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Emotional infidelity - just friends!?

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bluesky1 posted 7/15/2020 23:47 PM

I'd be grateful for your opinion regarding the view (right or wrong) while in a marriage that it's OK treating a relationship with either sex (M/F) in the same way? i.e. wife talking with male friend on all topics (family, cooking, travel..) including sharing very personal matters which may include marriage problems.
Also how frequent a contact is too frequent for friends of the opposite sex? weekly, daily, multiple times a day...
Thank you heaps

Bor9455 posted 7/16/2020 00:42 AM

BS ONLY

[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:24 PM, August 6th (Thursday)]

beenthereinco posted 7/16/2020 00:43 AM

Hi bluesky,
I'll give you my opinion, it might seem old-fashioned to many, but I don't think a married person should have friendships with the opposite sex unless it is within a couple framework where you are all friends together. Obviously your wife has a friendship(s) that you do not approve of. Have you expressed this with her? How long have you been married? Is this a man that she was friends with before your marriage?

squid posted 7/16/2020 01:51 AM

The most common lie we read around here is "he/she is just a friend". Second most common lie is "we just kissed". I think you see where this is going.

Shut it down. If she calls you "controlling" then there is definitely a problem. There is absolutely no reason for having another man in your marriage.

Just curious, regarding frequency, who is contacting who more and first?

Northerngal posted 7/16/2020 05:43 AM

Ugh this hurts to read. It’s not appropriate and until I went through it I didn’t see it. I’ll just say this: if a “relationship” is taking any energy from the marriage or excludes the other spouse, it’s not acceptable.

It’s also worth noting that I was trickle truthed for a very long time - from “I would never sleep with an employee” to “she’s a friend, get over yourself” to “it was an emotional affair only, I swear to god” to “here are all the dates and hotels where I screwed her, but it’s over now.” That process took 18 months. It would have been so much better for both of us to have had honesty early on. The damage is deep. I mean here I am posting and the final confession was 5 yrs ago.

Okokok posted 7/16/2020 05:56 AM

I'll give you my opinion, it might seem old-fashioned to many, but I don't think a married person should have friendships with the opposite sex unless it is within a couple framework where you are all friends together. Obviously your wife has a friendship(s) that you do not approve of. Have you expressed this with her? How long have you been married? Is this a man that she was friends with before your marriage?

I'll second this, and I don't consider myself old-fashioned at all. I'll also confess I haven't read "Not Just Friends," so everything I'm about to say just comes from my own brain.

In my opinion, here are the appropriate ways that married hetero people can have opposite-sex friends who do actual friend things together:

1. That friend is part of a couple that you're both friends with and only communicate with as couples, never privately (beware: many affairs still start with these types of friendships)

2. That friend is gay

3. In rare circumstances, that friend is an old family/childhood friend (NOT ex-boyfriends/girlfriends).

4. Also in rare circumstances, that friend shares a specific hobby/pastime that is worth chatting about sometimes but that the spouse isn't involved in at all. They're both marathoners or whatever. Still, conversation should be limited to topics surrounding that hobby.

Please, anyone feel free to chime in if you can think of others.

Opposite-sex coworkers *may* have cause to be texting each other a lot, but those conversations should never be personal, they should be about work.

including sharing very personal matters which may include marriage problems.

This is really never ok and is a huge red flag. I know that my exWW's A started with this sort of conversation.

~

I will also add that, in my experience here on SI, the fact that you're even posting here at all indicates that something isn't right. Care to share more of your story? What exactly is happening?

[This message edited by Okokok at 5:57 AM, July 16th (Thursday)]

bluesky1 posted 7/16/2020 06:09 AM

Thanks for all your helpful thoughts, greatly appreciated and follows my thinking also. Thanks I've started reading Shirley's book.
He's a family friend, our kids + their kids mates too. Their marriage has been on the rocks for some time and he'd confide in both of us regularly, too much so. I soon became suspicious and sure enough phone bills indicated daily phone calls... this was played down when I raised it with wife, more than once.
Then he would also visit our home while it was just wife there. She would keep this from me, like the ph calls, unless I specifically asked.
Their marriage has since split, sadly.
Certainly many other ongoing breadcrumbs and gut feel.
I pressed that we start some counselling, she reluctantly agreed. Wife did admit she treats/views male and female friends the same. Dangerous territory.
Wife has admitted in counselling he did wrong and 'somewhat' her part in it. No direct apology to me or expression to change.
We've been together over 20yrs and this is not the first time I've had to flag male friendships (that I'm aware of) which involved regular during and after hours contact. One in particular which began in the workplace included lunches and discovered they'd attended massage studio together. He'd apparently told her at the time he felt like she kept him as the 'gay mate' hmm.
My wife dare I confess has always had the capability of twisting truths to her advantage. Also very comfortable with a lie or three in other aspects of life. I'm also aware she likely finds it acceptable to seek emotional fulfillment outside marriage as she might see fit.
It's the lack of respect, deceit and trust more than anything.

Okokok posted 7/16/2020 06:36 AM

Wife has admitted in counselling he did wrong and 'somewhat' her part in it.

What does this mean? What was the "wrong" thing?

As you share a bit more of your story, it's beginning to sound like a lot of the stories around here. Sorry to tell you.

Then he would also visit our home while it was just wife there. She would keep this from me, like the ph calls, unless I specifically asked.

This is not good. How long has this been going on? How long have you been in counseling? And does your phone bill still indicate that they're constantly talking even after you've raised this issue with her? Any other indications?

Question: have you ever checked in the with this man's wife?

steadychevy posted 7/16/2020 06:51 AM

I agree with beenthereinco and Okokok. With Okokok I really agree only with point 1. Friends with married couple or not at all. Friendly fine but not doing friend things.

There may be some who will come on who say they have friends, maybe even lots of friends, of the opposite sex but they have very strong boundaries so it isn't a problem.

I think I have strong boundaries but why test them. I would never be alone with a friend of the opposite sex, if I was married or in a relationship, in any setting other than work. No going for drinks, meals, events, etc. It's a slippery slope.

If it makes your spouse uncomfortable and there's push back from the "offender" that means the "friendship" is valued more than the marriage. Aren't there enough people of the same sex to be friends with? Sharing personal and marital information is definitely a red flag. Keeping information about him being in your home or her meeting him anywhere secret is a red flag. Lying by omission is as much of a lie as lying by commission.

[This message edited by steadychevy at 6:54 AM, July 16th (Thursday)]

ShutterHappy posted 7/16/2020 09:55 AM


I think it’s hard to give a general rule on whether a friend of the opposite sex is ok or not. The devil is in the details...

I soon became suspicious and sure enough phone bills indicated daily phone calls... this was played down when I raised it with wife, more than once.

Most people would find this unacceptable. 🚩

Then he would also visit our home while it was just wife there. She would keep this from me, like the ph calls, unless I specifically asked.

Most people would find this unacceptable. 🚩
It sounds like your W has poor boundaries.

One in particular which began in the workplace included lunches and discovered they'd attended massage studio together.

Almost anyone would find this unacceptable. 🚩...

The question is... what’s the next step? I assume she finds her behavior acceptable and she brands you as “jealous” ?

goalong posted 7/16/2020 10:46 AM

in my opinion a common theme running across infidelity stories is (run up to infidelity) the WS do what ever they want and BS ether is reluctant to check or has no power to control it

[This message edited by goalong at 10:48 AM, July 16th (Thursday)]

Hedwig posted 7/16/2020 11:12 AM

My wexbf had a friend who he would go drinking with just the two of them. When I raised this, he told me she was just a friend.
He also confessed that he had hugged her "AND THATS WHAT FRIENDS DO!"
And maybe when he hugged her, he kissed her on the cheek, almost neck, basically nek "BUT IT WAS PLATONIC"
I told him it was not ok to me.

Then he went and had lunch with this friend, without telling me. Because I would get upset. Lying by omission.

Then he abandoned a dinner with my friends to go comfort her after her relationship broke up. (This is never a good sign, when the other-sex friend relatipnship breaks down).

Then I came home to his house one night and found them both naked on his couch, sleeping.


So...please...know where this is headed.

This0is0Fine posted 7/16/2020 11:38 AM

It's not really about the friendship itself. It's about the lying.

How do you know they aren't "just friends".

1) She doesn't openly tell you about all of her interaction with him.

2) She is confiding marital problems to him. This is really a big one that I think is different between same sex friends and opposite sex friends.

3) Frequency of contact exceeds contact of any other friend, especially long term friends, or with your spouse. If she is calling him more than she calls her best female friend or than she calls you, you are in deep shit.

There you go.

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 11:38 AM, July 16th (Thursday)]

The1stWife posted 7/16/2020 12:20 PM

Here’s my two cents.

If the conversations are a secret or the spouse is not included it is wrong. Something else is going on. Like an emotional affair.

I have a friend since I was 5. Boy next door. He moved away but we anyways kept in touch as did our families. I might add this guy is gorgeous. Never a romantic interest b/c he was one of the guys like a brother.

When he comes to town to visit he sees both my H & I. We are all friends. Period.

Secret conversations - whether every day or twice a year - are not good signs and are 🚩🚩🚩 in my opinion.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 12:51 PM, July 16th (Thursday)]

Thumos posted 7/16/2020 15:30 PM

I'm assuming you came here because your gut is making you feel sick and queasy with worry.

If your gut is telling you something, it's usually right. Trust it. There are more neurons in your gut than your brain.

If they're talking about marriage problems, it's an affair.

Depending on how long this has been going on, it's gotten physical.

That's how serious this is.

Take steps now. Monitor but don't let her know you suspect, otherwise it goes underground. Don't delay. Put a VAR in her car and a VAR somewhere in the house.

Thumos posted 7/16/2020 16:52 PM

He's a family friend, our kids + their kids mates too. Their marriage has been on the rocks for some time and he'd confide in both of us regularly, too much so. I soon became suspicious and sure enough phone bills indicated daily phone calls... this was played down when I raised it with wife, more than once.
Then he would also visit our home while it was just wife there. She would keep this from me, like the ph calls, unless I specifically asked.

Crimson radioactive red flags here. This is very similar to how my WW’s affair started.

Also sounds like she has had poor boundaries throughout the marriage. Visiting a massage studio with a co-worker? Sounds like fun. There are a couple ladies I could think of I’d like to do that with. Know what? I never did. And neither did you.

This is probably, unfortunately, not her first rodeo. And if it has been going on any time longer than a few weeks, it’s probably physical. We’ve seen it all before, including in our own lives.

It’s a shitty club to have to join. But welcome. Now listen to what people tell you, because they do know what they’re talking about. The collective crowdsourced wisdom available to you here is invaluable.

auntiepat posted 7/16/2020 18:54 PM

My ex is the master of the "just friend" thing. Ended up being always not at all a friend. Multiple times and multiple "just friends" with daily contacts. So yah, no, I don't buy it anymore. Be careful, if you have doubts, you are most likely right. Listen to yourself!

Hedwig posted 7/17/2020 01:23 AM

There are more neurons in your gut than your brain.

I agree with your message, Thumos, but this is incorrect. The gut has aprox 0.5% of the neurons in the brain.

I totally think our gut is usually right, though!

[This message edited by Hedwig at 1:26 AM, July 17th (Friday)]

The1stWife posted 7/17/2020 03:25 AM

Add in the disrespect factor. You voice your concern and your spouse continues to engage in a way that makes you uncomfortable.

Another 🚩🚩🚩🚩

Buffer posted 7/17/2020 03:37 AM

Start distancing yourself from her. Start a hard 180 now.
She will blame you, your family; everyone bar him and her. Tell her you do trust her and that you are going to be tested for STDs. Seek legal advice for your location, you need to know your rings and responsibilities.
If the roles were reversed she would be out the door.
You have to get or let her know that this is very serious and most likely will led to D due to this EA.
One day at a time
Buffer

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