Your Call – Why Is My Husband Jealous of My Female Friendships?

Dear Em & Lo,

Following a year of very intensive therapy to deal with PTSD resulting from a childhood of abuse, I’ve emerged whole, happy, and healthy. My husband says I’m a changed woman; more confidant, happier, at peace with myself and my life. In the process of learning to accept and love myself, I’ve finally allowed myself to make friends with a woman who shares a background very similar to my own. Though we live in in different states, we speak by phone and communicate via email, mostly while my airline pilot husband is traveling. My question is how to stop my husband constantly butting into my phone conversations with my new friend.

I’ve tried to assure him that my friendship with this woman is no threat to him or our marriage, which will always come first. Still he persists. He even butted in yesterday when an old high school friend (also female) called in need of a friendly ear to talk about her marriage ending.

In each instance, my otherwise intelligent 53-year-old husband turns into a needy three-year-old child, demanding my constant attention. What’s up with this and how do I put an end to it without hurting his feelings — or allowing him to ruin my friendships?

— Married to a Three-Year-Old

How should MTATYO deal with her husband? Let her know in the comments section below.


  1. Whats up with you guys? My wife has a great BFF. Gotta say that I am not jealous at all. They spent a lot of time together. I enjoy it when we are together, and I enjoy it when we are not together. We don’t ‘own’ each other. Jealousy and neediness just cripple our spirits.

  2. I struggle with this as well. I too am over the age of 50, and don’t consider it “acting like a 3 year old”. After 20 years of marriage and multiple children, it seems that my wife (my best friend; no one else even comes close) takes the depth of our friendship for granted. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that she doesn’t love me, but she certainly gets more enjoyment out of her phone calls/texting/facebooking with girlfriends than she does with me. Is it really that unreasonable for me to be jealous of the fact that I am no longer the recipient of the intimacy and affection of our best-friend conversations? I assure you that I am still affectionate with my wife, and let her know I love her on a regular basis, so this isn’t a one-sided situation. I’m not denying her her friendships, but at the same time I think that I deserve to be more than “the other parent” and business partner. Ladies, do you really consider that immature and needy? From where I sit, I see my wife as being neglectful of our relationship, and only sees me as the person that helps discipline the kids, and work the business. I’ve lost the “friend & confidant” role in our friendship, and I truly miss that. It’s been “outsourced”. Apparently girlfriends do that better, and according to the women in this forum, trying to have an open, communicative conversation about it with my wife will only make me less desirable to her. So where does that leave me?

    1. Stephen, I am exactly in the same position with my wife. She turned 53 in Feb and I will in aug. I finally got her to stop saying her friend Jane was her best friend as it hurt each time she said it in my presence. Our marriage 31 years ago was built on friendship first. Now we have had a lot go on over the last year. We had several family deaths all within six months, we moved, and my wife underwent menohell. Now she does not want sex anymore due to the change and we had that verified via our dr. But she did try some harmones for 2- 3months but it did not help her enough, I had to drag her kicking and screaming to try them. She became eaiser to get along with and our 2 college girls also noticed she was easier to get along with. Well it has concluded the pills did not help enough and that’s that, she wants to try no more. I gave up begging her to try something else so no more sexual relations for ever, in fact she does not let me touch her at all in bed anymore. I still have desires but she says she does not and because she does not have desires well that’s all that matters to her. One of the deaths I mentioned was my good friend Sam who was Jane’s husband. I care for Jane as a friend as well but my wife was with Jane at the hospital when Sam unexpectedly passed. It hurt all of us for months. My wife cheated on me years ago for no good reason many years ago. So I am always a little watchful with my radar. I took her back and forgave her years ago.

      Well long story short, I have no sexual relationship and my wife clearly likes spending more time with Jane than me. In fact my wife is trying to schedule time with Jane to travel out of the country on a mission trip if the mission company pays for her seat (since she worked several fundraisers). It would appear I am also losing the best friend in my wife as well. I am starting to give up.

      1. Let me ask both of you if you have ever not understood your wives, looked at other women, made her feel like an object in the bedroom, disregarded her in any way, didn’t take her advice, didn’t take what she said seriously, etc? I can’t speak for your wives, but I can tell you a number of husbands diminish their behaviors when they are actually quite hurtful and create scarring that lasts for the longest time. Demanding every bit of attention from your wife is unacceptable. If there is a problem between the two of you connecting, which is incredibly important for women. Women can’t make love without it. Men usually only seem to notice they’re not having sex like before. Connection means a lot. Either your wives are interested in reconnecting, which you can do, or they’re not. You can’t force someone to be in the relationship.

        It troubles me, Levi, that you were very unsympathetic towards her menopause, and you dragged her “kicking and screaming”. You did not honor her feelings or anything else. You were just concerned about getting her in the mood. Look, I know men get love through sex, and I understand how incredibly important it is, but you have to be willing to look at it from her side. If you have hurt her, ever, and never made amends, she’s not going to be willing to make love. Because that’s not making love with her. It’s just physical at that point, and who wants to be used that way?

        Levi, you need a heart to heart with your wife. It sounded like you had trouble when she cheated. I can’t speak for all women, but cheating is usually an emotional thing for women. I won’t blame you, cuz she could have come to you and said, “Hey, we’re in trouble.” I’m sorry she cheated. She didn’t have to. That’s extremely rough. A real heart to heart. Find out what happened. She detached emotionally from you long ago. This isn’t a new thing.

        My best to you both.

  3. I have moved to Australia from canada with my australian husband. I recently meet a woman which I share lots in.common from.work. we have become really good friend. My husband doesn’t like me spending time with her. He doesn’t want to hear about her. She is the person I have connected the.most since moving here over 10 years ago. She loves my kids and loves hanging out. Lately he has been working away and I have been.seing more of her and him and I are getting in reallY heated argument over my friendship. I am 40.year old and feel I finally have found a true friend here in this new country. I am not willing to give this up and I feel marriage may not survive this. I feel I am being controlled. I love.my husband but why can’t I have a close friend. I don’t get it. He is jealous of this friendship and we have argument even.if we only go to the beach together. With the kids that is. It’s like I should not be seing anyone because he works away. Am.I being selfish? He says I don’t put my marriage first. When.we had our second child he use to recent me for going for coffee with friends with the baby. Saying I had it easy while he is slaving away. I am not a precious woman I don’t spend money on me and never buy anything unless we really need it. It’s not like I go and spend all his hard earn money. I now work and make as much as him and can go to work.fonctions without a scene. I am a bit over all this. He doesn’t want to see anyone about this. I don’t want my marriage to end but can’t live in a prison.

  4. Feeling on this topic in men will vary widely depending on situation.

    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.

  5. I dont agree with catering to a man to build up his level of security…. Sex, constant affectionate verbalization. A girl needs girl time…. To re-energize. Why’s that so difficult?

  6. ^ Just making sure I got this right – this is a female-female friendship, and you don’t suspect her of cheating?

    You are a big needy whiny baby. Let your wife have fun with her new friend.

  7. My wife has a new best friend and she says they have a lot in common. They work together so they see each other 8 hours a day. Here lately when my wife comes home they text each other the entire night. I feel I get no time with here and yes it is hurting my feelings. This weekend my wife stayed the weekend with her. I know she needs girl time and time away to feel renewed. I just feel that a husband and wife should sleep together. Some advice from the ladies please. I am very jealous at this time.

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