Cheaters & Broken Hearts
Support for those affected by infidelity...
Married Men And Female Friends
You see your man talking to a gorgeous woman, and they seem to really be enjoying the conversation, not to mention, each other. When you get the chance to ask him about her, he says, "We're just friends!"
Harry's explanation might be slightly exaggerated, but I think it's pretty much on the mark. Of course, it goes both ways. There are also plenty of women who have male "friends" that they would like nothing more than have as lovers.
There is no way to get accurate statistics about such things as infidelity, but I will tell you that most affairs begin as friendships. Okay, I didn't say one-nighters or flings. I said affairs. The reason I am differentiating between affairs and casual sex is that people who genuinely care for each other, as real friends do, don't normally use each other strictly for sex (but, of course, there are exceptions). Real friends develop deep concern for each other, which can easily go from being an innocent friendship, to infatuation, to a full-blown love affair, in a fairly short period of time.
So you think your husband has a platonic friendship with a woman? Don't let the fact that she's not Angelina Jolie give you a false sense of security. When people connect on other levels, the looks are not so important. For example, I had a family member who had an affair with a woman who was less attractive, much less intelligent, and much less successful than his wife. For whatever reason, the other woman made him feel good about himself. Men (and women) with low self-esteem are particularly vulnerable, and are easily attracted to people who are less physically appealing, which makes them feel better about themselves.
I think the most dangerous place for the marriage is the workplace. When two people who have a sexual attraction for each other work together, it's extremely difficult to control because of the repeated contact they have. If they work closely together, it's a recipe for disaster. It's almost impossible to control.
If you think I'm trying to scare you, you're right. I don't want you to condone a "friendship" which might start out as just a "harmless flirtation" or business contact, but end up as something that will damage, or even destroy, your marriage.
When your husband tells you, "I'm not attracted to her! There's nothing going on," don't trust it. I used to think that physical attraction was something that was either there, or it wasn't--that it couldn't be cultivated. I learned that I was wrong about that.
Years ago, there was a married guy who occasionally came into the office where I worked. He was nice and funny, but I thought he had a really odd look about him. The only attraction I felt for him was as a friend. However, over a period of months, we went from small talk to brief conversations. From there, we developed trust and friendship.
We went to lunch, and from there, we began to talk sometimes on the phone, but it was still strictly platonic. Our conversations became more frequent, with his building my trust and encouraging me to depend on him as a friend. He said that his wife was completely supportive of our friendship, and since he would call and talk to her in front of me, telling me she said hello, and telling her that he was staying at my house for the night, I saw no reason not to believe him. (I thought she was stupid... NEVER think it's okay for your husband to sleep over at another woman's home, regardless of what she looks like!)
Then, he told me that his marriage wasn't what he had portrayed it to be, that they had been "growing apart" for years, and all the other garbage that married men tell women they want. Since he had very carefully established my trust, I believed he was being honest with me. Soon after that, at the end of our phone conversations, he began to say he loved me, with the caveat that it was "as a friend." I felt very uneasy about it, but I felt compelled to say it back to him.
After a few months, he told me that he wanted to "express his love for me physically"! Looking back, I should've seen it coming, but I didn't! He was such a "proper" guy, I just couldn't imagine him saying something like that. I was really shocked, and I told him. He said, "It's no big deal. It's just sex." I said, "And what would your wife think about that?" He said he was sure she would understand! I said, "Okay, why don't you give her a call, and ask her how she would feel about it, and if she's okay with it, we'll do it."
Of course, he didn't call her. Over a period of several more weeks, he tried to get me to go to where he and his wife lived and spend a few days with them. At that point, though it seemed to not fit with what I thought I knew of his character, I assumed they had an open marriage, and that he wanted us to have a three-way. I wasn't about to go for that, so I told him that just seemed a little too weird, considering the fact that he had said he wanted to sleep with me.
I was going through a divorce and was extremely vulnerable at the time, which I had shared with him. I had developed feelings for him as a friend, and when he continued to pressure me about sex, I began to fear that I would lose him as a friend if I didn't give in to him. (Totally out of touch with reality, I know!) So I eventually gave in, and stayed with him for four years, the last one of which I refused to see him because he was still married. He had told me all along that he was getting a divorce, but that he couldn't do it until he could afford to. I loved him, but after four years, I couldn't take it anymore. I needed to end it, but I couldn't do it without knowing the truth, and there was only one way to get it.
I called his wife, and found that she had no clue that he was seeing me, even though she said he hadn't slept with her for almost two years! I don't know if she ever left him. If I had to guess, I'd say she's probably still with him, still looking the other way while he does whatever he wants, with women he calls "friends."
Okay, I said all that to make this point: I started out with absolutely no attraction to that guy, to being completely attracted to him. You can't trust the fact that your husband isn't attracted to a woman he calls a friend. He might not be attracted to her now, but after he gets to know her better, an attraction might develop. Or the relationship might be platonic now because she isn't attracted to him, but if she were to become vulnerable, she might develop an attraction to him. And, of course, the same could be said about your own feelings for an opposite-sex friend.
I'm not going to say that it's impossible to have a platonic male-female relationship, and that if your husband has a female "friend," he's sleeping with her. But I will say that if your husband has a female friend, and especially if she's attractive, you'd better not trust it. Even if she's also your friend, if your husband talks to her or sees her without your being there, you have reason to be suspicious. Call me jaded, if you want, but I've seen it too many times. Don't trust it!
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