How to talk to husband about his female friends
 Talk About Marriage
  The Marriage Advice and Relationship Help Forums
  right
Forums - For Therapists - Link to Us - Advertise  

    A Public Forum Provided by The Family & Marriage Counseling Directory
Register FAQ Community Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Navigation »Talk About Marriage »Talk About Family, Marriage and Relationships »General Relationship Discussion » How to talk to husband about his female friends

General Relationship Discussion Although anyone can post anywhere on Talk About Marriage, this section is for people interested in general relationship and marriage advice.

Like Tree18Likes

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 06-03-2011, 04:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1
Default How to talk to husband about his female friends


Hello Everyone,

I am new to the forum, and had a problem I wanted to pose to you all. It is a bit of a long story, but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I have been married for four years to my best friend, and we have known each other for ten years, ever since junior year of high school. We did not start dating until the middle of college, and while I had prior relationships, I was his first and only real girlfriend. As long as I have known him, he has always had more female friends than guy friends. He also comes from a family dominated by women, with two sisters and an affectionate mother who would always praise her son. All throughout his pursuits in academia from undergraduate to graduate and now doctoral, his colleagues are mainly single females.

In the exact opposite way, I have always been more of a tom-boy who loves racing cars, motorcycles, playing sports, videogames, action movies, etc., and my friends have been mostly guys. My field of occupation is populated mostly by men, with myself being the only female in my field office. While we both have colleagues and friends of the opposite sex, I feel that we interact differently with them. Since my work environment demands professionalism, my colleagues are only that. Any call, text, or e-mail is always pertaining to work. If ever we socialize outside of the office, the reason is for one of three R's: either due to someone being Relocated, Retirement, or RIP. With my guy friends, we may catch up maybe once or twice a month. Some people may find the lack of social activity surprising, but at the end of the day, I really only want to spend time with my husband rather than hang out with my single guy friends. For me, he is the most important person in my life, and I always think how anything I do or say may affect him. For him, though, his priorities now appear different.

To clarify, I have never been the jealous type. I have always been okay with the many calls, texts, Facebook messages, etc. from girls. I never minded him having dinner alone with a girl friend because I trust him. His field of study is based around exercise, so I understand that he spends a lot of his time with female colleagues, measuring skin folds, body fat, doing EKG's, etc. in only shorts and sports bras. It wasn't until a recent business trip that I became aware that maybe my "understanding" attitude has been overlooking inappropriate behavior that has been allowed to continue for too long.

There have been things that I now realize may have required a more serious discussion than being swept under the rug. Aside from his playful flirting, the most glaring event was during graduate school when he had called me by one of his lab partner's names while we were in bed. Admittedly, this was more of a middle of the night romp where he was half awake; nevertheless, the mistake was still a shock. When I told him what he said, he apologized, but never really comprehended the injury that was caused. I had tried again to bring it up the next day, but my husband has never been one to take criticism well. Rather than cause friction, I dropped the matter.

This week, my husband had traveled out of state to a conference with one of his female colleagues. He has known her since graduate school, but she is not the aforementioned lab partner. We had moved a year ago so that he could continue with his PhD, but as fate would have it, she ended up transferring out here as well six months later. When she first moved here, my husband was concerned that she was lonely since she had no other friends or family here. Because I knew it was important to him, I went out of my way to befriend her, inviting her out with us, or over for dinners as often as possible.

The two spend a large amount of time together at school, and everyone admits that they have a unique friendship. Easily half of the things they do that I go along with, the ordinary woman, let alone wife, would not abide by. She calls herself his "work wife," and they joke that they have pretty much seen each other naked after all of the lab tests they've performed on each other. Since their studies do consume much of their life with no break, they had come up with a game where they would take pictures of the pair of them out at lunch/dinner, and then post it on their Facebook page saying ___ and ____'s trip to Italy (country based upon the cuisine they had). It had gotten to the point where the girl's own parents were telling her to tone it down because relatives were getting the impression she was messing around with a married man. In a rather immature manner, she insisted on continuing the "game" more vigorously just to get a reaction out of said relations.

Although I tend to go along with the jokes, I feel that a line has now been crossed. While I do not have a Facebook page myself, mutual friends have contacted me, asking why this girl is spending so much time with my husband. The breaking point was during this business trip, she added several pictures that were brought to my attention. In one, my husband is carrying her in his arms while she has hers wrapped around his neck. In the other, the two are in front of a statue, with her sitting in his lap, her legs on either side of his while she is in a dress no less, and his arms wrapped around her waist very intimately. While I do trust him in that nothing more physical has happened, it still was extremely hurtful to have been shown these photographs. It was also disconcerting to me because it was being plastered online, where his two younger sisters and other family members will see. I was angered that not only did they take the pictures, but they saw nothing wrong with them. Now I feel like it is a slap in my face, and that my understanding attitude towards their relationship has been taken advantage of.

When he called me from the conference, I told him that the pictures had made me upset, fighting back tears during the whole conversation. As I am in no way a crier, having done so only twice at funerals, he knew that this was serious. He did apologize, saying that he was caught up in the "game" of taking pictures together, and did not think how it might make me feel. In all honesty, that revelation may have been the worst part for me; the lack of consideration on his part. While he is my number one priority and I anticipate how my actions my affect him, he neglected to even think of what the repercussions may be, wanting only to do what made him happy.

Well, I have reached the end of my long tirade. My sister feels that I am not being assertive enough, and in wanting to make my husband happy, I allow him to walk over me. She told me that if her husband had done these things, that she would insist upon marriage counseling, and to let it be known that if this behavior continued, that she would be considering divorce. I believe this course of action is a bit extreme, but my question to all of you kind souls who have read this novel is what you would do if you were in my situation. Am I overreacting over a couple of pictures? Do you think that my reasons for concern are insignificant, or might this be a continuing issue that needs to be addressed? Should I accept the apology, and let it become just another thing to be brushed off, or should I try to make him understand that a change needs to be made? I am not asking that they stop being friends, but that they both contemplate how their actions might make me feel beforehand.

Thanks again for reading, and for your help!
jgumera007 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-03-2011, 05:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,312
Default Re: How to talk to husband about his female friends

No you are not overreacting. His relationships are completely inappropriate and I wouldn't be comfortable with my husband having a working (or any) relationship like that.

The fact that she transferred to where you guys live is a huge red flag.
Syrum is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-03-2011, 10:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 25
Default Re: How to talk to husband about his female friends

Very few female "friends" are actual real friends to a guy I'm afraid. Not that it doesn't happen of course, but in my experience and having talked to a bazillion guys I think we all came to the conclusion that any female "friends" we had were women we had more than a passing interest in, if you catch my drift. Again, there are exceptions, but most women who think that they are the exception, usually are not, they're just led to believe that they are.

In a case where those kinds of pictures and games and comments were made I'd say that even if *he* wasn't actually interested in her, she's clearly making a play for him. In your situation I'd get that relationship kiboshed immediately, and without mercy or recourse, or it *will* turn into something more. Again, assuming that he is actually innocent in this. I cannot imagine doing all of those things with a cute female "friend" and having it be platonic.

As I said though, there are occasional cases of real male/female friendships. This does not appear to be one of those cases. Put your foot down now, or he will be cheating on you in short order, if he hasn't already.

Just my two cents.
Zaphod is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-03-2011, 11:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 16
Default Re: How to talk to husband about his female friends

I think that you should talk to him about how "you" feel about the situation. How the pictures and the nicknames or whatever are making you feel and not what the friends and family think. If you have concerns, then express them. Ask him to not apologize but to be considerate and respectful of your wishes to delete the photos. Since you have "befriended" her then perhaps you should talk to both of them at the same time. Meet up in a mutal place and explain to both of them that you are not make any allegations and you want them to continue to be friends (all of you) and explain how all of this is making you feel, again leave everyone else out of it. Ask the both of them to have consideration for your feelings and respect for your marriage. This away the message is getting across and you don't have to worry about him having to tell his "work wife," that could be difficult for him.
steph78 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-03-2011, 03:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Ahiru's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 15
Default Re: How to talk to husband about his female friends

My future husband and I read this thread together, and have just gone through something very similar. He too has a female friend who would post photos of them together on facebook, in poses that were inappropriate and made them look like a couple.

We both agree with Steph78 that it is most important to explain to him how his behavior makes you feel, and not how it makes other people feel. Not that you can't bring that up too, but focus on your feelings, not their feelings. For example, I told my guy that when my mom saw him doing those things with another woman, and she reacted in a negative way, it made ME feel defensive and embarrassed, and indeed created strain in my normally close relationship with my mom, which upset me. Focusing on how his behavior is affecting you will make it easier for him to consider you, because your feelings are the ones he cares about.

I disagree, though, that you should talk to him and this woman at the same time. You should talk to him first, and if you talk to her at all, it should be separately, or even better, with your husband as a united couple. If you come to both of them at the same time, it appears that you are the one asking them a favor, as if they are the couple and you are the outsider. If she does have feelings for him, she will take this as a bad sign for your marriage, and a good sign for her own chances. If you imagine the three of you in a room together discussing this, you don't want them to be the ones sitting on the loveseat together while you sit on the chair across from them to address them. You and your husband want to be the ones sitting on the loveseat together to address her, while she sits on the chair across from you two. See the difference? You are the couple, she is the outsider, and that must always be clear.

Not to mention that she won't care about your boundaries if she has feelings for him. Your husband needs to be the one who enforces boundaries with her, not you. It will carry the most weight if he is the one to talk to her, without you. This implies that the boundaries are serious and his own choice, not something his "insecure wife" has insisted on that they should play along with. If she thinks it's all your idea and he is being unwillingly subjected to a wife's controlling behavior, she will take it as a good sign for her own chances. You and your husband need to be united.

From what you wrote, it seems that this friendship is wildly inappropriate and far beyond reasonable. Regardless of whether or not he has feelings for her, she is showing all signs of feelings for him, which makes this no longer a friendship. He should cut ties with her if he values his marriage.

He doesn't comprehend the injuries he's causing you because you rarely show him your wounds. Sweeping real issues under the rug to avoid confrontation does your marriage no favors. I used to keep things to myself too, because I thought they weren't worth upsetting him over. But then I realized that's not fair, not only to me (because why are his feelings more important than mine?), but to him. If he is doing something that unknowingly upsets me, he wants to know about it, because he loves me and doesn't want to hurt me. And he feels terrible if he finds out something had always been upsetting me and he had no idea. He needs to know how you feel. Be tactful, but be honest. He needs to know how you feel in order to learn how to treat you properly. You will both be happier.
Ahiru is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-03-2011, 07:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 46
Default Re: How to talk to husband about his female friends

I agree with the other replies here, and also with your sister. Your husband's behavior is way out of line. It would be bad enough if he was sneaking around and doing this stuff behind your back, but to post photos of it on Facebook is a real insult. And by trying to talk you into thinking it's all OK and just a "game" is downright cruel!

That said, I do think you might have had a hand in letting this situation develop, although it's still the result of your husband's bad choices and not your fault. Toward the beginning of your post, you said you had no trouble with him receiving calls, texts, and Facebook messages from girls (what I think of as e-flirting), or even having dinner alone with a female friend (which sounds to me like him going out on a date). I think it would be normal for this sort of stuff to bother you, and it probably does, even if you feel uncomfortable admitting it. Not caring would be no virtue, and acting like you don't care really sends the wrong message to your husband. It must seem to him like you're really just not that into him, if you're not jealous enough to try to protect you marriage from outsiders, so he may be trying to see how far he has to go to make you notice.

You should be able to get your marriage back on track, though, even if your husband doesn't share your concerns. There's absolutely no reason for him to be traveling to conferences with a female colleague and without you. If something like that comes up again, he should either take you along or just stay home; that should be an absolute. The same goes for dinner dates.
Scottt is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-03-2011, 07:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
Member
 
COGypsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 1,725
Default Re: How to talk to husband about his female friends

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaphod View Post
Very few female "friends" are actual real friends to a guy I'm afraid. Not that it doesn't happen of course, but in my experience and having talked to a bazillion guys I think we all came to the conclusion that any female "friends" we had were women we had more than a passing interest in, if you catch my drift. Again, there are exceptions, but most women who think that they are the exception, usually are not, they're just led to believe that they are.

In a case where those kinds of pictures and games and comments were made I'd say that even if *he* wasn't actually interested in her, she's clearly making a play for him. In your situation I'd get that relationship kiboshed immediately, and without mercy or recourse, or it *will* turn into something more. Again, assuming that he is actually innocent in this. I cannot imagine doing all of those things with a cute female "friend" and having it be platonic.

As I said though, there are occasional cases of real male/female friendships. This does not appear to be one of those cases. Put your foot down now, or he will be cheating on you in short order, if he hasn't already.

Just my two cents.
I'd just add my two cents here as well... I'm a woman who's had platonic friendships with guys my whole life. The majority of my friends have been male and when you're truely friends with a guy...you pretty much act like you do with oh say...any other friend.

My guy friends don't carry me around, call me their wife or girlfriend and I don't sit on their laps, any more than I do that with my gal friends. Seriously, about the only way that they generally treat me as particularly female is more manners than anything else--open doors, offer chairs. That's about it. In fact, as we've all gotten older and into more serious and committed relationships, we go out of our way to avoid any misunderstandings at all on that front. Plus, we make an effort to be friends with and/or include each other's spouses (or whatever) in the things we do.

I would say that at best, your husband is insanely immature in his response to the attention he's getting from his friend. At worst, he's probably crushing on someone who clearly has the hots for him. But seriously....they both sound like they're in middle school or something, lol.

However, there's no way that he or she will ever know or change that if you don't say something about it. I'm sure that if you work in a male dominated field, you must be able to express your thoughts and opinions effectively at work. Why would you have any less right to do so at home? You repeatedly say how all you do is think about him, but at the same time, you have to stand up for yourself and command the same respect from him. Hoping for it to come around won't do much.

I think you have to decide exactly what your boundary is with this, communicate it clearly to him and then follow through. If it were me, I'd explain pretty clearly that it's obvious this girl has a crush on him and that he's got to be responsible for making the boundary clear that he can be friendly, but that since he's married....more of his friendship is for you...know what I mean? But that's on him to do. And you to decide what that looks like in a way that's comfortable for you. But draw the line, tell him and then back it up. Just like anyone else you deal with.

Last edited by COGypsy; 06-03-2011 at 07:16 PM. Reason: spelling
COGypsy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-04-2011, 02:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Ahiru's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 15
Default Re: How to talk to husband about his female friends

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSand View Post
Watch closely to the results. A typical scenario, the husband tells the other woman "wife is having heartaches about us" and now they bond further. Now it is them against the wife and they go underground and thus continuing sharing and keeping secrets from the wife. That is why in situations like this the worried spouse usually insists on a change of jobs for the potentially wayward spouse. Read White Rabbit's story.


Precisely why he can not say or do anything to imply to her that the boundaries are only your idea and he's just playing along. If he talks to this woman, he's gotta use "I think" or "we both think," never just "wife thinks." He might not understand the significance of the distinction, especially if he's kind of a clueless guy; make sure he does before he talks to her. He must solidly stand up for you and his marriage or his words will have the opposite effect of their intention.
Ahiru is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-04-2011, 03:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 364
Default Re: How to talk to husband about his female friends

Your husbands behavior is inappropriate. While you are to be commended for having such trust in your husband, I feel given the level of playfulness he is displaying that you should require him to stop. Having a platonic relationship with a co-worker is one thing, but the photos they are posting go beyond such classification. He is absolutely correct...he did not think about your feelings because he was too caught up in the game. He also will not think of your feelings when the "game" goes beyond silly pictures and petty college shenanigans because he will be too caught up "in the moment".

Neither he nor his friend are concerned about your feelings because they are too caught up in themselves. Your husband is acting like he's still a first year college freshman rather than working on his PHD and needs to grow up. Does he still participate in panty raids or drinking contests with the fraternities?

My feeling is that your husband has taken advantage of your good nature and needs to be reigned in. I'm afraid that if you don't, the temptation of crossing the line into having a sexual encounter with his work wife will not be a huge step to take.

My advice is that you tell him he can have fun with you and WORK with his co-workers, or he can continue his fun with his work-wife without you.
BigToe is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-04-2011, 04:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Ahiru's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 15
Default Re: How to talk to husband about his female friends

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSand View Post
Great addition Ahiru. I totally agree, he should say "I think we are out of line.". The OW will no doubt press him as to what the trigger was. He needs to have answer that, again, is not "I am hurting my wife" but something like "I have realized that all of this really looks bad, makes me look immature, and makes you look bad."
Posted via Mobile Device
Well said. And then if she continues pressing him with "Why does it matter what other people think?" (because OP has mentioned she's got this mentality and continues her behavior to get a rise out of people), he replies with something like, "It's not about what other people think, I'm disappointed in myself, and I think we should both be holding ourselves to higher standards than this."
Ahiru is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-14-2013, 06:47 AM   #11 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 68
Default Re: How to talk to husband about his female friends

I too am married to a husband who has female friends.

However, I could not put up with any husband's female friends e-flirting with him or his having lunch dates or dinner dates alone with a single female friend.
spunkycat08 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-14-2013, 07:16 AM   #12 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 2,784
Default Re: How to talk to husband about his female friends

Quote:
Originally Posted by steph78 View Post
I think that you should talk to him about how "you" feel about the situation. How the pictures and the nicknames or whatever are making you feel and not what the friends and family think. If you have concerns, then express them. Ask him to not apologize but to be considerate and respectful of your wishes to delete the photos. Since you have "befriended" her then perhaps you should talk to both of them at the same time. Meet up in a mutal place and explain to both of them that you are not make any allegations and you want them to continue to be friends (all of you) and explain how all of this is making you feel, again leave everyone else out of it. Ask the both of them to have consideration for your feelings and respect for your marriage. This away the message is getting across and you don't have to worry about him having to tell his "work wife," that could be difficult for him.
Don't include her in these conversations. It would be as if she had equal standing and say in what goes on in your marriage.

Sorry, but "open honest dialogue" only gets you in trouble.
NextTimeAround is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-14-2013, 07:23 AM   #13 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 2,784
Default Re: How to talk to husband about his female friends

Being easygoing with other people has its disadvantages.

People who have an agenda will always quietly push the boundaries. looking to see if you have the balls to say or do anything about it.

Do a search here on TAM, other people will tell you that it's a real red flag when your spouse's co-worker "jokes" about being the "work spouse."

I've been screwed before by being nice to women who wanted "access" to my husband. I find myself suddenly dropped as a friend and get the "I'm closer to / more of a friend to your husband than I am to you." Well, this won't be happening anymore as I won't be allowing other women that kind of cosiness with my husband.

REgarding your husband's profession, I am sure that there must be some codes of behavior around co-workers and clients. And probably some techniques to maintain a professional distance. Imagine how doctors and nurses have to achieve this despite the kind of things that are required to do to / with their patients.
NextTimeAround is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-14-2013, 06:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
Member
 
Thebes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 283
Default Re: How to talk to husband about his female friends

His work wife, red flags, I would wonder if she is pleasing him in every way a wife would. Too much contact between them, I would wonder what is really going on.

I would be snooping and find out the truth.
Thebes is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-14-2013, 08:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
Member
 
Jellybeans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 19,555
Default Re: How to talk to husband about his female friends

The breaking point was during this business trip, she added several pictures that were brought to my attention. In one, my husband is carrying her in his arms while she has hers wrapped around his neck. In the other, the two are in front of a statue, with her sitting in his lap, her legs on either side of his while she is in a dress no less, and his arms wrapped around her waist very intimately

He did apologize, saying that he was caught up in the "game" of taking pictures together, and did not think how it might make me feel


Dude. No way.
Waaaay out of line. Both of them have horrible boundaries.
He didn't know how it would affect you? Really? How would he feel if you were sitting in some dude's lap in Italy with said dude's hands around your waist, with your legs on either side of him, in a dress, no less.

You do know how bad that sounds, right?

And you DO know he would NOT be ok with that, right? No husband/man would be.

It's time you assert yourself and tell him this malarkey ends now. She either wants on him or has had him, I am afraid. She is seriously out of her mind posting those pics up on social media; and he is totally disrespecting you.

Tell him, "This situation with her is not working for me. How would YOU feel if I did XYZ -all that he's done with her- with another man?"

Extremely disrespectful.
Jellybeans is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on Talk About Marriage, you must first register. Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

Important! Your username will be visible to the public next to anything you post and could show up in search engines like Google. If you are concerned about anonymity, PLEASE choose a username that will not be recognizable to anyone you know.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Husband has female "friends" brokenbythis Going Through Divorce or Separation 27 01-04-2012 06:24 AM
No MALE friends, and female friends needs his approval. hurtfulgoodtimes General Relationship Discussion 16 06-16-2011 11:19 AM
My husband thinks its ok to have female friends with out me know wdd The Ladies' Lounge 3 05-07-2010 01:18 AM
Husband has female friends purplelighthouse The Ladies' Lounge 15 02-20-2010 10:09 PM

Member Area

Find a Therapist:


Sponsor Ads


Sponsor Ads




Get The Family & Marriage Counseling Directory Help Guide via Email:
Name:
Email:




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:07 AM.



Copyright 2007 - 2013 © Talk About Marriage

SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2 ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.