Love, Heartbreak

3 Types Of Toxic 'Friends' That Will Ultimately Destroy Your Marriage

Photo: getty
friendship boundaries in a marriage

One would think that, like money, education or job status, the more friends you have, the better. But when it comes to marriage or committed relationships, that ain’t necessarily so, especially when it comes to setting friendship boundaries in a marriage.

Friends are a source of companionship, sometimes solace, and frequently a great person to hang with for a good time. But being with a friend requires sharing of your thoughts and emotions, and sometimes in intimate ways. A good friend is able to maintain a platonic distance while still being fun and supportive.

RELATED: 12 Types Of Friends You Should've Broken Up With, Like, YESTERDAY

The moment a couple decides to date exclusively, it begins a process of excluding other people from the relationship. One obvious prohibition is against having sex with other people. But other “hands off” rules aren’t so clear.

When two people commit, they rarely open up a discussion of what it means to be “unfaithful.” Sometimes the kinds of social situations that seemed benign when you were single can actually be quite destructive to a monogamous relationship. There is no one solid definition of infidelity that applies to every situation; many things that people outside of marriage can do, even if they are not engaged in full-on infidelity.

Here are 3 kinds of people — people who are the same sex as your spouse — who you should be avoiding at all costs:

1. The “friend” who doesn’t acknowledge your significant other

Have you ever tried to mention your spouse to your friend, and whenever you do, your friend changes the subject? Have you noticed that your friend never asks how your life partner is doing?

If you keep referencing your mate, and the other person keeps acting as if he or she doesn’t exist, that tells you this person doesn’t want your partner to exist. Why? Because the dude wants you for him or herself. That’s bad for your relationship. 

RELATED: 4 'Rules' For Your Husband's Friendships With Other Women

2. The “friend” who makes sexual comments and jokes

It’s not uncommon for sexually tinged words to be exchanged in conversation, particularly online or in texts. Everyone enjoys a flattering teases or comment about how attractive, sexy, or desirable he or she is. And maybe on a rare occasion, such words from a friend could lift your spirits.

But if a friend is continually addressing your sex appeal, even in subtle ways, then it’s time to question his or her motives and set friendship boundaries in a marriage. 

3. The “friend” who paws you

Some people are just more affectionate than others; they love to hug and kiss, even pat other on the butt every now and then. That might be fine for them but it isn’t fine for your relationship.

The next time you friend grabs at your butt, remind him or her that, while the love for your partner knows no bounds, there are definite boundaries for love of a friend. Good friends respect your physical and emotional connection to your significant other. These people foster a positive relationship between you and your partner; they don’t get in the way.

When it comes to individuals who don’t know how to stay within the limits of healthy friendships, the best course of action is to steer clear. Delete them from your lives; only add people to your list of friends if they value your relationship with your mate, rather than seek quantity of friends seek good quality friends.

Committed relationships require that you not abide by the saying, “You can never have too many friends,” but rather that you live by the wisdom of ancient Greek philosopher, Euripides: “One can judge a man by the company he keeps.”

RELATED: 8 Signs Of A Toxic Friendship (That Goes WAY Beyond Hurt Feelings)

Scott Haltzman, M.D., is board certified in Psychiatry and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He has appeared on the Today Show, 20/20, Good Morning America, Rachael Ray and in TIME Magazine, as well as others.