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    Old 07-09-2006, 03:29 PM   #1
    mugwump
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    Unhappy Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    I just got married 6 weeks ago, and we had our first fight, which is lasting longer than usual fights. Normally we resolve fights in like a day or immediately after, but this one has lasted 3 days, and it's still bothering me. My husband went out to lunch with a woman he used to work with (at two different companies), and he used to share a cubicle with her because supposedly there weren't any other cubicles. I didn't like them sharing cubicles and they used to have lunch regularly. So like not even a month after we got back from the honeymoon he had lunch with her, when he doesn't work with her anymore. It turns out, she got married like a week earlier. But when he said he was going to lunch with her, I was insulted that he would a) assume that it was okay with me and b) when I said I had a problem with it, he didn't acknowledge my feelings, and he went to lunch with her anyway. Partially I was jealous because I feel like he voluntarily wants to socialize with her, yet I have to pull teeth half of the time to get him to pay attention to me or talk to me. I don't really think anything is going on between them, and I don't dislike her. I trust them, but I feel like I was still in wedding mode, we just got back our wedding pictures, and I was thinking of starting a family, and he was thinking of her. He thinks it's okay to have OS friends, and that he wouldn't care if I had lunch with another man (except there isn't anyone I would do that with). He also wants to start his own company, and possibly hire her. I feel like he must be attracted to her on some level to want to maintain a friendship with her. My parents, at least my mother, never had male friends, and they are still married. His parents did have OS friends, but they divorced, and so then he went and asked his parents who are both remarried, if they have lunch with opposite sex friends, and they said yes. But I feel embarrassed now that he got them involved when it's none of their business. I'm closer to my parents than he is to his, and I haven't told mine. He hasn't even sent them wedding pictures yet, or thank you notes, and instead is asking them marital advice. I feel like I'm the one whose opinion matters, and that it's irrelevant what his parents do in their marriages, because he's married to me, not them. The thing is, he didn't have anyone else to talk to because he is an only child, but airing our dirty laundry to his parents made it worse. Am I overreacting? Also the woman he had lunch with doesn't even live in the same state with her husband. Plus instead of trying to empathize with me, he doesn't seem to understand jealousy, and he would get defensive. He has said he'll try to be more empathetic but he still thinks that he is an individual and can have his own friends, male or female. I feel like he could have at least waited a while after the wedding, and that now that we're married, he should consider my feelings too and not act all independent, like he's single.

     
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    Old 07-09-2006, 04:29 PM   #2
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    Re: Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    I don't blame you for being upset. Your spouse is supposed to come FIRST. I would ask him why he feels it's so important to have lunch with a female ex co-worker. Does he have lunch with male ex co-workers? Even if that's the case, he should not be socializing with other females when it clearly bothers you. And now he's talking about hiring her....why? So he can see her more often? How convenient. I see a definite red flag there. Even if this relationship is totally innocent....although I'm still having trouble believing that....the fact that it makes you uncomfortable should be reason enough for him to terminate it. And tell him issues between the two of you should stay between the two of you and not spilled to outside parties.

     
    Old 07-09-2006, 05:14 PM   #3
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    Re: Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mugwump
    . Partially I was jealous because I feel like he voluntarily wants to socialize with her, yet I have to pull teeth half of the time to get him to pay attention to me or talk to me.

    He also wants to start his own company, and possibly hire her. I feel like he must be attracted to her on some level to want to maintain a friendship with her.
    Dear mugwump, what alarms me more than your husband having lunch with this woman is your being jealous and experiencing such a thing so early in your marriage. You sound hurt because you feel he gives her attention with ease but you have to pull out teeth in order to get his attention. Do you really believe this or are you just angry and making matters worse. You base your feelings on impressions and impressions are not fact. The only good thing your feelings are doing is making you miserable. You need to communicate your feelings with your spouse in a way that is to YOUR advantage....not the woman's. Chances are their relationship is on the up and up and innocent, but if you throw jealousy at your husband, it could very possibly push him away from you and toward her. Not right away, but in time. I know because this happened to me. Jealousy does no good. Does that mean you don't have the right to speak up and tell him you don't like him having lunch with ex-female co-workers? No....it's your right, but the way you have that conversation can make all the difference. Don't put him on the defense. Do let him know you love him and feel the need to talk about things that concern you and hope he will do the same. It's not what's said but how it's said.
    MAW

     
    Old 07-09-2006, 05:43 PM   #4
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    Re: Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mugwump
    I didn't like them sharing cubicles and they used to have lunch regularly.
    First of all my congrats on your new marriage!!

    Hmmmmmmm......I guess what I am wondering is how did you feel about this before the two of you got married??? Surely you knew about this woman and your new husband's having lunch with her and his continuing friendship with her after they stopped working with one another.....am I correct in assuming that you did??? And if so.....why do you have a problem with it now that the two of you are married???? I can understand it more if this were something you did not know about before you got married but to assume that something will change once you get married is alot to assume without having talked about it first. And if it really bothered you before you got married and your husband didn't acknowledge your feelings then why did you marry him before resolving this conflict??? I am guessing that perhaps you thought it might change once you got married.

    Perhaps I am ahead of myself but one of the biggest mistakes made going into marriage is assuming that things will change once we say "I do".

    I agree with the previous poster that while you are entitled to be upset with this you should be careful with how you talk about or handle the situation.

    Personally, you will probably have more success by changing yourself and your reaction to this.....for it is by changing ourselves and our attitude towards something that we are most successful in changing the behaviors of others. Perhaps if you invite this ex-coworker and her new husband to your home embracing the importance of their friendship would be a much better way of handling the situation. You are both newlyweds and perhaps could through that common thread become friends and by doing so even come to the realization that you have nothing to really be jealous of. Just a thought.

    Good luck and please let us knows how things go ~ Goody

     
    Old 07-09-2006, 05:45 PM   #5
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    Re: Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    Hi Mugwamp,
    I have to tell you, that I am single and I have a weekly lunch with one of my co-worker friends, who just happens to be married. And, this is important for you to hear, his wife/marriage couldn't be safer. Do you know what we talk about? We talk about work and our families, sometimes politics and entertainment. I think I would be hurt and offended if his wife thought I had designs on him. And the woman you are worried about just married herself. She is in her own honeymoon stage. I really don't think you have anything to worry about. You say your husband isn't taking your feelings into account, but you really aren't taking his into account either. I'm not saying his actions are right or wrong, but when you say, "I don't want you having lunch with an old friend/co-worker", he hears "I don't trust you, already". Are you asking him to give up old friends for you? Are you asking him to make less then optimial decisions, about a new bussiness, because of your jealousy? I would go even further then MAW in saying that you, in your unfounded jealousy, are comming accross as the insecure nag and that is no vision any woman should want her man to have. It implies that you have no self-confidence. If you have no confidence in yourself, if you don't believe you are so fabulous that you're enough for your husband, how can you expect him to believe it? You need to work on the inner issues that are leading to this worry. You will find yourself stronger, happier, more self assured, with a husband that is wondering why he didn't see before what an extraordinary, capable and confidant woman he married. Then he'll be concerned about who you might be having lunch with, which is a much preferable state of affairs, to us ladies. And, BTW, go ahead and have lunch with people you enjoy as well. I don't believe two married people can be everything, to each other, all the time. It is not only a heavy burden to place on each other, it can also get very lonely, after a time. Marriage shouldn't make us lonely people.

    Last edited by eve40; 07-09-2006 at 06:05 PM.

     
    Old 07-09-2006, 06:18 PM   #6
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    Re: Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    Eve this is very wise advice..............i myself am going to try to take it in.......thanks.

     
    Old 07-09-2006, 06:38 PM   #7
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    Re: Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    yes, married people can and should have opposite sex friends. it is healthy and normal. you are married adults, not high-school students. while jealousy is a valid emotion, forbidding your husband to socialize with anyone is not a valid way of expressing that emotion. you have a right to your feelings, and a right to let them be known. but you are not correct in getting angry at him or telling him who he can have lunch with.

    the second issue, that of telling his parents, is also kind of a grey area. while ideally he would work everything out first and foremost with you, sometimes it's helpful to get an outside perspective. yes, you just got married, but you have your whole lives ahead of you to plan and act at being married. it doesn't have to be on his or your mind every second of the day.

    it is a completely separate issue that you have to pull teeth to get him to spend time with you. that needs to be addressed in a different conversation, because it really has nothing to do directly with his female ex-coworker.

     
    Old 07-09-2006, 06:56 PM   #8
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    Re: Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    but mugwump, i can totally understand where you are coming from.....you are not crazy to feel the way you do.....but, Eve's point about self confidence and knowing you are enough will probably help us the most....i would say, make your feelings clear, befriend this woman if you can (like posters said....invite she and her hubby over...this would show you if there was anything to worry about.....seeing how she and your hubby acted around their spouses)....maybe you will even make a friends out of this and have another couple to hang out with!

     
    Old 07-09-2006, 06:56 PM   #9
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    Re: Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    To respond to all the responses so far...

    Yes, he does go out to lunch with other ex-coworkers who are male, and he might want to hire them too if his company gets off the ground.

    Part of why it's bothering me so soon after the marriage, is that he went out with a female coworker so soon after the marriage. Why are his thoughts on her instead of me when we're newlyweds? Yes, I do believe I have to pull teeth to interact with him half the time, because when he isn't eating or sleeping, he is usually on the computer, and does not break his eye contact with the computer screen when I try to talk to him. So, the jealousy isn't so much about this particular woman, but that I have to compete for his attention with the computer. So I already feel neglected. I also feel that it burst the bubble I was in for having just gotten married, and that I can't unpop the bubble. And I was already sort of in a weird mood, post wedding letdown maybe, so when I heard her name, it was like "oh no, this again", right at a time when I didn't need that.

    I didn't know he was still seeing her. I knew they emailed, but this was the first time in 6 months he had seen her. So, beforehand, I was still jealous, but when he quit his job, I was relieved, and thought the problem was solved. I had also back then tried to write out on paper what bothered me, why I was jealous, and I guess I tried to control it, and I tried to see where he's coming from. Now things started flooding back, like how he used to mention her name alot ("mentionitis" as Bridget Jones calls it), and that sort of stirred up what I had tried to bury. So before, I kept my jealousy to myself, and now that we're married, I guess I let it hang out how I really felt, when before I tried to be okay with it. I don't really like being jealous, I don't know why I am, and I don't know if I have a reason to over her specifically, and I told him that, but still it bugs me.

    I don't think she has designs on him. He even said she is like a man. But he told me she told him guys at work were hitting on her, and he told her that that was because she was the best looking woman who worked there. To me, that sounds like he's telling her or leading her to believe he finds her attractive. I don't even find her that attractive, but apparently guys hit on her. He claims it was a back handed compliment because none of the other women there were good looking. And I don't really feel comfortable with him telling her what he thinks of her looks. This was before we were married. I never told him not to have lunch with her. I told him if he wants to again, to tell me in advance he's thinking of it, so that I can have a chance to voice my feelings before he's already made plans. Maybe I am an insecure nag, but why should I have to nag him to pay attention to me? I feel like he should freely want to interact with me without me having to drag him away from the computer. I do have my own issues I should work on--I don't make friends easily due to shyness, but he is the same way, and he wants to cling to the friends he does have, which I can understand. Maybe if I didn't feel like I come second to the computer, I wouldn't be jealous of her. I don't think it's necessarily about her, but he comes up with excuses why he's too introverted to be that conversational with me, yet he seems to seek her attention and doesn't mind talking to her. Maybe it's given me a complex that I'm not worthy of his attention but other people are. Anyway, I guess maybe I should work on my own issues, or the issue between him and his computer but I've tried that already.

    Mugwump

     
    Old 07-09-2006, 07:23 PM   #10
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    Re: Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    You may want to start making one or two nights a week, Date Night, for the two of you. I would even insist on it. It is never too early for a husband and wife to start devoting a couple nights a week to each other, in a romantic or fun social setting. Just because you are married doesn't mean the romance should end. It will keep you feeling young and pretty and wanted. Time to nip, every night in front of the computer, in the bud. You deserve more, but he needs to know, that you know, you deserve more and you must insist on better behavior from him in the romance department. If he refuses to take you out, then start planning outings with yourself or old friends. Once he starts wondering where you are, who you are with and who you might meet, you can bet he'll rethink Date Night.

     
    Old 07-09-2006, 07:27 PM   #11
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    Re: Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    I still respectfully disagree with the posters who basically stated he can be friends with whoever he wants and that you should just get over it. Your needs are obviously not being met. You shouldn't feel as though you're second fiddle to another woman or the computer. YOU are supposed to be first priority in your husband's life. I believe that when a wife feels threatened by her husband's "friendly dates" with another woman, whether it's justified or not, their get togethers should stop.

     
    Old 07-09-2006, 07:32 PM   #12
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    Re: Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    Mugwump.....there is more to this than just the ex-coworker. You need to realize that in a marriage it is sooo important to not make your spouse your sole source of your happiness. I am not dismissing your feelings in the sense that you are looking for his attention. And he should give you attention much more than the computer.....the thing is you do not want to blow him away like the wind.....if a man had a choice between the wind blowing in his face or the shelter of the computer the computer will win everytime!!

    Okay.....I have been married for 19 years and have a few things to share. The first rule in Marriage 101.....A man will not respond to continuous complaint....like the wind he will find shelter elsewhere!!! (Sometimes it is the computer!!) BUT....a man loves sunshine and the warmth it provides!! You need to learn to be more like the sun!!! I learned this here from others when I was going through some tough times and it has worked wonders in my marriage!!

    Okay.....you need to change your ways....you cannot expect to change another person but you CAN change yourself!! That is another thing I learned here!! You need to find your own hobbies/interests!! You are a newlywed.....do you work??? I am sure that the plans for the wedding took alot of your time and energies and now that you are finding you have more time on your hands this may be affecting your time as a new wife. Start decorating your new home, reading new books, planning get togethers or BBQ's with family & friends. As I already said, invite your hubby's ex-coworker and her new hubby over for dinner or drinks. Drop the subject of ex-coworker or computer. Smile and suggest a walk or bike ride in the evening after your hubby has had time to relax. Most men will not come up with ideas for spending time together but if you come up with an idea they are willing to please.

    As a newlywed I am sure that you can come up with some fun and enticing ideas to get your man's attention!!

    The thing that men like is to see their women enjoying their own interests and passions in life. Whether it be gardening or reading or hosting a BUNKO party once a month it is soooo important that you do not make your husband your "best friend" (another thing I learned here ) That is what your best friend's job is!! Do your complaining here or with your best friend as I did and by the time you get to your husband it will be diffused and you would have resolved the issue or at least diffused it to the point that you can talk it over with him in a sunshiney way!!

    Okay....well that's the crash course of Marriage 101!! I hope it helps and remember the best thing you can have in a marriage is a great sense of humor!! that one I learned all by myself!!

    Now go give your new hubby a big hug & kiss!!

    ~ Goody

     
    Old 07-09-2006, 08:47 PM   #13
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    Re: Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    Hi, MugWump--

    Though I am not yet married, only dating, I just want to chime in to second (or third? ) the idea of hosting a get together with you, your SO, your SO's female friend, and her SO. I think this would be a wonderful way to dispel any notion that he is interested in her as more than simply friends. Plus, like someone else mentioned, you might make some life-long friends :-)

    I also strongly support having opposite sex friends in a marriage. We need many people in our lives to support us to varying degrees, and we shouldn't have to miss out on this support simply because the person happens to be of the same gender as our mate. There are exceptions, I'm sure, but, in general, I think that this is perfectly healthy and necessary. My boyfriend and I have friends of the opposite gender, and we are doing quite well.


    ~Colleen
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    Last edited by Musical_Muse; 07-09-2006 at 09:06 PM.

     
    Old 07-10-2006, 03:43 AM   #14
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    Re: Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    I don't think inviting this woman and her husband over will "prove" there's nothing going on. Surely, they wouldn't be stupid enough to do anything in front of their spouses.

     
    Old 07-10-2006, 06:28 AM   #15
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    Re: Should married people have opposite sex friends?

    I'm on your side - you should read my forum "I don't even know what to title this" by Graciella

     
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