Cathy Hanauer is the editor of The Bitch in the House. Daniel Jones is the editor of The Bastard on the Couch. They have been married for 14 years and together they provide a his and hers take on questions about sex, love, dating and relationships. This round: being friends with the opposite sex.
Question: My husband and I are newly married and share most of our friends. But recently I made a male friend who my husband doesn't get along with—in fact, he seems suspicious! What's the best way to cultivate this new friendship on my own? –Arianna, 32
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Her Take: Unless your husband's one of those Neanderthal horror shows, jealous of any guy who smiles your way, ask yourself a couple of questions:
1) Why is he suspicious? Might he see something you don't, or won't, acknowledge—say, that this dude is hitting on you?
2) Why are you so anxious to pursue a friendship with a guy your husband can't stand? Might you be carrying a little torch for the gentleman yourself?
It's not that I think marriage should prohibit either spouse from having the friendships they want. (Au contraire.) And the beginning of married life can be a time to set ground rules—just because you swapped rings doesn't mean you've morphed brains and have to like all the same things.
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Ask your husband what he dislikes about this man. If his objections seem unwarranted, tell him point-blank that you're friends with the guy, there's nothing to worry about, and you hope he won't act like a toddler about it. If you can't say that in all honesty or keep this new friendship above board, though—sorry, but you won't get my blessing on it, either.
His Take: Might as well say it: Opposite sex friendships in marriage can be tricky. It's hard to pursue them even in the most innocent ways without making your spouse feel like something more is going on. An office lunch date is one thing. Going to the movies with some guy your husband can't stand is something else.