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My wife has a new male single friend and I’m concerned


Tom961
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Hi everyone,

I would appreciate your opinions on the following matter as I don’t really know what I should think or feel myself: my ratio clashes with my feelings.

The issue is this: I have been married to a very pretty and nice woman for two months. We’ve been together for 3 years and have lived together for two years. Currently there are no issues or problems between us and we’re both happy.

Now she has worked for the same company for two years and has met a male single colleague with whom she gets along well. At work they spend time together and recently they also meet outside of work. The three of us went to do sports once and he went to our house twice to play board games.   In addition they exchange messages on WhatsApp or instagram (or like each other’s stories. The conversations are not at all intimate I must admit. Personally I’m not too fond of the idea of her meeting him or befriending him (mainly due to the fact that he’s handsome and smart and competition) but I also know that I can’t stop it. She’s a free individual. We talked about their “friendship” and she knows that I don’t like it. I personally don’t really believe in male-female friendships and think there will be more expectations from one or both sides sooner or later. She knows this. But she says there’s nothing between them; no chemistry or sexual tension.

Now the question is: what should I accept and what boundaries should I set? My mind usually says “there’s nothing between the two, don’t worry” while my feelings race with agony, anger and worry whenever she says she will meet him. So did today, after she told me she will visit his house this weekend. He recently moved and she wants to see his house, alone. Now really I find this not appropriate: spending time with a single guy alone, going on holiday together or staying over for the night are things I really oppose. 

The thing is: I don’t want to lose myself in these situations but I do need to set clear boundaries. At the same time I know that not allowing things will only make it more interesting (“why is he protecting me, maybe the guy is interesting after all?”)

I just don’t understand why she would jeopardize our relationship and bring herself in dangerous situations. Is she naive? Not all men are looking for love or sex when inviting a pretty woman over, but I know how guys think and I believe the majority of men always hope for more than just a cup of tea. 

What is your view on this? Should I just let her and trust her? Or should I make clear that I think she’s currently on thin ice and putting herself in a dangerous position? Or should I set the boundary before there is worse to come ? Because what’s next; him sitting on my sofa on a Friday night watching a film with my wife? 

Thank you so much!

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I would clearly state you're uncomfortable with her going to his home alone. If she just wants to see his new home (why, I can't fathom), why can't you go along? Suggest the two of you go together and give suggestions of a housewarming gift the two of you could shop for together.

If she insists on going alone, let her know you're opposed. If she still persists, I'm afraid her feelings about him are taking priority over her marriage to you. You'll have a decision to make.

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Since he is a new friend I also wouldn't be comfortable with her going to his home alone - meaning if this was a close friend of many years, a family friend etc then chances are she would have been to his home -or his former home-alone in the past.  It could give him the wrong impression and it's completely unnecessary. Perhaps he'll have a house warming type gathering in the future you all can attend.  

I'm sorry you feel so insecure.  My husband and I have always had platonic friends male, female, etc and no issues.  And yes I've had uncomfortable moments as far as a female colleague of his -nothing to do with his behavior or my trusting him - just not a fan of him interacting with her other than work-related.

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Yeah, her seeing his house alone is a big red flag. 

Its kind of a complicated issue. Lots of women see no problem with those kind of male-female friendships even if it surpases the limit of good taste. Even if those friendships are with, for example, ex boyfriends. Whether its because they just dont believe that the other side will pass the imaginative line in the sand and that they can just be friends, or just to keep someone like that around. In case they need a "shoulder to cry on". 

Yours definitely surpases that limit. She wants to see his house alone? Really? You should not be OK with that kind of behavior. Ever. Otherwise, yes, you are one step closer with "my wife boyfriend" jokes lol

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2 hours ago, Tom961 said:

So did today, after she told me she will visit his house this weekend. He recently moved and she wants to see his house, alone. Now really I find this not appropriate: spending time with a single guy alone, going on holiday together or staying over for the night are things I really oppose. 

I do agree here...

Why is she hanging with him so much?  No, they do not need to going on holidays.. or staying over at the guys house!

SHE needs to learn 'healthy boundaries'.  You two need to talk.

Is fine, maybe on occasion to 'hang out' for a coffee after work- something small & minor.

Is it possible for men/women to be 'friends'? Yes, but with exceptions.  All she seems to be doing with him sounds like maybe a little too much.

 

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2 hours ago, Tom961 said:

 I personally don’t really believe in male-female friendships and think there will be more expectations from one or both sides sooner or later. She knows this. But she says there’s nothing between them; no chemistry or sexual tension.

 He recently moved and she wants to see his house, alone. 

The house alone thing seems weird. Just address this issue since you've already outlined your feeling, thoughts and  boundaries on the matter. Go with her. He's been to your home so that shouldn't be a problem.

Keep in mind, jealousy, possessiveness or anything perceived as "controlling" will backfire and kill the romance/trust. Furthermore, they work together so if something were going on or were to happen, she would do it that way rather than keep you in the loop about him.

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4 hours ago, Tom961 said:

I personally don’t really believe in male-female friendships

Is this a belief you two discussed before getting married—before, really, getting serious? Is it a belief that you're able to hold as your own truth, while extending another to your wife? I ask because, all in all, this seems like the core issue: a differing perspective on humanity between you and your wife. 

If you believed that men and women are capable to communicating in a non "dangerous" manner, after all, I suspect what's happening now wouldn't have you spinning out toward hypotheticals like: 

4 hours ago, Tom961 said:

going on holiday together or staying over for the night

Or: 

4 hours ago, Tom961 said:

Because what’s next; him sitting on my sofa on a Friday night watching a film with my wife?

The fact that she's transparent about him, that she's been quick to introduce you to him, to spend time the three of you—all of that, to me, is very positive. But that's just me: someone who believes that male-female friendships are not only possible, but healthy, as it's a strange thing (to me) if the price of admission to partnership is to close yourself off to half the human population. 

All that said, her going to his house—alone, rather than extending an invitation for you to join—is a bit strange. I don't mean strange in terms of "dangerous" or even to imply that there is anything to be concerned about. In your shoes—and I've been in them, along with hers—I'd bring that up and say you'd like to have a chat about boundaries (what you both think is correct) so there's no misunderstandings in the future. 

Thing is, to do that—to talk about this—you have to be willing to accept, at a base level, that your wife can have a healthy friendship with a man and that grown, mature men might not all view the world through the narrow, hyper-sexualized you've assigned to them, because another way to view this guy is that he's just a person, not competition, and maybe you all can find a way to be friendly? 

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As a woman who prefers male company to female company, I can honestly tell you that men and women can have strictly platonic relationships. I have several. 

When i started taking calls at home from a male co-worker (we *** about work 😂), I asked my husband if he were ok with it as I didn't want him thinking that my co-worker had other intentions and certainly didn't want him feeling uncomfortable. 

Has she said she is wanting to go on holiday with him? And to stay over at his house? I admit her insisting on going along to his alone to view his new home is strange and it would cause alarm bells to ring for me. 

I can understand that new friendships are exciting but it shouldn't be above your marriage or your significant other's feelings. I wonder how she would feel if the shoe were on the other foot? 

Clear boundaries need to be set. Tell your wife that you accept her friendship but there are some things you will not accept. Make it clear that if she continues to do these things then it will cause issues in your marriage. Then the ball is in her court. 

Have you thought of seeing a counsellor / therapist (even on your own) to discuss this issue? 

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I understand men and women can be platonic friends.  But when one of the parties is deliberately excluding their partner...well, that seems suspect

I was always excited for my husband to meet and like my friends regardless of gender, until our marriage was in trouble.  Then I wanted to keep everyone separate because I suspected my marriage was on the rocks.  BTW, I was right.

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You really should have had a discussion to find out if you were on the same page for boundaries at the point when you wanted to become exclusive. It's called being proactive versus reactive. As important a discussion as other important topics like if you both want children or not, etc.

But what's done is done. At this point, I'd say to really think of what boundaries you are happiest living by, and then write them down. But as you can see, when what's happening is against your comfort level, you will be living a life of frustration and anguish. If she balks at your rules, either you will have to admit incompatibility in this major way and divorce, or sacrifice a life of unhappiness with the status quo.

If he's so handsome, he will eventually get a gf who might not be thrilled about her man being besties with another woman, and the friendship might end. You could wait it out, and also ask her if she's okay with you having a close female friend you chat with daily and hang out with, without your wife. 

How is the emotional connection between you and your wife? Does it seem lacking? What have her other friendships been like up until now? Is she dressing better for work, or exhibited other changes like that recently?

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I think you have to talk to her about this.  Take some time to think about what you want to say. You don't want to sound controlling or say that she is naïve.

You do, however, want her to know as a married couple, you did not expect that male friends would be coming into the picture and ask how would she feel if you had a single female friend? and how would she feel if you wanted to spend time alone with her?

Your wife is certainly not dumb. People know what they do and they will continue to do what they can get away with. 

I would not pretend to be happy about this or cool with it. You want to make sure you make your feelings known and then she will do what she will do.  If that means she does what she wants and gaslights you, then you have to decide who you are. what your life is and what you accept.  It's not all up to her. 

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I understand that my opinion is harsh, but this would be my line in the sand.

I would be clear about my feelings about meeting or visiting a single alone, much less staying over night.

My 'boundary' would be that if my spouse wanted to stay overnight, I'd tell him that he'd better pack for a permanent stay.

I'd consider such a desire on the part of a partner to be the beginning of the end of us, and I'd tell him so.

I'd also seek legal advice to learn my options. I'd gain real information rather than operate on emotions alone.

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At this point talking at her yet again would be badgering. You've made your point about your feelings thoughts and rules several times.

It's interesting you say she's pretty and this co-worker is "competition" and "dangerous".

This sounds more like insecurities. You're also allowing exaggerated fantastical thoughts to dominate this in the form of catastrophizing. They are not vacationing together. Where's That coming from?

Go to the housewarming together. It's that simple. You're making mountains out of molehills and begining to come across as someone who repeats themselves too much with your lectures on your beliefs.

 

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5 hours ago, catfeeder said:

My 'boundary' would be that if my spouse wanted to stay overnight, I'd tell him that he'd better pack for a permanent stay.

I thought that was a hypothetical he created -not something she said.  

I agree on the no visits to his home alone.  I made two new male acquaintances/friends over the last 5 years-met both the same way  at a children's event at our local museum and in both cases our children played together and our spouses were working and/or unwell.  In one case I had far more in common with the husband upon meeting the wife.  In the other I met the wife a few years later at their child's bday party and we never became friends.  

Here's what I found appropriate as far as boundaries.  With the husband I had a lot in common with -we chatted when we ran into each other with our children at the museum (wife never came).  But when I went to arrange a playdate where I would come with my son to their home or meet elsewhere-I found the wife on Facebook.  Messaged her.  Told her how I met her husband/how our kids met.  From then on my only phone contact was with her -never actually friended the husband - we became friendly too.

In the other case I was facebook friends with the husband, we chatted impersonally via text/facebook plus to make plans for our kids to meet up at the museum.  We also had a lot in common and I kept it to that level.

I never would have gone to either of their homes without the spouse present unless it was to bring my son with me.  

I share this because in both cases there was zero attraction on either side.  But to me when there's a committed relationship/marriage involved then outward behavior/appearances count - the wife I contacted understood I was reaching out through her not her husband, and she was totally fine with me being friendly with her husband. 

With the other couple I am not sure what the wife knew -I never even knew her name/how to contact her but I kept my contact with her husband at an impersonal level so our kids could meet up.  Maybe I should have contacted her too . She was really nice to me when we finally met.  

Each couple decides what is right -in my case I never had to ask my husband anything about how to behave - I knew because I have common sense, I am married, our relationship comes first, I respect others' marriages. 

If this man is inviting her over either she lied and said you're cool with it or he doesn't respect your marriage. Yes even though he's single he should behave appropriately. When I was single and met a married couple at an event I always made sure to talk to both of them not just the husband- to make most eye contact with the wife.  I always assumed that being more formal was the better way to go just in case.  This man doesn't care - and it might be because your wife has given him the impression that she doesn't care/or that you don't. 

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22 hours ago, Tom961 said:

Hi everyone,

I would appreciate your opinions on the following matter as I don’t really know what I should think or feel myself: my ratio clashes with my feelings.

The issue is this: I have been married to a very pretty and nice woman for two months. We’ve been together for 3 years and have lived together for two years. Currently there are no issues or problems between us and we’re both happy.

Now she has worked for the same company for two years and has met a male single colleague with whom she gets along well. At work they spend time together and recently they also meet outside of work. The three of us went to do sports once and he went to our house twice to play board games.   In addition they exchange messages on WhatsApp or instagram (or like each other’s stories. The conversations are not at all intimate I must admit. Personally I’m not too fond of the idea of her meeting him or befriending him (mainly due to the fact that he’s handsome and smart and competition) but I also know that I can’t stop it. She’s a free individual. We talked about their “friendship” and she knows that I don’t like it. I personally don’t really believe in male-female friendships and think there will be more expectations from one or both sides sooner or later. She knows this. But she says there’s nothing between them; no chemistry or sexual tension.

Now the question is: what should I accept and what boundaries should I set? My mind usually says “there’s nothing between the two, don’t worry” while my feelings race with agony, anger and worry whenever she says she will meet him. So did today, after she told me she will visit his house this weekend. He recently moved and she wants to see his house, alone. Now really I find this not appropriate: spending time with a single guy alone, going on holiday together or staying over for the night are things I really oppose. 

The thing is: I don’t want to lose myself in these situations but I do need to set clear boundaries. At the same time I know that not allowing things will only make it more interesting (“why is he protecting me, maybe the guy is interesting after all?”)

I just don’t understand why she would jeopardize our relationship and bring herself in dangerous situations. Is she naive? Not all men are looking for love or sex when inviting a pretty woman over, but I know how guys think and I believe the majority of men always hope for more than just a cup of tea. 

What is your view on this? Should I just let her and trust her? Or should I make clear that I think she’s currently on thin ice and putting herself in a dangerous position? Or should I set the boundary before there is worse to come ? Because what’s next; him sitting on my sofa on a Friday night watching a film with my wife? 

Thank you so much!

You’ll have to trust her anyway as that’s what relationships are about if you intend to stay married. They quickly crumble without benefit of the doubt and some degree of trust. I thought it was interesting that you may view her as naive. It lends more to the idea that she may be clueless, stupid or socially unaware, reckless and it’s a lot of doubt surrounding her character. Surely you think more of your wife than this? 

Can you reflect a bit more on the relationship as a whole and tell us more about what your dynamic at home is like? How’s your love life and daily life like? Are there any arguments or other issues?

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The staying overnight and vacationing together or the other man coming to their home to watch TV with the OP's wife were hypotheticals. OP fears escalation.

I still believe there's no reason for the wife to visit the other man at his home alone. If it's a housewarming party where a dozen or so people will be present that's one thing (although, why can't the OP attend with his wife?). But if it's "Oh, he wants me to see his new home" and no one else will be present, I would personally have an issue with that. I would want to know why I can't come along.

I was dating a man who wanted to go see some of his friends (whom I didn't know) while I was staying over at his place. He told me he wanted me to stay there while he visited the friends. I stomped and stormed and insisted on going along. Turns out, he'd been trying to date one of the "friends" behind my back and didn't want me in the same room as her. He was extremely uncomfortable, clearly. We had a big row when we got back to his place and the next day he called HER to apologize. No apology for me. That dating situation obviously ended (although he electronically stalked me for YEARS afterward because his ego couldn't tolerate being dumped, but that's another story).

I would ask to go along. If she says no I would ask why not.

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On 8/28/2022 at 9:47 AM, Tom961 said:

Now really I find this not appropriate: spending time with a single guy alone, going on holiday together or staying over for the night are things I really oppose. 

I get not wanting to ditch your old male friends just because you're in a relationship or marriage. But dealing with new male friends is tricky. Ask her not to be friends with him and she might stop being forthcoming about him to you. Your best bet, learn to be on board with said friendship provided it's respectful of boundaries and genuinely get to know her male friend. As the proverb goes: "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." And should he be single, you can casually invite a suitable available female when you guys hang out as a group. Discuss this with your wife first, of course.

Now, regarding boundaries: Big NO, the moment you're in a relationship or are married - staying at your buddies house overnight and spending more time with your male friend than with your SO. Behaviour I'd question, depending on context, going to his house alone. Is she adamant about wanting to see his house alone or would she welcome you popping by for a visit?

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5 hours ago, smackie9 said:

Suggest to her if the roles were reversed, how would she feel if you were going to spend the night alone over at a gorgeous lady friend’s house.  

Check: "How would you fell if..."

Checkmate: "It wouldn't bother me if..."

Lose-lose conversation. Be direct. Ask her to go along. It's negotiable. Keep in mind, the tighter you pull in the reins, the more people rebel.

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