Friends of the Opposite Sex

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Husband's female friend

Dec 2007

My husband and I are currently separated due to work. He is undergoing extensive training for a new position lasting several more months. I am home full-time with our two young children. He has formed a close friendship with a female colleague undergoing the same training who is also separated from her family. They share a lot of interests and have been socializing regularly, often with a group, but also one on one. Having lost a former long term relationship due to infidelity developing out of a similar friendship, I am very uncomfortable with this relationship and have been very vocal about wanting my husband to curtail the degree to which he is involved with this woman and to keep it strictly professional. He thinks I am overreacting, that I am being insecure and that it is unfair of me to make such demands. During his last two visits home they communicated by text messaging and also phone calls. I blew up and we had a huge fight over it and we have been unable to resolve the issue. Advice, please! Frustrated wife

My first reaction to this - having been there, and now divorced - is that you can't change your husband. You can tell him how you feel, and let him know it is inappropriate to be in constant contact with a female friend. Their relationship will either be the demise of yours, or it will fade into one that is just friendly/professional. If he starts putting password protections on his laptop and cell phone, and sneaking away from the house to call her, tell him to make a choice because that is NOT how you want to live your life. If he is openly contacting her (because you stop nagging him about it) then he probably isn't doing anything wrong. Invite her over for dinner and see how they act together. Womens' intuitions rock! Trust it. Been There
My husband travels a lot with and without his sales partner, who is a woman. He spends week-long training and face-to-face meetings with his colleagues, some of whom are women. They often text, IM, and call each other for support and news. What you are describing doesn't seem too out of the ordinary to me.

My husband recently returned from a two-week trip out of the country and it was HARD. I think you're dealing with a lot of stress right now, staying home with two young children on your own. Imaginations can run wild when you're separated from each other for so long. Obviously, since you've had the awful experience of infidelity before, you're more sensitive to any potential transgressions. But his behavior sounds pretty normal to me. Hang in there. Travel Widow

I think your intuition is right on. Call me old-fashioned, but I think this ''relationship'' needs to be nipped in the bud. It might be innocent now, but it really sounds like this is on the road to an innocent ''we didn't mean for it to happen'', ''we didn't mean for anyone to get hurt'' type of outcome. The whole text-messaging is a big one, can they stand to not communicate for more than 24h? Especially when, as you say, they are currently away from their family for training? Trust your instincts
Trust your instincts. You're not overreacting or being insecure as he says. Sounds more like he's on the defense to me. But regardless, you can't control what he does. All you can do is be honest with him about how this is making you feel. Speak from your heart--tell him that your scared, you love him, don't want to lose him-- whatever it is you feel at your core. This will strengthen your own communication/intimacy with him, whereas speaking from your head, making demands, rules, getting angry will only push him further away. I feel for your situation. I use to be in his shoes and I can tell you that even if he won't admit it to himself or you, they're connecting with each other. Maybe that's ok for him but you need to connect with him too. Express your deep feelings to him and it'll get better. And if it doesn't, keep doing it. Every day/night, check in with each other. Solve it together. Give it all you've got.
You're not going to like what I have to say but here goes: If your husband is going to have an affair or is in one now (I did say IF), there isn't much you can do to prevent it. At least not directly. The best affair prevention you can get is a good marriage. You can start by putting your insecurities (justified or not) aside and make yourself and your marriage a wonderful place for him to come home to. That means loosen your grip a little - possessive and needy = not attractive. Take care of yourself and find something you two can enjoy together when he can spend time away from work. good luck
Personally, I think in a loving, supportive relationship, people are empathetic with each other and try at all cost to help their partner. Feeling insecure feels bad...feeling jealous is an even worse feeling. I think your husband should empathize with you particularly because you two are separated at the moment. I don't think you are over-reacting by expressing your feelings and asking him to be present with you when he's present instead of texting/etc. his friend. Personally I think he's being a little cruel and not too understanding. I don't think it's ever a good idea to forbid friendships, but I do think it's a good idea for him to spare your feelings at this time and respond to your needs. an idealist about love
I say no to your husband being close buddies with another female. My father always used to say that it's hard for a straight man and straight woman to be ''just friends''. He cheated on my mother and left her for a work buddy. You have a right to your feelings. Your husband might feel insulted because he might not have any intentions to betray you. BUT, men can often not read another woman's intentions. I insisted that my husband end a close female friendship because I knew she ''wanted'' my husband even if he didn't want her and basically the entire situation made me feel so crazy that I couldn't deal with it. Even though my husband couldn't see what I suspected he respected my wishes and ended the friendship. He knew he wouldn't like it if the tables were turned and I had a close male friend. Women can read other women. I would never text message a married man after work hours. It's too much. Jealousy, within reason, is natural and healthy. Women should always tread carefully when socializing with married men. Your husband's friend sounds like an insensitive, clueless or conniving you know what. Jealous and NOT insecure
Stop their relationship now. I have been the ''other woman'' and although it started as innocent, the relationship developed and sharing a closeness with someone in this case ultimately leads to intimacy. the other woman
Please know that my opinion is coming from a good place, I too am a jealous person. No trust issues, just jealousy brought on by insecurities within myself,because I'm a people pleaser. (I've been in a similar situation so I felt I had to provide my 2 cents.) Since you cannot think for your husband, you can only alter your frame of mind and control your actions, so do what you can to not be a negative person. After your last argument, I'm sure your husband has duly noted that you don't like his ''friendship'' with this other woman, but it doesn't benefit you and your relationship if being at home or with you is associated with ''fighting, hostility, bitterness, sadness.'' Accept that your husband is an adult and give him credit for falling in love with you and marrying you. Having said that, find things to do (either on your own or with your kid(s) that make you happy and that positivity will permeate out into your interactions at doubt me, but it will!

It sounds like you may be in a rut or need some friendships that will build up your ''person'' and identity outside of mom and wife. I needed to do that for myself as well and believe that when I did, I and my family are much better off for it. Kudos for being brave enough to face this possible relationship killer and wanting to fix ''it''. green eyed monster

It sounds like a tough situation to be in. But one great thing you could do, you already did: turn to a wider audience.

I sometimes think my wife over-reacts to my friendliness, but because she had told me, I curtail it to very formal interaction, to keep her happy. I have to change how I naturally am with people (not just women), because her parents had fidelity issues, and I understand why she is super extra cautious.

Watch how you react to these events though. For your own benefit and sanity try to remain calm (despite how hard it must sound).

Maybe, show him the responses you get from this posting, and see if he still thinks you are over-reacting?

As a working married man, I know most work/office flirts are merely that, and don't go further. Also, in today's business world being in constant constant contact with colleagues is almost expected, so there might be pressure for him to be in touch with work mates.

The fact that he is away for a long time, and will continue to be is not helping. He probably feels disconnected from where reality really is: his family. Maybe this is not easy for him either, and maybe he is acting out his frustration in this way. Of maybe his work is intruding into his family life so much, and he is not able to control it.

But, he has kids, he is back home for a short visit with his family, and he is texting and chatting with his female colleague?

You ought to tell him that there is at least another married man out there who thinks he is playing with fire. Even if his closeness with his work mate isn't more than work, the damage he is causing is potentially huge. Blaming you for not understanding his closeness with a female colleague, is not a good strategy. As a man, I am sceptical. And it is very easy for him right now to play this game of only having to convince you that there is nothing wrong.

If he really thinks you are just imagining things, ask him to open it up to a wider forum and see what other people think. How does he feel about seeing a marriage councilor to resolve this? (I have also heard of couples bringing up and working through their differing views with a couple they are close friends with, or with the inlaws, but you need to know if they are interested in hearing about the issue, or if they are too closely invested to one side).

There could very well be other issues that you both need to work on, and you may need to examine those. But together. He needs to be step up and be involved in this, no matter the distance, work pressure, etc. anon

It sounds like you have good reason to be worried. I have been on work related training away from home and believe me everyone was horny not by choice but by the circumstances. It was difficult for me and I was single at the time and unattached but did not want to compromise myself. This was NOT months of training! Can you get an extended stay motel nearby him and live there with him & your children? I would apologize to him for your behavior and the way you have handled yourself. And ask him if the two of you can come up with some solutions for how this ''sensitivity'' you have can be addressed (i.e. see if he can come up with and idea where he offers up limiting his contact with this woman on his own). I think prayer would be helpful! I'm so sorry. My prayers are with you.
Oh, no. Absolutely not. This is not about insecurity - don't allow him to play an irrelevant card. Whether you've been cheated on before or not, put your foot down. It's simply not appropriate, and he is a Crazy Man if he doesn't see it! If he were the SAHD caring for the kids 24/7 and you were hours away gallivanting with another man, would he go for it? Yeah, right!

It's fine for him to have female friends, especially while he's living at home with his wife. The boundary for these friendships is group interactions. In other words, when there is a group of workmates, sure, that's fine. If she comes over to visit both of you, that's fine too. Otherwise, he married YOU. Maybe he should focus on a close friendship with his wife. If nothing else, he is engaging in an emotional affair, which of course will put more space between you and him. Ergo, it's not appropriate.

I had a male friend online whose wife said ''it's me or her''. We had done nothing wrong - it was just a friendship. I was sad to lose him, but I completely understood where his wife was coming from. In retrospect, I realize I was his emotional affair, and if they had issues, they needed to work it out together.

If he won't agree, start planning to be a single mom, because if it doesn't happen right away, it's easy to see where this friendship could head over the next several months. You deserve better than this. This is a dealbreaker