Following are leftover questions from my online chat on “Emotional Affairs” (May 28):
My wife has a gay friend who’s like a brother; they text and talk multiple times each day.
I sometimes hear her laugh on the phone with him in a way she’s never that relaxed with me. They like shopping together, which I don’t like, so she spends some weekend time with him, too.
I saw in her emails that they discuss our personal life together, like if we had a fight, and there was even a reference to our lovemaking one time.
He’s definitely gay so I’m not worried on that front, but I’m uncomfortable that their close friendship might come between us.
Too Close for Comfort?
It’s about the boundaries of friendship, not about his being gay. As a woman in a committed relationship, she’s crossed the line by talking to him about your lovemaking.
Unfortunately, it’s a too-common mistake people make, with loose lips about private business. She’d probably be horrified if she thought the reverse - that you ever discuss your sex life together with a close friend who’s female or male.
Sharing a confidence can occasionally clear up some confusion about a spouse’s behaviour (though it’s still best to try to have that discussion with your partner rather than the friend).
But any regular sharing of bedroom confidences would demean the intimacy relationship between you and your wife.
Tell her straight up that you like this guy and respect their friendship. But you find it hurtful that she seems closer to him than to you.
If you don’t want to admit that you snooped, just say you hope that she honours the trust between you to not share intimate details.
Tell her that, if she has such things she wants to discuss with you, you’re open and hoping it’ll draw you two closer.
I have a great friend from high school days; we always hung out together, and even when I met my boyfriend, I told him that this guy is my BFF.
He didn’t mind at first because he knew my friend and I had never had a romantic relationship.
But now that I’m engaged, my fiancé is all prissy about me having such a close male friend. He says it doesn’t look right, people will think I’m cheating when they see me out with my buddy.
I think he’s being ridiculous but I also don’t want to break up over this.
Engaged but Loyal
Good for you! It’s a new situation to be engaged, and you’re not overreacting to your fiancé’s new attitude.
It’s a good opportunity for you two to hear each other out, show some compassion for each other’s feelings, and work out a mutual response you can both accept.
Ask your fiancé what his main concern is, knowing that you and this guy have been friends for years, and knowing that you can be trusted and he’s always trusted you in this friendship.
Maybe he hasn’t yet said all he means. Since it’s about how this friendship “looks” to others, is there something specific that bothers him?
Example: Lots of opposite sex buddies hold hands or hug, without a sexual inference, but that may be one of the things that makes him uncomfortable to have others see.
Also, be sure to make it a threesome some time, so he and others see you all together as pals, and your friend gets to know you better as a couple.
My therapist told me to find friends who’ll do things with me that my husband won’t, like going to movies, plays, etc. She said that partners couldn’t be all things to each other.
So I became closer with one female friend (not gay) with similar interests. We go out together after work twice a week and talk every day by phone and email.
I prefer spending time with her instead of my husband. I can tell her anything, and she’s way more fun.
My husband’s accused me of having an emotional affair … what should I tell him?
You’ve been using the therapist’s advice to escape the marriage, rather than just have a theatre buddy. And you’ve transferred emotional intimacy to this friend.
Continue with therapy to better understand the deeper reasons for a growing distance between you and your husband, and what steps you can take about it, not just avoid it.
Tip of the day:
Friendships require boundaries, or the attachment can risk your primary relationship.