friendship

'We text 100 times a day.' My husband says my friendship with his workmate is a problem.

When I took my husband’s work friend and made him my best friend, I wasn’t surprised it came with some problems. 

I’m still not 100 per cent sure how it happened. My husband works from home and would get on video chats with him and I started to join in on the conversations. We ended up becoming friends on social media and chatting outside of these ‘work chats’. We just clicked, we had a lot in common and could talk for hours.

We would talk about our shared love of coffee, home maintenance and design and just enjoyed sharing the little things in our lives with each other. There wasn’t anything new that happened in our lives that didn’t end up as a picture texted through to each other. 

He is very opinionated, strong willed and isn’t afraid to share his honest thoughts. These traits aren’t for everyone but it’s one of the things I love about him. I feel like I can be totally honest and myself when I talk to him. 

His friendship felt like the small missing piece to my otherwise beautiful and full life. But it came with its fair share of pain, guilt and drama. My husband struggled with me giving attention to another man, understandably.

But I was addicted. That new friendship feeling was exciting and fun and I couldn’t get enough of it. 

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We texted and called each other 100 times a day. We were hypothetically joined at the hip. He is unlike anyone I had ever met and we fell in friend love and weren’t afraid to tell each other. It made my husband insecure, scared and angry. He couldn’t understand why we felt the need to communicate so often. 

It got to the point where he couldn’t see me take a call without getting upset and leaving the room. He started to wonder if it was more than just friends. He started to go a little crazy wondering and wanted to check my messages and know what we were talking about. 

All this insecurity and stress became exhausting for him and he became more upset that we weren’t changing our ways regardless of his struggles. His wife had her fair share of insecurities and concerns too. I didn’t know how to stop; I didn’t want to stop. It brought me so much joy sharing things with him and talking to him every day. 

How can you consciously choose to stop doing something that makes you so happy? But I didn’t want my husband to be upset or insecure. We had to find a way to balance our friendship, family and work life better. 

We had a detox. It was excruciating but a necessity to become more present in our family and work lives. We didn’t call each other for a while, we reduced our texting to a minimum (we still managed to touch base at least once a day though!), we didn’t communicate with each other while around our spouses and put our phones away more.

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But even as some of these things have settled and we have found a better balance, I find myself still filtering our friendship. We live in different states, so I describe it as a ‘virtual’ friendship. We text regularly, we call each other in our spare times, we share just about everything. There is no topic untouched. 

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We support each other through good and bad, we’re honest and real with each other, but no one knows this. No one sees photos of us together, no one sees us hang out. I don’t think we will ever be able to be ‘normal’ friends. I want to tag him in funny things I see on Facebook that make me think of him, but I don’t through fear of people getting the wrong idea. 

I want to tell my husband about a hilarious conversation we had that day but I don’t from fear of upsetting him. I want to tell my other friends all about him, but I don’t, through fear of them wondering why the hell I’m going on about some random guy from another state. We have only ever communicated on our phones so most people in my day-to-day life know nothing about him or even that he exists at all.

I want to plan meet-ups when we’re in town, but I’m fearful. I don't think his wife would be comfortable with it. It just sucks and frustrates me that simply because it’s a male/female friendship that it has to change the dynamic so much.

He makes me happy, he supports me, he’s a good friend and I want to shout from the damn rooftops how much I love him and grateful to have him as a friend. But I don’t.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. The feature image used is a stock photo.

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