It’s likely that you and your partner have friendships with the opposite sex. It may be someone you have known since childhood. Or someone you met at work. It may be someone who is involved in a similar activity in which you are teammates, such as a sport. It could be someone who shares a particular hobby or interest. You may have develop a friendship with the parent of your child’s friend. Whatever is the case, friendships can exist between men and women. Life is full of opportunities and circumstances that bring people together where a connection can developed.
Friendships enrich our lives and bring us a view of life that makes the world interesting and challenging. Yet Friendships can be a source of tension and suspicion, when you are in a monogamous relationship with someone.
You or your partner may become unsettled with resentment if a friendship takes away too much time from the primary relationship. This is especially true if it involves an activity that makes your partner feel uncomfortable. There are several questions you need to ask to be able to maintain your relationship with the most important person in your life.
First you must determine whether a negative reaction to an outside friendship is justifiable concern or simply petty jealousy.
Does the activity that your partner is engaged in with someone of the opposite sex make you feel uncomfortable? Is it taking up too much of his or her time, which you feels should be reserved for you?
A second thing to consider is, does the friendship stay within a “proper context.”
Is the friendship confined to the activity or interest specified by the participants? Is it work related, a sport event, or a book club activity? Do your partner only get together with this friend to talk about parenting tips or for activities involving the children? You nor your partner may have a serious issue with jealousy or be racked with suspicion if the activity is confined to what you both agreed to as appropriate friendship behavior.
But a “red flag” should go up, if your wife friend Steve are on each other speed dial and often alone together.
If you discover your partner is spending his or her off hours huddling over coffee in the corner of some steamy cafe there may be cause for concern. That could definitely signal an alarm.
None of these actions in themselves indicate your partner has been unfaithful and betrayed your trust.
But if these things are going on, they indicate that the friendship dimension has changed beyond the scope that defined the original relationship. At this point, you may want to evaluate what’s most important to you to maintain your marriage. There is a way you can continue with your friendship. But the “friendship” must get back in the proper lane it belongs to. It has to stay in the context that you both agree to.
Ignoring the signs that the friendship has went to a different level, will harm the primary relationship. It may even end it.