"Honey, I'm going cross-country to help my preferred-sex friend for the weekend!"

I’m curious about your take on this scenario, because these threads always seem to generate a lot of interesting commentary. So as not to seem like I’m trying to provoke people, I am personally familiar with the situation, and it actually occurred as described below. No one involved is actually seeking advice, however; I’m just curious as to how other Dopers would see this.

Here’s the setup…

A married individual gets a call from a good friend, who happens to be of the preferred sex. Friend is going through some really bad times. Friend is having some physical problems from a bad accident, recently lost a job, and has now gone through a tragic breakup. Friend is in bad shape, seeking psychological help, and is really looking for quality time with married individual. This Friend also lives on the opposite side of the country, and the two have not seen each other for several years.

So Friend begs the married individual to come out and spend a couple of days so they can hang out together, get caught up, and just have some fun to keep friend’s mind off of current hardships. Friend has some spending money and even insists on paying for the flight and hotel room.

Married person comes to spouse and explains the situation, and is looking for feedback on what to do. Note that while the spouse is not close at all to Friend, married person and spouse met Friend at the same time and spouse is well aware of the friendship.

I probably don’t really need to phrase specific questions here, but here’s what I’m generally curious about:

  1. If you are the spouse, what is your initial reaction? Does your reaction change with more thought?

  2. Does it make any difference what sex the married person and spouse are?

  3. Does it make any difference, positively or negatively, that Friend is paying for the trip?

Please do not feel limited to responding to those questions. All commentary is welcome. If I’ve failed to define any terms that are relevant to you, let me know!

1)If I’m the spouse, no, this would not be happening. I’d try to have us both go help her together, but no way he’s flying across the country to be with another woman that he’s not related to without me. I wouldn’t say I’m “the jealous type”, but I think it would be very improper. I wouldn’t do it to him, either. I might even go so far as to ask the woman to not be asking my husband to do things like this, and thank her very much.

2)It does matter what sex they are. If it was a male friend, I’d drive a husband to the airport cheerfully to go help him.

3)It makes no difference who’s paying.

I’d think the more the merrier. If both the wife and husband can’t go then something is fishy. And it’s not like the interested party and the friend can’t have alone time while the spouse goes shopping or whatever.

Clarification the First: spouse was also definitely invited to come. However, spouse did not have the time to make the trip.

My initial reaction would be that married people need to be aware of dangerous situations, and going to see a preferred-sex friend who is an emotional mess without your spouse is definitely one of them. It doesn’t matter who is paying (although the thought of paying to have your spouse fooling around would add insult to that injury, should it occur). I expect my husband to be MY security blanket/rock, not to be those things for other women. They need to get their own security blanket/rock.

A better solution would be to have friend fly to where married spouse is, and the couple could spend some time with Friend.

This would definitely not be happening in our marriage. We just don’t do things like this, it’s part of the deal.

It seems to me that if Friend just lost his job and has health problems, he might have more practical uses for his money than flying someone out for emotional support, regardless of how close he is to that person.

I would not have a problem with this. My wife on the other hand…

No effin’ way, man (for either of us).



I should say that my personal situation is complicated by the fact that we have two young children and our schedules are such that neither of us could handle everything that needs to get handled by ourselves. My wife and I haven’t been able to even go to dinner or a movie by ourselves for almost 8 years. Like hell either one of us is getting a pass to dump he kids off on the other one and go galivanting off with some loser “friend” (who probably wants to bang us) for a couple of days. It would take something like a death in the family to get that kind of furlough and even then we’d probably both go. Some self-absorbed douche who wants to mope about getting dumped (and maybe try to get some sympathy sex) is not an important enough problem for us to disrupt our lives like that. If I tried to skip out to go hang out with some chick who wanted to whine about her boyfriend…I don’t even want to think about the consequences for that.

The scenario poses no problem for me on any of the questions, whether it’s me or my spouse, etc. My friends are my family of choice and I would do anything I could for one of them, or would encourage my spouse to do the same. My romantic relationship is based on an assumption of honesty and loyalty, both to each other and our families and friends. My partner encourages me to visit my friends, including under circumstances similar to those in the OP. It’s never been a problem.

Edited to add: None of our friends would make a play for “sympathy sex.” We’re both very careful about who we get close to and how they conduct their relationships.

My actual family is my family of choice and my family is more important than any whiny friend.

Trust and loyalty have nothing to do with it for us. It’s a question of priority. A friend who wants to be a crybaby about getting dumped is not important enough to disrupt our family routine. We’re both too old to babysit friends with that kind of trivial drama anymore.

This isn’t quite the same situation, but:

My wife has an on-line friend, a married male, who lives about 800 miles away. They share a deep interest in horror movies, which I don’t share; they e-mail daily about movie stuff, and send each other packages and CDs and other cool stuff.

Next month, for the premiere of the upcoming movie Trick or Treat, they’re road-tripping to a city halfway between Memphis and his hometown to meet up (for the first time IRL) and attend the movie together on opening night. They’ll stay in separate rooms in the same hotel for this.

Frankly, I think it’s awesome; it’ll be a great experience for her. (Apparently this movie is supposed to be amazingly good.) And I know she’s not going to cheat on me. In fact, when she first formulated the plan, she didn’t even “ask” me; she just told me about this road-trip idea, and I said, “fuckin’ awesome!”

As I said, though, this isn’t the same situation as that described in the OP. After thinking about the question a bit, I went and told her the scenario and we discussed it a bit.

The initial reaction (from both of us) was, “Sounds like a recipe for disaster!” But after discussing it a bit, we both agreed that if we thought the “preferred-sex” friend really could use some friend-time, cheering up, etc., then yeah, we’d be fine with it. If you trust each other, you trust each other.

Just for clarification, they aren’t sharing a hotel room right?

I’d have to say I would have a problem if my wife went and did something like this. I have a problem when my SO goes to dinner with a guy friend without me (more so if I am not invited). She talks to an ex and even has had lunch with him when he came into town before, and if something ever came up like this with him, it would be no or divorce. Ex’s are trouble, IMO.

Personally, to the OP, no way for me, I wouldn’t like it or be comfortable with it. I would try to not allow it at all. Ultimately my wife would still be her own person, but I think that if she did it anyway, divorce would be an option. I couldn’t let myself not think she was sleeping with him. (I have had more bad relationships that ended in cheating in the last 12 years than I can count on two hands, so I am not the most trusting)

My first thought? “Ugh, this means a weekend alone with the kids.”

My second thought? “Yay! This means a weekend alone with the kids!”

My third thought? “AND I get to claim a weekend of my own sometime soon to go camping with the gals! YAY!”

Yeah, no problem with it at all, as long as we can figure out the logistics of baby duties/airport pick up, that sort of thing. Not only because we have an open marriage, but because she’s his friend and needs his help. Sure, I come first, but that doesn’t mean I’m the only one who will ever need his fabulous presence. Even if we were monogamous, that wouldn’t change. If we *were *monogamous, I’d trust him not to be an idiot, 'cause I wouldn’t marry someone I don’t trust.

Correct. Friend owns a home and would stay there while putting married person up in a hotel room for the duration of the trip.

I don’t expect or intend to change your mind about the situation, but I just want to say that there is nothing “trivial” about the accident or the circumstances under which the job was lost. Your opinion about relationship breakups is your own.

I think that if I were married, I’d be concerned. Not about my spouse, but about the other person. If you’re emotionally vulnerable, you can see things that aren’t there. I’d suggest inviting them over to us instead.

I see this as almost more of a logistical issue than a relationship one. Doesn’t this ‘friend’ have any ‘friends’ nearer to him/her? I think for me, if this was someone local, I wouldn’t have a problem with my ‘wife’ going to help, but if you have to take an airplane to do it, its not going to happen.

How hot is the friend?

Seriously, my husband has a few female friends who preceded me. I have absolutely no problem with him seeing them, having lunch with, etc. But traveling to another city to “cheer her up”?

Um, no.

Nor, incidentally, would I ask the same thing of my husband, even though I can guarantee him that I’ve been faithful to him, both physically and emotionally, since the day we met.

I have a situation like Jackelope’s. I’m not married, one of my good Buffy friends is. A bunch of us were getting together for a long weekend in Chicago to hang out, party, whatever. His wife has come to these things, but isn’t really a Buffy-geeker. My friend and I even shared a hotel room (actually, we shared a king-sized bed. We went to check in and the reserved room with two queens was gone). His wife knew he was planning to room with me and apparently didn’t have a problem.


I can’t really put my finger on what I don’t like about it, but something about the set-up just strikes me wrong. Mr. Del and I each have some preferred-sex friends that we see sometimes as a couple, and sometimes individually. For the most part, whether we’re as a couple or on our own comes about as a result of circumstance, who is available and when and what the activity is. In the OP, this seems a bit contrived. Why doesn’t the friend travel to visit the married couple, as that would seem like the most convenient choice seeing as the spouse is not able to travel at this time, and the friend is the one footing the bill?

Okay, I think I figured out what my problem with the scenario is. If this was me, I’d come home and say “gosh, Preferred-Sex Pat is having a hard time now. I’d like to be able to give some support.” Then Spouse and I would talk out what some options might be:

  • Pat comes to visit
  • We wait a little bit to find a weekend when we can both travel to see Pat
  • Maybe it turns out that Spouse is not going to have a good travel weekend anytime soon, so I should travel to see Pat on my own.

The part that seems “off” to me is that Pat seems to have jumped immediately to one of these options, and Spouse was willing to get on board.

The various sexes of the people doesn’t seem to impact how I feel about it. The paying thing might pose some problems – I think it’s more difficult to cancel and/or postpone if something else (important, like illness or whatever) comes up if the impact is hitting someone else’s pocket. Not just in this particular scenario, but in general I wouldn’t want someone else paying for my travel for this reason.