Hello folks I am so new to the forum that this is my first post. I really need help with this one. It is a long post so those that read the whole thing are greatly appreciated.
I am a 50 year man. I was married for 20 years. Now I am dating again unfortunately. But fortunately I have met an amazing woman who is 46. We have been together for 4 months now. The relationship is accelerated to something way more than where you might be in a typical 4 month old fledgling relationship. In her words we are so close that it seems like we have been together forever. We feel like it is a once in a lifetime relationship. She says itís like there is a reason we are together. So great! We both would categorize ourselves as conservative. Maybe itís our age, maybe itís the way we were raised. Whatever, because in general that wonít change. But my hope is that I gain insight here that will help one or both of us move towards a working position on this issue. Please understand that I am not trying to be right. Iím trying to get to a resolution that works for both and maybe someone can grow in the process. Ok here goes:
My girlfriend has many many friends, both male and female. Many of them for decades, since grade school!! I have tendencies to not be comfortable with the idea of her ďreally, really, really good guy friendsĒ. I would never ask her to disassociate with these friends. But Iím uncomfortable. Itís should be known that I have few friends, none female. Again I am trying to be honest. I will give you some of her real scenarios when we have talked about it. Under the assumption that we would be married when these scenarios take place again in the future:
1) Friend #1 and my GF are both Bruce Springsteen fans. What they have been doing for years is when Bruce comes in town they get tickets for both concerts. At the time my GF was married so here is how it went. First night 4 tickets. My GF and her then husband and her friend #1 and wife. Second night just my GF and her friend. I assume thatís because the spouses are not such big fans. Ok I am sort of basically barely ok with this. It is a longtime friend and they share this big interest and get together when Bruce is in town. But then she wants to go out after the concert and have dinner and drinks with him to catch up. I say I am a little uncomfortable with the whole thing but understand but donít like the dinner part. I think you go to the concert together and come home. She says whatís wrong with going to dinner. I say it sounds like a date. She says they are just spending time together and catching up. I say donít you have plenty of time to catch up certainly before and after the concert? OK please advise.
2) She says she would like to be able to spend time catching up and or just hanging out with these male friends mostly one on one situations. As her child grows up she looks forward to be at a point where she has more time to do so like she did before the kid. She has female friends too but that is not the topic of discussion. There are about 6 of these. She says that she wouldnít mind seeing them 3-4 times a year. Now it is maybe once. So to me that means 6 friends x 4times a year = 24 of these meetings a year. Thatís every 2 weeks out with a different male friend. She realizes that in our busy lives this is highly improbable but if she couldÖ.. Scenario would be to go to a bar or restaurant for food and drinks. Or maybe a sports bar to watch a game with her alumni male friend. She said I could go too which I guess is important to know. Ok here is my position. I trust her. She sees this as her longtime friends, period. But I have been around the block. I understand how things get weird. She says my opinions are ďso cavemanĒ I say that it is legitimate for me to be able to say I donít know these people at all and It is legitimate to say it makes me a little uncomfortable and it is certainly legitimate to say that I would have simply preferred that this situation didnít exist. Not to stop but that if it simply didnít exist it would be better. And that it is extremely unusual. She does not see it as extremely unusual. She thinks it is more common and not having these longtime friends is uncommon regardless of male or female. I know I will be uncomfortable forever every time she goes out with one of these people. I know no matter how hard I try to not show it I will probably give off a bad vibe if say one of these guys comes over to pick her up. I also know that probably me going out with them probably is not a solution. I would be the 3rd wheel because I donít have the history. I probably am not there because I want to make friends with this guy, I would just be there to make sure everything is cool which is stupid. That dynamic doesnít work so again I probably would not go. I think that good people can make mistakes. And if you put yourself in positions where it is WAY easier to make that mistake then thatís an error. What if for years thereís no issue then one time they are catching up and the guy says, Well me and my wife are having issues. Or that they are now divorced. And what if at that time my wife is also in a low period or having trouble with me. Then they talk about it and bend each otherís ear and the circumstances are right because they regularly put themselves in that situation and then something happens. They are temporarily weak or confused and vulnerable and they make an error in judgment in the moment. Thatís my issue. Also she would be taking an awful lot of time away from us being together. Every time I turn around she would be catching up with one of these people. When you ad in the girlfriends Iíll have to make an appointment to go out with my wife on the weekend. I guess it also bothers me that she has such great male friends for so long. Most women just donít, donít you think? She also sees no problem with her male friends spending time with her at home alone. I would be uncomfortable knowing theyíre together in our house even if theyíre just doing what they do. I guess I just donít like the closeness. People shouldnít be in situations or places where if all of a sudden strange thoughts get in someoneís head that they have an immediate opportunity to act. Why have to have a lot of strength to resist?? Donít be in that scenario. There Is much to be said for a cool off period. In other words if you donít create those circumstances you would have to plan or meet again in different more accommodating circumstances. Thatís why traditionally there are things or scenarios that are just not right even if nothingís going on. But if then they do plan on a one night stand or affair then there is not much I can do about it. But I never worry about that. She would never do a planned thing. It is the spur of the moment, caught up in the moment stuff that bothers me. Please advise
3) Her and her alumni guy friend may want to go to a game lets say once a year. I donít think she would exclude me but if I didnít want to go (3rd wheel again) she still would want to go alone with him. It would be a long day together 12 hours due to driving and all?, and CRUD MONKEYS! maybe a sleep over in a hotel would make more sense. That whole scenario bothers me. Please advise
Shouldnít some things not be done anymore when you are in a committed relationship or marriage? I mean be sympathetic to the other persons feelings? Iím not saying get rid of your friends. Friends are precious. But Iím looking for guidelines or activities which would leave me less anxious maybe. I THINK, not sure, but THINK she would not go in some cases if I voiced my concerns but there would be resentment. And every time that happened the next time there would be more resistance till maybe she just did it and told me ďtoo bad.Ē So that doesnít work. But again whats the middle ground? How can they meet where it seems safe to me? I know that if these people came to our home when I am there I would certainly be happy with that. Is it ok for me to ask for that? That would be ideal because then me being there is no problem because I live there! I can interact or not and its OK. What if she says they want to go out? Whats the benefit of being out together? Why would that be important? I love this woman but I donít want to spend the rest of my life trying to deal with this when it happens. But I love her and what if Iím just wrong with my views? What if she is? HOW DO WE GET PAST THIS? Or should I? HELP!!!
4) I used male work friends as an example. Would she go out alone for drinks and dinner with a male friend from work? Someone she was good friends with at work? She said no that would not be appropriate. I need to ask if a work friend became a really good friend would it then be appropriate and something she would want to do. Is there going to be more mountains for me to climb with that? Please advise
5) Ex husband. She thinks there would be nothing wrong with once a year going out to a restaurant or bar and catching up with the ex alone. To me that would happen all the time during the course of communication due to their connection with the kid. Whats the point of that one? Please advise.
Whatís with all these guys!!! Yea I guess there are a lot of girls too,,,but still. I guess itís just a lot of friends. In advance I appreciate all your advice.