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DP and his female friend

(70 Posts)
msevs Tue 11-Nov-14 14:14:08

Sorry, this is long! DP used to work with this friend a couple of years ago but not closely. He is unhappy at work and wants to go back to his old job, and this is being supported by his friend, who is very complimentary about his work.

Around three months ago, he told me that he was meeting this friend for lunch the next day and had taken the afternoon off as he would only have half an hour otherwise. He asked if I minded, told me I could trust him as he only has eyes for me, and that he wouldn't go if I didn't want him to. I was a bit taken aback as we have been together for years and although he has always been friendly with a few female colleagues, he has never met any of them one to one outside of work before. He gave me the impression it was only about work as he desperately wants to leave his job and she could help him with that, so I told him I was fine with it, even though I wasn't best pleased as I was home on mat leave at the time and would have preferred it if he had taken the afternoon off to take me to lunch. I commented on that but he didn't say anything.

After coming home that evening, DP admitted that the friend didn't have the influence he had hoped as she was being 'pushed out' in the workplace herself, so I assumed they didn't really need to meet to discuss work again. He didn't tell me much else about the lunch, unusual for him. Since then, his friend has been off work due to stress, both at work and at home. I know she is married but with no children. DP told me he found out because they had meant to meet up for lunch that week and she cancelled last minute. This lunch was news to me, he hadn't mentioned it before.

I know DP's phone password, so I checked his texts and noticed that DP asked her if she had wanted to meet up for a chat since she was feeling down. He also texted her on the day she had mentioned an appointment with the GP, asking how it went, and to contact him if she wanted to talk. This is odd for DP as he barely remembers anything, he certainly doesn't remember my appointments! The time of his texts to her caught my eye as well, 9pm on a Friday night, I knew I was at my sister's house at the time.

They had also made plans to meet for lunch when she was on annual leave recently but it didn't happen for some reason. He has sent her photos of the kids, and she asks him about them, but never about me and he doesn't mention me to her in his texts either. I have met her through work a couple of times, and she asked after DP, but we didn't really get the chance to talk.

Anyway, last week he mentioned to me that the friend had contacted him that day, told me that she was feeling better and what she had been up to. I had a feeling he wasn't telling me everything, and when I checked his phone, I noticed that they have made plans to meet later this month.

Why would he tell me that she contacted him and what she said, but left that part out? Should I be worried or am I being paranoid? Talk some sense into me!

nrv0us Tue 11-Nov-14 14:25:38

My guess is that he was throwing a half-truth, almost to assuage his own guilt at keeping everything from you. That way he can keep telling himself he is being honest with you, even though he isn't telling you the whole truth.

This whole thing has a slightly ominous feel about it. Can you feel him out on the subject with some open-ended questions, just to see if you can get him to open up at all? Try to be genuinely interested, rather than confrontational -- sounds like any kind of attack might well send him into a defensive/denying mode and you'll learn nothing.

KirjavaTheCorpse Tue 11-Nov-14 14:25:53

Well, she doesn't sound as keen a friend as your DH.

Does he make a lot of plans with male friends that he always gives you a heads-up about?

Saltedcaramel2014 Tue 11-Nov-14 14:26:42

There are things you've mentioned that I can understand you'd be uncomfortable about - especially the Friday evening text. But checking his texts is quite a big deal, I think. Could you not talk openly with him about his the friendship makes you feel? Whatever is going on, even if just friendship, it doesn't seen to be making you feel comfortable - and that's valid in itself. Has he given you reason to distrust him at other times? Personally I would be really upset if I found dH had been checking my phone.

msevs Tue 11-Nov-14 14:59:11

He tells me when he goes for lunch with someone normally, male and female. He usually only goes for lunch with female colleagues if they are working on a job together, and I don't feel threatened by that at all, he works in a female dominated environment. He only usually makes specific plans to meet with some of his male friends for lunch, and he tells me about those plans. He is not someone who has a huge amount of friends and doesn't usually socialise with the people with whom he works outside the office.

I know I shouldn't look at his phone and do feel guilty for doing so, I would hate it if he did it to me. I know it doesn't justify it, but I have a bad feeling about this friendship and I knew he wasn't telling me everything. He has told me in the past that he can't lie or keep anything from me, and I never really had cause to doubt him before, so it does worry me that he is keeping this from me now.

I didn't think she was as keen as DP either but she was feeling low at the time, now that she's better she is the one sending lengthy texts and asking to meet him. His texts to her are different to ones he sends other colleagues though. They remind me of something he would send to me, especially in the early days, although the texts are not very flirty, there's a lot of banter and he seems genuinely concerned about her and interested in her.

FelicityGubbins Tue 11-Nov-14 15:08:11

Well, around 3 months ago he said he wouldn't meet her if you minded, so now you have decided you definitely do mind, then he isn't to meet her, oh and he can drop all the chit chat texts while you are out of the house too, don't bother trying to play it cool, just tell him it's not on, and nip it in the bud...

KirjavaTheCorpse Tue 11-Nov-14 15:13:05

Is there something particularly wrong with texting a friend while your partner is out of the house or am I being naive?

KirjavaTheCorpse Tue 11-Nov-14 15:14:01

Assuming the text wasn't along the lines of "the house is empty, come over, let's shag"...

msevs Tue 11-Nov-14 15:27:03

No it wasn't asking her to come over for a shag, but I know him well enough to know that he wouldn't text anyone else asking how they were feeling and if they wanted to chat at 9pm on a Friday night. If it was something he did with other people, I wouldn't be too concerned, but it's not like him. Considering that this is meant to be a work based friendship according to him, I do wonder why he would be texting her at that time.

CariadsDarling Tue 11-Nov-14 15:29:36

I think its time to tell him you dont like the situation and would prefer it to stop. If he asks why just say because there's something about this that is unsettling me, something that I just can't put my finger on. The ball is then in his court and time will tell if you and grounds to be worried or not.

Oh and I wouldnt let him know you check messages. I would play that card close to my chest.

Yarp Tue 11-Nov-14 16:01:39

I think it feels as if he is uneasy. I think he is in danger of doing something he regrets. I would talk to him about the fact that it can be hugely flattering to be the confidante of a woman who is vulnerable and he should watch himself.

loloftherings Tue 11-Nov-14 16:16:30

If she's a work colleague/friend there can be good reasons for him to meet for lunch.
I often have catch up lunches or coffee with colleagues and ex-colleagues to stay in touch and talk a bit of work, a bit of social, because it helps to have a work network, etc.
All of mine have been the same gender as me, though.
If they were opposite sex and DP was disapproving I'm not sure what I'd do, as there is nothing beyond keeping in touch (slightly mercenary, networking can get you future jobs).
He's not telling you the full story because a) it's innocent, work type stuff as I described, b) it's gone further than that and is becoming or has become inappropriate.
Probably the male-female dynamic leads him to text her in a way he wouldn't to male colleagues.
Definitely worth monitoring though.

middlethird Tue 11-Nov-14 16:30:00

I smell a rat. Nothings happened, and it might not - but his attitude to this person has changed - something has happened in order for that to manifest in the way it is seeming to be...

He is open to a point = rat smelling.

You have a right to be uneasy.

punygod Tue 11-Nov-14 17:42:05

I think partners can make a big mistake when faced with a situation like this. All the pussy-footing around, not wanting to confront, etc.

Bollocks to that. If I feel uncomfortable about something, DP finds out pretty instantly, and in no uncertain terms.

If I'm being unreasonable, fine. He'll tell me, we'll discuss it, and I end up feeling better. If he's being unreasonable, he tends to see it once I do the 'Let's reverse this situation - how would YOU feel if I...?' thing.

But you are well within your rights to get your mouth open if you're not happy. And, FWIW, I wouldn't be. Lying by omission is not on.

AnyFucker Tue 11-Nov-14 17:46:34

Yes, I think you should be worried and I think you should have it out with him

Don't have another thought about checking his texts, if you hadn't done that you would still only have half truths and evasions. Lying by omission is still lying.

His behaviour with this woman is out of character. There is a reason or that.

AnyFucker Tue 11-Nov-14 17:46:40

*for

Notbythehaironmychinnychinchin Tue 11-Nov-14 17:54:09

Ordinarily I tend to take things at face value unless someone has form. I'd be inclined to think it was probably innocent except for the whole asking if you minded, you can trust him, only has eyes for you. Complete overkill. Why?

AnyFucker Tue 11-Nov-14 17:55:56

Yes, he revealed himself with that first lunch date he had with her. He got you to agree to something he was doing in plain sight. After that, the evasions and half-stories.

he knows he is overstepping the line

Fixerupperz Tue 11-Nov-14 18:05:24

You have to go with your gut OP.

notascientist Tue 11-Nov-14 18:15:03

Op, how often does he take YOU out for lunch?

You should be his main priority.
Also, you say that he is concerned at how she is feeling.
He should be concentrating on YOU and you're feeling (you mention you're on maternity leave, so must also need some compassion and understanding at a very stressful time).

You need to sit down with him and have a proper chat about boundaries and loyalties.
Dont pussyfoot around with this one.

NCdforThiss Tue 11-Nov-14 18:18:42

I have to say this sounds very similar to myself and a co-worker.
We worked close together but also met for lunch often and text each other a lot. It started to get to a point where I thought some boundries were being overstepped (by both parties) and had to step back before it became an EA.
I'm sorry OP this doesn't sound good.

sykadelic Tue 11-Nov-14 18:24:17

Around three months ago, he told me that he was meeting this friend for lunch the next day and had taken the afternoon off as he would only have half an hour otherwise. He asked if I minded, told me I could trust him as he only has eyes for me, and that he wouldn't go if I didn't want him to.

You mention that he's had lunch with both men and women before. Does he ask you these sorts of questions the first time with the others? It's like admitting there's a reason for you to be worried or he's noticed there's a reason.

I wasn't best pleased as I was home on mat leave at the time and would have preferred it if he had taken the afternoon off to take me to lunch. I commented on that but he didn't say anything.

Could be forgiven for being so self-involved with his work thing that he was only taking time off to deal with that and felt guilty about not asking you.

After coming home that evening, .... I assumed they didn't really need to meet to discuss work again. He didn't tell me much else about the lunch, unusual for him.

Again he could have simply been worried about himself and his job situation and how that lunch was a failure and "what now?".

they had meant to meet up for lunch that week and she cancelled last minute. This lunch was news to me, he hadn't mentioned it before.

Did you ask him why he hadn't mentioned it? What did he say? Would he normally tell you about lunches before they happen or the day of?

...DP asked her if she had wanted to meet up for a chat since she was feeling down. He also texted her on the day she had mentioned an appointment with the GP, asking how it went, and to contact him if she wanted to talk. ... 9pm on a Friday night, I knew I was at my sister's house at the time

So he's bored. Home alone and texting a friend. Is it unusual for him to ask these questions of his other friends? If so, then I'd be worrying he's becoming too emotionally invested.

He has sent her photos of the kids, and she asks him about them, but never about me and he doesn't mention me to her in his texts either.

This isn't odd. I don't send photos of my DH to my friends. I do send pics of my fur-kids though. I also don't always talk to my friends about DH, usually it's about work, or parents/sibling stuff... so I could see how this could be normal for a regular friend.

last week he mentioned to me that the friend had contacted him that day, told me that she was feeling better and what she had been up to... I checked his phone, I noticed that they have made plans to meet later this month.

As before, would he tell you his future plans for lunch with his other friends? Or would it be more like something he tells you when it's closer or that same day? "I'm meeting X for lunch today".

nottheOP Tue 11-Nov-14 18:32:44

I think he's being a good friend but there's nothing wrong with you feeling uncomfortable about him supporting her... where's her husband In all this? Is he not her confident?

Lay your cards on the table & say that you'd prefer their friendship to remain as it was before.

sykadelic Tue 11-Nov-14 18:33:06

His texts to her are different to ones he sends other colleagues though. They remind me of something he would send to me, especially in the early days, although the texts are not very flirty, there's a lot of banter and he seems genuinely concerned about her and interested in her.

If you see this then you need to call him on it. "You're talking about, and spending a lot of time with X and it's making me very nervous. Have you been in contact with her often?" - basically to find out if he'll lie about the texts. If he does, then tell him you know. If he doesn't, then you need to decide what you want. He's allowed to have friends but this relationship is making you awkward for a reason...

If it was something he did with other people, I wouldn't be too concerned, but it's not like him. Considering that this is meant to be a work based friendship according to him, I do wonder why he would be texting her at that time.

Sounds like he considers her a closer friend than "just" a work friend. Personally I wouldn't be okay with it. If the friendship had existed long before me even then I would expect some boundaries.

I think the fact you're on mat leave kinda makes things worse. You're home all the time. You have a new child. He's "checking out" of family life a bit and I wonder whether he's struggling with it? You haven't said but EA's and SA's have been known to start around a big change in relationship... looking for a different and easier dynamic than what they have at home.

I think you need to talk to him.

AddToBasket Tue 11-Nov-14 18:40:36

Hmmm, trust your instincts.

But if I were you I'd try not to blow this open so far that he can't be around her because it might impact on his job. Obviously, your marriage comes first. But as this doesn't sound like it has strayed past the point of no return, I'd try to deal with it by speaking frankly to him.

'DH, I found messages on your phone to X. Don't have an affair with her, don't text her out of hours, don't embarass yourself, or me, or the DCs. Really, this will end in tears if you behave like this again. Enough.'

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