Is it okay for a female friend to buy a married man and his children gifts?

I really don’t know what to do about this.

I am sorry for harping on about this for those of you who know my situation. I am just trying not to ruin the good work I’ve done to improve my marriage lately. My husband’s female friend, who I don’t particularly like and who seems intent on wedging herself into our family, has come back from a trip away and bought my husband and my daughter presents. My husband didn’t tell me though that she had bought him one. I read it from his mobile-phone inbox. (He knows I read his phone, though. I think it’s my right as his wife and let him read mine.)

I don’t know how to react to this. Do I say nothing? Do I thank her for the gift for my daughter? Do I tell her it’s wildly inappropriate (having bought him a gift but not ‘us’ a gift)? I just feel so uneasy about her now that I am finding it difficult to see it just being a nice gesture. It feels as though she has an intention behind giving these gifts.

And she didn’t get you a gift also…I think I’d take that as an indication I needed to be concerned. And I wouldn’t be happy if my husband concealed the fact that he also received a gift. He may be vaguely aware something is wrong and/or didn’t want you hurt. Email emails to your husband regarding gifts that are concealed isn’t a comfortable thought either.

Really it’s your husband who should put the breaks on and discourage the woman. You shouldn’t have to. I hope he makes evident that his loyalty is to you and he doesn’t want or need the intrusion.

Is it safe to speak to your husband quietly, honestly and calmly about what you think and feel about this woman’s behaviour? It’s up to you whether or not you speak in that vein to the woman. I think I probably would rather than stew about it and let her get away with worming her way in as a possible wedge between you and your husband.

I wouldn’t be effusive about the gift to your daughter either, as if the intention is to worm her way into your daughter and husband’s affections excluding you, she shouldn’t be rewarded.

I’ll pray for you and your husband regarding this.

Yes it is very okay for a female friend to buy a married man and his children gifts.

If you have accepted the gift she bought for your child, then you should thank her for that.

Kevin, her husband hid the fact that he was given a gift and no gift was made to the wife. It’s unfair to a wife’s peace of mind, especially if the marriage has any problems. You perhaps are unaware of how manipulative women can be. Some men don’t or they wouldn’t fall for it. And women know how other women respond to such a situation, and that other women do know how manipulative other women can be.
It could be innocent but it’s still a thoughtless way for any woman to treat other women and we women know that. But if the husband wasn’t open and honest about the gift then he possibly knows the effect, but his hiding it doesn’t make for the wife’s peace of mind.

Hopefully she can have a mutually respectful discussion with him about it, because otherwise she’s just going to continue feeling anxious.

It all depends on the situation.

I have a friend who is a married man. I will get his kids gifts all the time. However, at Christmas, I make darn sure the gift I get his wife is twice as expensive as the one I get him. And the gift I get the husband usually ends up being something the whole family can use.

Given your situation with this woman, you have every right to be hurt


The key is to not REACT. Instead ACT to control yourself, rather than trying to control your husband or the other woman. Accept that there is some competition for your husband. Your feelings are not wrong. If you demand he not accept the gift, or give him an ultimatum, he will resent it and he will REACT badly because no man wants to be controlled. This will push him away and he will then need someone to talk to and affirm him as a man. Hmm, I wonder who that would be?

You have to be more inviting rather than demanding. Be indirect rather than direct. As a man, I am blunt, so I will again be blunt. So far many of your posts are about how you feel and how what he does or doesn’t do causes you to feel a certain way. You have a right to your feelings, but projecting the blame for how you feel on your husband is counterproductive. You may be right, but you will still lose. You are feeling abandoned and are REACTING to try and maintain your hold on him. Attempting to control others to assuage your feelings just reinforces the spiral.

A man seeks appreciation and understanding, even more than sex. So be more open to listening to him and focus on how he feels. A man longs to share his hopes, dreams and troubles with a good female companion. But in a marriage, often a man fears to do this because anything he says can and will be used against him at a later date. You may initially feel better if you give him or the other woman a piece of your mind, but you can choose a different approach.

Here is another alternative. Let him accept the gifts. She didn’t get you a gift, but you can get her a gift. By this you acknowledge that you know that she gave a gift to your husband but don’t have to say it (to either of them). This lets you take the higher moral ground while subtly shaming her. Go out of your way to find a gift for her that subtly says, “He is mine” and that shows you recognize the competition from her, are not intimidated by it, and know you are the woman your husband will choose. And then give it to her with a smile and with the internal thought “Try your best ‘Honey,’ you are no real competition.”

Be the woman he will choose. This isn’t too difficult, if you know his 3 greatest needs and the flipside, which are his 3 greatest fears. That understanding can be gained by watching Dr. Philip Mango videos on YouTube. Apply this, and she won’t have a chance!

You want a man that CHOOSES to be with you rather than a man than HAS to be with you.

Bumby it’s actually very difficult for anyone here to ‘advise’ you because we don’t know the persons involved. The woman may resent the fact that you don’t like her and therefore not inspired to buy you a gift. She may not particularly like you either. And maybe tact isn’t part of her nature.

She may not have ignoble intentions, just may not be particularly bright about human relations. If a marriage is at all shaky, then there is a sense of insecurity in the vulnerable partner. Both her behaviour and your husband’s deliberate concealing of the gift,
or it could be, his disregard of it,
has made you uneasy.
Perhaps you may find you do need to speak to him but as tactfully and calmly as possible so that it doesn’t become an alienating emotional argument if he feels defensive.

Hi Trishie,

I was responding from a general point of view and that is how I understand the title of the thread.

How she inteprets these particular gifts from this particular female friend is another thing – which I didn’t comment on since I haven’t been following her story for a while now.

But if she is interested in knowing if it is generally okay, then I believe it is okay.

I just responded on your other thread, but I will reiterate here that

  1. Your husband is playing a very dangerous game - he knows he is making you very uncomfortable and he seems pretty unconcerned about it.

  2. This woman is almost certainly pursuing your husband, which is flattering to any man. She is sending a BIG MESSAGE with these gifts. YOU are excluded because she’d like you to be permanently excluded.

  3. Consider that your husband is already acting as though he were cheating - he’s minimizing, hiding, justifying, rationalizing. If he hasn’t physically cheated he has considered it and anyway his behavior isn’t different from someone having an affair.

As another poster said, you must consider ACTING on your own behalf and not merely waiting until he decides to cheat or she demands that he leave her. Your husband either enjoys being in the middle of 2 females (family of origin dynamics?) or he’s a little passive and is waiting for her to make the move so he is forced to leave you. Decide when you will draw the line, and if you can’t do that, then start looking for a divorce lawyer because he could run off with her at any point.

I completely disagree with this. It is a red flag for a woman to ignore a man’s status as a husband and father and pretend that his wife doesn’t exist. I would NEVER DREAM of buying any man other than my husband a gift of ANY KIND and especially if he was married, to buy him a gift and his child a gift and leave out his wife! The message is that she does not exist! It is a clear message! If she really was a friend, she would have gotten a gift for the FAMILY, but it is very clear that is NOT how she sees herself.

I would say the same thing even if I had not read her previous thread. If I had no history I would ask if her husband has cheated before, because he seems to be setting up an affair if not already in one.

There are boundaries you just don’t cross.

This is your husband. If you are uncomfortable with this entire situation, you need to tell you husband this. He should have enough respect for you and your marriage to put an quick end to it. The fact that he hid this from you is very dangerous. Speak to him immediately. If he doesn’t get it, go visit a marriage counselor. You need to nip this in the bud now. Don’t let it keep going.

I agree and I have followed Bumby’s situation in her other threads. But like Juliane said, if if I didn’t know the whole situation, I would still find it inappropriate. The only time it would be appropriate IMO was if the couple, BOTH, were always acknowledged by the single female friend. This situation, this single female friend is very good at being passive aggressive at continuing to undermine this marriage. She does just enough that even members here at CAF find her actions appropriate, but they are anything but. The fact that the husband once again has not revealed the whole situation to Bumby, is a HUGE red flag.

Its time to either confront the husband, OR confront this friend. This has got to stop.

Ditto. The message this woman is sending by buying him and the child a gift, but leaving out the wife, is incredibly clear. I believe it’s totally inappropriate.

There are 3 times it would be permissible in my world for a woman to give my husband and son a gift at the same time and not extend the courtesy.

  1. DH and DS have birthdays next to each other.

  2. DH and DS did something together that was “gift worthy” (such as a parent in RCIA getting confirmed at the same time as the child).

  3. SMALL gift (under $5 total) and you don’t know the person - such as a work colleague. My husband does get “little trinkets” from 2 ladies who work with him at Christmas and on his birthday. It’s usually just a card or something . They know he loves our son to pieces and know our family so sometimes they’ll stick in a little trinket for DS. They don’t give me something because I don’t know them! But when DH comes home, he puts the cards with the rest of our cards and if there’s a trinket like chocolates or cookies he usually brings them to me and we share them as a family. They’re being kind and give this to ALL the other employees. It’s not a “just DH and her” situation.

THERE IS NO TIME IN A MARRIAGE FOR SECRECY. The only exception there would be planning a beautiful, wonderful surprise for your spouse like a second honeymoon or surprise birthday. Other than that, failure to tell you what’s going on is a clear red flag like the other posters have said.

Still from a general perspective, I don’t see anything wrong with someone buying gifts for some members of a family and not for the entire family.

I have this good friend of mine. She is married and has 2 children. I don’t yet know her husband and I have never met him nor communicated with him. I intend to buy Christmas gifts for her and her children. What’s wrong with that?

My other friend and his girlfriend. I am far more material towards her than him and I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Exactly. This situation is an ember waiting to be kindled into a blaze that is going to burn everything this couple has had.

There might not be anything wrong with it, if the signigicant others/spouse in these friendships don’t have a problem with you buying the gifts. But you really should read Bumby’s other threads. This friendship in her situation is very, very inappropriate and is a serious threat to her marriage. This isn’t just a gift, its a way to continue to undermine her marriage. Plus her husband didn’t tell her about the gifts, huge red flag given everything else that has gone on in this situation.

your husband is already acting as though he were cheating - he’s minimizing, hiding, justifying, rationalizing.

even*** IF ***your discomfort has been unfounded, even IF you’re being insecure, even IF you’ve been unreasonable about this relationship, your husband is still OBLIGATED by his vows to you and by charity to delete this relationship from his life.

please stop asking if you have trouble here. you do. you have trouble here.

the question remains: what to do about it?

Certainly her behavior is wrong. The advice from the women is basically to confront and assert control to put a stop to it. If you succeed you fail. If you fail you fail.

If you succeed in control, you will end up with a controlled, resentful, emotionally distant man. Since I am a man, I know how men react. Men resist being controlled, either overtly, by passive-aggressive behavior, by withdrawal or by anger. This is the nature of a man. You can ignore it, dislike it, deny it or refute it, but the basic nature of a man cannot be changed. (Yet it is also a man’s nature to be drawn to a good wife that respects him.)

He may be physically present but his heart will check out, if you overtly attempt to control him or dump your feelings about this matter on him. I’m not saying that you are wrong to feel how you do. But, is it more important to be “right” or more important to save your marriage for your mutual happiness?

Why should he choose you? This is not a criticism, but is important for you to think about this question for your own personal growth. A simple easy answer is that he married you, but this is often not enough these days to keep two people together in our divorce culture. It is clear that he is not meeting your emotional needs. Are you meeting his? Why would he continue to interact with the other woman if it wasn’t to meet his need for respect and admiration that is not being fulfilled in his marriage.

Every time you check his phone and his text messages, you are proving to him that you do not trust in his integrity. Men do not respond well to this, regardless of whether you are justified.

He maybe didn’t tell you about the gift because it would lead to a fight and thought you would be emotional and blame him. Maybe he just doesn’t know how the deal with the emotional intensity. If he told you, it is likely that he would be blamed and a fight would result. If he didn’t tell you and you found out, it is likely that he would be blamed and a fight would result. Either way he loses, because the script is well established.

Both of you are following the script. All it takes to change the usual ending is for one of you to ACT differently. Then the same tired REACTIONS are not played out. The two of you just keep playing out the same well established pattern. You cannot cause him to REACT differently, so YOU have to be the one to break the cycle by ACTING differently.

If you typically try to shame him for ignoring your feelings, demand he change, confront him about his failings, interrupt him when he speaks, or bring up past grievances, just DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Stand up and take off your clothes, there is no way the outcome will be the same with one or both of you naked. Do this or come up with your own DIFFERENT ACTION.

I’m not saying he was right not to tell you but be honest about what would have happened if he had. Confronting him will just start the script. Doing something different still does not condone what is going on.

How many times have you lived through the emotions and scripts found in these songs? Get your box of tissues and allow yourself to just feel. Then email the links to your husband and say you know that often you overwhelm him but these songs will help describe how you feel.

**Terri Clark – Three Mississippi **
Terri Clark – I just Wanna Be Mad
Terri Clark - Everytime I Cry

Bonus songs:

Terri Clark - Empty
Chely Wright - Unknown
Jamie O’Neal - Like a Woman

**He **can stop ALL of this by doing the right thing and stop seeing and contacting this woman. He is doing the wrong thing, it is his obligation to stop doing it even IF his wife is being unreasonable. That is the part of “for better or worse” that is hard to do - when you might think you are doing nothing wrong but your behavior bothers your spouse. Do you stop doing it, or keep on?

For example, my husband recently started traveling overseas 2 weeks out of the month. I asked him not to be alone with a woman in a casual setting, off the job. I do not think this is unreasonable, since it is not ever a good idea for a man to see a woman other than his wife outside of work (or at work, if he is tempted). We have a history of a problem in this area and I am very VERY insecure about this (he says he did not cheat but he was hiding some communication from a woman he spent time with on a trip) and unless he reassures me AGAIN and AGAIN, that he will not do this, I am going to feel uncomfortable and uncertain.

If the tables were turned, and I had done NOTHING to arouse his suspicions, and he asked me not to do something while away on a trip, I would honor that request. Because I love HIM and want him to feel at ease and to trust me.

The husband is the one who is flirting with disaster here, I don’t see what the wife is doing wrong. She’s reacting in the way most people would, to this outside force who seems to have captured quite a bit of her husband’s emotions and energy.

He’s wrong, the other woman is wrong.

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