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‘Til Death-Grip Do Us Part

My husband of 10 years has an old friend he dated for a few years before we met. She comes into our lives about once a year when she’s in town. Her e-mails sometimes seem flirty, and my husband says I take them too seriously. But, she also seems edgy around me, making me suspect she still has feelings for him. When she was here for a funeral, I told him he could join her and some friends for a night out if he didn’t make me look bad. Two days later, I got a mass e-mail with pictures of him and his ex cheek-to-cheek! That argument lasted a month. He finally agreed to do something, but I think he isn’t making it clear enough that she shouldn’t call or e-mail again because she hasn’t stopped. He claims he feels bad ending one of the only friendships he’s maintained for the past 20 years. Well, their relationship’s taking a toll on ours. How can I cut off their contact?

--Irate Wife

If you love someone, turn off the electrified fencing. If they hang around, they’re yours. If not, at least you won’t be facing manslaughter charges.

The guy married you, not her. Why work so hard to make him sorry he did? Sure, he’s still with you after 10-plus years -- maybe because he’s too beaten down to crawl to the phone and start ringing divorce lawyers. To your credit, you did decide to let him see this woman -- before you decided that he can never see her, talk to her, or even e-mail her again. Excuse me, but who decided that you get to decide these things? I’m guessing you were pronounced “husband and wife,” not “husband and warden.” Yet, at the moment, your relationship is basically prison with better towels.

You actually spent a month berating your husband for appearing in a photograph with somebody? Okay, so it was his ex, and they were photographed “cheek-to-cheek.” (We’re talking the facial kind, right?) Just wondering, when you take a picture, do you typically pose your subjects on opposite sides of the room? “Okay, you two, get as far apart as you can!” As for why this woman gets edgy around you, beyond your near-criminalization of her 20-year friendship with your husband, could it be that you tend to look at her like you’re trying to turn her into a smoldering pile of ash?

Yes, she could have “feelings” for your husband -- as could his secretary, several of his co-workers, and some lady in line behind him at the drugstore. But, the feelings you should be worrying about are yours, and what they’re doing to his. Do you really think you can alienate a man into loving you? You’re missing the real problem, which isn’t what’s out there, but what’s not in you. Instead of acting out “I’m insecure, you’d better curtail your life,” how about admitting to your husband, “I’m insecure, I’d better work on getting less insecure”? Tell him he can go where he wants, see who he wants, and even appear in photographs with them (providing the backdrop isn’t a motel bedspread).

You can’t make a man want you, but you’ll do better giving him reasons to stay than giving him the impression that all the exits are sealed. Having fun instead of extended arguments is an excellent start, especially when there’s no evidence the man’s done anything wrong. I mean, if you’re going to put a month into tormenting your husband, at least have the decency to wait until you catch him in bed with your best friend.

Posted by aalkon at August 29, 2007 6:34 AM

Comments

"How can I cut off their contact?" See, it's crazy lines like this that make a man paranoid about dating. You end up believing analogies like this; "Drink beer is like dating women. You meet up, and at first, they're cold. Then, as you get to know eachother, things get warmed up. But after a while, things get too warm and then you go get another one."'

I accuse the LW writer of mistaking love for possesion. Clearly, when they got married and she got a husband, it was like having a car, or a purse, or shoes. he's just another accessory needed to complete the look. Loving doesn't include the sentence "hwo do I cut off contact".

Posted by: Scott [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 28, 2007 9:43 PM

How refreshing it is to hear a woman give the advice that you have! A dozen years ago I dated a woman for half a year. About 4 months in, she said one evening, "We need to talk." Note: These are the 4 scariest words known to any man. She announced that she wasn't comfortable with me having the females friends I did - any of them - and said I would have to get rid of all of these friends, beginning with the prettiest ones first.

I ignored her ultimatum and ended the relationship soon after. To this day, I believe that she thinks that I was the big jerk!

Posted by: Robert W. [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 12:18 AM

Of course, I'm still getting e-mails, mainly from women, suggesting that I was wrong, wrong, wrong! But, here's one I got the other day from a man:

Amy, In regards to your response printed in the Poughkeepsie Journal on August 19, 'Don't Treat Mate Like a Prisoner', I would venture to say you are either divorced or single. Your advice was horrible. The woman who asked you for advice had every right to feel they way that she did. She is not insecure or jealous. I'll guarantee if the tables were turned her husband would not like it if she were still "friends" with someone she was involved with. She mentioned the flirtatious e-mails and other get togethers. Unacceptable and disrespectful. Your words of wisdom were "remember who he married" So what? Ever hear of having your cake and eating it too? A guys correct insight

My reply:

I'm very happy in my relationship, thanks, but it's always interesting when people make these assumptions! It's neither disrespectful nor wrong to maintain a friendship from 20 years ago, and to be photographed with that person. Flirtatious e-mails were her perception -- the perception of a woman who makes a man's life a misery for a month because there was a photo of him next to his ex-girlfriend. The problem, as I stated in the column, is her low self-esteem. Best,-Amy Alkon

If my boyfriend tried to stop me from being friends with one of my guy friends he wouldn't be my boyfriend anymore.

Furthermore, there's no one person out there who's going to meet your every need as a human being, and the notion that somebody would is one of the big lies of marriage. I'm a better, more interesting person because I have a lot of friends, including many who are men.

Robert, you were lucky you knew to dump her.

My feeling: Either the person in my life wants me or they don't, and if they don't want me, they'll leave, and there's nothing I can do about it. Making a guy miserable isn't the answer.

As for how to keep a man, first, be enough of a person to find a good guy, and to have the standards to be able to know what that is. Then, three things:

1. Be sweet to him.
2. Don't gain 300 lbs.
3. Give him blow jobs.

Posted by: Amy Alkon [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 12:40 AM

I disagree that it's all her. In a perfect world the things people close to us do that can be harmful don't affect us. But it's not a perfect world and his behavior is disrespectful and hurtful. Yes, it's important to be good to each other, but that goes for BOTH parties not just the wife. She's concerned and he should respect that. I think he's enjoying the attention of the other woman, as men do, and playing games. Instead of beating her up, you could have suggest counseling to investigate why he needs to have an old girlfriend hanging around.

Posted by: Debra at August 29, 2007 3:12 AM

Debra, you are reading motives where there is no evidence of them. However, the evidence of insecurity and jealousy in you and the letter writer is obvious.

BTW I am a friend of Robert's (see his comment above), I met him about the same time as I met my boyfriend, who is just fine with our friendship. Conversely, my b/f has many friends from before we met - of both sexes - and I would never dream of asking him to "cut off contact" with any of them. Now THAT would be disrespectful and hurtful.

Posted by: Victoria at August 29, 2007 3:42 AM

Debra, if your signifigant other said he no longer wanted you to see any of your freinds ever again would you do it?

This woman is demanding tha her husband cut off contact with a freind he knew for a decade longer than he has known his wife, if something was going to happen between the two of them it would have already, oh wait it did, and they both moved on - she might as well get pissed at him for talking to his brothers, probably more ass grabing going on there than between a guy and some one he broke up with 10yrs before he met his wife

Posted by: lujlp at August 29, 2007 4:42 AM

Friends of a different gender are one thing, I have some myself, but doesn't it raise eyebrows with an Ex? Doesn't one have to tread lightly on the subject due to their past and whatnot? Not disagreeing, just would like some clarification.

Posted by: Amax [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 4:44 AM

I'll say this in LW's defense - generally speaking, I've found people who trumpet their friendships with the differently-gendered/exes to be somewhat suspect. Call it a rebuttable presumption of attention-whoring.

Posted by: snakeman99 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 6:49 AM

I think the whole "tread lightly on the subject...blah blah blah" is the problem. No, I don't have to tread any way except the way I tread. And I think that if they change up their tread around different people, then they are giving me signals that maybe they can't be trusted. I love when some dramadick tells me in a breathy sigh, "I don't trust people anymore!" or some shit like that. That kind of blabber just indicates to me that the person is not trustable because he has an issue with being able to pick the right kind of people to chill with.

Amy was right when she said that if someone doesn't want you, there is nothing you can do about it. Furthermore, if someone doesn't value the relationship enough not to step out, again, there is nothing you can do about it except choose to leave or stay.

I think it is the movie-like expectations of relationships that really screw everyone up.

This guy I used to fuck texted me last night. He said, "Do you miss me?"
I texted back, "Yes I do. From the waist down."
He said, "Do you want me to come over?"
I said, "No. I can't stand you from the waist up."
He texted me back and said, "whore!"
And my final text said, "Then you owe me a lot of money. Pay up, stupid."

Needless to say, that is not a story book romance, but I will note, while it lasted, that was the best sex of my life. I have no regrets.

Posted by: kg at August 29, 2007 7:10 AM

I'm no expert Amax, but whether one chooses to "raise eyebrows" is up to the beholder and there's nothing you can do to change what other people think. This wife has more than her eyebrows up, she has her nails out too!

The ability to recognize a relationship as no longer romantic and not have it end up in a hatefest suggests this husband has his life together.

Sure there are lots of cases where guys (and girls) are out cheating, and you don't want to be a blind doormat, but it looks to me as if the husband has been quite honest and open about his friendship with this woman. He's even said he understands his wife's feelings and tried to put limits on the friendship. It's not his fault the friend may be "flirty". And I'm sure he even enjoys it....everyone likes the little ego boost of knowing they've still "got it".

There's no indication things are escalating, so a little joke about how she bets the friend is sorry she passed up the fine hunk of man she's married to followed by a spontaneous session of item 3 on Amy's list is more likely to keep him from running into his ex's arms than dragging him over the coals by his ball and chain!

Posted by: moreta at August 29, 2007 7:24 AM

“Tell him he can go where he wants, see who he wants, and even appear in photographs with them (providing the backdrop isn’t a motel bedspread).”

In the interest of painting the full picture, why the final proviso? I mean obviously different people have different comfort zones and there are open marriages out there. The line you draw seems obvious to you but don’t you ever meet up with someone in your life who seems outwardly pleasant, sane and rational who puts that line somewhere else? Isn’t LW beginning from the assumption that she and her man agreed on where the line was and now it is being moved?

“As for how to keep a man, first, be enough of a person to find a good guy, and to have the standards to be able to know what that is. Then, three things:
1. Be sweet to him.
2. Don't gain 300 lbs.
3. Give him blow jobs.”
There is some truly great advice in there but it kind of runs downhill in a way that sets off my gender inversion alarm. Are the three things ™ different for keeping a woman? Be sweet to her, Don’t lose your job, Help with the housekeeping? Is that all it takes to keep you around? Ladies? Any thoughts?
Anyway, isn’t LW’s concern that this other woman can do those things as easily as she can? Some people might add another key thing: Chase off the competition. Jealousy can certainly go too far and cause problems but it’s a damned fool who stands by and watches while someone lures your sweetie-pie astray.

Posted by: martin at August 29, 2007 7:29 AM

While I believe that jealousy is a manifestation of a person's own insecurities, I think it's cruel to deliberately subject that person to a "friendship" that obviously makes them uncomfortable, especially if the person has asked you not to. The LW said she told her husband to go ahead and meet with this woman and their other friends as long as he "didn't make [her] look bad". Then she gets a mass emailing with a picture of her husband and the other woman "cheek-to-cheek" and is supposed to just let it go? I dunno, I think I'd want some kind of explanation, at the very least, and an assurance that it wasn't what it looked like! And it could very well be that it was totally innocent, but if it wasn't, I think she's justified in wanting him to chill.

Posted by: Flynne [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 7:36 AM

Ultimatums usually show desperation and insecurity. The purpose is to make such a strong stance that you hope to force the other person to do what you want, no compromise. This isn't a dialogue. This isn't a person showing respect for another. It's a threat, even if she didn't follow "I forbid" with "or else".
If he does "cave", then either there's going to be a wedge between the two of them forever (he'll never know when she'll "forbid" something again)...or the change will be temporary (or he'll start being sneaky).
If it bothers her, she should do something (because otherwise it'll just eat at her and turn into passive/aggressive BS), but "I forbid you any contact with that person" isn't a way to address it. Discuss it, don't dictate. If they've been together 10+ years and can't work through a problem, then they should get involved with a counselor to arbitrate the situation, and learn the skills to work out future issues.

Posted by: Jamie at August 29, 2007 8:14 AM

"While I believe that jealousy is a manifestation of a person's own insecurities, I think it's cruel to deliberately subject that person to a "friendship" that obviously makes them uncomfortable, especially if the person has asked you not to."

It's not cruel. It's cruel to feel uncomfortable about some one else's friendship. Cause if you really cared about the human being, you would want them to be happy, not just obedient.

The issue, I think, having read posts defending the LW, is that certain people seem to view any attention given to the opposite sex as a ploy to get into their pants. While I have to concede that for some, it must be true, its not at all universal. I have an ex that I've been good friend with for years after the relationship ended without having made any sort of move on her. and I'd never want to go back to having a relationship with her. In fact, she comes into my life about once a year, when we're both in town. If any girlfriend, wife or otherwise had a problem with it and DEMANDED, as this woman did, we'd be broken up before the sentence ended. Nobody demands that sort of thing of me, and if you don't trust me, then you don't love me. I'd advise other men to adopt sucha policy. Actually, women should too.

Posted by: Scott [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 8:29 AM

"It's cruel to feel uncomfortable about some one else's friendship. "

I don't think that's accurate...perhaps just semantics...but one can't help their feelings, so having feelings isn't really cruel. It's how you act on those feelings that can be cruel.

I have said that I agree with Amy's advice in this instance (especially guessing she's got way more detail than we see in the printed letter). That said, I have personally stopped contact with a fellow I once had a relationship with when my to-be-husband explained how uncomfortable our past relationship made him. There were circumstances around this particular one that made him understandably upset. However, he didn't threaten or make my life miserable for a month. We had a rational (albeit heated) discussion where he effectively admitted his own insecurity (hey we all have 'em!). All he asked was that the fellow not attend our wedding, not that we never see each other. That seemed fair. It was my own personal decision to weigh his feelings against the value of that particular friendship to me. My husband also made a decision to "work on" that particular insecurity. Win-win, not my way or the 'electric fence' (LOVE that comment!).

Posted by: moreta [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 9:05 AM

Okay, maybe 'cruel' was a little too strong; I should have said it's 'insensitive' for someone to subject that person to said relationship. Because, if you really care about someone else's feelings, why would you deliberately upset them? Just to be all "you can't control me, so there"? How about "I know this bothers you, so I will limit my contact"? Compromise, not all or nothing. On both their parts.

Posted by: Flynne [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 9:31 AM

Kewl, thanks for that moreta. The pasts of both my wife and I have been marred with cheating so exes are a bit of a shaky subject with us. Unfortunately it can leave one blind to the truth, it does seem as this man was doing right by his wife by attempting to apease her, but I probably would have sided with her in the past.

Once again, thanks for the clarificaion :)

Posted by: Amax [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 9:48 AM

Of course, what the LW sought in writing the letter was not advice but validation. I'll bet Amy's reply came as a shock to her. Jamie gets to the crux of the matter: what else will the LW "forbid"? What if the husband has to work late? What if he has to go out of town for a meeting? Presumably at least a few of his co-workers are female. Does he need to go tell his supervisor that he cannot work with female co-workers becuase his wife forbids it? What if he goes to a store or restraunt and is waited on by a woman? What if he stops on the road somewhere to help a woman change a flat tire? This isn't Saudi Arabia here. In public, in society, one is going to encounter women. Are all of their rights, wants, and desires subversient to the LW's desires?

And how does the husband actually feel about all of this? We can take a hint from his described actions, but the LW doesn't seem to actually know or care. It's all about her and what she wants. What her husband wants simply does not matter to her. This isn't just ordinary insecurity, folks. This is a person who carried on an argument, with someone she supposedly loves, for a month. I leave to psychiatric diagnosis to others, but anyone who can maintain that behavior for that long is, quite frankly, someone that I don't want to associate with. The irony is, by continuing to act the way she does, she is probably going to bring about the very event she fears -- driving her husband into the arms of another woman. Of course, when that does happen, the LW will be able to claim victim status. Which seems to be what she wants more than she wants a loving husband.

BTW, the LW's behavior is definitely not gender-specific.

Posted by: Cousin Dave [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 9:55 AM

It's not that I don't make an effort for my boyfriend. I try to clean off my computer desktop (drives him crazy when it looks like the techno version of the inside of a box of Cocoa Puffs), and I don't say "fucktard," which bugs him. He likewise makes an effort for me...dresses like a gentleman when we're going out, not like the rest of the slobs in L.A. But, giving somebody a list of banned friends...nuh-uh.

Part of the problem is people who tell too much. My boyfriend has met a number of guys I've dated or slept with in the past. All he knows is that they're my friends now, and I can't see how revealing that we've been naked together would, in any way, be productive.

Posted by: Amy Alkon [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 10:00 AM

1. Be sweet to him.
2. Don't gain 300 lbs.
3. Give him blow jobs.

You forgot 4: Swallow. That's what separates the girls from the women!

The LW said she told her husband to go ahead and meet with this woman and their other friends as long as he "didn't make [her] look bad". Then she gets a mass emailing with a picture of her husband and the other woman "cheek-to-cheek"...

Great point, Flynne. Seriously, though, I think it was the LW's reaction that did her in- she came off to me looking really shrill and powerless- LW- 0, other girl- 1 if he is straying. She dosen't have to be completely blind to his actions, but a month of haranging the guy about it makes me understand how he might be thinking of digging under the wall with his tie tack.

I'm pretty sure my hubby wouldn't cheat on me, but he looks a little like Val Kilmer and he does get some attention from women, and occasionally gay guys! (I'd really be concerned if I thought he might take up on the latter!) Once, our car broke down at a rest stop, and I went in to get a drink, he stayed out to work on the car- all sweaty, under the hood- right? Yeah, he looks nice like that. A woman pulled up- in a brand new Benz- and asked him if he wanted a ride! I got a huge kick out of that, seriously! But I guess I would feel differently if that was his ex and he'd been out with her and left me home to do it. Of course, my reaction would have been perhaps less controlling, because shrill and screamy is never attractive.

Last story, honestly- one of the girls I used to work out with had a slightly suspect husband, or at least she suspected. That's why she stayed so long in the class- it was boxing and full of very nice looking guys with hard bodies. She made sure he came to the tournaments so he could see that. Knowing of the er, opportunities she had going on seemed to keep him on the straight and narrow.

Posted by: Allison [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 10:03 AM

Gotta go with Amy yet again. I've never seen the point of forbidding someone to see a friend they obviously enjoy being around. That leads to sneaking around and resentment. More than that, the LW clearly states in the beginning of the letter that they only see this woman "once a year when she’s in town", which says to me that the LW is grossly overreacting. The letter writer may as well asked Amy, "How can I make my man behave, when I have no proof that he's done anything wrong?". Unless those pictures showed this woman undressing her husband with room key in hand, it's time to back off. If she distrusts this woman so completely, then it's high time she joined them on these outings, have some fun. She should hurry or risk becoming irreversibly cliché'.

Posted by: Deion [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 10:13 AM

I've flirted with a lot of women who I had no intention of doing anything more with. I'm better friends with my ex than I was when I was married, but if she decided that she wanted to go back to men I would have absolutely no interest in getting back together with her.

Being cheek to cheek doesn't mean they did anything else. If he had been doing anything more, I think he would have taken steps to ensure that his wife didn't get to see a picture of him even remotely close to his ex - like avoiding getting his picture taken next to her or asking the picture taker not to send it out.

Posted by: William [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 10:28 AM

I've been the "ex/friend" before. I knew "Robert" since I was 14, and we were dear to each other all through adolescence, college, etc.

Nothing remotely romantic ever happened until my husband left me. I sent an email to all my friends announcing that my address, etc., would soon change.

Within minutes of reading it, my phone rang, and it was Robert. He left his nagging harpy of a girlfriend, got on a plane from Wisconsin to come see me, and we had a wonderful (totally chaste, btw) healing weekend together. It was just what the doctor ordered. We were struggling with awful relationships, and to spend time with a treasured friend, with whom we shared real trust, fondness and love, was just what we each needed.

Eventually, though, he went back to her, and they married. Soon after that, she nixed it all. He called me up, ashamed, to cancel our plans for coffee the next time he came home because she didn't like it.

We each lost a dear friend, and she got...what? I'll never know what else he had to give up, or why, because he's forbidden EVER to talk to me again. I just have to guess that he's resigned, committed...and pretty fucking unhappy about it.

They already argued constantly, and her ultimatum couldn't possibly have built trust, warmth and happiness between them. What she feared was the (completely platonic) trust, warmth and happiness between US. And now all any of us have is its loss.

The LW can't possibly want THAT...can she?

Posted by: Daisy Jones at August 29, 2007 10:28 AM

Maybe she's a controlling bitch, and the cheek-picture was his petty revenge.

Maybe she's sane, and her husband is sleazy.

The best solution is to say "Honey, I was uncomfortable when X happened." And maybe ASK if he/she can refrain from future Xs. This gives the offender the benefit of the doubt while allowing for a course correction. If the offender makes a similar gesture of respect back to the complainer, they both have a bank of goodwill to draw from. If the offender continues to behave questionably, their motive is clearly established.

Posted by: DaveG [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 10:39 AM

Again, this particular boundary shows up:
"Unless those pictures showed this woman undressing her husband with room key in hand, it's time to back off."

In the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (I never read the book) Patricia Neal's character pulls out her checkbook ready to send her younger lover and his new girlfriend off on a romantic getaway with the understanding that end of vacation equals end of affair with girlfriend. If you really love someone, why is it such a big deal to let them take a run in the park once in a while? LW doesn't seem to be the type to say "Oh, just nail her and be done with it!" But wouldn't that be the right solution for some people?

Posted by: martin [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 10:41 AM

We each lost a dear friend, and she got...what? I'll never know what else he had to give up, or why, because he's forbidden EVER to talk to me again. I just have to guess that he's resigned, committed...and pretty fucking unhappy about it.

Then why did he marry her in the first place?

Posted by: Flynne [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 10:47 AM

Some people make choices about their life and some people just show up and let it happen to them.

Posted by: Amy Alkon [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 11:22 AM

Some people make choices about their life and some people just show up and let it happen to them.

Word.

Posted by: Flynne [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 11:25 AM

'"We each lost a dear friend, and she got...what? I'll never know what else he had to give up, or why, because he's forbidden EVER to talk to me again. I just have to guess that he's resigned, committed...and pretty fucking unhappy about it."

Then why did he marry her in the first place?'

I think the answer to that, is there are many men out there with very low self-esteem. Maybe he thought he would never do any better than her, and was willing to live a life of misery rather than be 'alone'.

My brother calls these guys 'POWs' = 'prisoner of wife'. A lot of his friends are under the strict control of their wardens-I mean wives.

I've had to deal with a lot of these shell-shocked guys in my dating adventures. I am very familiar with the look of naked terror in their eyes, that I too, will try to take away their freedom... All I want is regular sex and a good time-sheesh! It takes a long time for them to trust me.

With the patience I've developed I should probably get a job at the pound rehabilitating abused dogs.

Posted by: Chrissy [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 11:27 AM

Hmmmm....I'm kinda in the middle on this one. While I agree that LW is being too controlling, and demanding by asking for advice on how to "cut off contact", I can certainly appreciate her point of view. Why is this chick (the ex) still emailing her husband regularly? I think, also, that many posters here are in dating relationships, and IMO, have different (read less strict) "rules" than a marriage when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex. Marriage is *supposed* to last a lifetime--till death do you part. It's *supposed* to be that much of a commitment, forsaking all others, etc. I've seen so many marriages ruined by affairs that start out with perfectly innocent friendships. A marriage is something that does need to be guarded, by BOTH spouses, against anything or anyone that is perceived as a threat. Obviously, this needs to be done by communication and respect and not by fighting or cutting him off for a month, attempting to get her way by controlling. The husband in this scenario may have no ill intentions, loves his wife and no desire to get back with the ex. However, if it's too close for comfort in the LW's opinion, and it sounds like the ex may very well be carrying a small torch for the guy still, it is HIS responsibility to ensure that he presents to his ex that he is happily taken and they are a unit now. His relationship with his wife needs to take priority over any past friendships, no matter how long the friendship has been. A marriage relationship is supposed to be the closest bond there is, and can't be treated like just another "friendship." But like I said, LW is not approaching it the right way. They need to sit down and have a frank discussion about the boundaries for their marriage that both can agree on--a marriage "contract" if you will. The level of comfort one couple may have on this particular issue could be drastically different from another, but the key to it working is going to be both of them in agreement/or agreeing to compromise about the issue. Of course, I'm no expert here....this is just my two cents. Amy, 99% of the time you are absolutely dead on target and I do love reading your columns and all the commentary generated, regardless....

Posted by: Beth [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 11:32 AM

Hey those guys got off easy. I was enough of a dumbshit to listen as my wife told me:

a) My family was no good
b) My friends were no good
c) My job was no good
d) I wasn't bringing enough good friends into the relationship (perhaps because we lived near the University she attended and about 50 miles away from where I worked (one end of Silicon Valley to the other))

In "therapy" she even said that when, before we were even a couple, I had given my brother $10,000 (at the time, I could afford to give that) to pay off his late mortgage bills (he called it a loan, I called it a gift and he hasn't run into *that* problem since), anyway, that gift of mine years before we were a couple was very problematic to her and made her worry if I would keep us safe from families and friends and stuff like that in the future.

Um, therapy is shit, because instead of calling her an idiot, our therapist responded to her will all sorts of sincerity about what a good communicator she was, and omg, yes, that could be a fear, blah blah blah.

Anyway, guess what, eventually she decided I wasn't cutting it for her.

Some of us guys (people?) are really dumb and often times it is our own willful ignorance and even cowardice.

Posted by: jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 11:54 AM

Gather ‘round young’uns, story time. After I’d been married about a year, my dear friend, who just happened to be a stunningly attractive woman (think Michelle Pfeiffer in Tequila Sunrise,) sobbed into my chest that her husband had been having an affair. I had always considered us best friends with no sexual interest in each other. My various girlfriends over the years smirked at this notion. As I held her and she cried, my only thought was that I had never liked her husband and I was glad she would be rid of him. I brought my wife up to speed on the whole thing that evening.

A few days later, Dear Friend called up wanting to go out for a drink and a sob session and of course it was no problem; everything on the up and up. After we had a drink, I walked her to her car and she asked if I would sit with her a minute, slight alarm bell. Once in the car, she said she hadn’t been able to stop thinking of me holding her and said she had always loved me and could she kiss me.

You have to pause here to let the effects of ten years of denial being suddenly torn off like a festering scab fully manifest. You see I had fallen hopelessly in love with Dear Friend the first moment I had laid eyes on her and everyone knew that but me. I had instantly and correctly calculated her to be out of my league and came up, also instantly, with the strategy of being her “Dear Friend” so I could forever bask in the periphery of her life. She didn’t mind having a guy on hand for those odd social occasions that don’t quite merit a true “date” and we did like all the same books and what-not.

Living a lie is a lot like living in reality; you just have to make subtle adjustments here and there. Fooling yourself is the hardest part and that still isn’t all that hard. A few gears were stripped in my brain as certain cogs began to spin in opposite directions. Within a few seconds I had a new scenario constructed in which I got to bump uglies with my hot new girlfriend who would become my partner in deception.

Does any of this make me sound smart or sophisticated enough to pull off this kind of thing? I was a horny guy in the prime of his sex life and the thought of having two women on tap derailed any neural processes not directly involved in pelvis pounding. My wife found out in about twelve seconds and the fact that she did is probably the only reason we were able to salvage our marriage since she didn’t have to stumble across years worth of hotel receipts or some such cliché.

In short (I know, too late) LW is right to be concerned. Although why she writes to a self-described heathen harlot for advice on the matter is puzzling.

Congratulations to those, particularly those of my age or older, who are still able to engage in serial monogamy. Even in my prime, I found the process of coupling and uncoupling to be chaotic and exhausting and I have lots of company in that. I am a fairly bright guy in most regards; in the remaining regards I am an idiot and I know this about myself and I am lucky to have the comforts of home and family. If I had run off with Dear Friend, I would be living under a bridge, trying to remember the two weeks of hotel sex and breathless phone calls that marked the high-water mark of my existence. Dear Friend would have had her rebound fling out of the way and that would have been it. Drive off your rivals or regret it forever.

Another long post
Can I buy your forgiveness?
I’d soon re-offend

Posted by: martin [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 11:57 AM

kg, you rock!

Posted by: Chrissy [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 12:04 PM

Jealousy is blaming someone else for what's wrong with you.

ie, I agree with Amy's advice.

"If you really love someone, why is it such a big deal to let them take a run in the park once in a while?"
I am actually currently in an open relationship, but, I think it's safe to say that, in the realm of relationships, "exclusive" is the default setting. I'm guessing that's why LW's husband having sex w/ his ex is coming up as a "boundary." It is a boundary in most marriages. But throwing a month-long hissy about him seeing his ex once a year and posing cheek-to-cheek in a photo with her is just plain pathetic. I've posed for pics like that with my cousins!

Posted by: sofar [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 12:08 PM

Earworm alert!!

"...I'm just so easily led when the little head does the thinkin'..."

Most, but not all, men be dogs...

o_O

Posted by: Flynne [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 12:09 PM

Hey Martin- great story, well-told. Yeah, she's right to be concerned, she just needs a more powerful way of dealing with it. Have a non-shrill discussion with the husband- like a previous commentor said, that at least establishes the motivation we're dealing with. Is he being clueless, or passive-agressive? That lets her know how to proceed- perhaps tag along on all future outings? Make friends with the other chick and keep her close? Join a gym full of hot eligible guys, (for passing the time while he's out, of course), and get into great shape (to look good for hubby, of course)? Hell, I'd meet the other girl in a dark alley and 'talk it over' with her before I'd harrange my husband over it for a month- that's just going to give her more rope to hang me with! "Oh, I'm so sorry your wife dosen't understand you...but I do!" How about rather than the oft-mentioned haaaarrrd work, marriage is, as life- a game, game, game! Let the best wo(man) win! (Yeah, I also wondered if she'd ever read Amy's column).

Posted by: Allison [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 12:20 PM

About the idea that it's "suspicious" that he's seeing his ex once per year and e-mailing her...I think this attitude is based on the assumption that it's not possible to have a friendly, platonic relationship with an ex. Obviously, if they dated, they probably had some common interests and enjoyed each other's company in addition to the sex they had. Subtract the sex, add some maturity, and you've got a nice healthy helping of friendship. I chat with an ex and meet him for coffee whenever he's in town.

And then there's the idea floating around in posts that, because she's his wife, he should cease all contact with his ex, if only because it bothers her. If she's demanding something so petty, isn't it possible that she could use some hobbies/therapy? As long as he's not ditching his wife to hang with his ex on her b-day/their anniversary, changing his plans with his wife at the last minute to sneak off with the ex, or lying about his wherabouts, I see no problem.
For example: My boyfriend of several years (with whom I share an apartment) plays World of Warcraft. I hate WOW. I hate every aspect of it with every ounce of my being. I think it is a waste of time and money. But I realize that playing that horrible game makes my BF happy. He makes sure to spend quality time with me, cooks me delicious meals, and does not allow the game to get in the way of our plans and chores that need to be done. Given that his healthy behavior far outweighs the perceived unhealthiness of that game, I wouldn't dream of telling him not to play it. I bite my tongue every time he tells me he's going to be "running a mission" for the next couple hours. And good thing I do, because he didn't give me *too* hard a time when I didn't eat, sleep, or leave the bedroom for the 72 hours following the release of the 7th Harry Potter book.
Bottom line: Marriage or any other exclusive relationship does NOT give you an excuse to be petty.

Posted by: sofar [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 1:05 PM

"'"We each lost a dear friend, and she got...what? I'll never know what else he had to give up, or why, because he's forbidden EVER to talk to me again. I just have to guess that he's resigned, committed...and pretty fucking unhappy about it."

Then why did he marry her in the first place?"

Honestly, I have NO IDEA. When he told me they were getting hitched, I ran through the facts. Her nosey ex-husband; the insta-family created by her two kids; her infidelities, on which he busted her repeatedly; the arguments; the jealousy; the baseless accusations (which, natch, said more about HER than HIM); their substantial age difference; her insecurities about it, and resulting boob, face, and butt jobs...etc.

He married her anyway. Then, on top of all the other crap (unless I'M unique, and I doubt I am), she got right to work eliminating evidence that he had a happy life before her...and still likes the people who made it that way.

I appreciate the comments I read about having to work at and vigilantly protect a marriage. That's all true; you can't get lazy or disengage, the marriage should come first, and neither partner should EVER play the fool.

But when a co-ed friendship is 1. in plain sight, 2. many HUNDREDS of miles away, 3. platonic (if we were gonna make it sexual, what better opportunity than four rainy days at a lakeside resort?) and 4. as old as the hills...come on. It's just petty, manipulative, selfish and unfair to demand that it end.

The LW -- like my friend Robert's wife -- is scared. And, also like Robert's marriage, I suspect the other issues in the LW's relationship are LEGION. Her suspicion about his friendship is just one of them.

Posted by: Daisy Jones [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 1:07 PM

"Part of the problem is people who tell too much. My boyfriend has met a number of guys I've dated or slept with in the past. All he knows is that they're my friends now, and I can't see how revealing that we've been naked together would, in any way, be productive."

Ay-men to that!

Posted by: moreta [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 1:07 PM

4 words: All Hail Amy Alkon !!! And I love your advice about the blow jobs.

Posted by: Brian [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 1:18 PM

Thank you. We, uh, aim to please!

Posted by: Amy Alkon [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 1:28 PM

I copuld go either way on this one... but I'll go THIS way.

I think LW's husband is nailing his "old friend". How many guys have "friends" that are ex-girlfriends, whom they dated for years? And then they go back to "just friends"? Yeah, right.

Why would someone who was obviously at the "Freindly-get-together" have emailed a picture unless they flet there was sokething she ought to know? Granted, they were "cheek to cheek", not "tongue to tongue" or "crotch to crotch", at least not with witnesses...

Besides, only a guilty guy would put up with that shit. An innocent man accepts only so much punishment.

Posted by: Morbideus [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 2:08 PM

"I think LW's husband is nailing his "old friend". How many guys have "friends" that are ex-girlfriends, whom they dated for years? And then they go back to "just friends"? Yeah, right."

Not that I have spent years of my life in explorattion of that question, but out of my circle of friends, 3 guys, including myself have kept up relations with with past girlfriends and kept it to friends. I can only say that two of such relationships lasted past a year, though.

"Besides, only a guilty guy would put up with that shit. An innocent man accepts only so much punishment."

I agree to that statement on a general level, but I have met rare exceptions. The kind that goes under Amy's" Some people make choices about their life and some people just show up and let it happen to them".

"don't think that's accurate...perhaps just semantics...but one can't help their feelings, so having feelings isn't really cruel. It's how you act on those feelings that can be cruel."

Upon reflection, I'd have to agree. I can't say that i've never been jealous before, it would be a flagrant self deception. However, I have never ever acted on it in manner thats destructive, if I act at all. I happen to view jealousy as possibly the worst of all characteristics in a person. I have more sympathy for a sadistic person than I do a jealous person. Mostly because jealous people masquerade as good people in away sadistic people can't.

Posted by: Scott [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 2:47 PM

"In short (I know, too late) LW is right to be concerned."

You know nothing of the sort.

"Although why she writes to a self-described heathen harlot for advice on the matter is puzzling."

Uh, harlot is a joke, dear.

Godless (in "godless harlot") means I'm rational, and unlike you, if I speculate, there's rational basis in my speculation.

Posted by: Amy Alkon [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 2:51 PM

"I think LW's husband is nailing his "old friend". How many guys have "friends" that are ex-girlfriends, whom they dated for years? And then they go back to "just friends"? Yeah, right"

I see an old boyfriend when I'm in New York. I adore him, but I have no desire to have sex with him. Instead, I help him solve his love problems. For some people, when it's over, it's over. And some people, surprise, surprise, are just ethical, and don't break their marriage vows...which doesn't preclude them from remaining friends with people they've known or even from making new friends.

Posted by: Amy Alkon [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 2:53 PM

Amy -

Do you have any hints on how to detect women as insecure as LW? Her whole letter screams "I'm insecure and I don't trust my man." but she doesn't give any evidence (if the post is, in fact, the whole of what she told you) that he's not deserving of trust.

You'd figure after 10 years maybe she'd have it figured out.

PS. When I take over as Emperor, I'm making an edict requiring all others named Brian in this world to change their name. I'm tired of hearing people call my name in public when they're talking to someone else!

Posted by: brian [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 5:08 PM

"And some people, surprise, surprise, are just ethical, and don't break their marriage vows..."

Suprise?!? I'M SHOCKED!! ;) Personally, I'd never break my marriage vows, and have no desire to do so... I also don't hang out with Ex-girlfriends (NO desire to do that either.)

"I see an old boyfriend when I'm in New York. I adore him, but I have no desire to have sex with him. Instead, I help him solve his love problems. For some people, when it's over, it's over."

Males and females are different that way.

Posted by: Morbideus [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 5:22 PM

I agree that it's okay to mention a jealousy/insecurity as long as you do it in a rational and non-controlling way.

A while back I dealt with a situation where I felt that my boyfriend's best friend's wife was being inappropriately flirtatious with my him. It upset me on a several occasions.

I was especially bothered when one day the flirt drunkenly admitted to me that when my boyfriend temporarily stayed with her family (before he and I met) she used to inhale his laundry because she loved his scent. I thought that was a bit creepy and it really kicked my jealousy up a few notches.

I tried to keep quiet about it, since I do think that jealousy is unattractive. But I reached a point where I had to mention it. I told him how I felt and he said "oh, she's like a mother figure to me." I was forced to explain that no matter how innocent he may be I did not think that she was equally trustworthy. I told him that though I trust him it bothers me to see her throwing herself at him.

He's had some psycho girlfriends in the past so he assumed that I was about to ask that we end our friendship with that couple. He was crestfallen. I coul see the wheels turning as he though what his would mean. To his relief I quickl told him I would never ask that, but I wanted him to know what she'd said to me, to be aware that she might not be as innocent as he thought, and just to remember that it bothers me to see her hanging on him. I let him know I'm not forbidding him to touch her or hug her etc, but I asked that he just do what he could to keep her in line a bit.

Here we are a year later and things are good. This did not turn into a drama at all. We are still friends with the couple. And after I got the whole thing off my chest I honestly felt instantly less jealous.

Long winded way of saying don't act insane with your jealousy, but communicate respectfully and if you have a good partner it will work out from there.

Posted by: jaylyn [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2007 7:09 PM

I believe Carolyn Hax once said something along the lines of, once you've read the umpteenth letter from someone talking about how he/she still thinks his/her SO is a wonderful person, but the spark is DEAD and he/she wants advice on ending a passionless relationship greatly, the idea that people can't be just friends with their exes becomes rather amusing. Not that all friendships between exes are this un-fraught, mind you, but familiarity is a not-infrequent culprit in killing any hint of a spark dead, dead, dead. Some exes can never be just friends, but some were just friends who happened to be sleeping with each other out of habit long before the official end to the relationship was called.

As usual, I agree with Amy's advice, and I do think the LW in particular sounds controlling, as per her last sentence. Buuuuuuttttt...I will say as a caveat that sometimes people behave unreasonably because they're responding to an issue that they're sensing subconsciously. As in, sometimes spouses and SOs turn into unreasonable idjits because they sense that something is there, and that something is being denied by both parties. I have friends of the opposite sex with whom I have done everything one might do with an SO except for, y'know, the physical stuff, and I would get pissed if a boyfriend tried to tell me I couldn't hug one of them, so I certainly have no room to try to stop my own SOs from a relationship like the one described in this letter. And I like my space, and am happy to find SOs who like theirs. But there was a time when I turned into an unreasonable "what do you mean you don't want to be with ME?!?" stereotype (though, I say in my slight defense, no third party was involved)...and it was because the relationship was falling apart, and I KNEW the relationship was falling apart, but 1) I had tried to discuss this and been told that things were okay; and 2) I was scared at the idea of the relationship ending. I apologized for my behavior; the relationship later ended (and I felt enormous relief at having that source of turmoil ended).



What I'm saying is that I could see myself being able to write something along the lines of this letter if the stars aligned to put me in a situation where, say, my spouse had a long-denied attraction to his good friend, the friend returned said attraction now that he was forbidden fruit, and both were ostensibly denying that anything was going on. Of course, I wouldn't be ending my hypothetical letter with "please help me figure out how to cut off contact," because I can't see myself ever doing that over something like an attraction, however poorly handled. I'd be trying to figure out if I should let things blow over, or if I should say to my husband, "Look, if you really love this woman and want to leave me to be with her, and if you admit that and do it now, we can end this relationship gracefully. If you don't think there's anything here, or if you do but think our marriage is more important and are intent on remaining faithful because being married to me is your preferred choice, terrific. But if you stay with me and 'happen' to end up cheating with her, I and whatever pit bull of a divorce lawyer I end up hiring will have no sympathy for you."



Oh, wait...that part of the letter in which it's clear that the LW has been reading the e-mails the girlfriend sent, evidently with the knowledge of the husband? Indicating that she's browbeaten him into showing the e-mails to her? Yeah, I wouldn't be doing that, either. Ugh. And, yes, any hypothetical letter of mine would contain more signs than just "she's edgy around me." (Better edgy than smugly superior, m'dear.) Okay, I couldn't have written this exact letter. But I do think my point remains valid.

Posted by: marion at August 29, 2007 10:03 PM

"Uh, harlot is a joke, dear. "

I know it is Amy, that's why I said "self-described." Try not to look for an insult where there is none. I often say something other than "you go girl!" but that doesn't mean I don't think you are the best.

This post is quite short
Out of character some'd say
Replies are like that

Posted by: martin [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2007 7:00 AM

Hey Flynne,
The Earworm game rocks
Google makes everyone sharp
John Hiatt,Little Head

Posted by: martin [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2007 10:07 AM

I had a boyfriend who had a friend/ex girlfriend whom I initially liked and had no problem being friends with my bf--they really got along well with each other, and plus they had 10 years before I was around in which to resurrect their old relationship, and never did so. Long story short, through one thing and another, they pushed the definition of platonic until I discovered they were making plans for him to fly out and visit her.

It ended our relationship. This is why I completely and totally agree with Amy's advice to step down your vigilance.

I am not anyone's warden. Acting like one will not change the course of things, in fact quite the opposite.

I feel that LW is being put in a really untenable position, where a normal reaction is cast as overreacting. My exbf also used a prison warden analogy, when I brought up my concern, but it was to mask the fact that even he knew that he was doing something wrong. Something stinks and LW knows it. Trust your gut, LW.

But Amy is right--if he's doing this, he's doing it and you don't have nearly as much bargaining power as you think, despite your decade long marriage, as profoundly upsetting as that is.

If it helps, my exbf and his exgf, having had the bonding experience of driving me out of their lives, did reunite and moved in together. Which lasted two years.

Posted by: Susan [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2007 10:17 AM

"I am not anyone's warden. Acting like one will not change the course of things, in fact quite the opposite."

I agree. Besides, one can devote all that time he/she would have spent playing warden to playing detective.

If he's innocent and a decent guy, rabid jealousy will only drive him away. If he's a cheater, it will only enforce his opinion of himself as a "chick magnet who makes the girls crazy." If you're rabidly jealous, you only embarass yourself. If you are healthily suspicious and keep your eyes and ears open and actually do find some incriminating evidence, you can, with any luck, embarass him instead by outsmarting him.

Posted by: sofar [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2007 11:11 AM

There's a time to worry about a man's ethics (or a woman's) and it's long before you marry them.

Posted by: Amy Alkon [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2007 11:49 AM

There's a time to worry about a man's ethics (or a woman's) and it's long before you marry them.

Yeah, but that's almost like work!

Posted by: brian [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2007 12:51 PM

I have an interesting story. I was seeing a guy whose friends where 90% female. I never saw him with any dudes. I think perhaps this was due to his profession which is mostly female dominated. Anyways one day out of curiosity I asked him "Do you mostly have female friends or male friends?" and he said "Female, what do you think about that?" I replied "Well I think it says you're a great guy. What do most girlfriends tell you when they find out you have mostly female friends?" Then he said "They usually say 'Wow you think you're such a big man huh? You think you're a player'" My reaction was nothing like that but I did think it was a little weird because how can anyone have only one gender of friends?

Posted by: PurplePen at August 30, 2007 12:55 PM

"certain people seem to view any attention given to the opposite sex as a ploy to get into their pants"

Only when the attention is male-to-female.

"I think this attitude is based on the assumption that it's not possible to have a friendly, platonic relationship with an ex."

Only because its not!

"I see an old boyfriend when I'm in New York. I adore him, but I have no desire to have sex with him."

Great for you. Bummer for the old boyfriend. He is lying in wait.

"some people, surprise, surprise, are just ethical, . . . "

Or safely gay!

". . . and don't break their marriage vows...which doesn't preclude them from remaining friends with people they've known or even from making new friends."

Sadly, I think this represents a slim minority of people.

"The best solution is to say 'Honey, I was uncomfortable when X happened.' And maybe ASK if he/she can refrain from future Xs. This gives the offender the benefit of the doubt while allowing for a course correction. If the offender makes a similar gesture of respect back to the complainer, they both have a bank of goodwill to draw from. If the offender continues to behave questionably, their motive is clearly established."

Ding Ding Ding!! We have a winner! DaveG rocks the right answer with brevity and sagacity.

Great thread.

Posted by: snakeman99 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2007 1:58 PM

"As in, sometimes spouses and SOs turn into unreasonable idjits because they sense that something is there, and that something is being denied by both parties." - Marion

I agree! The LW seems to be overreacting to a few small things. However, over time, those small things can equal something else. She may never have caught them smooching, and they probably haven't while he's been married. But overly flirtatious emails...touchy feely interactions...all irksome. He can surely pass it off as nothing and tell her she's being silly but it still bothers her and *MAYBE* for a good reason.

The husband may be innocent as far as never having physical contact w/ the ex gf but it is possible he's too emotionally connected w/ her... if you're in an open marriage then that's fine. This marriage doesn't seem "set up" to handle one spouse having two loves. Not saying he necessarily does, but sometimes people "pick up" on things that make an otherwise rational person freak out a little bit.

That's why, even though she may seem a little nuts, she should be cut a little slack. We don't know the full, ten year long story and we haven't been witness to all the facts (we haven't read the emails or seem him + ex interact...).

Posted by: Gretchen at August 31, 2007 5:39 AM

"'certain people seem to view any attention given to the opposite sex as a ploy to get into their pants'

Only when the attention is male-to-female."

True. I'd be naive to think that, given a consequence-free environment, my BF wouldn't have sex with his (attractive) female friends, my (attractive) female friends, my sister, several of my cousins, my and his (attractive) female coworkers, and his exes if they were to walk into his bedroom, strip naked, and say "take me." I'd be naive to think that I'm the only one he'd ever desire sexually.
However, despite the fact that we have an open relationship, he has never had sex with any of these women. Having sex with his female friends would lead to awkwardness in their future social interactions (and bodily injury, considering that they have boyfriends). Same goes for my friends, anyone related to me, and coworkers. As for his exes, he certainly has "permission"...but he's not exactly on speaking terms with any of these ladies.
My point is, my BF (and all other straight men) are in daily contact with women they are attracted to and would gladly sleep with in a consequence-free environment. Are they getting with all these ladies? They should be so lucky!

Going back to the LW's marriage, her husband may very likely still be attracted to his ex, and the LW certainly has her suspicions that he is. But the solution is not to force him to cut contact with he ex (assuming that he's not putting her before his wife). As Amy suggests, she should keep her eyes and ears open (as anyone in a relationship should!) and work on controlling the whole jealousy thing. I suspect her letter was an attempt to seak justification for the fact that she can't bear the thought of her husband being sexually attracted to any other woman besides her EVER.

Posted by: sofar [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 31, 2007 11:03 AM

Wow, I really agree with Marion. I sometimes neglect to mention to my significant others that I have slept with certain of my friends, because I just don't feel like dealing with all the jealousy and really controlling intrusiveness on my friendships. (Reading his emails??? Do spouses have joint email accounts now too?). I justify my "neglect" because I know in my heart that an ex is the last person that I would want to cheat with!!! If you manage to salvage a friendship out of a relationship, it can often be very close, but only because it took a lot of work to get there, not because you want to see each other naked! I know exactly why each person I've dated isn't my boyfriend anymore, and ew, I would rather sleep with my own brother than any of them... well, no, I'd equally be appalled at the thought of either. I know it happens in the movies, but I really think it's much more common for exes to just admit the passion is gone and move on. Now the boy in the coffee shop or my yoga instructor who I've never talked to... those would be the people someone I'm dating should be concerned about! All the curiosity is there, without the knowledge of all their icky habits.

Posted by: anon at August 31, 2007 11:35 PM

Does the LW not have any MALE friends of her own? Perhaps that's why she's so desperate to cling to the one YY chromosome-possessing being in her life?

I have lots of male friends. I would be heartbroken if any one of them developed a relationship with a girl who was so insecure that she prohibited good friends from speaking.

It's rare that a friendship lasts 20 years. Obviously, the LW's hubby and his chick-pal are close. Big deal. If they were romantically interested in eachother, they've had the past 20 years to do something about it. Obviously, their relationship is a platonic one.

The LW is too desperate to control her husband. She seems to think that by refusing to allow him to talk to other females, he'll completely forget other women exist. Sorry, dear. He won't stay with you by mere default. Be a decent human being, and make him WANT to stay.

Posted by: Jaime at September 4, 2007 12:18 PM

You know, you tell him to go out with her, then hate the fact that they are close.

Better idea would have been to show the jealousy beforehand, so he would know you want him to yourself, rather than now, when it is more like bitchiness.

Posted by: Smarty at October 9, 2007 12:56 PM

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