Married men and women as friends

Hi, All-

My wife has a handful of people working under her as contractors. They’re not highly paid and most of them do it as a hobby.

One of them is male and retired from the Civil Service.

This person, as well as my wife, both use cameras as part of the job. About a year ago he gave my wife a telephoto lens “that he no longer needed.”

Online, this lens sells for $200 new. The lens he gave her might be used, but it looks NIB. There are no signs of wear on the lens.

Interestingly, a few months before that I gave my wife a similar lens for her birthday. The one I gave her was also new, but was non-OEM and probably of lower quality.

A few months after that my wife dressed our teenage daughter in a period dress for a Victorian tea.

The contractor, my wife and myself were all taking pictures at the tea. I posed my daughter against a nice backdrop and started taking pictures of her. A few seconds later the contractor was also taking pictures (as was my wife).

About a month after the tea I was at my in-laws’ and saw three large photos (11" x 14" or larger) of my daughter, in that shot, hanging on the wall, that he had taken and printed on his photo printer.

Lately he’s been copying DVDs for my wife and our son.

My wife says he’s just a friend and is “just showing off”.

I say he’s insinuating himself in my marriage and my family and his attentions and gifts are wildly inappropriate.

Am I wrong?

One key detail that you’ve left out is how he treats you and responds to you when you are around.

My mom had male friends who bonded with me when I was growing up, and sometimes they gave us gifts that we would not have been able to afford otherwise. But they were always very kind and respectful towards my stepfather, and got to know him as well.

I’d believe her take on it. She needs to tell her friend that it hurts your feelings when “the pros” one-up you on family casual pictures. Better that he share pictures with your family that he’s also sharing with his other friends–many of our photographer friends send us their best shots of local landmarks. The other way he could be welcome, of course, is to hustle you and your wife into those family pics, holding the camera himself.

If he’s a good friend of your wife’s he will be a good friend of your marriage and will take care not to do anything except value you as the single biggest reason that his good friend is happy. Not all people realize this immediately, but your wife can explain this as her policy.

Is he respectful towards you when you’re around?

No… I Don’t think your wrong… I think you have reason to be suspicious …
all could very well be innocent , but your not stupid !
Be Careful how you go about this … ask your Daughter Questions…
Think of what you will ask first… choose the time and place… then probe your wife Gently with a Question or two… don’t be confrontational… because you could be wrong…

How much time do you (all 3) or they (2) meet in outside working hours? Despite the necessity of regarding how he behaves in your presence, what you see can be a deception!
Be open, talk to your wife about your “fears” goodheartedly. Her response can give a step forward in understanding the situation.
Pray hard that the Holy Spirit may show you the truth and a right thing to do.

I barely know him. He acts respectful towards me, and my wife, but…I barely know him. The keyword here is: Acts.

I feel for your stepfather, it must have been emasculating for him to be in that position.

My situation is a little different. These items are not anything we (I) could not afford to buy.

Gifts. To a married woman. It…just…seems…odd…

When my wife and I were discussing this awhile back she used the term one-up. Which tells me she does see my point of view on this, at least partially.

Now, who should she be supporting in this type of situation, the husband or the other man? Hmmm…

Oh, and he’s not really a pro, he’s just willing to work for practically nothing and takes pretty good pictures.

Mine are better (sorry, that’s snide) (but probably true)

It’s interesting that the first three responses appear to be from women and they all seem to think this is no big deal.

I suspect this might be one of those things that women and men just see differently. (Ladies, I suggest you listen to us on this. We know what goes on in the minds of men.)

I know I am right on this, I feel it in my gut.

He might not have nefarious intentions towards my wife, in fact I don’t think he does.

I suspect he’s in some sort of competition with me (I buy her a lens, he buys her a better lens. I pose my daughter and start taking pictures, he takes pictures and prints out posters for my wife).

Oh, yeah, I didn’t mention before that recently I saw a DVD on my wife’s desk. I asked her about it and she said…the contractor had made it for her. At work she had remarked that one of the DVDs in her favorite mini-series was scratched and she hadn’t been able to copy it. He said he could probably do it, and did, and even scanned and printed the original label on the DVD!

How thoughtful! Now, in the past I would have done this, but I’m a bit busy with work and trying to improve things in our life and things like this have taken a back seat as a result.

I feel like I’m being outsourced!

Really, what this comes down to is what is acceptable in a friendship between two people of the opposite sex who are married,

One key detail that you’ve left out is how he treats you and responds to you when you are around.

My mom had male friends who bonded with me when I was growing up, and sometimes they gave us gifts that we would not have been able to afford otherwise. But they were always very kind and respectful towards my stepfather, and got to know him as well

I barely know him. He acts respectful towards me, and my wife, but…I barely know him. The keyword here is: Acts.

I feel for your stepfather, it must have been emasculating for him to be in that position.

My situation is a little different. These items are not anything we (I) could not afford to buy.

Gifts. To a married woman. It…just…seems…odd…

I’d believe her take on it. She needs to tell her friend that it hurts your feelings when “the pros” one-up you on family casual pictures. Better that he share pictures with your family that he’s also sharing with his other friends–many of our photographer friends send us their best shots of local landmarks. The other way he could be welcome, of course, is to hustle you and your wife into those family pics, holding the camera himself.

If he’s a good friend of your wife’s he will be a good friend of your marriage and will take care not to do anything except value you as the single biggest reason that his good friend is happy. Not all people realize this immediately, but your wife can explain this as her policy.

When my wife and I were discussing this awhile back she used the term one-up. Which tells me she does see my point of view on this, at least partially.

Now, who should she be supporting in this type of situation, the husband or the other man? Hmmm…

Oh, and he’s not really a pro, he’s just willing to work for practically nothing and takes pretty good pictures.

Mine are better (sorry, that’s snide) (but probably true)

No… I Don’t think your wrong… I think you have reason to be suspicious …
all could very well be innocent , but your not stupid !
Be Careful how you go about this … ask your Daughter Questions…
Think of what you will ask first… choose the time and place… then probe your wife Gently with a Question or two… don’t be confrontational… because you could be wrong…

It’s interesting that the first three responses appear to be from women and they all seem to think this is no big deal.

I suspect this might be one of those things that women and men just see differently. (Ladies, I suggest you listen to us on this. We know what goes on in the minds of men.)

I know I am right on this, I feel it in my gut.

He might not have nefarious intentions towards my wife, in fact I don’t think he does.

I suspect he’s in some sort of competition with me (I buy her a lens, he buys her a better lens. I pose my daughter and start taking pictures, he takes pictures and prints out posters for my wife).

Oh, yeah, I didn’t mention before that recently I saw a DVD on my wife’s desk. I asked her about it and she said…the contractor had made it for her. At work she had remarked that one of the DVDs in her favorite mini-series was scratched and she hadn’t been able to copy it. He said he could probably do it, and did, and even scanned and printed the original label on the DVD!

How thoughtful! Now, in the past I would have done this, but I’m a bit busy with work and trying to improve things in our life and things like this have taken a back seat as a result.

I feel like I’m being outsourced!

Really, what this comes down to is what is acceptable in a friendship between two people of the opposite sex who are married.

How much time do you (all 3) or they (2) meet in outside working hours? Despite the necessity of regarding how he behaves in your presence, what you see can be a deception!
Be open, talk to your wife about your “fears” goodheartedly. Her response can give a step forward in understanding the situation.
Pray hard that the Holy Spirit may show you the truth and a right thing to do.

There is no socializing between the two of them or the three of us outside of work. The only time I see him is at work-related events.

As for being deceived, I am going to err on the side of caution. The gifting is excessive. He’s married, she’s married, both to other people.

If her were a family friend…nah, I still don’t think it would be OK. Maybe it would be if I were in the loop and knew what was going on, which is not the case here, but he’s not a family friend anyway.

Hi, I am a woman, and I happen to agree with you. I also think this is odd… And inappropriate behaviour to except such gifts from a man “friend”…your wife probably innocently thinks nothing of it, but I think she ought to know…

And I don’t really believe in friendships between men and women either…

One key detail that you’ve left out is how he treats you and responds to you when you are around.

My mom had male friends who bonded with me when I was growing up, and sometimes they gave us gifts that we would not have been able to afford otherwise. But they were always very kind and respectful towards my stepfather, and got to know him as well

I barely know him. He acts respectful towards me, and my wife, but…I barely know him. The keyword here is: Acts.

I feel for your stepfather, it must have been emasculating for him to be in that position.

My situation is a little different. These items are not anything we (I) could not afford to buy.

Gifts. To a married woman. It…just…seems…odd…

I’d believe her take on it. She needs to tell her friend that it hurts your feelings when “the pros” one-up you on family casual pictures. Better that he share pictures with your family that he’s also sharing with his other friends–many of our photographer friends send us their best shots of local landmarks. The other way he could be welcome, of course, is to hustle you and your wife into those family pics, holding the camera himself.

If he’s a good friend of your wife’s he will be a good friend of your marriage and will take care not to do anything except value you as the single biggest reason that his good friend is happy. Not all people realize this immediately, but your wife can explain this as her policy.

Interestingly, when my wife and I were discussing this awhile back she used the term one-up. Which tells me she does see my point of view on this, at least partially.

Now, who should she be supporting in this type of situation, the husband or the other man? Hmmm…

Oh, and he’s not really a pro, he’s just willing to work for practically nothing and takes pretty good pictures.

Mine are better (sorry, that’s snide) (but probably true)

No… I Don’t think your wrong… I think you have reason to be suspicious …
all could very well be innocent , but your not stupid !
Be Careful how you go about this … ask your Daughter Questions…
Think of what you will ask first… choose the time and place… then probe your wife Gently with a Question or two… don’t be confrontational… because you could be wrong…

It’s interesting that the first three responses appear to be from women and they all seem to think this is no big deal.

I suspect this might be one of those things that women and men just see differently. (Ladies, I suggest you listen to us on this. We know what goes on in the minds of men.)

I know I am right on this, I feel it in my gut.

He might not have nefarious intentions towards my wife, in fact I don’t think he does.

I suspect he’s in some sort of competition with me (I buy her a lens, he buys her a better lens. I pose my daughter and start taking pictures, he takes pictures and prints out posters for my wife).

Oh, yeah, I didn’t mention before that recently I saw a DVD on my wife’s desk. I asked her about it and she said…the contractor had made it for her. At work she had remarked that one of the DVDs in her favorite mini-series was scratched and she hadn’t been able to copy it. He said he could probably do it, and did, and even scanned and printed the original label on the DVD!

How thoughtful! Now, in the past I would have done this, but I’m a bit busy with work and trying to improve things in our life and things like this have taken a back seat as a result.

I feel like I’m being outsourced!

Really, what this comes down to is what is acceptable in a friendship between two people of the opposite sex who are married.

How much time do you (all 3) or they (2) meet in outside working hours? Despite the necessity of regarding how he behaves in your presence, what you see can be a deception!
Be open, talk to your wife about your “fears” goodheartedly. Her response can give a step forward in understanding the situation.
Pray hard that the Holy Spirit may show you the truth and a right thing to do.

There is no socializing between the two of them or the three of us outside of work. The only time I see him is at work-related events.

As for being deceived, I am going to err on the side of caution. The gifting is excessive. He’s married, she’s married, both to other people.

If he were a family friend…nah, I still don’t think it would be OK. Maybe it would be if I were in the loop and knew what was going on, which is not the case here, but at any rate he’s not a family friend. He’s a co-worker.

Have you observed any changes in your wife’s behavior especially in “agreements” and “dissagreements” between you and her since she met this ‘friend’?

One thing you don’t mention are your ages. You say he is retired. Did he retire young, or are we talking “typical” retirement age? Also, you & your wife…approx ages? Because if he is considerably older, he could’ve found a connection between himself & your wife that is more of a fatherly type. Just a thought.

Also, generically speaking, I’ve got no issue with men/women, married or single, being friends. True friendships are a beautiful gift & blessing from God.

OP, I am not sure what you’re looking for here; you clearly are uncomfortable with this man’s behavior.

It’s not a question of what is appropriate between a hypothetical married man and married woman–you ought to work this out with your wife. You’ve already brought this up, of course, but discuss it with her again in as nonconfrontational, nonaccusatory a manner as you can. You aren’t asking her to cease all contact with this guy; just not to accept gifts from him, right? So put your case that however innocent and trivial this is, it is bothering you.

To the op:

I am a woman and do understand your feelings. I see the gift-giving as inappropriate.

You posted: “It’s interesting that the first three responses appear to be from women and they all seem to think this is no big deal.”

I was in the top three. What did I say to suggest that this is no big deal?
I actually believe the opposite. I was just asking for info that I felt was relevant. I definitely believe that this man shouldn’t be giving your wife gifts, expensive or otherwise. I don’t know what this man’s intentions are, but it’s just plain odd and innapropriate. I personally do not believe in close bonds of friendships between the sexes especially when one is married. I hope that your wife listens to your feelings on this matter.

Why are you feeling so insecure about this friendship? How is your marriage?

I don’t see anything suspicious about people who are clearly into photography taking pictures at the same time you are. Even your wife was taking pictures. Regarding the gifts, some people would rather give something they no longer need to others that would appreciate it than sell it.

Individually, none of these gestures is out of line. However, they do add up to quite a pile. He might genuinely just have fatherly feelings toward your wife. Or not.

The problem you’re in is that the more jealous you get (and you sound very jealous), the less attractive you are. Could you put more effort into paying attention to your wife, and less into policing her?

i think the behavior of your wife’s friend is inappropriate and you should discuss the matter with your wife…surely when she understands your feelings she will work to alter the circumstances / speak with her friend about his behavior…

Then why are you asking us about it? :confused:

I feel like I’m being outsourced!

Tell your wife.

Really, what this comes down to is what is acceptable in a friendship between two people of the opposite sex who are married,

I think it depends on what kind of friendship they have. E.g., I introduced my best friend to his (now) wife. I knew his wife before he did. If I bought her a present, he wouldn’t think anything of it. But if it was a co-worker and I barely knew her husband and I bought her multiple presents? Yeah, that’s a little unusual.

I agree with you. He is overstepping his role as a contractor and insinuating himself into your marriage.

However, I have a problem with your wife. If it makes you feel uncomfortable (and it does) then your wife should respect that and not be hanging around with this guy. Why is she more interested in him than you? The fact that he was there taking photos of YOUR daughter is just so odd. Your wife seems to like this guys attention, and that is a problem for you.

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