Can a Married Man Be Best Friends with a Woman?

Plus: Etiquette for a face-to-face meeting with an online beau

Monica,
I have been married for twenty years. My husband has a very close friend who is a woman. I am uncomfortable with this. Can a married man be best friends with a woman? —KB., Elkins Park

A best friend is someone that you can always count on through thick and thin. They’re the first person you call when something great or bad happens in your life. In marriage, a man’s best friend should be his wife. Wives should be the ones that husbands spend their quality time with. Women think there is only something to be jealous of if sex is involved. Not true.

A wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am is usually fleeting. When a man has a deep emotional tie to a female friend, that is worrisome. I would suggest you have a heart-to-heart with your husband. He needs to know how you feel and what changes need to be made in order for the two of you to have a healthy relationship. It’s one thing if he has female friends that he is cordial with — it’s quite another to have a special female friend. If he continues to be “best friends” with this woman then you may have a serious problem on your hands.

Dear Monica,
I met a guy on an online dating site. He is from out of town and we are planning to meet. Who should travel for the first get together? —B.A., Roxborough
For your first meeting he should do the traveling. Suggest a few nice hotels that he can stay in. Make a special reservation for dinner that you can offer to pay for. If you think that staying in a hotel is a stretch for his budget, find one of your guy friends that he can bunk with for the weekend. When you go to visit him, he should offer to pay for your transportation, and either put you up in a hotel or find you a friend of his to stay with (at least in the beginning). The last thing that you want to do is be stuck with a man you met on-line in either of your apartments if things are not going well. Even though you may have spent hours on the phone talking and texting, you still don’t really know him. In this scenario hometown advantage is the way to go.

Monica Mandell, Ph.D. is the Director of the Philadelphia office of Selective Search, the premiere (off-line) upscale matchmaking firm for the most eligible singles.  Please send your questions to: monica@selectivesearch-inc.com

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  • Linda C.

    I politely disagree.

    I have two male friends, both of whom are married, and with whom I have been close for fifteen years plus. They were my dear friends before they married. I am now friends with the respective wives and remain very close to the two men.

    I, too, have married in the last few years and my husband also has developed a close friendship with one of the male friends I had pre-marriage.

    A frienship with a member of the opposite sex does not preclude a good relationship with one’s spouse.

    Perhaps the key issue in your readers’ letter is that she is uncomfortable and that discomfort speaks to deeper, underlying issues in her marriage.

  • Teresa G.

    I agree with you Monica! It’s okay to have friendly conversations with opposite sex but to call them a BFF, that’s a bit much I think. Seems like the beginning for a bad ending if not discussed and agreed upon with a mutual decision.

  • Jason

    As a guy, I disagree with Monica on this one.

    The last thing any man wants is his wife acting jealous and/or paranoid. KB from Elkins Park states that she’s been with her husband for twenty years, correct?

    Well, how long has the husband had this female best friend? If they’ve known each other since before he was married, then it’s unfair for his current wife to demand he end the relationship, or even water it down.

    Not every man is a Tiger Woods or Mel Gibson. Plenty of us remain faithful, but ask that we not be treated like children when it comes to who we can and cannot have friendships with.

  • bob

    Pretty stupid bullshit. I’m married and my best friend is a woman. There’s nothing wrong with it. Sorry you’re missing out.