Do you always find your husband feeling more excited when he chooses his game nights or barbeque parties with friends over having a lovely date night with you? If so, you’re not alone.
Marriage can change things around couples to make room for the relationship to grow. And this lifetime commitment usually comes with a promise always to prioritize each other over anyone else.
So, when it seems that your partner is spending more time with friends and is putting them above you, you may start feeling neglected, unloved, or even betrayed.
Friends are an important part of life, especially those who still stick around even after you’ve finally tied the knot.
But no matter how much you love your partner and understand how significant his buddies are to him, there may be times when you feel like you just can’t stand them anymore.
May it be an issue of their attitude and behavior or more of a personal problem, I have a simple 3-step solution that can save your marriage from these unnecessary troubles.
- Set Healthy Boundaries
1. Assess – learn why you feel this way towards your husband.
A lot of married people need to spend time away from their partners and hang out with friends. However, a key part of keeping this an ideal setup is ensuring that this doesn’t interfere with your relationship.
So, if it feels like your husband constantly chooses his friends over you, it may be time to step back and know why the competition exists in the first place.
Has there been a shift in your husband’s time and attention towards you? Why do you think you are not getting along with his friends? Are you fair, or are you possibly having issues with jealousy?
These are just some of the questions you want to ask yourself.
3 Types of friends who are unhealthy to your relationship
Some friends are jewels, but some could wreak havoc on your marriage.
Generally, these are among the most problematic friends that can affect your marriage and are likely why you’re feeling uncomfortable with them around.
- The “Good Old Days” Friends
- The Needy Friends
- The Disrespectful Friends
Friends who bring out old habits.
Long-time friends may expect your husband to stay going out as frequently as he did during your pre-marriage days.
What’s more, his friends may feel bad whenever your husband chooses to declines their invitation. It could even reach the point of them resenting you for “taking him away” from them.
But the bigger problem comes if this pushes your husband to revert to the good old days and give in to reliving his youth.
A little something could be fine, but if this reinforces a bad habit, and your marriage will likely suffer.
Those who always demand time.
Healthy married couples need time to talk or relax together. If a friend keeps on barging in without prior notice, it may gradually affect your relationship.
Good friends should understand that you have personal lives, too. Granted that an emergency calls for immediate attention, a call beforehand would be appreciated, or they should, at least, leave at a decent time.
You and your husband can’t keep on using up your energies to tend to others’ needs, only to end up exhausted to face your own marital challenges at the end of the day.
Friends who don’t respect you.
In any type of relationship, respect is a vital component. So, when your husband’s friends show no respect toward either or both of you, it can be upsetting or even infuriating.
This can create strain on your relationship. No one in history has ever liked being disrespected by a friend. And most importantly, no one deserves to be treated this way.
Assess if your husband has any of these types of friends, and if you happen to have certain people in mind, notice how they’re affecting your marriage now before taking action.
It may be due to underlying issues.
Believe it or not, friend jealousy is a real thing and is actually common to married couples! According to studies, this is caused by a lot of things. This includes insecure marriage and dependency.
Feeling insecure about your relationship
You may be in a situation where you don’t feel very confident about your place in your husband’s life. This can happen to anyone. You may feel unsure of how he feels about you.
This is why it feels unsettling to have your husband chooses to spend a lot of time with his friends. It’s like the special connection’s threatened.
This may also be a sign of a deeper problem regarding security in your relationship. Has he been cold recently? Have you found yourself wondering if he still loves or cares about you? Do you miss being intimate with your husband?
Notice the signs and see if anything resonates. You can even try journaling about it.
The relationship gives your life meaning
Sometimes, without intending to, we unconsciously put our relationships on a higher pedestal. We become so engulfed by it that our life seems empty outside it.
Your husband may love you with all his heart and also feel at the same time that he must have space for his passions and other significant people in his life.
And when you don’t understand that, he may feel unseen and misunderstood.
2. Talk – communicate with your husband about it
Once you gather your thoughts and fully understand what you’re feeling, then it’s time to speak your truth.
Studies say that not liking your partner’s friends may hurt your relationship. But with proper communication, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Some men may not be able to notice that their friendly relationships are getting unhealthy. Others may not realize that they’re hurting you now and making you feel like the least priority.
They may be struggling to find the right balance, too, and they just don’t know how to ask for your help. Either way, try to always give him the benefit of the doubt.
Let him know what you think about his friends.
If you feel like his friends aren’t healthy for him, remind him how much he means to you and that you only want the best for him. Try not to go on “attack mode” and keep an open atmosphere.
Let him know why you think it’s best to spend less time with certain friends and listen to what he has to say.
You can also talk to your husband and mention situations when you don’t feel comfortable being with his friends around or you feel like he constantly chooses them over you.
Make sure he understands where this is coming from. Perhaps he, too, has been aware in hindsight of how divisive this friend is.
Be sure to take all the time you need to think clearly, as emotions can sometimes cloud one’s perspective.
Be open about your emotions.
But it may also be that you have to work things out in your own relationship. Maybe his friends are not the problem, and you just really miss having your husband’s full attention.
Let him know that you want to improve things and ask if there’s anything he wants you to do that can make things better. Talk about what’s happening with your marriage and why you feel left behind.
Remember that it’s easier to be angry than admit that you’re hurt. Please resist the urge to attack your husband or badmouth his friends.
Let your explanations be objective, so it’s more difficult for him to shrug away your assertion.
Giving an ultimatum is also a bad idea. Imagine having to choose between the people you love and care the most about. That is a tough and hurtful situation to be in. Not to mention, it is also unfair to your partner.
You are at war here. You’re two individuals trying to get your thoughts and feelings across from each other. And, sometimes, it can get messy. So try to be extra sensitive in how you phrase your concerns.
Stay receptive but stand your ground. Do it in such a way that he can feel safe and comfortable to say his thoughts.
You can even ask if he happens to have ideas on how to resolve the issue or what actions you both should take next.
If you’re having trouble with this step, it won’t hurt to seek professional help from a relationship coach if you’re both up to it. Doing so may be able to clear things out and effectively lay out the issues you must face together.
You can read more about it here.
3. Set Healthy Boundaries
Now on the final part and hopefully, the problem’s solution- setting boundaries. I can’t stress enough how healthy boundaries are essential to any successful relationship.
Setting boundaries can be uncomfortable, but it also comes with rewards.
If you feel like your husband is choosing his friends over you, you must recognize an important relationship boundary between friends and romantic partners.
Setting healthy boundaries in friendships.
Carefully consider together if your husband’s truly spending more time with his friends than you. Acknowledge if it’s something he truly needs and if this is something you’re willing to accept.
Of course, somewhere, you must draw a line to toxic friends. Should you ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable around his friends, talk to your partner about it.
Tell him how you don’t want to be around this person anytime soon. This is something he must also respect and understand.
But you must also try your hardest to accept that the friendship has always been there. Some may even have been forged way before you even got together.
You don’t have to be best friends with his pals, and you don’t need to hang out with them if you don’t want to.
But refrain from controlling your partner’s choices and actions. Try to reach a compromise that’s both in your best interest.
You may also consider spending time with your own friends and having fun! Who knows? You might need this one for yourself as well.
Setting healthy boundaries in relationships.
Since people are constantly evolving, so are our ideals and perception of healthy boundaries.
This is why even long-term couples get surprised and confused when a partner’s unchartered boundaries suddenly get unintentionally violated.
So, it is always worth asking! Communicate your emotional and physical boundaries, and respect his ends as well. It’s completely normal to feel uneasy talking about it.
But trust me when I say it can lead to healthier intimacy and a happier marriage.
It’s All About Balance.
Having a support system and other interests outside your relationship is healthy. However, it’s important to learn how to have healthy boundaries so they don’t harm your marriage.
People are complicated beings. It’s ideal to love hanging out with your partner’s friends and having beautiful relationships with them. But sadly, that’s not always the case.
This 3-step solution serves as a bit of practical advice so you and your partner can actively work on strengthening your marriage. I hope you take this with an open mind and receptive heart!
At the end of the day, it’s all up to what you’re willing to accept and give. You deserve people who understand your boundaries and respect them. You must also try your best to do the same.
A serious talk can go a long way!
Recommended: What Is Relationship Coaching & Is It Right For You?