Doesn't Like Wife's "Friend"
Q: Ten years ago my wife had a friend who would call her, but hang up on me if I answered. I confronted her and she said it was none of my business. I called him and he told me that he hung up on me because he did not know how I would take it. He is married, and I know that my wife and he are just friends, but I have given her time and she still has not told me about him. I've let it go up until, 10 years later, it still bothers me and I don't want her to have anything to do with him. I have given her the choice of keeping her friendship with him or staying married to me. I am not being naive. I know there is no physical relationship. Please help, what should I do? -- Andy, 39
Dr. Susan: Maintaining a comfortable marriage is always a balance between feeling free and feeling securely held. It's odd that you let this issue go for a decade, so I assume you have reason to believe your wife's friendship with this married fellow is ongoing into the present. I find it a concern that he hung up on you regularly, and that your wife wouldn't even admit to the friendship.
Friendships with other married people are not necessarily a problem, but keeping secrets about them IS a problem. Nor can you be fully certain that there isn't or hasn't been a physical component. Explain to your wife, with calm patience, that you want to be able to trust her completely, but her secret friendship keeps nagging at you. Could you and she and he go out for coffee, so you could meet him? Could she tell you the whole story of this friendship and why she feels it's been important to her, and also why it's been important to her to keep it a secret? Try not to make idle threats about leaving her over this, but suggest she get it all out in the open so you can rest easy. Only when all the facts are known can you decide what to do next.
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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.