I am completely irritated with a group of parents who I converse with online.
Somehow or another, we all got on the topic of our friendships and how they’ve changed now that we are all married with kids. I thought about it for a few minutes and I realized that the changes have been minimal. Sure I see my friends less than I used to, that’s a given. But I’m still close with just about all of them and I see them a fair amount. Even my friends without kids. Actually, I ESPECIALLY value the time I spend with my childless friends because it’s a nice escape.
And then someone made a comment that struck me as funny. She said she had a bunch of friends she used to hang out with before she was married, but doesn’t anymore. That’s not so odd until I learned the reason she doesn’t hang out with them is because most of her friends were guys, and she stopped hanging out with them “out of respect for her husband.”
And from there, I learned that she wasn’t alone. In fact, most of the moms agreed with her and said it was totally inappropriate for them to hang out alone with a male friend if their husbands weren’t around. And vice versa. Some of them even said it is a rule in their marriage that neither of them spend any time alone with the opposite sex unless it is required for work, or the person is a family member.
Frankly, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I have a ton of friends, both male and female. A lot of them are friends with MJ, but not all of them. And because MJ has never been much of a social butterfly and I very much am, I end up going out without her quite a bit. And sometimes, I hang out with female friends. Worse than that, I see no problem hanging out my friends alone or even staying over their house if I’ve had too much to drink and don’t want to drive home.
This was not received well by my fellow parents. They said that’s disrespectful. They said that’s providing “temptation to cheat.” They said that would absolutely not be tolerated under any circumstances. Some even admitted that they go through their husbands’ cell phones looking for odd text and picture messages, and one woman said she had a GPS tracking device put in her hubby’s phone so she could have the peace of mind to know where he is at all times.
All I have to say is I thank all things holy that MJ is so damned awesome. Because if she EVER tried to tell me who I could or couldn’t hang out with…well, I wouldn’t have married her. My friends are my friends, and that’s for a reason. And if I had a close female friend before I was married, there is no reason why I shouldn’t still be friends with her afterwards.
And to me, marriage is largely based on trust. I will never cheat on MJ and I know she’ll never be unfaithful to me. Therefore I don’t care who she hangs out with and vice versa. If you don’t trust someone enough to feel that way, then what’s the point of getting married? If you need GPS tracking to keep tabs on your husband, then there are way deeper issues in the relationship that have to be dealt with.
But hey, maybe we’re the exception to the rule. Maybe most couples are so insecure that they can’t bear the thought of their husband/wife being alone for any amount of time with a person of the opposite sex. Granted, maybe the person in question has a history of cheating. I’m sure there are extenuating circumstances. But I ask you loyal readers, do you trust your significant other to spend time alone with female/male friends? Do you have a mutual rule or implicit understanding that that’s taboo?
Talk to me people.