Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “My Friend’s Husband Is Getting in the Way of Our Friendship”

I’m a single, fit woman who just recently moved back to the area where I’m currently living, and I have been actively pursuing new friendships. I have been meeting some great people and was initially drawn to a girl who is originally from my hometown. We hit it off and decided to get together. Well, I invited her to a beach party this past summer and, since she is married and goes everywhere with her husband, I invited her to invite him as well. Ever since the beach party, though, this girl and I have not really hung out and, what’s more, I get the feeling that she is jealous of me due to her husband’s attention towards me.

I feel like her husband pays an inappropriate amount of attention to me every time I’m around to the point that he will invite me to places with them when my friend hasn’t even mentioned it to me. I have both of them on my Facebook as well, and it seems he is always commenting on my stuff while she is MIA in my life whether it’s through FB, hanging out, or just texting to say what’s up. I’m starting to get really uncomfortable with the dynamics of this friendship because I really just wanted to be friends with her, not her husband! I have experienced the wrath of unjustified jealousy of a married woman before and I feel like it’s starting to happen again. I want to just end the friendship with her and move on and find like-minded, single females, but I feel like maybe I’m overreacting to these subtle hints. Help!! — Grapes of Wrath

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

25 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Muffy October 15, 2014, 8:34 am

    You could just stop replying if it’s bothering you. He will stop then.

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  • avatar

    Muffy October 15, 2014, 8:37 am

    And you could also just go out and find other friends – you are not tied to this person as your only friend. If she’s not contacting you and you’re not contacting her it will fade naturally. And then you just don’t reply to husband since you’re not interested in being his friend either. It’s pretty simple. You just met these people.

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  • Portia

    Portia October 15, 2014, 8:51 am

    Honestly, this sounds like how me and Bassanio interact with our shared friends, male and female. If one of us talks to a friend about doing something together, it’s mostly him and rarely me. And our friends tend to assume that of they’ve told one of us something they’ve told both of us. We’ve had new friends that I think have been more cautious about this because they don’t know this is our dynamic. He’s just the more gregarious one and the plan maker.
    .
    That being said, I have no idea what this couple is like because I don’t know them, and it sounds like you don’t either, LW. If you’ve been getting the side eye from the wife, then probably not. Maybe take a look at their interactions with other people on Facebook? Is the wife liking his comments? I admit, I’m not too sure about these things on Facebook within relationships because Bassanio’s been off it for a long time, but it might be a good way to gauge whether he’s like this in general. If you’re the type that is more frank about these matters, maybe ask the friend? If the husband is inviting you to shared plans, though, it feels more like the expectation is that you’re becoming friends with the couple. Unless the wife mysteriously ditches the last minute? Then it sounds more like Gigi’s catfish..

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    • Portia

      Portia October 15, 2014, 10:25 am

      OK, is my experience on this really that rare that all of you are jumping to avoid the husband?
      .
      Another option: group text with the husband and wife instead of just with the husband. If he goes back to just texting with you himself, then I think you have your answer, but if not, maybe this female friend comes as a matched set. I mean, sure, work on making more friends, too. And if you only want to be friends with the wife, then it sounds like that’s not going to happen. But couples can be friends with single females…

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh October 15, 2014, 10:31 am

        I don’t think I have any couple friends where I talk to the husband more than the wife when making plans. But, I mean I don’t think that necessarily means anything. It just means that if I were in this position it might be odd to me at first. And it doesn’t mean that he isn’t the more social one and that isn’t the explanation for this. But, from my experience if the other person puts no effort in to hanging out with you or keeping in contact with you in general, then they aren’t really interested in being your friend. It doesn’t seem like the person she wants to be friends with wants to be friends with her.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. October 15, 2014, 2:53 pm

        I agree that with most couples I know, the wife is the keeper of the social calendar, but I do know a couple in which the husband is the social one and makes the plans and sends out the invites. The examples she gives don’t stand out to me as meaning he wants to be more than friends, He invites her to places with his wife; he comments on her stuff more than the wife. By itself, I don’t think it means anything, this guy just might be really social. But, what I don’t hear from the LW is that she talked to the husband and told him that his behavior makes her uncomfortable. If this is just his thing, and he does it with everyone, he may not think anything of it. But, if they talk and he realizes how it makes her feel, and he’s a decent guy, he’ll back off. But, that’s a lot of trouble to go to if you don’t really want to be friends with someone, and like everyone else, I sense that’s what’s going on here. That, and the LW’S rather high opinion of herself is coloring her view.

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      • Portia

        Portia October 15, 2014, 3:27 pm

        Oh good, there’s at least one other couple out there like us! Lol, I never really thought about it being weird, but the trouble I had making friends when I first moved here is making a heck of a lot more sense. I’m gonna have to talk to Bassanio about this, it really is providing a lot of insight…
        .
        There might be some high opinion of herself going on here, but it could also be that she’s encountered to many situations that aren’t like this in the past. She never said anything about not wanting to be friends with the guy, or that it’s uncomfortable, just that situations in the past with extra attention from the man in the past have gone this way.
        .
        Maybe she can do what our friend did: state emphatically to the husband how excited she is to see the wife. Or like other people suggested, make more one-on-one plan attempts with the wife, doing activities the husband wouldn’t be that interested in. Ask if she wants to start a mini unofficial book club or some hobby together (we just took a ceramics class together). And one day, who knows, you might travel halfway around the world with the two of them?

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh October 15, 2014, 3:39 pm

        Yeah and I agree, I don’t think this means anything other than he likes her as a friend. I just think the wife’s lack of any hint that she wants to include her in her social circle means she’s probably not going to have a friendship with her. Even when one person is more social than the other, usually they receive some hint from the other person in the couple that they enjoy spending time with them. It seems like from what she’s said the wife isn’t interested and really that’s all that matters here. Taking time to talk to the husband might make him dial back on the interaction on social media but I don’t think it’s going to mean a friendship with the wife. So I agree it doesn’t make sense to take the time to do that. Just move on and find new friends.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope October 15, 2014, 9:17 am

    Sounds like the husband’s attracted to you, the wife is jealous and the friendship isn’t going to take off. Sorry, that’s the price you pay for being a “single, fit woman”. (If the friendship means that much to you, you could try gaining a few pounds) (Just kidding).

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh October 15, 2014, 9:36 am

    The other option is that she just doesn’t like you that much? Even if it felt like at first you did hit it off. Other than that I agree with Muffy, it’s time to find new friends. Unless this is a pattern you find yourself in with all people who have an SO, I would chalk it up to a friendships that isn’t going to work out. If it is a pattern then you might want to ask yourself what you’re bringing to these relationships that might cause this friction.

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    • Nookie

      Nookie October 15, 2014, 11:32 am

      Yeah that was my thought too. Maybe this person didn’t feel the friend vibe as much as you did and maybe the husband is kind of bored and just being overly friendly, maybe that’s his style.
      .
      Personally I wouldn’t put that much more effort in. I kind of agree with the below, based on the letter I wonder if some of this might be the LW projecting a little but at the end of the day if it is as it’s being portrayed, do you really want to be friends with someone who has a bastard for a husband and gets all jealous over it? I’d find someone else to be friends with.

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  • avatar

    artsygirl October 15, 2014, 10:01 am

    LW if you really want to salvage your friendship, you might need to do just ‘girls only’ stuff where the husband would not be included. Try to build back up your friendship with her and perhaps only interact with the husband when you can bring along a date or boyfriend. It will reenforce to your friend that you are not on the prowl and while I know it is complete bullshit, a lot of men will only leave a woman alone if he believes she ‘belongs’ to another guy.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar October 15, 2014, 11:17 am

      I thought this too. Just have a girls’ night; high tea; brunch – something just girly. And if the girl asks to bring the husband just tell her you wanted some girl advice and get her take on a dating story or making girl friends or anything that reinforce the value you see in her. And there is a way to shoot down unwanted attention without being over the top about it for when you hang out with both of them. “Hey Super hot friend, we are going to grab dinner next week and you should come and sit beside me” “Yeah that’s not going to happen – but I’ll check with jealous wife if I can make it.” Shoot down inappropriate comment – roll right over it and get to the part where you redirect it to the wife. But just make sure it really is the husband going above and beyond since my husband is friends with my friends and invites them to things and tells me about it after. He emails them and texts them too. I love that they get along that well. Makes everyone hanging out so much more fun.

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  • avatar

    MissyC October 15, 2014, 10:01 am

    Step 1, block the husband on Facebook. If he wants to know why (in person), tell him that it was making you a but uncomfortable (since he’s married) that you are not as close to him as you are to his wife yet he seems to be making a lot of contact. If she asks, tell him the same thing. Tell her that it is more important to you that you are friends with her, and not with the husband.
    .
    Step 2, invite the wife to do things just the two of you. Tell her you want to have a ladies’ night in with wine and a movie and see if she has some other ladies she knows who might want to join. You’d get to meet new women and also not have to deal with the husband who is making you uncomfortable. If she can’t join, or won’t since her husband won’t be there, then maybe it’s time to search for new friendships.

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    • avatar

      MissyC October 15, 2014, 10:03 am

      *If she asks, tell HER the same thing.

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  • muchachaenlaventana

    muchachaenlaventana October 15, 2014, 10:12 am

    Soooo it doesn’t really sound to me like you are friends? I mean you have hung out once, only known her a few short months-she never calls/texts/messages you etc. It sounds like yeah, maybe you *could* have been friends, but it isn’t going to happen-probably because it seems like her husband is a little over-interested. Better just to let it drop and try to make some new friends elsewhere–I think you definitely can be friends with married women/men but probably not when the half of the couple you aren’t even interested in being friends with is the only one displaying any overt interest in being friends.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 October 15, 2014, 10:15 am

    Yeah just stop replying to the husband if you don’t want him as a friend. She isn’t going to want you as a fried either way, so it’s just you and him now, and you need to figure out how close of friends you want to be with him.

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  • avatar

    Sara October 15, 2014, 10:22 am

    Unless this is from Wendy having to paraphrase a longer response, I was struck by the use of “fit.” Why call out that you’re fit? I would never say, “I’m a single out-of-shape woman.” It’s like you’re trying to subtly say “of course the men are looking at me! I’m fit! Look at my body! But I don’t know why these darn wives get mad when their husbands look at my (fit! fit!) body.”

    May seem minor, but word choice can actually give great insights into a person’s thoughts…

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    • Miss MJ

      Miss MJ October 15, 2014, 10:37 am

      I don’t know. I think the LW was just trying to let us know that she is what some might find to be/refer to as conventionally attractive so that we could have that info in evaluating the situation. That sort of thing can be awkward to convey in this type of format.
      .
      In any event, I think everyone is right and this friendship isn’t going to really work out. Try inviting the wife to things by herself where the husband wouldn’t go, but if she declines, then let it go. Why waste time on something with the potential for this much drama?

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    • Kate B.

      Kate B. October 15, 2014, 10:41 am

      Yeah, this bugged me, too. It’s like saying, “Hi, I’m a single, rich man.” That’s what you want people to know about you. If you’re that fit, you really don’t have to mention it. Maybe there is something going on, maybe there isn’t. But, the bottom line here is that they are a package deal. I really don’t see how you can be friends with the wife and completely avoid the husband. If you don’t want to be friends with her, then don’t. It’s really that simple.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar October 15, 2014, 11:05 am

        I knew someone in law school who answered a casual “hey how are ya?” with “I’m a single, white, heterosexual male – the world is my oyster.” So charming.

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    • Diablo

      Diablo October 15, 2014, 10:44 am

      I noticed this as well, probably because I am not fit. But she also refers to “these subtle hints” without saying anything about what they are. Has the husband offered to meet her at any time without his wife? Has he complimented her looks or given some other signal of an interest that isn’t strictly “friendly”? If he has, that might influence my opinion here. LW, you acted like you wanted to be friends, so now he is acting like you are friends. You appear to be the sort of person who doesn’t want any extra friends, only relationships over which you have control. I see no subtle hints of anything. Maybe the woman doesn’t want the friendship as much as the husband does. That doesn’t mean he’s secretly pining to bone you. That could just be you projecting, since you clearly see yourself as a target for his attraction. Without more detail, It’s hard to judge either way, but I’m tempted to tell you to get over yourself. Meanwhile, you are overlooking the most direct method of getting the answer you want: talk to your friend.

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    • avatar

      Samantha October 15, 2014, 10:52 am

      I noticed this as well, but maybe she’s from the UK? They use fit not just to mean in-shape, but also just generally hot. Still kinda weird, though.

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    • TaraMonster

      TaraMonster October 15, 2014, 10:38 am

      I actually don’t think it’s so minor she mentioned it and then followed it up with saying she’s been on the other end of a married woman’s wrath before. Then couple that with the fact that she is writing in with a “problem” that is actually not a problem at all. She hasn’t known this woman very long, and it would be very easy just to not talk to either of them. Boom. “Problem” solved.

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  • avatar

    tlee8 October 15, 2014, 4:39 pm

    I don’t really see an issue here. Depends on how the husband is acting. My husband is very friendly to all my friends. He is always happy to add my friends on facebook and comment on their status. He is pretty active on FB though. He also always invites people to things we plan on doing. I never get upset about this, because he knows i love to invite my friends along, the more the merrier. I think i need some cold hard facts and examples of any improper behavior to believe the friends husband is being anything other then friendly. I think the OP is making up drama, maybe because she is jealous.

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