Social Question

Cupcake's avatar

What are your limits for your partner's friendships?

Asked by Cupcake (15341points) April 16th, 2021
21 responses
“Great Question” (11points)

I am somewhat dealing with a situation where one friend (female) wants a divorce and another friend (married male) is spending hours a day with this person. They consider themselves best friends, although I think their friendship is relatively new (within the past year?). They do both hang out as couples, but I think this friendship is picking up the marital slack, in terms of emotional connection and helping with tasks around the house.

In my opinion, it is completely inappropriate.

It make me think about what my limits or boundaries are for my partner. In what contexts are his friendships OK or not OK? Is is based on time? Intimacy (non-sexual, I mean)? Being alone? Complimenting each other’s physical appearance?

At what point does a friendship take away from a marriage? At what point could a friendship become an emotional affair?

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Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, looking at my previous marriage, when they quit coming home from work. When they opt out of family events like Mother’s Day and birthdays for the kids. Not going to the zoo with us.
I put up with it for 3 years then filed for divorce. Of course, he was totally blindsided by that cuz he was an idiot.

rebbel's avatar

As long as my girlfriend is having a good time with a friend of hers (or ours, or mine) I’m happy.
I trust her to know where her boundaries lay.
She knows mine; as long as she’s happy (or getting fulfillment of whatever kind) I am happy for her.
She feels the same if the roles would be reversed.

Edited to add that I’m not sure if I understood the question correctly.

tinyfaery's avatar

If she starts fucking her friends we might have problem.

stanleybmanly's avatar

At what point does a friendship take away from a marriage?

It seems to me that point would be when the partner observing the friendship is uncomfortable with it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My son’s wife gets uncomfortable with him spending time with us. She’s a nut job.

Cupcake's avatar

So would you all be OK with hours of phone calls and many texts a day? I mean, they’re coming home from work and not having sex with the other person. Just curious.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. I would not be OK with that.

KNOWITALL's avatar

What I’ve learned is that you really have to trust your partner and allow them the freedom of friendships. You can’t stop someone from cheating or crossing boundaries, it’s a personal responsibility each individual has to their life partner.

In your case, I’m not sure what you could say to these two friends other than a word of caution, as to how the calls and texts could be perceived. If it is happening, they’ll probably get very defensive and possibly even team up against you for being a buttinski.

Good luck.

Cupcake's avatar

I guess my perspective is different than most. I think each couple needs to set up these boundaries together, but also that each individual is responsible to make their partner confident that nothing inappropriate is or will happen. But for me, the line is WAY before not coming home or sleeping with someone.

I was asked to provide some objective council, so I don’t think I will be harshly judged for my advice. I certainly don’t think anyone will accuse me of butting in, but I understand that it may look that way without knowing the details.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Cupcake Oh if they asked, give it to them with both barrels how you truly feel. :D

Has the man’s wife expressed displeasure at the attention he’s giving the divorcing friend?

If she knows the divorcing friend, perhaps she’s very understanding of her need for support, but it seems like the women would be talking rather than a woman and a man. Odd.

Inspired_2write's avatar

“So would you all be OK with hours of phone calls and many texts a day?”

Realize that those hours of texting and talking on the phone are hours and days that he isn’t talking or texting with you.
I wouldn’t trust either of them .
Your husband is NOT her counselor so suggest her to go to one and leave your husband out of it.
Also if NOTHING then ask your husband to have you included in those conversations.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Inspired_2write I tend to agree with that. I told one lady if she needed something, to text me and not my husband. Even if it was a cup of sugar or a ride, she ALWAYS texted him.

And later it turned into something that blew up, and almost ruined our marriage. After I found some messages and overhead something I wasn’t supposed to. It always comes out in the end.

JLeslie's avatar

If my SO wants to spend more time with someone else than me I think that is a problem. If I am never welcome when they get together then an even bigger problem. If it is someone of the opposite sex, it could be even a bigger problem. I usually can tell when an SO is interested in someone else, even if they are in denial themselves. Men like to think they aren’t cheating if they aren’t doing anything physical, some women have the same blind spot. Some people are very naive about their own ability to cheat.

Emotional cheating is destructive to relationships. The spouse knows the other spouse is emotionally pulling away from the relationship and it creates discord. The cheater wants to believe they are doing nothing and thinks they are covering up any actual feelings, but that’s all bullshit. If they are actually being physical then it’s obviously not ok and whole other level of problems.

Getting more emotional satisfaction from someone besides your SO is a snowball. Once it starts the person turns less and less to their SO, and more and more to the other person, and then is more and more emotionally distant. The distance makes the SO relationship feel more and more like the bond does not exist that once held them together.

I wouldn’t have a problem with my husband doing some things with a neighbor if they had similar interests or he helped with a project, but I think I would be able to tell if he was changing how he was treating me and just if the whole dynamic was off. Like I said, it should never be weird if I want to join in. I expect my husband to always be happy to see me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I will never forget the time my ex answered the phone when a woman called. The warmth and pleasure in his voice as he talked to her were unmistakable. I knew in that instant the were involved. 1 of 3 affairs. Or more.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III I had an issue where my SO was eating lunch with a woman every day, and I totally didn’t mind at all. She was married so why should I care, right.

Well we went to their house one night and she started being really hateful to me. She was totally in love with my guy and he had no idea. Nor did her husband.

kritiper's avatar

Friends don’t sleep with friends. If sleeping together happens, they are no longer friends, but something more.

Dutchess_III's avatar

One of my exes girlfriends called me to rub my face in it.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

What, me worry? I never tripped about shit like that. My wife and I are pretty close, always have been. She had male friends from before we met, and I suppose a few old flames as well, but I always trusted her. And I told her from the get go, you want to leave, leave. I won’t stop you and I’m not the type to play billy bad ass macho man and order a woman around. Lol always told her I’ll help you pack then kickback with a beer. Or two or ten. I could just never be bothered to get jealous over a woman. I guess she likes my tired ass though, she’s stayed with me thru thick and thin for 4 decades. We let other couples sweat crap like that. And I’m not bragging, buy my wife was a real looker in the day. Pretty, sexy and petite. So I could understand why other guys would have the hots for her. But we’ve always been faithful to each other. Now, if she’d just get over the beer thing. Eye roll

anniereborn's avatar

I don’t have any limits per se on a partner’s friendships. Other than including friendships in with anything that would take up a huge portion of their time. I mean, if I don’t even get to see them much at all, it doesn’t matter if it’s because of a friend or a basket weaving obsession.

jca2's avatar

I feel that if it’s just a friend and not a romantic partner (or trending toward being a romantic partner), everyone involved should be ok if the other partner attends any get togethers. Not that the other spouse (or committed partner) would necessarily want to attend all get togethers, but they should be welcome to. If there’s nothing to hide, let’s all be friends and hang out. If there’s something to hide, then the spouse wouldn’t be welcome.

kneesox's avatar

If they are turning to the other person for the kinds of things they should get from their partner, not just meaning sex but of course that, the friendship is out of bounds. Like talking about intimate things and also putting their time ahead of family priorities. “Picking up the marital slack” sounds like a big red flag to me and could start to be the cause of problems that weren’t there before, never mind not being any help with the ones that were. If the partners loyalties are divided, it’s wrong.

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