I received the following question recently. I posted it on Facebook (with permission) because I knew many others had gone or are going through something similar.
I asked my Facebook community “What do YOU think the wife should do?”
My husband has a female friend that he started a friendship with while we were dating about 2 years ago. They hid their friendship from me and I had to find out about it through phone records and text messages. I was extremely uncomfortable when I found all this out and there were secrets and lies involved. He asked for forgiveness and I gave it, but he did not stop being friends with the girl, and basically I had to live with it. Ever since then my trust in him has suffered and I am still not comfortable with their friendship, even though he has backed off from her a lot. But the connection they have is still there, because every time they get around each other his attention is on her, they laugh a lot and share a lot of the same interests and have great chemistry. I feel so left out when they’re around each other, but my husband reassures me that it’s just a friendship, and nothing more. I’m skeptical of it all because they initially hid their friendship from me but I have tried to move past it. However, she goes to our church ( which he invited here there, before I came there with him) and she is also involved in a social/hobby group we’re in. So there is no running from it and I feel helpless and uncomfortable and we’re just in our first year of marriage. What should I do?”
This single question sparked 400+ comments on Facebook. The responses drastically ranged. Some of the most popular comments include:
“She needs to demand her husband cut the woman out of their life.”
“The wife should tell her husband she is going to invite her husbands “friend” to lunch and the women should have a conversation.”
“Drop his ass.”
“She should get a male friend of her own and see how her husband likes it.”
So what do you think the wife should do?
Before you answer, let me give you one last opinion. I reached out to my good friend Esther Boykin, a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (please be sure to follow her on twitter and visit her website).
Here’s how Esther suggested the situation be handled
No matter how you slice it, it’s clear that your husband’s friendship with this other woman is something that you want to end. And I agree with you that it should… immediately. Any relationship, regardless of how innocent, that undermines the sense of trust and safety in your marriage is a problem. It’s time to draw a line and probably to seek some additional support.
The trust in your relationship was broken but it’s possible to repair those unresolved feelings of hurt and betrayal. I believe that, with work, couples can move forward from situations like yours feeling stronger and more connected than before. The first step is make your feelings known and to set clear boundaries.
So often newlyweds are uncertain and afraid to set limits and create rules for their marriage. But boundaries help you build a strong foundation as a couple- by talking about your feelings and expectations, and being brave enough to draw some lines.
It’s time to take a deep breath, own your feelings, and trust your gut. Tell your husband that his friendship with this woman is hurting your marriage and that you want him to end all contact with her. Be clear about the way it makes you feel, your fears about what it might develop into (or that it has already moved past ‘just friends’), and how it is effecting your relationship. As his wife, you’re entitled to make that request and if he is unwilling or unable to respect that, then it’s definitely time to call in some professional help. Find a qualified couples therapist or pastor to work with you to resolve this issue and begin to create healthy boundaries around your marriage.
At the end of the day the question is not whether his friendship is ‘wrong’ or what this woman’s motives might be. The real issue is whether he is willing to put your comfort level above everything else and make a commitment to truly repair the trust that he has broken.
So you know the question and have an array of advice from the community to an expert. What do YOU think the wife should do?