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I'm a girl. Quite a few of my friends are guys: I'm a geek, so it just happened that the people I bonded with happened to mostly be guys. Some of those friends I've known since 7th grade.

Another important element: I'm single. No boyfriend at the moment. It's not that I don't want a boyfriend, I just haven't found the right guy yet.

My guy friends are getting married. Their wives are uncomfortable about the guys staying in touch. I can see the wives' POV: I don't have a boyfriend, and I'm there discussing with their husband that computer game (for example) that the wives don't understand. I share something with their husbands that they don't. Of course they see me as a threat.

How do I change that? How do I position myself as "not a threat"? The obvious answer is "get a boyfriend", and I'd love for that to happen, but until then?

Done so far:

I never ever invite only the guys to an activity - always the couple. However, it's usually only the guys who want a boardgames night, or a Star Wars marathon.

I am always supportive of my friends' relationships: "I'm so happy for you" etc.

What else can I do to make my friends' wives comfortable with the idea that I'm their husbands' friend?

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    Is this also true of friends who've been married for a while or just recent newlyweds? – Jared Smith Jun 19 '18 at 19:31
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    How do you know that the wives are uncomfortable with your presence? Have the guys said something about it? Have the wives said something about it? And do the wives realise how long you've been friends with those people without getting into a relationship with them? – Pharap Jun 20 '18 at 8:50
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    Can you give examples of what happens if the wives are uncomfortable with you? Are they asking them to not hang out with you? Making snide comments? Turning the cold shoulder? It may be easier addressing their behaviour than their internal feelings. – AllTheKingsHorses Jun 20 '18 at 9:19
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    My wife has a still-single male friend whom she has known since before we met. They occasionally get together without me. I'd be lying if I said I'd never thought about this, but I trust my wife and I know the guy is a good guy. Unless any of the wives have actually said something to you, I'd leave it alone. If they can't trust their husbands around a long-time female friend, the relationship has bigger problems than just you. – Steve-O Jun 21 '18 at 2:50
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    If a woman isn't willing to try to be interested in the hobbies of her husband, then she simply has to accept that her husband will maintain friendships with other people who share his interests, often including women. It's true that you should be willing to make sacrifices for your friends if you want them to be happy, but then again, so should their spouses if they want their marriages to be successful. Try not to make this more of your problem than it actually is. – Kleronomas Jun 22 '18 at 16:29

10 Answers 10

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1. Befriend the wife.

I'm a single man who is friends with married women. I don't want us getting feelings for the other. I know it can happen if you're not careful. So I intentionally befriend the husbands. It quickly becomes a genuine friendship (from being intentional to being natural). I usually end up closer to the husband than the wife. As a byproduct, the husbands trust me.

I suspect if you befriended the wives, things would work out better for you.

2. Set boundaries for yourself.

Here are the ones I use:

  • I don't call/hang out with/etc. a married woman more than once week.

  • When I message or text a married woman I do group texts between her and her husband.

I have found these to work for me. Maybe different standards would work better for you. Pick standards that you think strengthen their marriage. The specific standards don't matter as much as your desire to strengthen their marriage.

EvilSnack suggested this boundary: "Do not discuss your male friends' marriage troubles with them (the general principle being, do not discuss marriage difficulties with anyone you could run off with)."

3. Be willing to let go.

If you love someone, your focus is on them, not you. At the extreme, if they're happier without you, that's okay because you're happy to see them happy. If you were truly focused on your friends and their wives, you'd value their marriages so much that if your friendship was getting in the way of their marriage, you'd be willing to sacrifice your friendship for their marriage. The easiest example is if either of you started developing feelings for the other. Obviously dropping the friendship entirely is a last resort. Make sure there isn't something else you can change, first. The main point is - be focused on them, and their marriage - not you. You're not letting go of the friendship. You're letting go of what you want.

The closer you are to being on their side like this, the more likely the wives will see you on their side. However you can't fake being on their side. It has to be genuine.

I'm not sure where you are with this. But I thought it was worth mentioning.

Someone mentioned self-respect and worth. To clarify: You should love others and yourself. So far I've only mentioned the first. I thought the second was implicit. I'm making it explicit, now. Do not let them overstep your boundaries. And do not do anything to your detriment. If your boundaries are not being violated and you are not being harmed, etc., then you are loving yourself. Now the loving thing to do for them is being focused on them.

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    If you love them let them go? No, you are missing the point of the question entirely. That is not the least bit helpful. – LampPost Jan 11 at 20:52
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"Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing" - Dr. Phil

I have found, that being completely natural around the girlfriends of my guyfriends, leads to happy friendships with their wives.

I have a personal policy, that whenever any of my friends are in love, my friendship automatically shifts/extends to them as a couple.

On first meeting, I hug both of them (I'm a hugger) and tell her, "any friend of John's is a friend of mine."

I talk to her so we can get to know each other... not because I have to, but because I want to. I find out her interests and most importantly, I get her contact details. Whenever I send 'John' an email, I use her address, and say "Hi John and Emily".

I always encourage total honesty between couples, and anyone who knows me, would know that about me. This fact eliminates me as a threat.

A high percentage of communication is non verbal. When people are fake, little bells start ringing.

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    "any friend of John's is a friend of mine" - GSF#4 plausiblydeniable.com/opinion/gsf.html - I would at least point out that this is not necessarily a maxim. – Aaron Hall Jun 20 '18 at 19:09
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    Respectfully, I think this answer would do better without the bold fascist statement at the top. This line is used by unethical governments to invade privacy and I'm sure you don't mean it the same way here but I can't help but focus on it, so I feel it may be distracting to others, too. – TylerH Jun 22 '18 at 16:03
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    What if you don't want to be friend with the girlfriend/boyfriend of your friend? I don't think that friendship is transitive. Of course, I could be in friendly terms with the girlfriend/boyfriend of my friend or he/she could even be my friend but this doesn't depends on their relationship. – gvgramazio Jun 22 '18 at 16:43
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    @gvgramazio If you don't, you don't and you are perfectly entitled to give an answer based on what you would do. Me? I love my friends, and find it easy to love the people they love. – Robyn Simpson Jun 22 '18 at 16:49
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    @AaronHall Based on context, I don't think Robyn says that in the sense of "I now pronounce us friends!" (GSF4), but more like "I will be just as friendly towards you as I am towards John" (normal, welcoming behavior). It might help for her to clarify this though as the other comments also seem to be taking this view about her intent. – Em C Jun 22 '18 at 17:58
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There's a point that hasn't been covered by any of the answers. I feel like the husband is regarded as a passive element of the situation, a person that has to be protected from the tentation of cheating on his wife.

If the wife is needlessly jealous, this is first and foremost a problem for the husband.

I'm lesbian, I have a partner and lots of my friends are female. Some of them are homosexual themselves and have a partner too. Sometimes I request my lesbian friends to go out alone with me: even if I enjoy being with them and their partner, I don't feel at ease sharing intimate things with the SO. If their partner feels threatened, the main problem is within the couple and needs to be (and has actually been) managed primarily by my friends, not by me.

So my suggestion is: before everything else, talk with your male friends about the jealousy of their wives, and prompt them to find a solution. Being jealous of your husband's lifetime friend is not a healthy sign for a couple.

Sometimes, jealousy from my SO towards my friends has occurred. Here's what I have successfully tried and what you could suggest to your friends:

  1. Make them (the wife and the friend) meet in a comfortable environment for everybody. The wife doesn't enjoy the D&D night? Propose every once in a while a beer at a pub, a karaoke night, a walk in the mountains, whatever. Especially recommended the settings that leave room to chat. Which leads us to point #2.

  2. Introduce them to a topic you know they would enjoy. You know both of them very well, so you probably know the experiences that they could share and form a bond on. It's very unlikely that they would spontaneously start talking about the trip to Japan they both did when they were young.

  3. Talk with both of them, one-on-one and together. Don't neglect one because the other is there.

  4. Compliment your wife, both when you're with your friend and after the meeting. Things like "I couldn't stop looking at you, you were radiant" do a great deal in reducing jealousy. Yes, he was talking to the friend for a hour, but the wife knows that she is the one throughout all this time.

  5. When you're alone, talk about the friend with the wife. State how much it's important that they meet and get to know each other. (At least, to me it's important that the people I love the most get to know each other.) Ask the opinion of the wife about the friend, hint at things that the two could have in common etc.

  6. If none of this works and the wife feels very jealous, then the husband should address the problem directly with his wife. You could suggest him to do this by asking things such as "how do you feel about her jealousy? Do you think it's a taboo topic? Why do you think she's jealous?" etc.


As to what you can directly do with the wife, I think this has extensively covered by the other answers. I'll add that, in general, acknowledging the role of the wife and the importance of their wedding can ease your relationship with her. By this I mean, for instance, sharing with her points of the husband's character that have improved since they're together, or telling her about how you perceiveve that he's way happier than before. You can also take interest in the plans they're doing for their future, be it summer vacations or having a baby. The message here is: I acknowledge and respect your role, which involves unique features not shared by mine.

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    This is the only answer that actually addresses the root of the problem--the person who is being needlessly jealous or controlling in the first place. – spacetyper Jun 25 '18 at 21:34
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The best way to maintain a good contact is creating situations where the man cannot cheat on his wife.

The most easy way are group meetings so you have your hobby (RPGs, movies, conventions etc. etc.) with several men/couples together. Or making something together on a location with much, much visitors and no place to hide (e.g. making a trip with a fully-loaded tourist boat) so there is simply no way to cheat.

Befriending his wife is definitely an option, but in my experience many, if not most women do experience any other woman as potential threat and are a bit tense, spoiling a meeting. So if it does not work out, I think it is better if you meet together if his wife is absent.

According to my experience maintaining a friendship is not such a problem because relationships where women who try too much to suppress friendships (not only female ones) are often lasting not long. The wife may not like it, but as people are free to sustain relationships you should not be afraid to act normally (hugging at beginning, meeting and talking together). It seems conterintuitive, but acting normally alarms a wife less than being careful on purpose ("What do they have together that they need to be careful?!")

A bigger threat to friendship starts when the couple gets children. I have seen it so often that those little monsters take so much time away and the parents are so indulged in raising their children that the parents are rarely reachable and prefer to have conversations and meetings with other parents. It develops quite naturally and there seems little you can do about it, so don't be surprised if it happens.

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    "The best way to maintain a good contact is creating situations where the man cannot cheat on his wife." Highly questionable. Especially when followed up with "The most easy way are group meetings so you have your hobby" - sure, that might work if the wife happens to be into the kind of hobbies the group is into, but that's very often not the case (and if it was frankly I think the husband would've brought her along already). You can have her around of course, but what's she getting out of this (other than being able to hover over her husband for a couple of hours)? – Cubic Jun 20 '18 at 15:40
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    @Cubic I have the impression that you completely misunderstood the sentence, not able to cheat does not mean that the wife is present. It means that a male and female friend prefer to meet in a neutral way where cheating would be noticed or sex is socially unacceptable. In a group friends notice if two members are missing and they know that one of them is married. You won't also cheat on your wife in a public area. While technically you still can in both cases, the social stigma, witnesses and the knowledge that your wife will find out about this effectively prevents cheating. – Thorsten S. Jun 20 '18 at 15:57
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Take steps to invite the wife into your geeky friendships

This doesn't necessarily have to be with games. Games is something you share with the guys. I suggest trying to find something to bond with either the ladies or both of them. By doing so, you'll find trust that you're really not interested in their men. Find things that the whole group can do, wives included; bowling, movies, and other group activities are perfect.

Keep in mind you're not trying to make them your friend necessarily, you're just trying to invite them along to include them. I assume you're close enough to these guys that you trust that their wives are decent enough people. Treat all activities as something anyone can join in if they cared to, and you might even find that they're willing to give them (games for instance) a shot with you. Who knows, one of them might find something they really enjoy about that activity.

Be careful however that you're not sending any mixed messages that could be misconstrued as being flirty or otherwise untoward towards the married pair. Try to reduce body contact to a minimum, and try to use inclusive language.

For the most part, if you're all-inclusive about your activities with the guys and take steps to invite the ladies even if it may not interest them, you'll slowly gain their trust and be treated like another friend. You don't need to change anything about yourself, treat it as if one of the guys tried to bring another friend into the group. You might even find that there are new opportunities with the new friends.

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    Hello. Your answer seems logical, but I think your answer could do with a little more explanation on how you reached these conclusions. Do you have any experience trying this? – Belle Jun 20 '18 at 7:30
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    @Belle-Sophie Both my girlfriend and my best-friend's wife took this approach to make friends with each other. They ended up bonding over murder shows and serial killers, where me, my best friend, and my girlfriend are all good friends who play WoW. – Anoplexian Jun 20 '18 at 14:37
  • @Anoplexian I wonder why they bonded on that specific topic... ;P – CPHPython Jun 27 '18 at 10:45
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So far the advice seems to be around inviting/befriending the wife/SO. This is a great idea but my guess is that she will not be interested in attending as OP has already invited them as a couple. This might make her feel left out. There are, however, other similar solutions.

Group Hangout

You say that you have several guy mates that are now married who you wish to "geek-out" with. Why not invite all of them over. Them saying to their SO/wife "Hey, Dave, Bob and Mark and I are going to Galastel's to {insert geeky activity here}" sounds a lot more reasonable than a one-on-one at your place.

Ask them/him to Host

If you can encourage the guy to host then his SO/wife, who didn't want to watch the Star Wars marathon, can still hang-around but can do her own thing in the comfort of her own home.

You can also bring around a takeaway so the three of you can eat together. This makes common ground with the wife and includes her in an activity. Then you and your guy mate can go and do your activity without making her feel left out.

4

For straight couples:

  • Invite the couple like you do, as a part of an event with many people or by making it clear you want as many people as possible
  • Host the event as public as possible, such as a restaurant, library or somewhere else. A Star Wars marathon will be more difficult, but can be like a house party with a Star Wars marathon.
  • Ask the couples if they know of any single guy geeks they can bring
  • If a single guy geek shows up and you're attracted, show interest to help remove any feelings of a threat and thank the couple for inviting the guy, if a couple invited him. I'm assuming you're attracted to geeks.
  • (Alternative to the those two items) Highlight past boyfriends you met without any geek context to the couples, like "Yeah I dated this guy Jared I met from school who was an athlete." This helps the wives feel like you don't meet boyfriends from events, which will help. If you do this, avoid asking anyone to bring single guys who are geeks though.
  • Don't touch the guys, even if their wives aren't around (they may get used to this and do it when the wives are around). "Being huggy" or physically friendly can really backfire!
  • When talking to the couples, talk about your favorite topics and avoid things like "So how have you been feeling" to the guys. Any emotional talk will possibly threaten the wives.

Accept a no too. Part of being married means that the guys' wives have a say over things like this and if we put ourselves in those women's shoes, we understand why. In a group or as an event, this will probably be less of a problem, but you may still find some feel threatened. Many guys post marriage reduce time with multi-sex groups; some even reduce time with same-sex groups!

You can always fake an interest who lives elsewhere, but this feels dishonest with friends and may not help.

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Besides other ideas already said which I think are good(befriend,etc) I think one good approach would be to share your emotional/romantic life with those Gf(if you actually feel like you can), what I mean is , even if you don't have a boyfriend at the moment as long as you establish good relationship with them you could share with them that you have no interest in their boyfriends but to meet new guys who you can date with.

I know this isn't the main topic of the question but I think if you accomplish this their suspicions should go away and if they don't then your friends are probably dating somebody with extremely self-confidence issues and they are in big trouble, and should be then THEM who take responsibility for fixing that.

Anyway this is not a 1 way street, your friends should try as well to "protect" your image in a transparent way that shows their wives that there are no misleading intentions in your attitude towards them(meeting all together instead of meeting with just 1 of them, etc). If they don't show any effort to maintain this friendship and fight for it, it's painful but you see this interpersonal relationship wasn't balanced at all.

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Answers that you have already received seem to include:

  • befriend the wife, or
  • get a boyfriend (or resume friendships when you do, you are right to take your time on this!)

But imagine the scenario - you get a boyfriend, you double-date with one of these boy-space-friends and their girlfriend/wife... what do you all talk about together? If it isn't video-games or how Disney has ruined Star Wars then you may get bored, because that is primarily why you are friends with these guys. If you DO talk about those things it will still exclude the girlfriend/wife, and she probably won't want to do it again! You're back to your original problem of wives/girlfriends getting in the way of your friendships with guys. If you spent all night talking to their partner about something they don't get, you could still be seen as "a threat".

The best advice I can give is:

  • Do whatever you can to show respect for their relationship

As well as inviting them as a couple which you already do, don't try and make all the arrangements only through the guy. If you already have the gf/wife's number, text them from time to time instead of their guy (if you text as well as the guy it might seem like a token effort to be non-threatening).

  • Try and befriend the wife/girlfriend

Get their phone number, add them on social media if that is your thing, and show them your life. Be as transparent as you feel comfortable with. If you've got nothing to hide then they are less likely to be a threat.

  • Make efforts with other girl friends, not only the gf/wives in question

So you get along with guys, but there must be other girls you are friends with. Put a bit of time into those friendships too. Seeing that you have girl-space-friends as well as guys might go some way to showing you are not dedicated to the pursuit of men! It might also be an "endorsement" of sorts - if other girls trust you then maybe you're not the dreaded man-stealer.

  • Let your guy friends lead the way

Remember, you can only control your own actions and as much as you do to win the wives/girlfriends over, ultimately for a friendship to succeed the guys have to put as much work in as you. Let them deal with their partners, it isn't really your problem.

Failing all of this, remember that friendships DO change over time. If and when you do enter a relationship of your own you will just as likely make new friends through that as you will be able to rekindle some of your older ones.

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    "get a boyfriend (or resume friendships when you do, you are right to take your time on this!)" Not sure how that's going to help calm down a jealous or mistrustful wife or girlfriend - if they were of the opinion that people in relationships don't cheat, surely they wouldn't have an issue with their husbands going out in the first place. – Cubic Jun 20 '18 at 15:43
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    @Cubic Read my answer again. I said that was one of the obvious answers, and I was alluding to the fact that others have said that. I go on to show that even if she did get a boyfriend then she might find double-dates equally as problematic, so that isn't necessarily the answer. I have updated my opening line to make this clearer. – Astralbee Jun 20 '18 at 15:45
  • Still not getting where you're going with this - are you saying it's one of the surface-level answers one might immediately think of, but that turn out to be silly under closer examination? That's not really the vibe I'm getting from the answer, but OK I guess. – Cubic Jun 20 '18 at 15:47
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You asked two questions, many people answered the second one in the text and there is plenty of good suggestions. For the first one in your title: you just do. Act normally with your friends and decide with them when and how to meet and what to do. If their wives feel threatened, when there really isn't a good reason, than it's more their problem than yours and on the amount of trust they place on their husbands and what kind of boundaries they have in the relationship. Let your male friend negotiate what is and isn't appropriate in their marriage and follow their lead.

protected by apaul Jun 20 '18 at 17:56

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