I should keep a tight leash on him, no reason to believe that someone else is getting what should be only mine, that's all I can ask for. He is accountable for the rest.
I get the hormone thing and think that you should find some natural ways to balance that out. Make it your project. Go to Whole Foods and get one of the people there to assist you. Read up on it. Find some things that will fulfill you, because you are limiting yourself and setting yourself up for failure if your only work is on/with your husband and children. Do some self-improvement exercises--read, embark on projects. This will make you more interesting to yourself and your husband...add flavor to your pillow talk or other conversation. My husband and I have really been enjoying this current political season. Also, there are certain TV shows and movies that we enjoy watching together and then discussing. We subscribe to certain online journals and newsletters and have plenty to discuss. Sometimes, though, I might run across something that would really spark some fun controversy with an old (male) friend, and I just have to send it to him or call him. Why wouldn't I expect my husband to have the same impulses and desires? Find something to do, something that really feeds your soul. You won't have much time or energy to devote to insecurity. And get those hormones balanced! It might even help to seek psychotherapy to get some perspective.
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S.O. answers from Austin on November 09, 2008
Good friends are in short supply in the world. You seem to know that these friendships are not a threat to your marriage and that scorning them has been a bad decision. I would trust that part of your gut. ESPECIALLY if it's a married woman with a cool husband, it's always hard to find good couple friends. You know what to do, engage and open your mind a bit. Then you will have more friends too, and will probably end up closer to your husband. As far as putting your mind at ease, just look at the evidence - your worries have always been in vain, so don't let them trap you into a behavior you know is limiting you.
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