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Wife has new male best friend

JM2020
Community Member
I am hoping someone out there can give me their unbiased opinion. This may or may not help me from going out of my mind.
To begin with, i have been married since 2009, my wife and I have always been on separate ends of the 'emotional spectrum. She tends to me highly emotional whereas i am on the complete opposite end. Despite the differences we have made it work well and kind of balance each other out. However, from time to time it does create some tension.
Over the past couple of years my wife has attended a personal training group, which is great, she has always suffered from social anxiety so to see her enjoy being around a new group of people and to witness the improvement of her mental health has been fantastic.
However it did not take long until she started spending time with a male friend from this group. As well as group sessions, they meet on non group days and train together alone for up to 3-4 hour sessions. This usually includes lunch, coffee, etc. So they end up seeing each other everyday whether in a group or not. This also includes texts and phone calls throughout the day.
I have questioned her about this. and have told her i am uncomfortable with the frequency, not necessarily the fact she has a male best friend.
She has told me that they do have feeling for each other, they have discussed this in detail and have vowed not to act on it. They recognise that it is natural that and two people spending this amount of time with each other are bound to develop feelings, however its whether they act on it or not that counts. This doesn't sit right with me. Just because you have recognised it, and have been open with me about it doesn't make it right or less hurtful.
This male friend has the emotional personality traits that i dont have, so it makes sense that she is attracted to him and wants to spend so much time with him.
But where does this leave me? I cant help feeling she would rather be with him than me? why wouldn't she, right?
Is she better off with him?
I dont want to stop the friendship, 1. due to the improvement in her mental health, 2. why should i? if my discomfort isnt enough, shouldnt she recognise the problem a pull back?
over the past 6 months this has put me in a depressed state, and if anything it has put more distance between my wife and I. I cant help feeling that without this guy out of the picture, we can not repair our marriage. I am seriously considering leaving her.
36 Replies 36

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

Thankyou for a well written post.

I read: "shouldnt she recognise the problem a pull back?" I would absolutely expect that in the least- the reason? Both confirmed they have "feeling for each other" so promises go out the window when temptation comes around especially when one throws in some time alone eg opportunity with the ideal surroundings. A statement of "vowed not to act on it" raises red flags.

This is not imo a case of a pure friendship. Eg I'm a type of guy that has many more females than males for close friends. I suppose I'm more on the emotional spectrum level with women, my wife knows this well though and accepts it. The moment (if it happened) that one took my friendship the wrong way, well she'd be the first to know and I'd have to review that friendship, not allow it to continue in the same way.

You might remember that your feelings has as much importance as your wife's feelings. That means she has a responsibility to acknowledge and act upon your hurt and concerns in the least stop the daily rendezvous of which is that alone time mentioned. If you left the marriage I'd suggest their relationship might flourish.

Her mental health is a concern. There is many conventional ways in which to repair/improve that. Hobbies, sports, special interests...

"I cant help feeling that without this guy out of the picture, we can not repair our marriage" That's an acknowledgement that you know your marriage is breaking down. Then I suggest you seek out Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277. If she wont attend sessions then I'd suggest going alone if anything to help you cope or any counselor you decide.

If it means anything I couldnt allow this situation to continue, but I suppose some would. Be interesting of others replies here.

Whatever the outcome I would like to think you'll look after yourself and return here either continuously by posting updates or when and if required.

TonyWK

Thanks very much for your insight, it is very helpful.

I guess my wife mental health is a complication (for lack of a better term)she is diagnosed with depression and OCD. If i make her feel to guilty by talking openly, she spirals into severe depression and self hate. So i always have to be careful what i say. I have been very direct before but end up having to council my wife out of it. This is why i naturally put her feelings first. Even it that means me being unhappy or depressed.

tranzcrybe
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
No, it is not 'natural' to develop feelings just by 'spending time' together... unless that time involves sexually provocative contact mutually acceptable to both parties.
Vowing 'not to act' can be misinterpreted as avoiding emotional & physical intimacy (as I suspect you would favour), or rather not to extend into more formal endeavours (such as separation to form a new relationship) - an affair for all intents, given the regular (and private) meetings and communications.

With this established, the question is whether or not you condone the arrangement - you mentioned wanting to remain 'friends', which suggests you accept the relegated role at least. This must be up to you to assess if it is workable for your own emotional stability, to become the cuckold, in fact.

I suspect your wife has the dominance over your relationship and feels she can do as she pleases whether under the guise of depression or just cunning manipulation of your marriage.

Either way, you are being disrespected and taking steps to restore the balance may be in your best interests even it this brings matters to a head, allowing you to move on with some dignity.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

While your wife's mental health issues are indeed a concern, living your life walking on eggs shells for you would be arduous and, in the end, intolerable depending on your endurance. Certainly wouldn't help matters.

I started a thread here called "HSP highly sensitive people". It is one I answered today so it should be on the first pages of topic, worth reading those posts.

Another post that might assist you both is(google)

Beyondblue relationship strife the peace pipe . Just read the first post.. a handy technique if you fall into a dispute.

Reply anytime

TonyWK

Juliet_84
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi JM2020,

I can imagine how distressing it must have been for you to hear that they do have feeling for each other, and have even discussed this in detail. If they recognise that it is natural that and two people spending this amount of time with each other are bound to develop feelings, then have they agreed to not spend so much time together????

It sounds to me as though your wife is having at the very least an emotional affair. She doesn’t feel as though her emotional needs are being met in the relationship and is using this other man to provide the emotional intimacy that she desires. The problem is when someone has an emotional affair, rather than turn inward and allow their partner the opportunity to meet their needs, they instead turn outward, thereby depriving you of the opportunity to resolve the issue. The new “relationship” obviously causes friction in your relationship, she then leans on this person more and more and this provides them with the opportunity to show how caring and considerate they are to her needs while you just make her upset. Despite being perfectly justified in feeling angry at another man being present in your relationship. Sometimes the partner having the affair will have a wake up call and realise that they don’t want to lose their partner. Or they get to know this new person enough and things then physical and they decide to leave. Do you think you’d be able to get her to couples counseling at the moment??

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello JM2020, all the replies above have been very good.

The problem is when you and your wife need to sort out a situation or discuss what's going to happen in other matters, which is not about this arrangement, then her first thought is wondering what this other chap would be thinking, the same as what she has decided or if it's different then how to approach this topic and that's the problem, she's talking to herself as if she's with him and not you.

A close emotional relationship with someone else could have the tendency to develop into a physical one, and once this does happen or become very close, then to regain your marriage will not be easy, because her mind will continually be on him and not you, her husband.

If the contact between the two of them happens every day, after lunch, coffee and/or training then it's become too close and needs to end if that's possible.

It's not going to be easy and I feel for you.

Best wishes.

Geoff.

Jozel
Community Member

Hi JM2020

My husband has been doing the same thing with his ex girlfriend. They recently caught up to chat, several times a week, without telling me. Apparently they declared at the beginning that it would not be any further than talk. I found out and he admitted it as "special relationship" but not an affair (because there was nothing physical). But this special relationship involves using Signal app, buying a set of matching his and her pyjama (his excuse was they used to have matching clothing when they were going out). He even called me her name when we were arguing over this,

He said they have ended it now and there would be no more contact.

He is expecting me to accept as special relationship. He agreed that he stepped over the line.

I am seeking counselling myself to confirm that I am not overthinking/paranoid/making unreasonable assumption.

I would suggest you seek counselling yourself first to sort out your emotion (of course your wife is important but you are the most important one). Can't move on without being in the right headspace.

JM2020
Community Member

Yes this is the issue, 'if it is not physical, its not cheating 'for me it is very strange because my wife is an extremely compassionate introvert, so not dominant at all. it is out of character. I have calculated that since Saturday morning, they have seen each other for 15 hours, training, lunch, shopping. Only as friends of course. I explain to her that everyone has friends, but no one see's their friends that much. I will support any friendship she has, but this one has gone too far. It seems either she stop seeing him and be miserable, or it continues and i be miserable. Either way no one wins.

I dont think you are being paranoid, but i can understand why you would think so, i do the same. Like myself, you should not have been put in this position in the first place. Where is that voice inside his/her head that says 'THIS IS NOT RIGHT'. Why should you have to do the counselling? your thoughts are rational.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi JM and Jozel

This topic is very interesting. How do you find clarity and define what's "right", when you are dealing with another person that is displaying extreme ideals compared to you? I believe I have the answer.

A while ago I wrote a post google beyondblue the definition of abuse. I came to a similar conclusion as this situation.

With abuse there is so many varieties and levels. My ex partner when drunk would slap my face. We discussed it with our GP. He said "you're a big lad, you can take it". It proved to me that what is abuse and unacceptable to one might be allowable to another.

So what is abuse? The victims level of unacceptable behaviour on him or her is abuse! let's take that to extremes. In a workplace if someone called me a name say "fatso" and I took offence. At a lunch room people debated. Say out of 100 staff, 50 think I'm over reacting out of which 40 are slim, 40 think I'm revengeful but don't know of any prior incident so they're guessing which isn't fair, the rest are sympathetic. As we are all different no one at the factory would know of the bullying I suffered as a overweight kid, nor my lifelong unsuccessful dieting.

Now there is some level of flexibility that is required after the first abusive event as the bully might be unaware of such sensitivity and so on. The same when you first give your spouse an opportunity to reverse that friendship.

In these cases of a spouse taking a friendship too far outside the marriage, what degree of friendship would be acceptable? IMO it's the same- your level of acceptance is the degree of permission. Another extreme- if a couple had an open marriage (sexualising relations acceptable) then you wouldn't be posting here.

A couple enter into a contract of marriage (or defacto/bf gf) and such vows/pledges are solely centred on their partners individual needs whatever they be, not the collective average of what is generally allowed. This "quirkiness" is in all of us to some degree.

Moving on, if such behaviour continues with the displeasure and protest of the complainant then the partner has violated the contract. In such cases, a verbal warning and subsequent agreement should suffice. Any further warnings needed merely confirms the strength of that unwanted relationship. At that point it's rare to rescue what you once had.

TonyWK