When is a friendship between two men a bromance or more?
My husband of 22 years, age 60, is close friends with a man he’s known since age 16.
They text each other first thing at 7am, text/call all day, meet for drinks at least four times weekly.
My husband’s self-employed, his friend hangs around the office, arriving daily at 10am. I work there and see him.
My husband spends much more time with him than me. Even on weekends, he’ll sneak-meet him. I know from reading his texts (though I shouldn't).
I’ve expressed my feelings but nothing changes. I'm considering issuing an ultimatum.
I feel like this friend is “the other woman.” My husband texted him, "I need a hug." Is that normal?
He doesn’t express his feelings to me. Sometimes he mentions his “lovely wife,” but other times complains to his friend about having to spend time with me.
They exchange information about how often they have sex with their partners. Isn't that disrespectful?
I'm certain this won’t change since it’s been going on throughout our marriage.
Bromance or Friendship?
That’s certainly a long, close friendship! But more? You’d need to ask, not hide behind snooping.
Meanwhile, you chose the word “bromance” so look closer at the definition: A close but non-sexual relationship between two or more men.
Wikipedia adds: “An exceptionally tight, affectional, homosocial male bonding relationship exceeding that of usual friendship, (with) a particularly high level of emotional intimacy.”
There’s no “other woman.” But there IS a lot of time for his friend.
Just as you want him to be open about the nature of their relationship, you must reveal that you’ve read the texts, found them hurtful, believe that your sex life should be kept private.
Forget ultimatums. Talk this out. When he knows your feelings, he may better balance his time for each of you.
If not, you then can decide what you can accept, or cannot.
I’m mid-40s, married with two kids, living a very decent life (and feeling lucky).
A good friend since college is married with three children. Her husband inherited family wealth. Then, he hit a windfall with a start-up company that later got bought out. They now live at a very higher financial level.
When she’s with me alone, she’s still the same fun-loving, likeable woman I knew.
But recently, when we could be out together again socially distanced, she frequently bragged.
She detailed their expensive travel experiences and designer clothing, even when a couple of other friends joined us.
To me, the descriptions of over-the-top spending, sound gross.
How can I inform her that she’s turning some friends off, including me, and that trying to impress me does the opposite.
She has the high-end goods but lacks good taste.
Her timing and topics reveal social “tone deafness” (also known as obtuse insensitivity) to what the majority of people are experiencing.
As a long-time close friend, influence her by example. Since you consider yourself “lucky” with what you and your family have, say so as a fact.
Say what you’ve learned about how the pandemic has caused so many hardships to those far less lucky than you both: Long line-ups at food banks, people laid off a second time within this same year, small businesses closed, young adults unable to find any work...
Then plant an idea: With your good luck, consider where you two and others can offer help - a free-groceries delivery project, donations to community service work, etc.
Message from an Anonymous Reader - On why he/she reads this column:
“What better way to lessen the risk of making mistakes than by learning not just from your own mistakes, but from the mistakes of others too?
“This isn’t about enjoying others’ misfortunes. It’s about understanding and seeing that how other people have dealt with problems they’ve faced, can help anyone else... even if the circumstances aren’t the same.
“No one goes through life problem-free. Learning from others is a benefit we can pay to ourselves if we want to, as a sort of preventative medicine.”
Ellie - I’ve heard this from other readers as well.
I’m always gratified to know that while some people read for entertainment, and others to learn about a specific issue, still some, like this reader, finds it useful to note the warning signs from others about the potential trouble-spots along a relationship’s path.
Tip of the day:
A friendship that overrides a marriage requires open discussion.