Question: My husband and two women at his work go to lunch together regularly. They’re just friends, and he’s introduced me to them, but sometimes I’m uncomfortable with how often they do this. Should I be concerned?

Answer:

Spouses should be aware that close relationships with the opposite gender are vulnerable to misunderstandings. What begins as innocent friendship can easily be interpreted as romantic interest and lead to inappropriateness. Spouses need to consistently talk to one another about the status of opposite-sex relationships.

Having said that, it doesn’t sound as though anything inappropriate has happened between your husband and his co-workers. The lunches are done as a small group, rather than on-on-one. Also, your husband has been open about his activities, introducing you to the women and letting you know how often they meet.

Frequency of contact

Your concern about the frequency of their contact, however, is legitimate. The more often they get together, the greater the chances that the interactions could become inappropriate.

Schedule a time to discuss your concerns with your husband. Don’t address the topic after a long and frustrating day or as a tag-on to another disagreement. Stick to your direct concern.

How to share your thoughts and feelings

Prepare your thoughts and feelings in advance. Here are some guidelines you might want to consider:

Acknowledge his forthrightness. "You’ve been open and honest with me about your activities. From my perspective, there is nothing wrong with what you have done."

Present your concern. "I feel uncomfortable when you have lunch with the women more often than . . . because . . . " Discuss what lies beneath your discomfort with how often they spend time together. Your insecurities may involve perceptions that your husband prefers the company of the dressed-up women at work to the sometimes frazzled wife he comes home to.

Work together

Listen to his perspective. Be prepared for the possibility that he may be surprised by what you’ve shared.

Brainstorm together to put as many options on the table as possible. "Let’s make our relationship the priority. How about scheduling lunch with the women at work only after we’ve had a special time together?"

Find something positive to state about the meeting, if only that you listened to one another and agreed to disagree for the moment. If you were unable to reach a resolution, arrange a time to revisit the topic.

© 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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