My anxious wife wants me to end a long-term friendship

My wife is 100% an anxious person. I’m very easy going so I’m probably more dismissive, but I can relate to the other types (see, attachment styles).

I’m having a problem with my wife’s jealousy. Before we were married I had a really close female friend that I initially wanted to date but she didnso we just became really good friends. We were never close as far as sharing intimate thoughts and feelings; it was completely just someone to hang out with, as all our other friends were married.

My wife has always been jealous of her even after I moved from Florida to Canada to be with her and leave all my friends and family behind. Now I have extremely limited contact with this friend, as in one sentence every few months.

My wife has basically said I need to cut all contact with her period or find a new wife. This usually happens during one of her extreme low points. I honestly have no feelings for this friend and she truly has none for me. I have had a relationship before where I ditched all my friends for a girlfriend and had to start over when that relationship ended.

After that I vowed never again. What does that say about my character if I ditch friends for anyone including my wife?

Everything else in our life is great. It’s just the jealousy that’s a problem. How do I deal with this jealousy before it destroys us? Do I just tell my friend I’m sorry but my wife hates you, have a nice life?

Response:

Based on your question, your relationship with your friend sounds aboveboard. Keeping friends in life is important. Our close connections with others make us feel understood, help us maintain our identities, and bring enjoyment to our lives.

Why would you give up a legitimate friend in order to make your wife happy? Romantic relationships are about two people coming together to share their lives (see, healthy relationships). Romantic relationships are not about trying to control their partner’s other relationships, as long as those friendships don’t cross any boundaries (flirting, sex, emotional cheating).

Undoubtedly your wife feels threatened by your friend. Rather than deal with her feelings, she is trying to control your behavior, as anxious individuals often do (see, attachment styles).

This type of response doesn’t play out well in the long run. If you allow her to control your actions now, she will feel more comfortable exerting control when she feels threatened by something else. It is probably best to address this pattern now, rather than let it continue.

Have a discussion with your wife. Explain how you feel (see, talk about problems). Validate her feelings (“I know this makes you feel threatened”) and tell her you want to work with her to make her feel better. But, you won’t let her dictate the outcome. Relationships are built on mutual problem solving, not a partner issuing ultimatums.

If the problem persists, which it most likely will, counseling is your best option. If you are happy in your marriage try your best to help your wife deal with her anxiety, but don’t let her insecurities force you to end a friendship that matters to you.

 anxious attachment | control issues | partners jealousy

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