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Hi Everyone. Firstly I'm really sorry to intrude on what I appreciate is a woman's / mum's space. I'm just a decent guy, married with kids, who is struggling and in need of some help.
Really, the issue is that my wife does not see any issue hanging out with other guys (both single and married), and I'm not sure if I am justified in feeling it is unfair / inappropriate / disrespectful. I am no saint, but am a total family guy and I would just think it inappropriate and uncomfortable for me to go for one on one drinks or for a meal with another woman, and I don't. By contrast, she does this quite regularly, often repeatedly. Sometimes she'll tell me, sometimes she won't.
I have talked to her and explained how it makes me feel and been apologetic that I don't want to be possessive but it has had almost no effect. I am sure these are work related (not stuff she has to do for work, but people known through work) and innocent, but it's more that she doesn't seem to care how it makes me feel. Maybe her view is that I'm being unreasonable or too old fashioned (I know I am old fashioned, I believe in the dignity of marriage enormously).
I don't know. I'd love some perspectives of women here. Perhaps I'm being controlling and unreasonable to even raise it, given I have no reason to doubt it's anything other than totally innocent.
I think the context here is important. Who are these guys? How does she know them? How long has she known them? Why are they meeting up? Where? etc.
My husband and I have a pretty typical family life. We don't go out much with friends (no time, no childcare), not out partying or doing anything ridiculous, etc. But we certainly both have friends or work colleagues of the opposite sex that we might meet up with for drinks or dinner from time to time. More often than not, we would also meet up with their partners or as a group of friends because we go out so infrequently that we need to kill a few birds with the same stone because it won't happen again for a bit. In my husband's case, he works in a very male-dominated field and doesn't have many female work colleagues, but a few times a year he is away at a work event and will go out for a big night out with a bunch of people he knows in his field (the majority are men, but several would be women). Because it's like a big trade event, it's not like he's out completely alone, but definitely he has drinks and hangs out and stays up late with other women. He also has several good female friends from uni and he might meet up with one of them for dinner on occasion if he happens to be in their part of the country (none live near to us). The difference is, these are friends and long-standing work colleagues. The friends I know well myself (they came to our wedding, have come to stay with us for the weekend, we've been away for weekends with them and their partners, etc.) and the work colleagues I'm always introduced to when I come to the trade events as well (we run a family business, mostly him, but I work many of these events too). So it's nothing secretive, nothing that's ever been hidden from me, they seem like lovely people, even though we don't always hang out or meet up together with them as a couple (as often one of us has to go home with the children). Similarly, I have several male colleagues or old friends who I might meet up with if I was traveling or we were at a work conference together or sometimes we go out to lunch if they are at my office for any reason. Again, they don't live near us (most of my work colleagues are female) and I don't see them often, but my husband knows who they are, it's not secretive, we have kids and it would be weird and inconvenient for both of us to go meet up with them as we'd need a babysitter, etc.
But the difference is we both know about who the other is friends with. It's not a secret. There are really obvious, sensible reasons why we are socialising with these people (very old, good friends we've known for years, work colleagues we are meeting to talk over a project with at a conference, holiday parties, etc.). It's all above board. It sounds like from what you said that you don't even really know who these guys are. That's odd. You shouldn't be keeping secrets from each other. I suspect either you're right and she is having relationships that are too emotionally or physically close to these other guys, along the lines of an emotional affair. Or they are normal working relationships that she feels she has to hide from you because you are overreacting about something really ordinary. It's hard to know for sure without understanding the context, who these people are, how and where they are meeting, how often, etc.
You're being a controlling disrespectful that.
I’m what mumsnet class as the uncool girlfriend
My partner has female friends
I have male friends
I wouldn’t be happy if he was going out with one of them for drinks and a meal. Nope not at all. Even more so if he was hiding it!!! Why lie about it?
It’s not being controlling. It’s about respect! If his attitude was “I know you’re upset about it but I don’t care I’m gunna do it anyway” that’d just make it ten times worse as well.
Why would I want my partner doing something date like with another woman??
I think mindutopia speaks with much wisdom.
My DH has two female friends who he will meet for drinks/meals. Because I am a pretty insecure type I did think too much about these relationships. The solution for us was for me to get to know these women. He organised a meal out for me to meet the married one (i.e. A nice meal for us & her & her DH )and with the single one he asked her to stay over one night after they had been out (so I met her at the end of evening for a coffee and the 3 of us went out for brunch the next morning). I realised they were just nice people and could see why my DH wanted to spend time with them. So we are 10/15 years down the line and are still solid mates, but they will always be closer to DH.
If DW has nothing to hide, and why should she, she will be happy for you to meet them.
FWIW I don't think you are being controlling, we all have different boundaries.
I think if the roles were reversed there would be a few red flag warnings being bandied about.
The main issue starts with the secrecy. Only you know how the rest of your life is going and be able to think if anything is actually going on.
At what point does going to a restaurant to eat because it is mealtime and you are both hungry, become a date?
Do you think if you were a little less possessive and she was more forthcoming in saying who she was with would everything be fine or are there other issues?
Are they colleagues? Friends from before you got married?
My personal response may not be what you choose .... but I would start going out with female friends in the same way.
Does she have female friends too?
She's not doing anything wrong
I think you need to relax and trust your wife!
Both me and my husband have friends of the opposite sex that we have nights out with. If he’d had a problem with that then I would have left him. No-one gets to decide who I spend my free time with and I certainly wouldn’t be telling him who he could be friends with. As for me meeting them or vice versus fine if it’s in context but there’s no way I’d meet with any of my male friends partners just so they could assess me. I wouldn’t want friends like that!
Thanks everyone. Chippy, yes, as it's as you say really. For her to know how much it upsets me, and just not give a shit, is what really hurts. And I think that's the case whether my being upset is justified or not. As I said, I personally don't think it's appropriate for a married man or woman to be lunching and having drinks alone with someone of the opposite sex, socially without any purpose, especially repeatedly, because I think it's just disrespectful. But obviously from the responses that attitude is far out-dated. I can understand that. I know I'm not cut out for this.
Thanks again to all.
OP it doesn’t matter whether 10 users on here tell you you’re wrong or right, what matters are your feelings. You are entitled to feel upset about the situation
As I said originally I certainly wouldn’t be happy with this. I could deal with it if he was going to McDonald’s in his lunch break or something as to me it’s quick and simple. But if they’re going to a proper restaurant and a sit down meal then no - that takes time to plan, to look good, cosy atmosphere etc - it’s too much like a date! I wouldn’t even want to do that with another man myself.
You’re not controlling and you’re not old fashioned. Honestly, nobody I know in real life who is married/in a happy relationship goes out for meals and drinks with a friend of the opposite sex alone yet on here I read about it all the time.
You aren’t demanding your wife doesn’t see her friends. You’re not demanding she stays in. You’ve just told her you aren’t happy with it, and she’s basically told you she thinks these meals are more important than your feelings. I think that’s far worse than being upset about what she’s doing
It's very hard to tell from your post whether she says being unreasonable or you're heading towards controlling. Context is a big deal here.
I have male friends that aren't my husband's friends, people I've known for a long time. It's highly unlikely I would ever go out socially with them one on one repeatedly. I can't see that ever happening, and my DH wouldn't do it with women either. Going out with a group of colleagues or old friends is totally different, as is socialising with a very close friend she's known much longer than you. But beyond that, it wouldn't be okay in my marriage. If it did happen for some reason (we had a male friend who was going through a really tough time and I met him for coffee a few times as we were both off work) my DH would be fully aware of it.
Yes you're entitled to your feelings but this doesn't mean you can attempt to control your wife or stop her seeing friends. Your feelings are not reasonable, I wouldn't be pandering to them either if I were your wife
Chippyway you seriously get to police who your husband socialises with?
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