Wife Has Male Friend
Q: After 13 years together, my wife and I separated. She said I am too controlling, but I had found out she was talking to another man, or seeing him, supposedly just as a friend. When we separated, she rented a room from this same man and stayed there for eight months. Finally she agreed to come home to try to work it out with me, yet she insists on still seeing this guy every week. Is it possible that they are just friends and that there was never a sexual relationship? Is it normal for a married woman to have a single man friend that she goes to see at his apartment whenever she wants? -- Jack
Dr. Susan: It should be easy to find out if they're just friends. Ask her to include you in the friendship -- a perfectly normal and healthy thing for a married man to ask of his wife, especially after a separation when you need to build trust. She could invite him to dinner at your house, or the three of you could go out to lunch together. Or you could go with her to his apartment for a short visit. What would her reaction be to such a suggestion?
You are correct to be skeptical of her claims. It's impossible to say for sure whether their friendship included sex. But she stayed in his house for eight months and even now that you're trying to reconstruct your marriage, she insists on seeing him at his apartment. Fishy indeed. It's not a matter of "normal," but of what is comfortable for both of you. Many married men (and women) would be climbing the walls with jealousy if they had to tolerate what you're describing, and not all of them are necessarily the controlling type. I suspect your wife isn't being fully open with you. At the very least, you could ask to meet this guy and be "allowed" to ask some polite questions. It's pretty hard to put a separated marriage back together if one of the partners is keeping major secrets. Be prepared, though: if she's had an affair, are you ready to begin coping with that?
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.