Guy Friend Nicer Than Hubby
Q: My best friend happens to work with my husband of 13 years (and is pals with my brother). I have known Ken for a long time, and in the past three years we have become really close. I love my husband, but our marriage is not a great one. He is verbally abusive and not much of a family man. I haven't been happy for a long time. Ken is a single father, an absolute dream dad. We have a connection that is out of this world for both of us. He has told me that I "just get him." We text and talk daily about everything. We even meet to eat and have such a great time that neither of us wants to leave!
I have totally and completely fallen in love with him, to the point that I am sick to my stomach. I have told him that I need to back away and let him live his life and date, but his response is that he "needs me" that the other girls just are not the ones. I want him to confess how he feels about me, but I'm scared to truly open up and ask him directly. I do think we both feel the same, but we're both afraid of rejection and neither want people to think bad of us. He has tried many times to talk to my husband about his abuse, but to no avail. He recently said that he didn't think my husband would change and that I deserved MUCH better. I need to know his true intentions. - Deanne, 34
Dr. Susan: You are very concerned about your guy friend Ken's feelings and intentions, as though your life depends on what HE wants. Your decisions shouldn't depend on anyone else, and that includes your husband. If you've been unhappy a long time, and your husband is abusive to the point where your life with him is miserable, and not fixable (you've tried counseling with him, I assume?), then think about leaving him. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT make this decision based on your strong feelings for Ken. You could be misleading yourself big-time. The fact that your relationship is a secret emotional (if not physical) affair is what's making it extra exciting and "fun" for both of you (and sickening at the same time). I'm not saying Ken isn't a great guy. But he shouldn't be refusing to date or have a life of his own and depending on you, a married woman, instead. That's just not cool. One serious relationship at a time. Take the time to work on the marriage, and if it's impossible and your husband keeps being mean to you, then start the process of getting a divorce. Only after some time passes should you think about getting together with Ken. And only when you're free will you know his true feelings about you.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.