Comment of the Week: I’m Jealous of My Wife’s Friends

Reader Jeff posted the following in response to our post, “Your Call: Why Is My Husband Jealous of My Female Friendships?” We thought it would be a great jumping off point for a debate about how to compromise in a relationship when one person wants a lot more solo time with their friends than another. How and where do you draw the line, if at all?

I freely admit to people that I have discomfort and feelings of jealousy about my wife’s time spent with her numerous friends and co-workers, some single some married. To begin, our Saturday morning time may be interrupted before we are up and about with phone calls and instant messages. I rarely complain about it but it has a cumulative effect over time.

She has done fifteen vacations with friends away from me in the last fifteen years where she is the only married woman, usually for less than 7 days out. My wife is astounded that I even have a count on how many but I remember every one, very well. She is constantly being asked by her single friends about where to go next on girls trip, some very costly. I actually agreed to let her go to Vegas with 1 single friend recently if she behaved herself, which she seemed to have done. A girlfriend of hers that did not make the trip gave me crap about letting her go there which almost caused me to say some fairly unpleasant things to her that would have caused a serious rift in the friendship and marriage. ( p.s. advise your “friends” not to say such a thing to your husband if he actually trusted you !)

Bottom Line: I try not to resent my wife’s high level of time spent personally, on the phone, and on vacations with friends. It’s not good for our marriage. I have said that I have never had a desire to vacation without her and told her that I have no concept of what motivates her to want to go places without me. My guy time is done same day, there and back.

Men will generally always have an issue with being left home for two, but especially three weekends in a row, while a wife travels. Men will generally resent too much phone time if they have an active work life and little time with the spouse. Women, you just need to understand that this is not “3 year old” emotion, its called commitment and results from an honest desire to be with your wife. If there is a problem fitting your marriage into your agenda then the marriage is going nowhere good.

It is natural for men, especially after 20 years of marriage, to be concerned that their wife has more fun in her relationships with friends than in the marriage. If one has never noticed a the marriage where the wife drifted away from her spouse emotionally then one is just not paying attention. Any who cares is not going to stand idly buy and let that happen.

There is a spectrum to judging this type of jealousy as to whether it is normal or healthy. Who among would say jealousy is not a normal human emotion when loss to a rival is possible. Kneejerk reactions that this is about control aren’t doing anyone any good. Not allowing your wife any friends is over the top and ridiculous. Having your marriage interrupted by constant friend communication, friend time, and “girls” trips of more than a few days is also over the top.

Most men will draw the line on this issue somewhere — be assured of that. Be reasonable.


One Comment

  1. I was surprised to see no “no responses” regarding this post. Not even a reply from our hosts. Ok, maybe this has been re-posted since it originally appeared in August.

    Ok, here goes. Judging from my own personal experiences, I think there are some potentially serious issues going on here. I could just address the week long yearly trips here, but I think it’s much more than just that. Vegas? You know what happens in Vegas, right?

    About two years ago, I had mentally drifted away from my wife of over twenty years. It had gotten to the point that I felt I lost that strong connection we once had. We had spoken about it, but not made any decisions at that pont (go forward, divorce, etc). And SEX, had nothing to do with our issues. Quite the opposite, in fact. Our sex life continued to be outstanding, even right up to that point. But I got so disconnected, I moved into another part of the house, and contemplated divorce. That’s when I started going out to bars and parties alone. During this time, I got to observe a very interesting human dynamic. I met single, divorced, and yes, even women who were married, or in committed relationships. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t looking to replace one set of problems for another. And, I rarely initiated a conversation with any of them. And, believe me I’m not shy at all!

    During my travels to discover the perfect martini, I met an interesting women one night. I was seated at a hotel bar, minding my own business, sipping my favorite cocktail. Which is stirred, by the way (sorry 007, you got that wrong!). There was this kinda goofy dude seated to my right, and two attractive women seated to his right. I had never seen any of them prior to that night. The guy was chatting them up pretty vigorously, but I could tell by their responses, they were hardly interested.

    I was surfing the internet at the time, on my new kindle fire, when one of the women furthest away, called over to me. I looked over and she said “what is that you have there?”, referring to my new kindle. I could see that she had that “please come save me from this goofball” desperate look in her eyes. Rather humorous, I remember thinking. So, rather than trying to shout over Mr. “I’m from outa town” goofball, I decided to walk over and give her a demonstation of my new toy. At that point, I was standing somewhat between the two seated women. Now the women on my left, turned away from Mr. “I sell tin”, and was interested in the diversion my little device was providing. The goofy dude eventually got the message when no one was paying any attention to him. As it turns out, the women on the left (A) was married, and the woman on the right (B) was in a committed relationship (living with her fiancé for several years). I had seen men hitting on women all the time regardless of their status. Not always in bars, either. The workplace, etc. You would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to think that happens all the time.

    My point with all this? I wound up dating women (B), for approx. 8 months. Through my relationship with this women, I found out that this was not exactly uncommon. One of her close friends, also in a committed relationship, had been intimate with a man they had met during a convention in a hotel bar. I also found out that the friends of women B, disliked her fiancé so much, they were setting her up on blind dates, even though they knew about me! Maybe it was the whole “he’s still married thing”. But so was she! She never divorced her first husband because of insurance reasons. Needless to say, I had just bought myself a new set of problems! I ended the relationship after I found out about the blind dates. Yes, she could have refused to go, but she didn’t. These women were not slutty low life’s, you might be thinking right now. Surprisingly (or maybe not), they were all highly educated with advance degrees, and held administrative positions.

    During this time, my wife was continuing to express a desire to fix things. She had started going to a counselor, and encouraged me to go as well, but I was very resistant. I decided that I needed to go at least once, for my wife’s well being. It’s been about a year since then, and we have been back together ever since (I mean REALLY back together!). I have attended many counseling sessions with my wife, and it’s been the best thing for the both of us. We really reconnected. Yes, I came clean about my relationship with “B”. But I soon realized I was connecting (through just conversation, with exception being “B”) with women I hardly new, to feel that newness, or freshness of a budding relationship. Ok, enough of my personal introspection, and analysis.

    My wife and I decided to try some new things, toys, etc. to spice things up. Not that we needed too, but to add another dimension to our sexual relationship. It has really turned out to be the special relationship it always was. I had just stopped seeing it that way back then. Easy to do when you’re not looking.

    Well, I hope you enjoyed my response, and maybe even found it a little informative.

    So, in conclusion to this very long saga, I would encourage the writer to do the same. Seek professional advice if necessary. The bottom line: you have to discuss this with your wife, and let her know how you feel. But, going out every week, and taking yearly week long trips, all with single friends? After reading my post, does anyone see any red flags here? Kinda sounds like a former friend of mine from a few paragraphs ago.

    Oh, and one last bit advice to the writer: be careful who you share with, or go to for advice. Everyone will have an opinion and be willing to tell you what they think, and what to do. For example; if there is something going on with your wife, but you decide to stay together and work it out, what do you think all those people who said dump her are going to say? Try to find that one person who will not judge you regardless of the outcome. And again, if all else fails, try seeing a therapist. You might be surprised. I was.

    Best of luck

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