They’re his friends, not mine

I moved country to be with my husband but I really don’t like his friends.

Don’t let him take you for granted, says our elder.

Dear EWC

My husband and I have been married for two years now. After our marriage I moved with him to another country. He has a lot of friends here, who have known him more than me. He insists that we meet them during the weekends. It’s like a family get together and we meet at somebody’s house for the weekend. I don’t get along with any of my husbands friends wives. To make matters worse I feel like they know him more than me and I get jealous. I have always been the jealous kind and I do not feel like meeting his friends over the weekend. I am also an introvert. I can only get along with some people. My husband insists he cannot leave his friends. Is divorce the only option for us?

Linda replies

Marriage definitely requires some work on both of your parts. It has to be based in love and respect and more importantly, in trust. It would appear at this juncture that you have given up quite a bit for this marriage. From the limited amount of information you’ve provided it would appear your husband has given up nothing.

Communication is pivotal to any good relationship. Learning how to really listen to your partner is crucial in maintaining a healthy dialogue. Tapping into your partner’s needs and desires should be a goal for which you both aspire. Each has to attempt to meet the other person’s needs at least somewhere close to the middle. However important his friends are to him, his wife should come first in his life. A happy wife makes for a happy life. If he’s putting your needs on a back burner in order to spend more time with his friends, that will, over time, profoundly impact your feelings toward him. When you perpetually come in second place for his attention, it will eat away at the foundation of your love for him. 

I believe it’s time for you and your husband to have a very earnest conversation about the state of your marriage. Although he’s likely perfectly happy with the present arrangement… you aren’t. Just because he hung out with his friends every weekend before he got married doesn’t mean this same pattern should persist into the future. There is another person to take into consideration now and this person sacrificed her own country in order to make a life together. You left everything you knew behind and he owes it to you to put your feelings first!

You might start out by expressing how much you would love to have some romantic dates with him on the weekend. You can say you don’t expect him to give up his friends entirely but that you are asking for one night a weekend to be devoted to you as a couple. If he’s unwilling to negotiate or reach any kind of compromise, then you might suggest going to a marriage counselor. 

Until such time as you put him on notice that you are unhappy with the present arrangement, then you can’t hope to bring about a change. In the words of the writer and poet, James Baldwin, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” It is time for your husband to get a wake-up call and realize you are not to be taken for granted any longer. You have certain rights as his wife and partner in life. If you don’t enjoy spending all your weekends with his friends, then he must be willing to lessen the amount of time being spent with them. Your needs and desires are not unreasonable. Most women would feel exactly as you do. 

Sadly, the last resort is a divorce whereby you go back to your own country and begin anew. Before throwing in the proverbial towel, however, you need to face what’s wrong in your marriage and attempt to fix it. That takes two people who are willing to put in the work. Don’t give up all your power just to keep the peace in your marriage. That will only lead to resentment, bitterness and unhappiness. Life is far too short to settle for less than you deserve. You only get but one life. This is not a dress rehearsal! 

Letter #: 400342
Category: Marriage

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