Speak Up: Can Men and Women be Just Friends?

Is There an Answer to the Eternal Question?

Daisy from Adelaide, Australia asks:

After 30 years of troubled marriage to a heavy drinker who shouted a lot, I fell in love with someone else – a lovely, gentle well-educated man. Last year we got married. We got engaged because I discovered a secret e-mail friendship with a woman he intended to visit overseas, for an unknown outcome, and I said that I would leave him, and so he proposed. I quickly said “yes” because I loved him and hoped for a bright future, but I now realize that my trust in him has evaporated. I recently discovered that he was still communicating, from time to time, via Skype and e-mail, with another old love from his past, although this basically consists of telling her sad stories about his loss of friends post-divorce, and so on, and basically seeking sympathy during low patches. It is not romantic and doesn’t refer to me in any negative way at all, but still, is emotionally intimate in a way that makes me uneasy. I think this woman has now left her husband and is “free.”

I can’t tell my husband that I am checking his e-mails and Skype calls, as he would get very upset and change his passwords, and I don’t trust him enough to lose access to information I may need to make important decisions about my future. On a day to day basis, we get on really well and he is very loving and affectionate, although he seems to have lost interest in sex other than a routine time once a week. His long-time history of a double life while married for many years makes me insecure about my future. I am in my mid-50s, and don’t want to keep starting again, as I am not getting any younger and don’t think I can go through the emotional turbulence of divorce again. Financially, I can’t afford to keep starting again. Any words of wisdom? Should I just turn a blind eye to this behavior?

Dear Daisy,

You start out by telling me that he is a lovely, gentle and well-educated man.

Seems to me that this is what you are forgetting. If he lead a double life in his first marriage and you would have believed him to be that same person, I would hope you would have married him. So let’s move on to the obvious. Men can have friendships with women. And you said it yourself; his e-mails are non-romantic in nature. So that leaves the issue at hand, which is that you feel threatened by him sharing intimate stories with another woman.

I really believe, dear Daisy, that it is time for you to start over! And when I say you need to start over, I mean it’s time to fess up and tell him that you checked his e-mails, found the exchange between him and this other woman, feel unsure and need him to assure you that you are still the one. Secondly, you need to stop checking his e-mail!

Insecurity and jealousy are really ugly beasts. And when you start engaging in dishonest behaviors, you will eventually breed more of the same in your surroundings. It really never is OK to check up and spy on those we love. When we do this, we abuse their trust and send a message that we do not think them worthy of our trust in return. Not to mention that we really start turning into paranoid and a bit psycho, and might ruin a perfectly good thing due to our own faulty wiring. Lastly, spying becomes an addiction. The more we do it, the more we justify why we do it and continue.

“In order for a marriage to last, it had better consist of two very secure people.” – Jesse ext. 9027

I honestly feel that this is your issue. He has not done anything that deserves this type of scrutiny, and sooner or later he will get fed up with someone who goes behind his back and accuses him of things he doesn’t do.

When we start breaking into our mate’s e-mails, we completely violate every law of integrity and decency. And the problem is that once we engage in behaviors like that, they tend to turn into a much bigger beast, because we start reading things into these e-mails we never should have. I know this so well, because I used to actually do the same when I first met my husband. I couldn’t trust him, because I had been with serious douche canoes in the past, who did go behind my back to hook up with women. Alas, I came clean, and to this day never touch his phone or e-mails, ever. I trust him and if I didn’t, I’d have no place remaining married to him. He deserves someone who treats him with the same respect, trust and kindness that he treats me with. And judging from your first statement, your husband does the same.

Also, when we get older our sex drive does diminish. So having sex once a week is, in fact, the norm and doesn’t necessarily show that he is intimate with someone else.

Sit him down, have an honest conversation, apologize for your behavior and then promise him that you will never go behind his back again. Or, there is option number 2, which is never telling him how you have violated his trust and simply stopping your behavior. But since most people do not change their patterns, unless there are consequences to their behaviors, I strongly suggest you own up and give him a chance to prove to you that this might all be in your head, as well as you proving to him that you truly understand that you messed up and need to redeem yourself.

Know that he has a perfect right to talk to other women, as long as he is not violating your relationship or hooking up with them, which he does not. Remind yourself of that, and do something else when you feel the urge to check up on him again.

Get the idea out of your head that you “need to turn a blind eye,” because turning a blind eye would mean that you are ignoring unacceptable behaviors. And from the way I’m seeing it, he’s not doing anything that is a detriment to your marriage.

“To attain the love you want, be prepared to be, or work to become, the type of person you want to attract!” – Yemaya ext. 5143

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5 thoughts on “Speak Up: Can Men and Women be Just Friends?

  1. marc from the uk

    I know of people in situations where they have had an affair, to do that over a period of time requires a skill set that is admirable in the right job like being in intelligence or working for the authorities, the trouble could be that if you both met and had an affair then how on earth do you trust each other??? You may see traits that make you untrusting or suspicous, some times for no reason, as you know how things can happen. Its about being absolutely frank and honest and TRUSTING the other person, yes they have to earn it, but it has to be given out like a fishing line seeking cat fish! and reeled in if required. But always throw back the catch!!

  2. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hi Carmen,

    I agree with you, Carmen, 100%, on the spying….it leads to lack of trust and paranoia

    ….but her sentence below grabbed my attention.

    “”” His long-time history of a double life while married for many years makes me insecure about my future. “””

  3. longtallnikki

    Idk if I agree with “stop checking his email” it’s how I caught my husband cheating. When you aren’t up to anything you have nothing to hide. If you aren’t trusted it’s more often than not for something YOU did. (of course there’s always the exception)

  4. Susan

    I so disagree. I think you ignored a basic fact of the matter when you gave that advice. That you used to do the same thing to your mate. Actually, both of you were acting on a suspicion and decided to check to see if there was logical information to justify your suspicion. You are living in denial if you say that it was just your negative imagination that led you to doubt your mate’s fidelity. I live with a man who has an emotionally intimate relationship with another woman and who has admitted to me that he loves her unconditionally.She broke up his marriage and this triangle no longer suits my growth and development.Yes, a man has a perfect right to talk to anyone he pleases.I think you both need to be confident that your suspicions are justified. Perhaps your men are innocent in their intentions to be just friends with these women. But are the women so innocent in their behaviour towards your men?I think not.If they want to unload their emotions, a good therapist is better than a familiar and unavailable man.I have always trusted my gut and have always considered it crucial to my survival to get at the truth of the matter. Women always need to protect themselves from other women who do not have their best interests at heart.Of course men can be friends with women.But women and men think about friendships differently.Too much emotional intimacy with a person who is not your life partner is playing with fire as far as I am concerned and I prefer to have the hose of helpful and well researched inoformation at the ready. Thanks for listening!


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