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Parallax - Advice

September 3, 2001

She's got a male friend

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I recently married a girl from a very abusive family. As a result of her childhood, she has a terrible temper and a strong tendency to lie. Before I met her, she was involved with a man and apparently developed a close friendship with him. I have now discovered that she has been calling and corresponding with him prior to our wedding (about a year). I am not the least bit comfortable with her continuing to interact with him, especially since she is sharing details of our lives with him. Do I have the right to make her shut off this friendship? How best to go about it? She has denied the contact but I have proof. Despite this, she otherwise seems very dedicated to our marriage.Email to a Friend



Her view:

Dear Uncomfortable,

Yes, I think you have that right but you should try to be a little understanding. She is lying, which is quite poor, and at the end of the day you each have the right to make demands on one another when there is discomfort. If this friendship is causing you discomfort then you can certainly ask her not to speak with this friend any longer.

However, I have to wonder why you care so much. You've said your marriage is otherwise great. She's had a difficult life and seems to have some connection with this friend whom she appreciates. Why not let her have this little comfort? Most of us have families to rely on in times of need. It sounds like your wife does not have this necessity, so why not let her have this friend. If you feel that a friend of sorts could come between you, then I would argue that your marriage is not on a solid course to begin with, and you have larger problems than her communication with a friend.

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His view:

Dear Uncomfortable,

Where did you get the idea you could have the right to ask her to 'shut off' a friendship? Is your marriage contract different? Did you separately negotiate this right?

It's too bad you are insecure about her friendship with another man. Many women tend to have them. The more jealous you act, or the more you demand the friendship be terminated, the more stubbornly she will hold onto it and nurture it.

Instead of worrying so much about this man, why don't you work to deepen your relationship with your wife? I can see that her lying and temper might be large obstacles that keep you from getting closer to her. But they didn't seem to keep you from marrying her, did they? Besides, if another man can deal with her flaws and become her friend, surely her husband can do the same.

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