Can you and your significant other share a best friend?

Postby redhawk87 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:45 pm

So, my wife used to have a best friend locally, but she has since moved away. Since she has moved away, my wife has started getting closer to one of my best friends. Beforehand, I used to on occasion hang out with him one on one and I really liked that. But now that him and my wife have gotten closer, I feel the relationship has changed. My wife says she is ok with us hanging out together without her. But, to hang out with him alone also means she is entitled to the same freedom. She has expressed interest in doing so where I am not invited to said hangout session. Just curious how to handle the situation and what people’s thoughts are on significant others sharing the same best friend and how it all works out.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:41 pm

redhawk87 wrote: My wife says she is ok with us hanging out together without her. But, to hang out with him alone also means she is entitled to the same freedom. She has expressed interest in doing so where I am not invited to said hangout session.


I think it is fair to understand what exactly are the areas of shared interest. If your wife doesn’t like golf and you found a woman that did like golf, according to your wife’s reasoning, it is perfectly fine for you to not invite her when you go golfing with this woman.

Sticking with the golf analogy. If all three of you enjoy golf, there should never be a time when you are not invited to golf. If your wife went out of her way to schedule golf without you, that would signal an issue with your relationship. But, if it just so happens you can’t golf at a particular time and the two of them went golfing, no big deal.

The way you phrased your post, it sounds like an issue of control. If you hang out with him alone, you are doing so due to some shared interest, like sharing a beer while talking about the challenges of being married to a woman, not marriage in general. Therefore, if she was to claim that she is entitled to hang out with him to share a beer and talk about the challenges of being married to a man, I doubt he shares such an interest. He doesn’t care about the challenges of being married to a man, hence an important distinction between why men typically hangout with men to discuss shared interests and vice versa.

This takes me back full circle to the question of shared interests. “Hanging out” or just enjoying each other’s company as a general statement is not a sufficient reason in my opinion. I would want to know what is the shared interest. They don’t share the same gender, so they will not be talking about and participating in gender specific interests. Maybe they both enjoy discussing politics, reading philosophy, etc. etc.

I’m not saying there are never legitimate reasons for a husband and wife to share a friend. I am saying it is reasonable to have a good understanding of what interests everyone shares or does not share. This will help clarify why person A might want to “hang out” with person B while not including person C.

If instead it is just a philosophical, if you “hang out” with person B alone then I’m equally entitled to hang out with person B alone, then that is an argument of control rather than substance.
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#2

Postby redhawk87 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:22 pm

Yeah, I guess that’s what we would get together and do. Grab a beer and just talk about common interests my wife usually did not take interest in. Or working out together.

The first part I totally agree with. If I am unable to go out for some reason, they are fine to go out without me and such things. But, she would like to go grab a beer with him on occasion and just talk and thinks every once in a while it would be nice if I wasn’t there. I don’t want to be excluded from such things, but at the same time I used to have that same relationship with him and I kind of miss having that. She doesn’t have a go-to girlfriend to do that with anymore though so I feel bad doing it. I feel my friend would also like some time where he can just hang out with me alone too like we use to. I just don’t know how to deal with the situation and how it makes me feel. I mean as you said going to a bar is not necessarily ‘common interest’ and both my wife and I enjoy doing it. I do feel in a merriage it is good to be independent and have that time away from the other person every once and a while as long as it doesn’t become excessive
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#3

Postby Livetowin » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:54 pm

I'm a big believer there is a time and place to exercise restraint, instill understanding to see the bigger picture and let things play out as they should. But there are other times when common sense needs to pony up and excuse the PC narrative for the sake of recognizing when someone is overstepping boundaries.

The very notion that your wife would ask that you NOT be present when she spends "casual time" with another man is WAY off base. You can flush the labels of "friend" because that is where you're losing perspective here. It's not like it's Christmas time and she needs to ask him about a present she's getting you and needs his input because he knows what you like.

I don't think this is a control issue for the sake of control so much as someone controlling the narrative, which is what she is doing. The very idea she would request your non-participation is the red flag. I don't like that and quite honestly it's clear you don't either. You don't because common sense tells you its not normal for your wife to ask you to assume a corner while she has a "casual beer" with your friend. At bare minimum she is having a conversation with him that in all likelihood she should be having with you. But worse, she is conditioning both her and you to go outside the marriage whenever she chooses for exclusive terms that don't include you.

I'm sorry but that doesn't pass the sniff test. What does your "buddy" have so much in common with your wife about? Jock itch? John Wayne movies? How the Packers match up against the Bears? How the Cavs are going to beat the Warriors this season? Plot theories on the next Thor movie or Star Wars installment? You see what I'm saying? You're uncomfortable because the request is off base with the definition of the gathering.

This is not about you being insecure. This not about you being in control. And this is not about you transplanting bad will on innocent people. This is about someone disrespecting your space. Good friends don't violate another friend's space like this. Let me ask you something. Has this guy ever approached you and said, " Man, I don't want this to be a problem, because I know it might look off to you. If you feel uncomfortable, I won't do this." Where is HIS investment in you? Where is his accountability as YOUR friend? Is he playing "dumb" and acting like there is no problem as if he can't see it should be a problem? If you say yes to that, then there's a problem. No one is that dumb.

Having male friends for your wife is quite fine. But friends do not take the place of husbands. They do not share sacred meetings and have secret conversations. Even if we could secretly look in and see total innocence in the situation, it's a bad precedence you set to let your marriage become open to anyone to have a voice with your wife in private that demands your exclusion. There's nothing to misunderstand. It's a bad philosophy and if it means having a dispute over the matter, then I would go there because she has sown the seeds for this to happen.

I'm not afraid to fight for what I love. Don't you be either. Stand up for yourself and make sure your friend understands boundaries. That's common sense.
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#4

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:48 pm

Livetowin wrote:I'm sorry but that doesn't pass the sniff test. What does your "buddy" have so much in common with your wife about? Jock itch? John Wayne movies? How the Packers match up against the Bears? How the Cavs are going to beat the Warriors this season? Plot theories on the next Thor movie or Star Wars installment? You see what I'm saying? You're uncomfortable because the request is off base with the definition of the gathering.


Exactly. In my post I mentioned what are the shared interests that you might not have an interest in, politics, philosophy, poetry perhaps? I doubt that your wife can provide a specific shared interest that would then give rise to a gathering with this male absent you. Maybe a one off where they both join the same book club. Or maybe he is into a spa day?

Has this guy ever approached you and said, " Man, I don't want this to be a problem, because I know it might look off to you. If you feel uncomfortable, I won't do this." Where is HIS investment in you? Where is his accountability as YOUR friend? Is he playing "dumb" and acting like there is no problem as if he can't see it should be a problem? If you say yes to that, then there's a problem. No one is that dumb.


I’m not sure this friend is even aware of the discussion that she wants alone time with him, but I want to add to the above by proposing a question. What would you say if this friend came to you and asked, “Hey buddy, I really enjoy time with you. I also enjoy time with you and your wife, but do you think sometimes it would be okay if just your wife and I were to hang out alone?”

Would the above not trigger bells and whistles? Would the above not make you wonder what the heck your wife has to offer that you don’t?

It sounds like your wife is spewing PC crap and wants you to buy into it. It sounds like the free love philosophy that everyone should be able to hang out with everyone. We shouldn’t see gender, we are all just unique individuals going through the same journey. Okay, buy into that and see how it works out. There are consequences for what you buy.
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#5

Postby redhawk87 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:34 pm

Thank you All for your responses! They have helped. I guess what I am having trouble with is that now that she is closer with him and has expressed interest in this, I can’t seem to convince her why it’s a bad idea and why she cannot do it. She does not understand that she is crossing a boundary. So, now I feel I cannot hang out with him alone with out it turning into this big ordeal. Since I can not convince her otherwise, I feel the ordeal will not be constructive in solving the issue. So, I don’t know how to approach the situation and how to get her to understand all of this.
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#6

Postby redhawk87 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:50 pm

Also, I guess I have been told by others who have studied psychology that it is ok for you to have friends of the opposite sex and do things one-on-one with them as long as your open, honest, and transparent about those encounters. She feels that this is just that. A harmless one-on-one encounter where she is being open, honest, and transparent
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#7

Postby quietvoice » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:20 pm

What has kept her from making another friend? Does she belong to any club or such, or take classes, or in any other way get out on her own to do her own thing where there are potential friends to be made?
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#8

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:42 am

redhawk87 wrote:Also, I guess I have been told by others who have studied psychology that it is ok for you to have friends of the opposite sex and do things one-on-one with them as long as your open, honest, and transparent about those encounters. She feels that this is just that. A harmless one-on-one encounter where she is being open, honest, and transparent


I would be very skeptical of the “psychology” they have studied. Realize, that in many fields of research, especially those that are not the hard sciences, political correctness tends to dominate. Studies are conducted not as pure science, but to push an agenda. There is no doubt that in clinical psychology, social psychology, and in my field of specialty, educational psychology, what is considered science is whatever is popular, not necessarily what is actually true. Try to publish a scientific finding that shows men and women are different and you will be heavily criticized. That’s if you can even get it published. Try to publish a study that says science says transgender or white privilege, or whatever XYZ politically hot topic that fits with the narrative of the majority, supporting their own, similar research, and you will be praised for your brilliance.

The above is nothing new. The skewed world of “science” where there is a “zeitgeist” with a bunch of sheep scientists is a very normal part of the scientific circle. It is the very normal “bandwagon” effect. My point being, don’t buy the hype. I’m here to tell you that there are no unbiased, credible psychology studies that say “it is okay as long as you are transparent an honest.” Instead, it is psychologists picking and choosing bits and pieces of various studies and drawing the conclusions that support the view that helps them maintain their world view.

Regardless of the above two paragraphs, when you say your wife believes it okay, she is just expressing a world view, a philosophy where she is parroting whatever she learned or is learning from whichever sources she is using to confirm her beliefs. Any information provided contrary, she will most likely dismiss as invalid.

What you need to do is:

-1- stop guessing and start asking, what does she find interesting about him and what does she believe he likes about her. Don’t accept some general hogwash. Get specific on her beliefs about shared interests. Don’t except the anyone can hang out with anyone philosophy. As an ideology of the ideal universe where it is hugs and kisses all around it is fine, but from an actual scientific, real world standpoint, people hang out with other people for specific reasons. And when it comes to men and women, one of the primary reasons is mutual physical attraction.

Ask her, be specific. Does she find him attractive. She should be open and honest, right? Ask her if you were not together would she consider him as a potential mate. Why or why not? She should be open and honest right? And of course I bet you will immediately be able to tell she either doesn’t want to answer or will hesitate or will say something to distract from answering the questions, such as asking if you don’t trust her. And why will she hesitate or feel a bit uncomfortable or ask about trust, etc. is because she is human and it is very normal, verses this farce of an ideology of pure open and transparent bliss.

-2- Suggest a woman or two or three that you wish to hang out with. Choose women that you find attractive and would consider a potential mate. Explain, being very open and honest that you find them attractive and would consider them as potential mates. Then ask your wife if she has any issue with you beginning to “hang out” without her around. If she is honest with herself, the mere suggestion should immediately make her feel something. What is that feeling? Maybe a hint of concern, maybe something isn’t quite adding up with this suggestion of yours? What might that be? But it’s all good, because science says being open and honest doesn’t allow her to feel anything, right? She should be perfectly content with her husband having whatever friendships he wishes, lol.

I don’t know your worldview, but it sounds like you two are on at least slightly different pages. She wants you to adopt her world view. It sounds like you want her to adopt a world view closer to your own. This means working towards asking her specific questions and explaining why you do not find those answers credible or acceptable. Good luck!
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#9

Postby Livetowin » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:25 am

redhawk87 wrote:Thank you All for your responses! They have helped. I guess what I am having trouble with is that now that she is closer with him and has expressed interest in this, I can’t seem to convince her why it’s a bad idea and why she cannot do it. She does not understand that she is crossing a boundary. So, now I feel I cannot hang out with him alone with out it turning into this big ordeal. Since I can not convince her otherwise, I feel the ordeal will not be constructive in solving the issue. So, I don’t know how to approach the situation and how to get her to understand all of this.


Your situation is your wife is TELLING you how she wants you to be around this man that she has invaded and wants to spend time with. And she's TELLING you that you can not be alone with him. And you're worried about tact in approaching her on this when you're getting handled like this? When did your first name become "Puppy"? Lets drop the psycho-analysis for a moment and cut to the chase. Do you want to stay married to this person? If the answer is "yes", then your next question should be if she wants to stay married to you?

I understand you're being served a bunch of psycho-babble from your friends about what society deems "acceptable". And Richard hits the nail on the head when he says"popular thinking" is more a shift in fad-laced attitudes that have made their rounds on social media, than clinical findings that validate them. I actually read an article about fish changing sexes as an argument for the transgender movement. I never thought society would use the Incredible Mr. Limpet as an argument for their state of mind...but there you go. Don Knotts where are you?! But I digress.

The point is you can justify anything in life. But your wife is making a value judgment against you. She minimizes the insult and violation by saying he's just a friend. Gee, never heard that one before. And your friends don't have a dog in that race, so they're playing dumb to stay neutral on a matter, so when it blows, they can act as surprised as honestly you shouldn't be. The real problem here is your indecisiveness and your wife has identified that as a submissive quality in you which she is taking advantage of because she does not feel you have the nerve to stand your ground on the matter.

So if all this hasn't gotten you agitated, let me take you there. Who wears the pants in this marriage? Are you going to sit there in a fetal position and let her dictate to you the terms of who she wants to have, how she wants them, and you are to stay out of it? REALLY? And you think if you do nothing but stand off in your assigned dog house she will just continue being friends with him and nothing more? You're sadly mistaken. A man who does nothing when his wife challenges their vowels is essentially giving her reason to cheat on him because he's not showing he cares enough to make a stand in the marriage. She sees that weakness and realizes, conscious or subconsciously, that you are no longer the person she thought you should be.

So doing nothing will not save your marriage. If anything, it will accelerate its dissolve because you showed no heart to fight to keep it together. If you confront her and she uses that as a reason to leave you, then you have exposed her to be the fraud she is, which means she was going to leave you anyway. So the only possibly hope you have left in this is if she is straying because the marriage is not as strong as it once was and you need to put your foot down and show her you still care. Maybe she will see the passion in your conviction and realize a simple friend is not worth losing you in the trade off. Get the picture?

So how do you approach her? Simple. Say, "Excuse me but I'm your husband and I'm not going for this nonsense. You can talk to me with your dime store psychology until your blue in the face. But if you think you're going to take one of my friends and dictate terms to me, you're out of your mind. I didn't just crawl out of some rock, so quit talking to me like I'm a fool. Are you wanting to spend your free time with him or me? Because it's not going to be both." There you go.

I'm sure you're sitting back thinking, " My God. He's out of his mind." Am I? I've been married twenty-five years , raised three kids, and currently help raise my grandson. I didn't get there being a push over. My wife didn't either. There is a time for compromise and then there are times when you have to be assertive and put your foot down. Without those moments how can you possibly have an identity for yourself? And you can be damn sure it's been fed back to me as well.

Marriages work when you have two INDIVIDUALS who work hard to be together. Stepping over perceived boundaries is not a new thing because there are universal boundaries that most people understand, then there are others that quite frankly some people need to be educated about. This is one for your wife. And she is doing it either because she thinks you're a push over and may be wanting to leave or she's a little left of center and needs to reorganize her priorities. Either way you don't get those answers by your own hand if you keep them shoved in your pockets.

So speak up and quit worrying about her response. Have enough strength and will within yourself to stand up for you. So what if she gets upset? She has no problem shoving your dignity in dark, unsavory places. At least illustrate you're not going to take that kind of behavior from her. This is not a light issue. It's time for you to take the bull by the horns or get run over by it.
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#10

Postby quietvoice » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:09 am

I'm a female. I prefer the company of males. I feel that I enjoy better conversations with them, as opposed to the topics that women generally talk about. However, I can't remember any one of them who had spent time with me as not being attracted to me, even if they don't act on it. Beware.
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#11

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:59 am

quietvoice wrote: However, I can't remember any one of them who had spent time with me as not being attracted to me, even if they don't act on it. Beware.


Exactly.

In my over 4 decades circling the sun, I have never found a reason to spend time with a female I did not find attractive. For professional reasons I have enjoyed the company of many wonderful, intelligent women of various ages that I did not find attractive, but that was that. I did not then choose to pursue additional time outside a professional setting to “hang out”.

Physical attraction is a major driver behind why two people of the opposite sex choose to “hang out” in nonprofessional settings. Age and gender play a role in the selection process. You don’t see 20 year old males full of testosterone casually grabbing a beer with a 60 year old female so they can share their thoughts on the Brexit vote.

Like I said in my previous post. I guarantee if your wife is “open, honest, and transparent” she will have to admit that she doesn’t find this guy ugly. And that means she is not wanting to hang out just to share the top 10 lakes she read about in Fisherman’s Quarterly.
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#12

Postby redhawk87 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:06 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:
redhawk87 wrote:Also, I guess I have been told by others who have studied psychology that it is ok for you to have friends of the opposite sex and do things one-on-one with them as long as your open, honest, and transparent about those encounters. She feels that this is just that. A harmless one-on-one encounter where she is being open, honest, and transparent


I would be very skeptical of the “psychology” they have studied. Realize, that in many fields of research, especially those that are not the hard sciences, political correctness tends to dominate. Studies are conducted not as pure science, but to push an agenda. There is no doubt that in clinical psychology, social psychology, and in my field of specialty, educational psychology, what is considered science is whatever is popular, not necessarily what is actually true. Try to publish a scientific finding that shows men and women are different and you will be heavily criticized. That’s if you can even get it published. Try to publish a study that says science says transgender or white privilege, or whatever XYZ politically hot topic that fits with the narrative of the majority, supporting their own, similar research, and you will be praised for your brilliance.


I guess what I mean by this is best explained in a scenario. If I am at work, I feel I am able to befriend a female coworker. If our normal lunch group is too busy for lunch one day, I feel this coworker and I could go grab lunch together alone with no issue. If we both later were going to go to the work provided gym, then I think it would be ok for us to arrange to meet up and go together. Doing these things would, to me, mean we are friends. Now, I can do this as long as I am open, honest, and transparent about the relationship to my wife. If at any moment I feel it is turning into something more or if I start feeling an attraction forming, I again need to be open, honest and transparent to my wife and tell her exactly this. Then my wife and I can sit down and figure out a solution together. Maybe my wife has been distant lately. Maybe she has not been fulfilling all of my emotional needs. In that scenario, I crossed a boundary, but I immediately realized it, came forward and confessed to it. Then, my wife and I dealt with it. In an ideal setting, no one would ever cross each others boundaries, but we are all human and do it on occasion.

Now, what I feel is happening here with my wife is she is expressing interest in crossing one of my boundaries and sees no problem with it. In fact, she does not see it as a boundary at all. I just do not think I could ever convince her that it is a boundary. Which brings me to why I am here...

[quote="Richard@DecisionSkills"]
What you need to do is:

...
/quote]

Thank you for the advice! I know I can have a conversation with her and get at why she feels she needs to do this and what not. We can get down to the root cause and fix it, but I do not think it will change her world view on the subject of her having male friends that she can go grab a beer with. That is mainly what I am struggling with. Having the conversation you mentioned is relatively easy, but as I said before, I feel it is somewhat pointless unless I can get her to see how she is crossing a boundary. She has told me before she has no attraction to this person. She also has no problem with me doing the same (in theory haha). I am sure in practice she would not be ok with it.
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#13

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:59 pm

redhawk87 wrote:I guess what I mean by this is best explained in a scenario. If I am at work, I feel I am able to befriend a female coworker. If our normal lunch group is too busy for lunch one day, I feel this coworker and I could go grab lunch together alone with no issue. If we both later were going to go to the work provided gym, then I think it would be ok for us to arrange to meet up and go together. Doing these things would, to me, mean we are friends. Now, I can do this as long as I am open, honest, and transparent about the relationship to my wife. If at any moment I feel it is turning into something more or if I start feeling an attraction forming, I again need to be open, honest and transparent to my wife and tell her exactly this. Then my wife and I can sit down and figure out a solution together. Maybe my wife has been distant lately. Maybe she has not been fulfilling all of my emotional needs. In that scenario, I crossed a boundary, but I immediately realized it, came forward and confessed to it. Then, my wife and I dealt with it. In an ideal setting, no one would ever cross each others boundaries, but we are all human and do it on occasion.


Ah yes!!! Trying to put lipstick on a pig. The hypothetical scenario you are describing is similar to the delicious and tantalizing power of "framing effects". When want to justify and explain case A, we develop hypotheticals, mentally simulating case B, C, and D until we come up with a scenario we believe has similar enough characteristics, that we can then justify A.

Scenario B, "what if we were two people in the military, assigned to the same unit and found ourselves having to share the same shower?" Nope...not close enough...hmm.

Scenario C, "what if...no...don't be ridiculous, men and women are housed in different prisons and besides, I would never work in a strip club."

Scenario D, "what if...lets use a generic office setting with no details, and create a hypothetical...yep, this is working, this is starting to kinda explain scenario A for me...hmm."

STOP with the "what if's"...STOP trying to put lipstick on this pig. Now, I fully admit to hypocrisy here, as I have thrown out plenty of "what ifs" but that is because I'm not the one trying to convince myself, to rationalize reasons why it is perfectly healthy and normal for your wife to want to in effect dictate that she goes out with a male friend of yours while you stay at home.

You say it is easy to have the conversation, so tell us, what has she told you are their shared interests?

Anyway, you seem to be bending over backwards to try and rationalize to yourself why it is okay, why you should adopt her desire to "hang out" and grab a beer with your male friend with you not being around, absent any specific shared interests of which you are aware.

Maybe you can say you are playing "devils advocate" with your scenario, trying to figure out a way to convince her, but from this side it looks like you are trying awfully hard to find the right shade of lipstick so that you can sleep at night.
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#14

Postby redhawk87 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:14 pm

I think your missing my point. I completely understand the difference between the two scenarios and I am not trying to justify that the current situation I am in is just like the one I described. I described a situation where it is perfectly fine for a guy and a girl to have a friendship. In no way shape or form am I saying because of this, it is ok for my wife to have a beer with this guy. But, to her, these two scenarios are the same thing. I feel I cannot convince her that they are different. That is where I am having trouble. You see if I tell her she cannot see him one-on-one like that and then I turn around and do the same thing with him, a person who doesn’t understand the difference between the two scenarios would think of it as a double standard.
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