Ginger and Jasmine met and became friends through their children. They ended up spending a lot of time together, realizing they shared the same interests and child-rearing views. Their respective husbands, Chet and Blaine, consented to a double date where they hit it off. One night, Jasmine’s car suffered a flat tire and Blaine was unreachable, so she called Ginger. Ginger sent Chet who changed the tire and made Jasmine laugh. They started including each other on e-mails, became friends on Facebook, and privately texted each other funny messages. They didn’t share their messages with their spouses. Were they crossing a line or merely bonding as friends? Sounds like the start of a bad soap opera or chick flick, but it’s very real.
With the advent of technology, you can enjoy the convenience and ease of communicating with friends, relatives and business associates. Facebook can make you feel more popular than the homecoming queen or bring unwanted reunions with exes and frenemies. Whether you embrace it or not, it serves to add a new facet or obstacle to our lives. It also can potentially disrupt stable relationships.
Of course, you and your friends share mutual interests and opinions, may live in the same neighborhood, and may even find the same men attractive. Maybe your children play together. This close proximity, time spent together and same likes and dislikes will bond that friendship faster. Bringing your families and spouses together may follow in that vein.
And you want those close friends to get along with your husband and vice-versa. You may even want friendships to develop. Finding another couple or other people to spend time with as a group or on vacation or in a party situation can be fun. When animosity is held toward a spouse’s friends or incompatibility arises, it becomes difficult to spend time with them. An invisible screen may rise up between friends, blocking any closeness once present.
Your marriage benefits from socializing with others. It may help you to view your spouse in a glowing light or spark a new attraction by highlighting his interactions with others. After being together for a long period of time, when the monotony of marriage and child-rearing stresses the fine equilibrium of good faith, fellowship, love and attraction; seeing a new or buried side of your spouse may excite you.
People’s varied and complex schedules contribute to a couples’ lack of togetherness. Sometimes, it’s difficult to sit down with your spouse and discuss what’s going on in your lives, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. It’s hard enough to set up a playdate or evening out with the girls; let alone spend time with your spouse.
Deciding to unload on a friend’s husband or your husband feeling comfortable enough to tell his troubles to your friend may appear innocent enough. They may work, socialize or even volunteer for the same children’s activities together. They may correspond and communicate via phone, e-mail, text messaging or social networks more than with you. How comfortable are you with this arrangement?
I could reference many instances of married people getting extremely close to other people whom they know socially, through work or through their children. Some have ended in divorce; some have resulted in hurt feelings, resentment and misunderstandings; some a blip on the relationship radar. You have to contemplate whether you are respecting a couple’s marital boundaries and if you’re respecting your own. What constitutes a boundary line if there is one? What’s comfortable for you may appear awkward or a step closer toward cheating for someone else.
Do you share your correspondence with each other or is it really not a big deal? You don’t want to hover over your spouse like Big Brother. However, when there’s a flicker of sexual tension, is it safe to pursue and maintain a friendship or will the energy bubble into a cauldron of deceit and mistrust? If you discovered that correspondence was being concealed, would you feel hurt or angry? It may be possible that you or your spouse has overreacted, and everyone is entitled to personal space. Lacking face-to-face contact, messages can get misinterpreted and misconstrue what the friendship really means. Then again, maybe Jasmine should have called AAA for her flat tire instead of risking both her relationships with her husband and her friend.
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog.