My Husband’s Friends

You got married or committed to someone, and he or she has a bunch of single friends. Friends who aren’t about to give up one of their own, at least not without a fight. Your husband truly wants to be married but he also likes going out and being with his single friends. Where does that leave you?

So how does this go? Usually, one of you is doing the going out and the other is complaining about it. If your husband’s friends are all women you’re probably feeling even worse. Some men hang onto ‘old girlfriends’ like windup toys they collect and entertain themselves with from time to time.

The old flame may be out but in many cases the embers are still warm. This used to be an insurance policy against feeling devastatingly lonely. When done correctly there would always be someone to be with no matter what. Having a few ex-girlfriends and confidants around can feel comforting especially during the single years.

Most people will agree that who you know can make the difference between a satisfying enjoyable single life, and lonely boredom. When you get married, the interpersonal landscape is supposed to change. Now you have a ‘number one.’ Your spouse or committed lover is supposed to be first and foremost, everyone else is after that. OK at least in theory.

Old allegiances are now a secondary priority in favor of the relationship you have with your wife or committed lover. Don’t miss the point. Making your wife feel like she is number one in your heart is the cure for a lot of different relationship problems. If you haven’t succeeded in creating this feeling in your lover, your interest in having friends outside of your relationship will predictably suffer.

If you’re intention is to try to divide up your now married life between time for your spouse and time for your friends, you’ll probably encounter considerable resistance from most committed women. The solution to this problem involves a little more than the mere dividing of time. Your friends will have to survive the fact that you’re now married and having to ‘check with the wife’ when it comes to allotting your time and energy.

If your husband or lover tries to convince you that his friends are an important part of his life that he can’t just walk away from, you have the choice of how you’re going to react to this announcement. You can read it as a threat to your relationship and over-react. Or you can try understanding and supporting the growth you’re hoping your spouse will inevitably experience during the course of your married life together.

If you refuse to accept the inclusion of his friends in your lifestyle, you’ll work against the relationship. If you are able to live with the fact (for now) that your lover/husband is at a certain place in his growth as a person, you’ll practice tolerating the presence of his friends to some extent in your lives together right now.

Of course this doesn’t mean ‘destructively’ in your lives together. Some women find a way to get included in whatever activities or invitations are offered without resentment, jealousy, or competitive feelings (at least not on the surface). The objective is to get into a relationship with your spouse or committed lover that can grow. If you go into a marriage expecting or demanding a developed intimacy long before the two of you have had enough of a chance to form one, you’re bound to be disappointed and limit the potential in your relationship.

By the way, you might be interested in knowing what to do about these feelings of jealousy and competition. Forget about trying to make your husband or lover conform to your way of seeing and doing things in the relationship. You’ll only get resistance for your efforts. As I’ve already mentioned, getting involved in (or at least accepting whole-heartedly) his old friendships can be beneficial to your marriage especially if your commitment to each other is being honored (he’s not cheating on you).

The other part of this is to go do your own thing without any visible signs of resentment. If your lover sees signs of resentment, you won’t have the impact you’re interested in. The idea is to simply to go get your own friends. Curious things happens when a complaining partner stops complaining and starts doing things for herself with her own people. It will certainly get his attention, I assure you.

Remember, complainers are supposed to remain put. They aren’t supposed to change, God forbid. They aren’t supposed to stop complaining. They certainly aren’t supposed to do what their doing because they realize it’s a better approach to married life than lonely complaining. Here’s the magic part, given the presence of love, this change will not only get his attention, you might even get his commitment of time. You’ll then decide what to do with the time once you get it.

Stop trying to get your husband or lover to give up his friends. It’s futile and it’s been tried a billion times before. Forget it. Put your energy into making a life for yourself and enjoying the intense conversations that will inevitably ensue once he realizes you’re going to give up on trying to make him change.

The good news is, the two of you might see eye to eye and decide your relationship needs the support of both your friends and his friends. In a few years, when the emotional intimacy and commitment grows between the two of you, you’re bound to review and evolve this lifestyle. Friendships may become more supplemental rather than vital to your relationship.

For now, if your husband (who loves you) can be comfortably out with his friends knowing that you’re comfortably out with yours, he gets the designation ‘good guy.’ As far as I’m concerned, he’s a true patron of democratic love relationships. With proper steering and growing, this is the kind of relationship that can grow into a lifetime of intimacy and love.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. T. Jordan


Posted in

Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

Leave a Comment