Dr. Shirley Glass

Infidelity Q&A:
NOT Just Friends?

Are you making a mountain out of a molehill?

Dear Dr. Glass,

My wife developed a friendship with a married man at our church. I found a greeting card she was going to send to his business that stated in no uncertain terms that "There is no one else I'd rather be with" and "I love you" - "Now throw this card away before someone sees it". My wife claims that she wouldn't have sent that card and also claims he doesn't have similar feelings, but I just don't believe her. They have also been carrying on Cell Phone conversations on a regular basis (she claims that all he is, is JUST a good friend, and that they don't have time to talk during the evening or on regular phones because they're just too busy). This is the only "friend" my wife has that never calls the house. She wants me to believe that it really is just a friendship now. I found that card about 3 months ago and want to believe her, but I just can't. I just don't believe that she can turn those kinds of feelings off that fast. Every time I try to talk to her about it she just tells me I'm making a mountain out of a molehill and that I need to stop dwelling on that stupid card she wrote. What do you think?

Dear "Making a Mountain,"

Your wife sounds emotionally attached to this man and has developed a certain level of secrecy about her friendship with him. People often think a friendship is innocent if there is no physical intimacy. However, your dwelling on whether she would have sent the card and whether he feels the same way just gets into a conflict and misses the point. The point is that she has had strong feelings for him, talks to him frequently, and you are on the outside.

See if you can include this man and his wife as friends from church whom you can socialize with. If it is innocent, there will be no objections (unless she is afraid you will act in a way to embarrass her). I think you should ask your wife how you can be her best friend. You and your wife need to get in touch with each other's feelings and strengthen your bond. Take time to have fun together. Listen to her ideas with respect. If you are still uncomfortable about this friendship and she continues to deny the importance of it, you will probably need to get into couples therapy to resolve this issue. She is probably correct in saying that you are making a mountain, but it does not sound like this is only a molehill.

Reflectively yours,

Dr. Shirley Glass
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More than a business relationship

Dear Dr. Glass,

I have been married for 17 years and still love my husband, but he's seeing another woman. He says they are just friends and she's helping him in his business, but they call each other 5 or 6 times a day and eat lunch or dinner almost daily during the week. She's married also, so they just talk on the phone on weekends. If it's not sexual yet, I worry it will be; what should I do, if anything? He spends more time with her than with me or our children.

Dear Worried,

Your husband's statement that he and this woman are "just friends" probably means that they are not sexually involved. However, your concerns about this relationship are valid. He is clearly emotionally involved with her to a degree that is inappropriate and is already threatening the closeness in your marriage. He prefers to spend time with her, and he apparently is sharing more of his thoughts and feelings with her than with you.

Get out of the house and take some initiative to meet him for lunch and/or dinner. If he refuses, then you have an indication that this is really a serious problem. When he says they are just friends, tell him that you believe that he is having an emotional affair, and that you want to be the one who is his best friend. See if you can get him to go to counseling before it goes too far. Trust your instincts on this one, and don't sit back passively and endure this friendship that could destroy your family.

Reflectively Yours,

Dr. Shirley Glass
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