My husband has a female co-worker that he wants me to be friends with. He talks about how great she is and how I would totally get along with her. I don’t even know her. I’ve met her and her husband at a work party in the past, but that’s it. It feels weird to me that my husband is so interested in me being friends with her. Is this normal?
This is certainly a question that needs some attention. One the one hand, I can see your husband mentioning the fact that there is a woman at work that seems like your kind of friend. That would simply be an observation, nothing more. On the other hand, his apparent preoccupation with her creates some suspicion.
First off, it’s important to understand that your husband isn’t in charge of selecting your friends. So, your reflexive resistance to his insistence that you befriend his co-worker is healthy. Friends aren’t arranged. They are born out of authentic connection and shared experiences.
Second, I would initiate an in-depth conversation with your husband about his intense interest about his co-worker. There could be several reasons behind his push for friendship. Here are a few you might consider:
- He believes you’re socially isolated and need a friend.
- He has emotional or romantic feelings toward her and doesn’t know what to do with them. So, he figures she needs to be in his life somehow and you’re the best way to make that happen.
- This is the beginning of an emotional/physical affair and he’s trying to assuage his guilt by “legitimizing” her by having the two of you as friends.
These are all strong statements and will undoubtedly raise the intensity of the conversation. However, I don’t believe this is a time for subtlety. His intentions may be completely innocent and simply need to be redirected. Either way, it will create an opportunity to address something that is uncomfortable in your relationship.
If there isn’t anything alarming about their relationship, but rather just a misguided attempt at helping you make a friend, then the conversation can center around your current social situation and how that works for you.
If he incorrectly believes you are struggling with your social life and he feels he’s found a solution, thank him for his thoughtfulness and reassure him that you feel connected with your friends.
If, on the other hand, his co-worker interest is something more threatening, then the discussion should focus on affair-prevention. Shirley Glass wrote a great book called “Not Just Friends” that addresses the slippery slope of emotional infidelity in the workplace. This is a good opportunity to affair-proof your relationship and cope with any betrayals that have already happened.
Your senses are accurate in wanting to address this concern in these early stages. Don’t start out with any accusations, but rather, start out with a concern and possibilities so you can resolve this together in a spirit of openness and safety.