Significant others Vs. friends: What are your limits and priorities?

What happens when there is a conflict involving your friends and your significant other (depending on whether it’s a gf, wife,etc.) ?

Where do your priorities lie? What will you agree to and won’t? What do you label reasonable and unreasonable jealousy? Obviously, there are countless possible scenarios. Here is one:

Your wife, whom you love very much, tells you to choose between her and one of your best friends (or your best friend). Do you do it? Pretend to do it but secretly do not? Refuse even if she leaves you for it? Why?

Feel free to use examples. Examples are good.

Is this ‘best friend’, perchance, female?

You know, I divorced my ex-wife over this very thing.
She pressured me into getting rid of all my female (platonic) friends and a few of my single guy friends. For the life of me I don’t know why I did it; but I did. :rolleyes:
I’m away from that control freak of an ex-wife of mine and couldn’t be happier. Sadly, this whole thing has alienated me from some of my past friends.
Never again will this happen. I realize now any potential SO wouldn’t ask this of me. On the flip side of that no real friend of mine would treat my SO with anything less than dignity and respect.

Regarding that point"

I’ve found my general rule of thumb is if I can’t go with my SO and her friend of the opposite sex, I have a problem with it. If she is comfortable with me going with and seeing what she is doing, I’m fine with it.

Not that I’ve ever gone with. I mean, I’d probably be bored to tears watching her and her guy friends ride horses all day in the same way she would be bored watching my friends and I playing video games for 20 hours straight, but the option must be open.

Whichever you want it to be. This thread is really out of curiosity, I am not actually in that situation.

Screw my friends. Like 'em, sometimes, but don’t love them. Lady Chance is all.

It’s a complicated question that goes beyond having friends of the opposite gender. It’s that whole “cleaving” thing.

For example, last year I had one of my favorite students go through a horrible patch–he got arrested for a stupid senior prank, got sent to alternative school, found out his mother was dying of cirrohsis when she almost bled to death and spent two weeks in the ICU–all this in a couple weeks. For about three months. I pretty much dropped everything to help this kid figure things out (and yes, the prank was stupid of him, but I’d had two years of exemplery behavior from him and wasn’t going to hang him out to dry). I completely ignored my marriage. I didn’t have any emotional energy for anything beyond helping this kid out.

My husband never said a word, gave me all the emotional support I needed, and things were fine, because I have the best husband in the world and because he understands me. But if he had objected, I would have considered that reasonable and would have found some way to give back more than I was in that period. The fact that I didn’t have to worry about that was the luxury of being in a very good marriage, and something I am grateful to have had. And had the situation like that continued longer, or if we hadn’t had almost a decade of inertia built up, that sort of emotional inattention could very well have done permanent harm, and so I would have owed it both to my husband and to our relationship to do things differently. And it’s not something I would do again lightly. But I am glad I had the option.

The kid is fine, for what it’s worth. He lost saluditorian and the second half of his senior year and all the AP exams he would have passed had he had a second half of his senior year, but he still got into the competitive programs he wanter and his grades are excellent and got enough scholarships that the money he earns in the summer can be used to support his mom.

Question: Was this a surprise or was she a social control freak during the dating/coutrship phase too? Two total relationship dealbreakers with me are 1) total dependency/neediness (I want a girl who still has her own life and independence) and 2) jealousy, particularly irrational jealousy. So jealous control freak has never lasted long in the course of dating. It would freak me right out if suddenly, after we married, my wife then decided “You’re spending too much time with your friends.”

Yes, it is a complicated question and everyone will have slightly or hugely different answers. Shakes and Jonathan Chance seem to have completely divergent opinions on the matter for instance.

I have doubts. I have always been fiercely loyal to my friends, ever since I was a little kid. Maybe it’s because I had to change schools (and lose any friends there) 3 or 4 times by the time I was 8 or maybe it’s because I don’t make friends that easily. Or maybe it’s just the way I am.

My mother always told me to stop prioritizing and relying on my friends so much, saying that family is what’ll always be there for me. Since then, I’ve gotten burned badly 4 or 5 times by good friends but I haven’t changed my way of thinking. At this point, I figure I’ll never do but I think I might be better off deprioritizing them a bit.

Good on ya Manda JO.

Maybe I’m out of the loop but I can’t imagine marrying someone that hate’s your best friends. You’re clearly incompatible if that happens. IMHO.

Every 2 years my Wife has to put in tremendous amounts of overtime at work for about 2 months. She feels bad that she isn’t home much. I feel for her because she has to work so much. It isn’t easy on her. She went in this morning a 4am. I do not feel neglected in any way.

I’m a big boy and can take care of myself and the household, AND run extra errands for my Wife while she deals with work. No big deal.

My Wife and a girlfriend of hers has a long time friend that they see once a year. He is a National Park Ranger. She and her friend usually go stay with him at his cabin for a day or two every summer. I think this fella was once very smitten with my Wife. They have always been good friends and I trust them both. I trust our marriage and what it means to my Wife and I. For us, there are some things that don’t need to be questioned.

I got a call from an old friend 2 months ago. We work in the same business and our paths crossed. I was crazy about this girl back in the early ‘90s. But we never had a romantic relationship. We worked graveyard shift together for about 2 years. You build a special bond when you find yourself in that position. Third shift does weird things to you.

I have an opportunity to see my friend for lunch next Friday. I might be driving past the town she works in. Depends on a lot of stuff. But I may just give her a call.

It was kind of funny for a while. When I met my (then future) Wife, one of my best friends name and two of her best friends had the same first name. It got a bit confusing.

I hate losing old friends.

Someone who expects me to break commitments to others is a lousy partner for me. I can see no reason why I would want to be involved with someone who would expect me to abandon a friendship; such a person wants me to be someone I find contemptible.

My priorities lie with not breaking commitments. Note that this does not say ‘with my spouse’ or ‘with my boyfriend’ or ‘with my best friend’ or ‘with that chick I met last night playing pool’: the point is being the sort person who does what they say they’re going to do, as much as that is humanly possible. My friends have reasonable expectation that I would be around for certain things if they needed me. Anyone has reasonable expectation that I will show up for lunch on Tuesday if we made that agreement. My partners have more extensive networks of commitments than other people, but that doesn’t mean that I am completely bound up in their stuff and have no time for my own.

I don’t process jealousy as “reasonable” or “unreasonable” any more than I process pain as “reasonable” or “unreasonable”: it’s an emotional flag for a certain type of problem. The two major ways in which that problem manifests are that someone is expecting someone else to keep commitments that only existed in one person’s head and someone is failing to maintain genuine commitments. Either way, there is a problem to work out between those people; in one case, someone needs to stop overreaching, in the other, someone needs to keep agreements or renegotiate. Either way, it’s a problem, and I’d rather know about the existence of problems than continue to fuck up.

But another issue is if someone is making commitments that are violating the implicit commitment they have to their partner. Like my example of where I dropped everything for three months for someone else–I have a commitment to my partner to spend a certain amount of time with him, to take an interest in his life, to help with running the household, to budget fairly. None of that is as concrete like “lunch on Tuesday”, but they are real commitments, none the less: I abandoned them because I thought it was the lesser of two evils: however, I think he would have been perfectly in line to ask me not to, and if I had seen signs that it was hurting the foundation of our relationship, I’d have handled it differently. In the case of conflicting commitments, your partner should come first; on the other hand, some sense of proportion is also important–if I have told my husband we well go to the grocery store on Tuesday night and an old friend flys through town and wants to meet at the airport for dinner, I’ll likely renegotiate the grocery store commitment.

My first commitment is to my husband and child. I am very fortunate that he is not a jealous kind of guy, because my best friend (other than hubby) is an exboyfriend.

However if my husband told me that it bothers him when I hang out with the ex (once every couple of weeks for an hour or two), and a compromise could not be worked out, then I would downgrade the friendship.

Well the “it’s him/her or me” ultimatum doesn’t really work with me and in generally it’s a pretty unproductive argument. Regardless if it’s a SO or friend. I’ll hang out with whoever the hell I want to hang out with.

I would probably address the reason for the conflict. For example:

Your girlfriend is rude to me
You drink too much and come home too late when you hang out with him
Her flirting with you makes me uncomfortible
I don’t like the way your friend/GF behaves
You are neglecting your wife and kids
There’s usually a reason people say they don’t want you hanging out with someone.

Wow, really?
My husband has friends I’m not thrilled with and I have friends that he isn’t exactly in love with, but so what? He has a friend that he plays golf with that is sort of obnoxious but he spends time with him not me. I have a friend who’s voice and talking drive him up the wall. He can take her in small doses but it’s a little funny. I can’t imagine one adult telling another adult not to be friends with someone.

As long as it’s not a requirment for me to be in their company what difference does it make?

My wife comes first in all circumstances. She’s only rarely expressed discomfort about any of my acquaintances and never given me an ultimatum, but I’ve learned that her instincts are generally dead on. If there were ever a conflict betwixt my wife and a friend, I’d tell the friend to fuck off.

That’s not what Stainz said. She said if her husband told her a friendship made him uncomfortable, she would downgrade the friendship. She didn’t say her husband would tell her what to do.

Part of an adult relationship is actually giving a shit about the other person’s feelings. Why would you WANT to cause distress to someone you love? Marriage and friendships do not deserve equal priority. Anyone who thinks they do probably should not be married.

My husband is my best friend.

My only other friend is a guy I’ve been friends with since high school. Hubby pretty much hates him, but tolerates him because he is my other best friend. He has never told me to stop spending time with my friend, or even told me my friend can’t come around to our house, even though he pretty much can’t stand the sight of him nowadays.

Hubby thinks friend is a bad influence on me (in a minor way - lots of high school trauma that we’re both clinging to), and is probably not the most healthy person to have as a friend but he’s never forbidden me to see him. Why? Because I’m an adult, and he trusts me to make my own decisions. He knows I have a lot of fun with my friend and he doesn’t feel the need to interfere with that, as the “bad” qualities of my friend (being an arrogant, immature, obnoxious prick) are outweighed by the fun we have just being mates.

The only time Hubby would step in to interfere would be if my friend was doing something that clearly was harming me, making me upset or damaging me in some fashion. And if it was something that was sufficiently bad enough to goad my husband into stepping up and interfering, I would take serious notice and probably act accordingly, because I know he wouldn’t say anything unless it was really bad.

My husband is my best friend and I his.

We both have friends that the other doesn’t care to socalize with. We put each other first, but then we go our merry ways.

One of the secerts to a long happy relationship is to hold love like a butterfly.

I could say much the same thing as picunurse. My wife and I are best friends, but maintain separate friendships with others. I have mine, with whom I go to the blues club and do “guy stuff.” She has hers, with whom she watches anime and does “girl stuff.” One is not her bag, the other is not mine. Neither of us would think of telling the other who we can be friends with, nor do we feel we have to horn in on each others’ friendships. I don’t know anyone obnoxious, really, and we don’t have the kind of ultimatum-giving relationship mentioned above.

Of course, if one or both of us had one or more friends the other found objectionable, that would be something we’d work out if it ever came up. But I don’t think it will.