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friendship anxiety

Chickem100
Community Member

Hi all,

I think I just need to get something off my chest. I'm a 38 year old happily married man who has over the last few months has developed a really good friendship with a work colleague, we chat almost everyday and have spoken openly about many things. The issue I'm finding is that I want to talk to her everyday and when I don't talk to her I get overally anxious and then don't want to message her in case I'm being annoying and then she stops talking to me, which I know seems odd as we chat all the time.

The other confusing issue here is that she's been going on dates and asking for my advice and telling me all about them, which is fine but now I'm worried that if she gets into a relationship I'll be forgotten about. I want to be able to not worry about what she's doing, who's shes with or why she hasn't told me something.

I know this sounds like I have feelings for her and as a friend I adore her but maybe worrying about her and our friendship speaks otherwise? Being married with a child means that I would never consider the other option and I'm sure she doesn't have the same feelings for me. The thoughts of does she like me as a friend as much as I do her keep going through my head, I fee that maybe a break from social media could be a start as I don't see what shes up to.

As for my marriage I'm finding when my wife does something I don't like, I think that my friend wouldn't be like that and I'm comparing the 2 which I know isn't fair.

I feel like I'm in a pattern where I can't get to just being a great friend to her without having all this excess baggage and the constant anxiety of wondering when these feelings will end and I can go back to having friends and being happy.

I appreciate any advice you can provide.

Cheers.

6 Replies 6

Quercus
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Chickem100 and welcome,

For me personally reading your post made me feel uncomfortable. The boundaries between you and your friend aren't clear. As a wife I imagined what I would think in your wife's shoes. The thoughts aren't pleasant but perhaps it might be of interest.

If that was my husband I would feel there was reason to be concerned about this friendship. The amount of time spent thinking about this colleague is a concern in itself let alone how she keeps confiding in you about relationships (I've known single colleagues who have used these conversations as a way of reminding someone they like that they are a desirable woman).

You have said that an affair is not what you want and but if my husband described feeling as you've written you feel for your friend I would be uncomfortable and quite unhappy.

But... that is how I would feel and in this situation I'm not important.... Your wife is.

How do you think she would view this friendship if you described it all as clearly as you have here? Would she be comfortable with the boundaries between you and your friend? Biggest question to consider is how would you feel if your wife read this post?

You're concerned enough to write and ask for help which shows you respect your wife and don't want to hurt her. I think your idea re social media is a good idea by the way. Perhaps it is time to reassess your personal boundaries and ask your wife for help?

I hope my post doesn't feel judgemental. That is not my intention at all. Hopefully others reply soon with ideas. I'm not sure my reply has been very helpful to you.

Kindest.

Nat

B_bear
Community Member

Hi chickem

Can I start with good for being honest and open. I hope my reply is not considered judgemental, I’m just trying to provide a response from an outsiders prospective that might help you and your family in the future

Im a fairly recently separated man. Not by my choice but for many years something which I thought would be beneficial for me.

I get you say you don’t have feelings for this lady, but the way you word it for me it seems you are hanging far more on your relationship with this lady than the normal friend boundaries.

Now I only say this because I believe the consequences of what you are living and feeling may come back to haunt, especially if you keep pursuing it. For me the old saying of the grass isn’t always greener is so true. I would give anything to go back to what I had with my little family unit. Just really give that strong thought before you let your mind wander to much. The consequences of separation are horrible, especially since you have a young one.

Again not trying to make you feel bad mate. Just trying to put an outsiders perspective there.

all the best

Hi Nat,

Thankyou very much for your reply, it was of great value as it’s coming from a wife’s view. I see what you mean in terms of how you’d feel, I know it doesn’t look good on paper and I have no doubt my wife would be very upset if this is what she read.

I’ve been feeling up and down about this whole situation today, I’ve started to ween off social media and will aim to keep that up for the weekend (though I know it’ll be hard!) I feel I need a break from her for a while until I can get myself sorted as I don’t enjoy feeling like this and I’m not being a great husband/father at the moment.

I understand that my friend and I have a close relationship but the lines are blurred and I’m in a position I do t want to be in.

Thankyou once again there’s some great points there I’ll take on board. 👍

Hi B bear,

thanks for that, I appreciate your time. Yeah the grass isn’t always greener is a great point. Reading it back I know it sounds like I’m leaning outside the boundaries of what would be considered a “friendship” and tbh I know this but don’t want to accept this which is making me move forward so much harder. It’s tough for the mind not to wander but I’m certainly trying to avoid that and get on with my day to day activities and putting this relationship to one side. Thanks for your honesty in your situation that gives me a view of the bigger picture and I’m hoping I can start to move forward and getting a clearer view of what’s important.

Cheers

Hi Chickem100,

Thanks for the feedback and for considering both my post and B bear's with an open mind. I appreciate it.

It sounds positive that you are considering what is most important to you and making plans. B bear has such a valid point about considering your family. We're all human and having little kids is a huge strain on any relationship. Perhaps this is a hint that you're missing something at home, maybe if you and your wife can make time for yourselves as a couple and have some kid free time together you won't have the time or interest in checking what your friend is doing?

Have you considered whether this friendship is more important to you than your marriage? If you're finding yourself feeling anxious about blurred boundaries and not in control there is nothing wrong with asking for space.

A true friend who respects you and your marriage would understand if you said you need firmer boundaries because you feel your wife would not feel comfortable.

You've said yourself that your wife would be upset if she knew. That says to me that you're already putting your relationship at risk. Relationship break downs after an emotional affair is a topic that there have been many posts here about.

B bear was spot on asking you to think about what you want and need.

I'm glad our posts have helped you... Although you seemed to already know in yourself. Trust your judgement. You know yourself and your family best.

Thanks Nat,

Yeah I’m certainly aware of what is important to me and that is family, so trying to push this friendship to the side a bit is difficult but worthwhile in the long run.

I’ve read a bit about emotional affairs and I seem to tick some of those boxes so I’ll be looking on the forum for more information so thankyou for that.

Small update: I haven’t been in contact with her since 5pm Friday (it’s currently 7:41 Saturday morning) and I haven’t been on social media since 2 on Friday. I understand this is a very small period of time but it’s a step in the right direction.

I know today will be difficult, as I know what my friend is doing and that it’ll be on social media, but I’m not ready to bring up those feelings of seeing her updates so I’ll do my best 👍

The good news is that on Sunday afternoon my wife and I are off to the movies child free so that should be a nice time to relax and connect seeing as up to that point we’re both very busy.

Thanks again for your help and advice, it really means a lot.

Cheers.