I want my husband to end a relationship with an old friend
When I first read, "My anxious wife wants me to end a long-term friendship", I thought that my husband posted it as we have a very similar situation in our relationship. Only differences are my husband’s female friend lives 30 minutes away from us, they exchange texts more than once a week and meet up for a coffee every 5-6 weeks, and most importantly (as my husband would say) she’s got cancer. She is not terminally ill as she works but has gone through a difficult time according to my husband. I don’t know what she has gone through, as he never tells me so I just have to guess.
She is one of his old friends whom he met in his twenties. My husband says he didn’t go out with her, they were just good friends for a couple of years and gradually their friendship faded away. When I first met him this friend was not around.
I didn’t know anything about him being in touch with her until one of our children looked at his cell phone and read out a name which he just received a message. This was approximately 3 years ago.
I asked him who she was and he said she was an old friend of his and he was helping her as she had gone through a very rough time and was deeply depressed, so he was supporting her by giving encouragement. They met again through work after a long lost contact. I was very uncomfortable, as he didn’t mention anything about this friend before.
He said to me that their contact would not last long as she would leave her job soon, so I believed him. But later, I found out they were still in touch. I discovered this when I snooped his cell phone after I felt that something was not quite right. They had been in contact for almost one year without my knowledge, not just occasionally but almost every other night. I confronted him saying that he was dishonest. He insisted that he had done nothing wrong, just helping his friend and had no intention of leaving me.
He said that he had nothing to hide so I said to him that I wanted see her. She refused to come first but eventually after one year she was invited, she came to our house twice for coffee. I was very uncomfortable but I tried to hide this and behave as cheerful as possible. I was in some ways hoping that she would realize the fact he is my husband and not her boyfriend. However, it didn’t work as I expected because she still texts him at least twice a week and wants to meet him.
My husband and I have had numerous arguments and discussions over this so far as to why he wants to keep in touch with her and treat her like someone special. I expressed my feelings and fear, and then he said that she was not a threat. I said to him that how he treated her and how he treated me in the text was the threat. He has other female friends he has a contact with, but those are occasional things not on a regular basis. I said to him many times that I don’t mind him keeping in touch with friends of course, that’s healthy, but the way they exchange excessive amount of texts is abnormal. She is almost relying on him and he accepts it. He admitted that the amount of text exchanging was may be too much and he will try to limit. But not successful…
What she says in texts is what she did last week, how she got on her work, how she spent the weekend, what TV programs she watched and so on. To me, so what?? My husband replies (sometimes he texts her to ask how she is) to her text, reporting back his daily life event. What they do, for me, is more or less what long distance lovers do. The most painful things I read was he pretended as if he was a single father saying, “my children and I went on holiday”. Where was I?? I was on holiday too with them. Once he mentioned about me quoting “mother of my children”, not my wife…. I confronted him why I should get insulted in this way and he said there was no malice in it, saying sorry.
Every time I bring up this subject, he insists that this is only friendship and nothing else. It has been like this for nearly 2 years now. I say to him if he wants to go that’s fine, I want to move on too. I cannot stop somebody if they want to go, but he is still with me.
I know he has a strong empathy with her regarding what she went through as he also had a traumatic experience as a teenager, which left him with a slight mobility problem. He once mentioned they are supporting each other. He said to me that I don’t have an empathy with her. It is very clear that he doesn’t want to upset her but doesn’t mind upsetting me.
It was only two month ago I found this site. After I went through the site, I went out of my way to understand what he wants to do and show my sympathy and empathy. But it is very difficult to be honest. I feel like she is intrusive and dominating our relationship. I am always worried about when she is going to text him. I feel like she has a control over our relationship.
Can I live like this for the rest of my life? Do I have to put up with the situation because she is ill? I suffered from severe palpitations twice, which I ended up in hospital.
I am very confused. It’s like a torture.
Constant self-disclosures, like the one’s you describe between your husband and his friend, are the way two individuals create intimacy. Having a friend is one thing, but having your husband constantly share the details of his life with someone else is not typical behavior among old friends. Also, your husband’s language choice when describing you and his vacation with your children is not typical either. Most of the time people use direct language -- “my wife and I took our kids on vacation” -- unless he is trying to create a version of reality, which differs from the truth (see, ways people lie).
Our best advice is to explain how you are feeling—frustrated, annoyed and hurt. Tell your husband why you are feeling that way (without being overly judgmental). Tell your husband the nature of his friendship is upsetting to you (see, talk about problems). Try role reversal if you have to… ask him how he would feel if he discovered you interacting with an old friend in the exact same way.
If you can’t get him to empathize with the pain you are in, he is unlikely to change his behavior. If it comes to that, then you might be more direct. Just make sure that you can live with the consequences, if you go down that path. In other words, don’t threaten to leave a spouse unless you are actually willing to walk out the door.
Hope that helps.
I have my own question to ask
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