“My single male friends have been making comments toward my wife. Am I being overly jealous?”

This is a comment by on the comment of the day: “I have had several close non-sexual non-romantic relationships with women. How could you just rule out half the population?”

Paul’s wife has a lot of single male friends, which he has no problem with, but he’s been hearing weird things said to her that makes him uncomfortable. He wants to know: is he being too jealous?

Paul says:

I am a married male, married 8 years, my wife has a number of single male friends. In fact most of her friends are male. I am ok with her having male friends. But it makes me uncomfortable when she spends time with them without me. And most of her male friends are her friends which I am not a part of. I trust her, and love her deeply. But I have seen these friends make comments towards her that make me uncomfortable with this. Am I being overly jealous? I have my kids every other weekend and I go through this every time because she does her thing on the weekend when I have the children. 

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  1. Paul, I agree with most of the other posts. You are her husband and your feelings are more important than her friend’s feelings. No offense to the buddies, but they take back seat. If their presence is making you uncomfortable or jealous, their presence needs to go. It is a 2-way street. Maybe she doesn’t know it’s bothering you, but since it does…say something.

    Reminder, trust and jealousy are different. I can trust someone, but still be jealous. A spouse is the last person on earth we want to make jealous.

    Here’s my silly 11th Commandment: If you’re going to covet anyone’s wife, covet your wife first. (it’s ok to be a little protective and have boundaries, because these ‘extra friends’ could turn into a slow leak in your marriage.)

  2. Lots of sage advice here. I agree, time for a talk. What jumped out at me was the wife focusing on her friends when his kids are over. Maybe that is her choice….maybe not. Either way, the kids are missing out on a very important relationship and so is she. To prioritize her friends ALL the time when his kids are over sends a clear message to them that they don’t matter. While there is a lot of value to dad having alone time with his kids, there is much to be gained from her involvement, too. Two important issues to address…why are her male friends okay crossing boundaries and possibly being disrespectful to her husband and marriage and over time what is the damage to the family as a whole if she splits when his kids are over? Long term consequences on both fronts and being an insightful guy, you can address because you are aware enough to post and ask! Best wishes!

    • That popped out with me too. The step parent-child relationship is important. The kids will notice disappearing acts and lack of interest, especially if it happens routinely.

  3. Josh…True story…I train athletes(one of my jobs) for a living and occasionally I will supplement my income training regular folks.This means lot’s of bored, flirty housewives.This one occasion, a housewife married to a great guy who works like a machine to provide for his family, asked me if I would teach her how to dance salsa.I was the trainer for her and her husband. Prior to her asking, subtly, the flirting had picked up substantially and flirting was always initiated by her. I cannot take such risks in my business if I want work. Finally, after putting her off for a couple of weeks, she confronted my reluctance asking,”Does my marriage make my invitation too uncomfortable for you?” I said yes and that was the end of it.The way I saw it was, she was playing with fire in such a way that seem to me be disingenuous to herself and to me. This woman had made it clear that she was attracted to me and it just seemed to me that going dancing could easily turn into an “accident.” Besides, why go dancing with a married woman, whose husband I knew and liked? There are lot’s of other single women out there. O think much of this stuff that happens-infidelity- stars out ” innocently.” Which I think is bullshit.

  4. Josh… you bring up some interesting points that many aren’t comfortable talking about and you can bet your bottom dollar, if this circumstances were switched, there would a lot more discussion about “Girllll, you better listen to your intuition!”
    He could setting himself for disaster. My instincts, colored by experience, tell me that, if something does happen, he is likely to hear,”But you said it was ok for us to hangout! I didn’t know something was gonna happen. It’s not like I planned this!” And IF he hears the former, rather than “I’m sorry, I fucked up.” It could really fuck him up physiologically. He will blame himself and he be angry that he followed the nice guy script.
    The capacity for human bring to lie to themselves knows no bounds. There is one other interesting point. Social scientist have noted that affairs that happen among friends aren’t always accidental, though they appear that way. Some people go after other peoples partners and are called mate poachers in the vernacular.

  5. First of all, women don’t have “male friends”, they have men orbiting around in friend-zone until a chance for sex opens up. There are a few exceptions, but 95% of the time the sentiment is not completely platonic. She may not be doing anything sexually with them now but you’ve been together for 8 years, which is still “7 year itch” territory. Find out if any of these men are former lovers ( I’m willing to bet at least one is.) Just because shes not interested in them for sex, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested in her.

    Second of all, these friends are already saying some explicit things to her, and within earshot of you? Regardless, you’ve heard things and now these guys are on your radar. You were cool with a bunch of single dudes hanging out with your wife when you weren’t around (think about that for a second) but now something isn’t right.

    Jealousy may be rooted in ‘insecurity’ but that does not automatically make it irrational, unfounded or invalid. Your intuition is telling you something and unlike message boards and your wife’s friends, your intuition always has your best interests at heart (even when it’s wrong.) This situation needs a follow-up, and somebody’s behavior needs to be put in check. If you’ve been ‘nice guy’ this whole time, giving this whole situation the okey-doke, then maybe these dudes feel like they can just be bold when walking on your territory now, or they are escalating their pursuit of your wife.

  6. Christopher Langmuir says:

    Seriously, though, this is the problem:

    “But I have seen these friends make comments towards her that make me uncomfortable with this.”

    Talk to her about this ASAP. It doesn’t mean she needs to change her behaviour or even her friends, but it does mean you two need to have a tête-à-tête with your lady love about how it makes you uncomfortable. Maybe the solution is that she gets her guy friends to lay off on certain kinds of jokes/comments, maybe it means you hang out with them a bit too, who knows. But you won’t get to a solution without talking with her about it.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Good point. (Mutual admiration going on here….)

      And, don’t assume that this is a massive problem with no easy solutions. It’s entirely possible that she really does have no idea, and some simple requests could be really easy for her to do and take care of most of the problem. Could be the answer is even easier than you expected. (Could be harder than you expected, also, but you’ll never know if you don’t bring it up.)

      In a lot of situations like this, the more general issue is that the husband doesn’t feel like his feelings get taken into account. Making sure that you tell her clearly what you’re feeling and making sure she hears what you’re saying could solve a lot of his anxiety all by itself. There’s a good chance if you have a grown-up conversation about it, just having a conversation about it could reduce your anxiety, and the problem doesn’t seem as big any more.

  7. Christopher Langmuir says:

    Monogamists be crazy, yo.

  8. Paul…The marriage comes first, not the friends.If one wants that special monogamous relationship, it takes work and maybe having to modify one’s behavior. There is no way that this man, this married man,should have to be disrespected by her friends and the continuance of it spells potential disaster. I have been there,Some women, in the constant need for affirmation, attention, and to lessen feelings of insecurity, seek attention and hurt the one they say is the most important person in their lives in doing so.Do you have the same rights as she?

  9. wellokaythen says:

    You should be able to mention how you feel to your wife about your feeling uncomfortable. You have a right to bring up your feelings about the time she spends with her male friends and the kinds of comments her friends make towards her. You even have the right to make a request for her to do something different. Try to think of it as a problem in your relationship that you can both work on a solution for. Saying something doesn’t mean you don’t trust her. Trusting her doesn’t mean you just keep your mouth shut about everything that bothers you. That’s really just a recipe for divorce.

    Don’t do it in an accusatory way, and don’t order her to stop, and don’t start off with an ultimatum. Start with an “I” statement about how you feel when a specific thing happens. “So-and-so made a comment the other day, and I felt really uncomfortable about that. I have this bad feeling when you spend a lot of time with your male friends.” Be prepared to request some very particular things that would make you feel better, for example spending every third weekend together instead of her with her male friends, or asking her to tell her male friends to knock off those comments around you. Just telling her to “be less friendly” or “stop spending so much time with your friends” or something vague like that won’t help.

  10. Why did so many assume that the wife’s friends were ex-lovers? That was never stated. “…most of her friends are male,” makes me wonder if she was surrounded by brothers growing up. One would hope that Paul’s wife has no interest in spending time with a man friend who wanted sex with her and was acting seductively. “Ex-lovers”: One trait we American guys have is a tendency to sexualize everything, AKA pit stop on road to hell, as in: if my wife talks to another man it must mean that something is up (no joke intended); good way to go crazy. Paul would do well to tell his wife that he heard so-and-so say this and that and ask her what it means. Two people who can’t express their fears and doubts, who can’t be transparent with each other–joys and sorrows, strengths and weaknesses—won’t enjoy a mature relationship may create one with more misery than life provides just gratis.

  11. The completely glossed over unexplained part of this story is every other weekend custody of the man’s kids. I assume from a previous marriage? If so, there may be more going on here, if the current wife either wishes to have no part of the visitation or is made to feel she is not part of the visitation, this could explain her need to hang out with surrogate suitors in order to either make herself feel more wanted or to try to make the husband more jealous of his time with her (which apparently is working).

    that is the key to this problem, IMHO. and it shows a lack of communication about what the real problem is here. It’s not flirtation, its exclusion from an important part of the man’s life: his kids.

  12. I wouldnt mind if my hypothetical wife’s male friends are less attractive than me.

    Women often have those brotherly type guys they have zero sexual interest in. I wouldnt mind any of them.

  13. Jealousy is a form of insecurity and insecurity flourishes in an atmosphere of doubt. It is all very well to say you love and trust your wife deeply – but a relationship is not an interpersonal version of religion depending on faith in the unknown. A strong relationship is built up by communication between two people and an ability to share feelings and doubts and worries as well as the good stuff. You should know about your wife’s life and friendships and she should know all about yours. Not because you insist on it but because both of you should want to share details of your lives with each other. You should be each other’s best friend and you should both be eager to tell each other what is going on because you believe the other person is interested and it gives you pleasure to share. I would strongly recommend you start talking more to your wife and showing a keen nurturing interest in how she feels about things and what she thinks about things. As your intimacy grows your relationship will strengthen and you will not be troubled by guessing about what is going on in her life because she will be telling you all about it.

    • Michelle Brenton…Shouldn’t she already be telling him all about it? In my mind, if he can’t go on these innocent dates, where there is no sexual play and flirtation going on, there is a problem. Considering that they are married, I find it odd that there is even an resolved question about this. If a husband, who does all of the heavy emotional lifting in the relationship for his wife and takes all of the shit, not the friend, he has the right to ask whatever questions without guilt about whether or not he is being trusting.The issue isn’t about jealously, it’s about boundaries and common sense.

  14. I understand what you mean @Paul, it is normal to feel jealous if your hear uncomfortable comments for your wife even it was came from her friend. I guess you and your wife need to talk and let her know what you feel about the situation. The reason is not because your not trusting her but to clarify things.

  15. @Paul….

    Have you asked her if any of the friendships with her male friends was ever sexual? I am bit curious why she would have so many male friends, unless they are gay.

    I am skeptical and think you have a reason to be concerned, trust or not. I could never marry a woman who is still friends with old lovers….

    Just me.

    • Furious George says:

      Pretty sad mindset Jules. Why would you ask your woman to break with what probably is a large part of her life? Sounds to me like you either don’t trust her, in which case you shouldn’t marry, or you’re insecure.

      I’m still friends with almost all my ex gfs. I tell them they can call me if they want to talk about simething their1 hudband wouldn’t get or they want to run it through me first. Their husbands don’t always like it but I’ve told each of them they shouldn’t feel threatened as boundaries will be respected. We’re civilised people after all.

      • Your story isn’t the same as everyone elses.
        I’d tell any person entering a relationship to get the story on friends, especially friends who are former lovers.

      • @Furious George…

        Boundaries are not always respected. Let’s be real here.

        PRIOR to getting married, I made it expressly clear to my now ex wife that I had no interest in knowing, meeting, or talking to any of her old lovers.

        “Their husbands don’t always like it but I’ve told each of them they shouldn’t feel threatened as boundaries will be respected.”

        You see, if I was one of their husbands all it would take was one call from you. You would not call again. Trust me. How the fuck are you going to override how a husband feels about his wife’s relationship with an ex lover?

        If you know they (husbands) don’t like it, then why are you being disrespectful to the husband and their marriage? Their marriage supersedes your friendship with the women. In my view, you have already gone over the bullshit boundary. Which simply proves my point.

        It has nothing to do with insecurities. It is about being respectful and showing respect for marriage.

        • Respect is the key word.

          Boundaries have to be set with an understanding that you have to set them yourself, instead of expecting the other person to do it or correct themselves if they happen to cross a boundary.

          I know to many woman who continue to passively reject men’s interest in them and their advances.
          Instead of having a talk with the friend and laying it all on the table, they’d rather refer to the man in question as their friend while using the image of their relationship as a means of telling the man they aren’t interested.

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