I am unsure about the reason, but our friendship group has excluded my husband.

You have the option to disregard this or attempt to address it. Inquiring about the situation, in a curious rather than accusatory manner, is a courageous action that can bring clarity.

My spouse and I have been married for five years. I have a close-knit group of female friends, and previously, we all got along with our respective husbands. However, recently, the other husbands have been excluding my spouse from social gatherings. I have a feeling that one of them, let’s call him Roger, intentionally excludes him, and I am uncertain why. I have also witnessed Roger being impolite to my spouse.

I have asked my spouse if he can think of anything he might have done to annoy Roger, and he claims that he cannot. I suggested that he reach out to Roger to discuss the issue, and he did. However, Roger responded by saying, “Let the women plan out the activities.” To me, this suggests that he does not want to spend time with my spouse alone. This has hurt my spouse.

When Roger’s wife invites me over for dinner, my spouse is not included. Additionally, I have noticed that another one of the husbands no longer invites my spouse to hang out. I do not want my friendship with my female friends to suffer. What should I do?

I believe that couples should be able to socialize as individuals, but I am trying to understand how the invitation conversation goes when Roger’s wife invites only me. Does she specifically invite me without mentioning my spouse?

If you have been friends for a long time, perhaps your spouse has said or done something that he either doesn’t realize or hasn’t told you. It is possible that something about your spouse threatens Roger, and he is behaving in a childish manner.

If you have not been friends for very long, maybe they have simply decided that they like you but not your spouse.

This is not uncommon. It is not always guaranteed that we will get along with our friends’ partners – it seems like you do not particularly like Roger either. Were you friends with them before getting married, or did you become friends after?

I consulted Stephen Westcott, a psychotherapist registered with UKCP and BACP. He suggests that the best way to find answers is to talk to Roger’s wife. Westcott asks, “What would happen if you asked her what is going on? Is anyone else in the group aware of this situation?”

We often sense that something is not right but shy away from finding out the specifics. However, this seems like an undesirable situation. I doubt that it will resolve itself on its own.

“The unknown,” says Westcott, “is even worse because you feel that your spouse is being left out, and you are left with all of these emotions. You have two options: ignore it or try to address it.”

Asking about the situation is a courageous step that can bring clarification. In social situations, it is often the case that everyone knows what is happening, yet no one confronts it. Remember to inquire about the issue in a curious manner rather than accusingly.

“The language of conflict resolution,” says Westcott, “is to avoid assigning blame and instead seek out the facts. Sometimes, what you are describing is a clash of personalities, and some individuals do not know how to resolve such differences.”

Long-standing friendships are often built on learning to tolerate these differences rather than everyone agreeing. Perhaps this is the first major obstacle that your group of friends has encountered. However, to resolve the issue, you need to find out what these differences are.

Comments on this piece are pre-moderated to ensure the discussion remains focused on the topics raised in the article. Please note that there may be a short delay in comments appearing on the site.

The latest series of Annalisa’s podcast is available here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *