I have a male friend of 12 years, who used to be my massage therapist. Last year, he began efforts to start a business, moved, and started dating again. He used to call regularly, but then stopped. He did send me an e-mail update once, at which time he explained about the girlfriend. Then, after dropping off the radar again, and not returning my calls or texts (I tried not to contact him often once I knew he was dating again), he messaged me on Facebook in January, at which time he apologized for not keeping in touch, saying he was “very busy building our 2 businesses”, and that I could leave him a message on Facebook and he would get back to me whenever he could, and he would definitely let me know if he decided to come to the town I live in.
In February he got engaged, then a month later he got married. It’s the same girl, and I have never met her. They live outside of the town I live in. My life skills coach said some people are not comfortable with phone calls once they get married, and her ex was like that. My question is, since the calls stopped before they got engaged, do you think it could be jealousy? I don’t want to think this way, but, like I said, I don’t know her. And, since my coach is no longer married, that raises questions in my mind about trust and about why would you marry someone who acts this way? I am glad we are still friends, and I don’t want to take this personally, but I feel as though I am not being given a fair chance, because every time a male friend gets married, something like this happens. I think boundaries are healthy, but trust is, too. I believe your spouse should come before your friends, but this is the first male friend I have seen in this situation who won’t even take a phone call.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard about this scenario in therapy- you are not alone in the slightest (although you probably don’t find great comfort in that alone). This dilemma probably goes back thousands of years and I am guessing has plagued many a woman (and man) throughout the ages. Of course, I can only speculate on the causes of your male friend backing off, as you haven’t even been able to have an honest conversation with him about why this is the case. What I do know is that a lot of people- both men and women- feel uncomfortable with their mate having friendships with the opposite sex. From the stories I’ve heard in therapy sessions, a lot of this stems from having been cheated on in similar situations and unfortunately, is not as uncommon as one would think.
I am glad you are not taking this personally as I’m sure it is in no ways a reflection of who you are in any way- as you say yourself- you haven’t even met this woman, so how can she know if you’re trustworthy or not? And I agree with you that it all centers on trust- whether your male friend has given his wife reason to mistrust him or not is up in the air- the fact is that she doesn’t and to me, that doesn’t speak well to the strength of their relationship.
I always tell my clients that trying to control your partners’ outside relationships is futile and doesn’t bring you closer together- in fact, it often has the opposite effect entirely and can actually break a relationship down. The fact is, if he’s inclined to cheat, he’ll cheat- regardless of what you do or don’t do to try and prevent it from happening. I believe that we shouldn’t abandon our friendships with the opposite sex once we’re exclusive with someone else romantically. I think that we grow so much from our friendships- especially with the opposite sex- and that it is a real shame that so many of these important bonds are dissolved when our friend’s new partner feels threatened and insecure by it’s presence.
For what it’s worth, you could try having an honest conversation with this friend and ask him what’s up and why he’s distanced so much from you, although he might not feel free to do that. You could always write him an email telling him your view on the situation and see if he responds. If nothing resolves, I would suggest finding some different friends.
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