From Paris: My wife’s best (girl) friend who has some very serious marital issues (I know she already committed adultery and doesn’t hesitate to go out with a cute guy), has been like “hitting” on my wife for a while. Their relationship is turning to something that is worrying me: long phone calls, love names in sms (like “my love”, “honey”, “sugar”, “can’t live without you”, “I love you sooo much”, etc.). They even started calling themselves by nicknames.
I have a very good relationship with my wife and never saw this as a threat or as something bizarre. As far as I know, my wife and the BFF never had any gay sexual experiences in their lives (at least physically).
A few weeks back, we were invited to a restaurant (me, my wife, the BFF, her husband, and friends). The next day, my wife, in shock, shows me an email from the BFF saying: “My love, I don’t think I can live without you even though you hurt me yesterday because you didn’t sit next to me. I felt you didn’t care about me. I love you.” My wife just replied with a joke and everything went back to normal (except for the pet nicknames).
We often go out with each other and I have been noticing that my wife leaves me now every time during dinners to go and sit next to the BFF (it wasn’t like that before). I am sure there is nothing sexual from my wife’s side (we’re “active” and happy in our relationship). The problem is that the BFF is getting more and more possessive (phone calls, sms, etc.) and I feel my wife is playing along out of friendship and because, as she told me, she thinks there is only friendship involved.
I really feel something is getting out of hand and would like to understand it and stop it.
A: Your wife’s BFF is in serious marital dificulty. Change in sexual orientation can be a “cause” or an “effect.” It may be that the marital difficulties have emerged because she is finally acknowledging her lesbian sexuality. Or she may be trying out a lesbian identity as a result of being so dissatisfied with her husband and marriage. Either way, your wife is not helping matters by “playing along” in order to get along with her old friend if that is what she’s doing. It’s understandable that the BFF would think your wife is also willing to explore a gay relationship since she isn’t drawing boundaries on phone calls, messages, and endearments.
Since they are old friends, a heart to heart talk between the two is in order. Your wife can be supportive without sending mixed signals. She can love her friend without letting her think she is in love with her. She can’t let her BFF think that the way out of her marriage is to hop into a relationship with her. If she wants to leave the marriage, the BFF needs to do so on its merits. She’s in no way ready for a new relationship since she hasn’t dealt with a separation or spent the time and attention necessary to heal from a failed relationship or to come to terms with her own sexual identity. If your wife really doesn’t want her BFF’s attentions, she should put the brakes on now. I worry that BFF is getting obsessive. This could be potentially dangerous if your wife rejects her in the future.
I do sympathize with your wife’s desire to support her friend. When we’ve been friends for a long, long time, we want to really be there during the bad times as well as the good. But I do think she needs to find a more straightforward way to tell her BFF that as much as she loves her, she’s not interested in being in a romance with her and that she is committed to you.
I wish everyone in this difficult situation well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Sep 2011
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Wife’s best friend seems to want something more. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 8, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/09/09/wifes-best-friend-seems-to-want-something-more/