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Can’t a married man have friends of the opposite sex?

Hi Achokis,

I have been married for the last seven years. We have two beautiful children. I love my wife and I believe we have a good marriage life. My only problem is my wife is not comfortable with my female friends.

I have quite a number of female friends, some from my childhood days, others just colleagues that I normally hang out with and this has caused problems in my marriage.

There is nothing going on, but my wife doesn’t seem to understand this. Is it wrong for a man to have friends of the opposite sex? Please advise!

Our take

We all have relationships with people of the opposite sex, be it our village mates, people we grew up with, went to college with, work with or even sing in the choir or do something we enjoy with.

That is normal and okay when one is not married, but once one gets married, it is important for a couple to agree upon if these relationships should continue or not. And if they do, how should they be handled.

Can’t a married man have friends of the opposite sex?

This is what we call boundaries in relationships and they need to be set well in advance, advisedly during courtship.

In case a situation such as yours arises, you only need to go back to your agreement and see if it has been breached.

If for example the two of you agreed that you will not entertain such relationships, then the fact that it is happening means that you are in breach of your agreement and thus you need to either stop or re-negotiate the terms of the agreement.

Indeed there might be nothing going on between you and them, but what if your wife was also going out with her male colleagues or college boyfriends, how would you feel?

We live in a patriarchal society where it is generally allowed that men can do certain things such as this, but when it is women, society frowns at that.

But we must not be oblivious that our wives too may be missing certain things in our relationship that they may seek to get in other men. She might feel robbed of her time with you as you give the others more attention. Understand this.

There is nothing wrong with questioning a spouse’s relationship with members of the opposite sex, after all we should guard and protect our territories as well as hold each other accountable.

Danger is, if one asks questions and is always locked out, then he/she will shut down and might end up being indifferent. Your partner aside, have you asked yourself why is it that you are fighting to keep these relationships at the expense of your marriage?

What is it that you derive from your relationships with these other women that you don’t get from your wife? Why can’t you hang out with your wife? Are you emotionally involved with any of them? You need to honestly answer these questions yourself.

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