My wife doesn't want me to help a friend


#1

I have a friend that I was able to reconnect with through the magic of Facebook. We were good friends in high school and college and lost touch through the years. We never dated each other, but were close boy/girl friends. I noticed she had some disturbing post and eventually took herself off of facebook. I emailed her and found out she was in the hospital because she tried to take her life by taking pills. I had one of my best friends from high school take his life, so this concerned me because I wouldn't want to go through that again. I would help anyone who was in this position, not just my friend. It turns out that she has an abusive relationship with her boyfriend and her parents won't talk to her. She has made some mistakes in the past and is trying to turn life around. I have sent e-mails and talked to her twice on the phone to encourage her, offer advice and help her turn things around. My wife and I aren't in the smoothest time of our marriage. We are working on that. She knows of the situation and I have been very honest with her about when I have e-mailed her and called her. I am hiding nothing from her. Yesterday, my wife said during an arguement that she wants me to no longer have any contact with this girl because she thinks I am going to have an affair. I live several states away from my friend and haven't seen her in 15 years. I have no desire to have an affair because I want my kids to respect me as they grow older, and I don't want to do anything that would cause them to lose my respect. In a way, I can see my wife's concern, but I am only trying to help my friend. I would want to offer help no matter if this person was a male or female. I feel my wife is being unreasonable. I would have a hard time dealing with things if my friend took her life and I didn't do everything I could to help, because I didn't do all I could with the friend who took his life in high school. At the same time, my wife comes first. I'm not sure what to do but for now I still plan on helping my friend. If nothing else, I ask for prayers for me, my wife and my friend.


#2

You and your wife are one, you and this friend are not, keep that in perspective.

I too have reconnected with a lot of friends on facebook and spoken / helped some of them but only with my wife’s approval. There was someone who started contacting her in a manner I felt was inappropriate and she made sure that stopped as well.

You haven’t spoken to this person in 15 years yet you live with your wife now and will for the rest of your life. I’m completely understand about wanting to help someone but perhaps the best thing you can do is to help her get in touch with someone closer to her or the right counseling area.

Yes of course you would be devastated if she took her own life, but your life as a husband and father to the blessings God has given you is most important IMHO. If it bothers your wife to the point of worry and puts a strain on your marriage then I would back off.

At the same time realize that if this person is trying to take their life then they need profession help. Making sure they have that is the best thing you can do.

Joe


#3

[quote="jjsc3, post:1, topic:178829"]
I have a friend that I was able to reconnect with through the magic of Facebook. We were good friends in high school and college and lost touch through the years. We never dated each other, but were close boy/girl friends. I noticed she had some disturbing post and eventually took herself off of facebook. I emailed her and found out she was in the hospital because she tried to take her life by taking pills. I had one of my best friends from high school take his life, so this concerned me because I wouldn't want to go through that again. I would help anyone who was in this position, not just my friend. It turns out that she has an abusive relationship with her boyfriend and her parents won't talk to her. She has made some mistakes in the past and is trying to turn life around. I have sent e-mails and talked to her twice on the phone to encourage her, offer advice and help her turn things around. My wife and I aren't in the smoothest time of our marriage. We are working on that. She knows of the situation and I have been very honest with her about when I have e-mailed her and called her. I am hiding nothing from her. Yesterday, my wife said during an arguement that she wants me to no longer have any contact with this girl because she thinks I am going to have an affair. I live several states away from my friend and haven't seen her in 15 years. I have no desire to have an affair because I want my kids to respect me as they grow older, and I don't want to do anything that would cause them to lose my respect. In a way, I can see my wife's concern, but I am only trying to help my friend. I would want to offer help no matter if this person was a male or female. I feel my wife is being unreasonable. I would have a hard time dealing with things if my friend took her life and I didn't do everything I could to help, because I didn't do all I could with the friend who took his life in high school. At the same time, my wife comes first. I'm not sure what to do but for now I still plan on helping my friend. If nothing else, I ask for prayers for me, my wife and my friend.

[/quote]

Take it from a guy who's been around a while and has experience with this stuff. Your heart might be in the right place but you are absolutely playing with fire! Your wife is absolutely 100%right to be concerned. If you want to stay married, you would do best by breaking contact with this woman and do not look back.

These online relationships go from zero to 100mph in 2 seconds and will destroy your marriage before you even know what happened. It isn't worth it.

Your last email to her should include only one this. A friendly mention of your concern and some links to her local mental health resources. Do not tell her "goodbye" or anything! Just the links!

Back out* now*..... before you step on a land mine!
;)


#4

Sorry, but you are in the wrong to be doing this sort of thing, even under the guise of Christian charity or the corporal works of mercy. My 2 best friends from college were men. They are both married now. And for my part, on Facebook and such, I go out of my way to be as unobtrusive as possible, so as to not make their wives uncomfortable. When I have had serious problems, I did not seek them out, and nor did they seek to comfort me. It is not their obligation to do so, and I would be very bothered if they were to do that sort of thing. :( I understand her actions may be a cry for help, but not to YOU. YOU are not a trained mental health professional, which is what she needs. You and your wife can pray for her as a team, together, but the contact should cease. I would be very very very very bothered were my husband doing this. And I would tell him exactly what I just said here.


#5

First of all, I want you to know that I believe everything you said in your post. I have no doubt that you just want to help your friend and that you have every intention of being faithful to your wife.

However, you need to realize that most people who have affairs do NOT plan them. You are playing with fire. You want to help out a needy friend (good) but that friend is a woman first and foremost. It is amazing how quickly it can turn from innocent to infidelity.

Please, listen to your wife and end (completely) this friendship. You cannot help her while she is in this situation. And in trying to you could destroy your soul, your life and the lives of your family.

(I admit my bias as we are still recovering from my husband's affair - the most painful thing I have ever had to go through. He was just being nice to his needy coworker. It is scary at how quickly he was able to turn off his conscience and follow Temptation. I have learned through much research, that this is often the case. I know you would hurt if she harms herself, but you are not responsible for her. You are responsible for your wife and your children and you will hurt more if you lose your marriage and family over this.)


#6

Please do not get sucked into your friend's emotional life. She has problems that you cannot fix and your good intentions will just result in a strain on your marriage. :sad_yes:


#7

It might help you to realize that you cannot help this woman. As a married man living far away, what will you do?

The best thing you can do is encourage her to see a psychiatrist. A suicide attempt and an abusive relationship is beyond something you can fix. The kind of involvement in her life that would be required on your part to make a difference would not be appropriate given that you're a married man.

You might be able to provide some comfort and distraction by talking to her, but again, that means getting emotionally involved and that's not good if you're in a rocky marriage. How much time are you willing to spend talking to her to make her feel better?

She needs intensive professional help and medication.

(I also don't think you should blame yourself for not preventing the suicide of your highschool friend. When people take their lives, it's usually for very deep reasons, in Western society these are most likely psychiatric reasons that are beyond a friend's power to fix.)


#8

Your wife is right. Actions speak louder than words, you have no business being there for this woman, it would show me if you were married to me, that you have may still have feelings for this woman by going all the way out there. You moved on, she did not, so you need to let her fix herself. You must tend to your wife, your home, and your domain. Sometimes the miracle of Facebook is all the downfalls it can bring, such as this.


#9

I don’t necessarily see all the danger everyone else seems to.

But I do agree that it is not your *fault *your friend took his life. Nor is it your *responsibility *to save this one. You’re not a psychiatrist nor omnipotent.

The most effective way of helping her is praying for her. God *is *omnipotent. :slight_smile:


#10

[quote="hurtandhealing, post:5, topic:178829"]
...................... you need to realize that most people who have affairs do NOT plan them. You are playing with fire. You want to help out a needy friend (good) but that friend is a woman first and foremost. It is amazing how quickly it can turn from innocent to infidelity................

(I admit my bias as we are still recovering from my husband's affair - the most painful thing I have ever had to go through. He was just being nice to his needy coworker. It is scary at how quickly he was able to turn off his conscience and follow Temptation. I have learned through much research, that this is often the case. I know you would hurt if she harms herself, but you are not responsible for her. You are responsible for your wife and your children and you will hurt more if you lose your marriage and family over this.)

[/quote]

The above is perhaps the best response to this post. Anytime a married person (man or woman) gets involved in the personal emotional life of another of the opposite sex the conscience can very easily get silently (often quickly) turned off. This easily happens without you even knowing it until you've gotten deeply into inappropriate attachment and behavior.

A good friend of mine who had no intention of getting into an extramarital repationship got involved in a very intimate online affair that would have certainly ended his marriage and destroyed his family had it been discovered. This happened back in the day when the internet and chatrooms were new and he was sucked into this woman's personal life before he knew what happened. She was being physically and emotionally abused by her husband and my buddy was just trying to build her up and give her a little emotional support.

At the time, he was having some minor marital issues so "helping" this woman gave him the feeling that he "mattered"..... This is very dangerous ground.

I would drop this budding relationship like a hot potato!


#11

My wife and I aren't in the smoothest time of our marriage. We are working on that.

You aren't working on it whole-heartedly if you are worried about some school friend several states away. Take your energies and work on your marriage. Put your wife's feelings first. You may be creating a breach between you that will never heal. You wrote you would never have an affair because you want your children to respect you. It's also a mortal sin. It also would destroy your marriage.

You titled this "my wife doesn't want me to help a friend." What if your wife came to this forum for advice? What would she title it? "My husband doesn't care about me"? That is how she is feeling.

Yes, I know I am sounding abrupt and mad but I have been in your wife's place. No affair ever came of the situation, not even remotely, but it still hurts me and it probably always will. My feelings were put second place to those of a stranger (at least to me). Put your wife first. That's what marriage is for. You wouldn't like it if she were doing it to you.


#12

There are so many warning signs in this part of your post.

  1. You and your wife are already having a difficult time.
  2. Your stated desire for avoiding an affair is your children. (This is good, but it might not be enough when push comes to shove.)
  3. You are not recognizing a difference between a male and a female friend in trouble.
  4. You “feel” that your wife is being unreasonable and are going to ignore her feelings, by continuing to help your “friend.”

I certainly do not want to beat you up over this. By what you have said, you have done nothing wrong and have great intentions. It is of the upmost importance that you continue to hide NOTHING from your wife. At the same time, I ask you to consider her feelings as the priority at this time. Of course you are concerned and want to do all you can to help this old friend. She was a good friend to you in high school, you don’t want her to harm herself and you are a good guy! But your wife, as a woman, has intuitions that you, as a man, do not. She is seeing things from a different angle and hers is very perceptive.

Some further info about my situation (see if there are any similarities):

  1. My husband and I were separated due to a military deployment.
  2. He never, ever, considered having an affair.
  3. His coworker was a female who had all kinds of difficulties (family, previous coworker).
  4. When I confronted my husband about the things which I was observing (which were very few), he dismissed my concerns telling me he would never have an affair (which he intended at that time still) and had everything under control, changing nothing about the environment they were in. He had already opened himself up enough to her that he told her how upset he was at my “accusations,” and I assure you that I was very loving and concerned when I talked to him and didn’t accuse in any way. They were kissing within days and slept together less than a week later.

I am not dismissing the real difficulties your friend has, but when women are in vulnerable positions, they often look for stablity in a man. Since your marriage is already a little rocky right now and your wife has expressed concern and asked you to end contact with your old friend, it really is the prudent course of action. Maybe as a compromise, you and your wife can pray together for this friend. Praying for her is the best thing you can do in your position and praying with your wife would be a wonderful help to your marriage.


#13

if your wife does not want you to contact old girlfriends via facebook or email, don't do it, you are just asking for trouble. now start working on the underlying issue, which seems to be based in mutual trust and respect and feeling secure about your relationship. get professional help with your own marriage if it seems necessary. Whatever is fueling her jealousy has some basis in her perceptions of you and your relationship, so deal. prayer is indispensible in this. So is spending at least as much time with her and your family in person as you do with friends via electronic means.


#14

I think you already know the answer in your heart…your wife and your marriage come first.

You should’nt be getting ‘involved’ with this female friend.This is dangerous for your marriage.

It sounds like you have unrequited feelings for this friend.Someone you have not been in contact with for years anyway should not come before your wife.If you are truly concerned say some private prayers for your female friend.

Stop contact now before temptaion sets in any further.Spend your energies trying to heal your marriage.Not so much on Facebook.
Invest time with your wife and family.Get counselling if necessary.
God bless you,your wife and family.


#15

JJsc3 you may believe it to be innocent right now but this is exactly the situation my FIL entered into - helping and rescuing another woman - which led to an affair which led to the end of his marriage. Obviously the marriage was having problems but as another poster said he chose to put his emotional energies outside the marriage and eventually he was having an affair and chose to leave his wife.

Like almost all relationships we don't know what will happen we just take one thing at a time but before you know it everything is snowballing.

I think it's very important to respect your spouse. Whether husband or wife, if your spouse feels uncomfortable and wants a line drawn it's very important to listen to them and respect what they think and feel. There are many resources out there for your friend, it is not your role or responsibility to try and fix her situation. It is your role and responsibility to help fix your relationship with your spouse.

A good resource is Marriage Builders marriagebuilders.com/. I don't believe this site is Catholic but is very helpful and gives you specific, concrete ways you and your wife can improve your relationship.

God bless you both.


#16

Completely apart from you and your wife, this friend of yours, because she is in such a tough spot, is almost guaranteed to develop something like a crush on you, fantasies of being rescued. It is not to her benefit for you to continue to help her. She needs real, local, committed relationships, and she won't seek those if she can dream of a knight in shining armor.


#17

Right now the last thing that this friend needs is a relationship or fantasy of a relationship. She needs to work on herself. She has a lot of hard work she is going to need to do if she is going to get stronger. Fantasizing will just take her off course. If you care about her, keep a proper distance.

And do listen to everyone else about respecting your wife’s wishes. You are so close to playing with fire; you probably have no idea. It’s a good thing that you started this thread. Hoping you will heed the advice you have received.


#18

your marriage is your vocation and first priority,

but

the woman may be seriously at risk

my suggestion: tell your wife, "I honestly agree to have NO further contact with her **from this moment on. ** Now, I'm asking you-- would please agree to pray one decade of the rosary with me, for her, every day for a month. And if you would, please pray another decade with me every day for us, too."

in any situation, prayer is not the least you can do, it's always the MOST and BEST you can do.


#19

Thank you all for your comments. You gave me things to think about that I had not considered. I do realize that helping someone of the opposite sex can lead down a slippery slope, but I am confident that won’t happen here. Regardless, I plan on communicating with her less than I already do, which isn’t that often. I have only talked to her on the phone twice since September, and only echange e-mails every so often. We live far apart and really have no chance to see each other. And most importantly, I fear the eternal reprocussions if I would ever fail my marriage commitment. My wife asked me how I would feel if she was helping someone of the opposite sex. I told her that honestly, I would want her to help someone in need. She has never given me any reason not to trust her, so I would trust that she would help without getting in an extramarriatal affair. If she spent more time talking to another person than she did with her family, then I would worry. In any case, I will distance myself, and communicate less with my friend in need. She is seeking professional help, which is good. But still has a lot of problems to sort through. Please consider us all in your prayers. Thanks.


#20

It is only natural to want to reach out and help a friend, even though many years may separate you. But sometimes we have to realize that we cannot save people from themselves. I would contact the mental health office in her state, forward the emails that talk about how she tried to kill herself, and try to get her some help. Then let it go and start praying. Your wife and family must come first. I am sure if the situation was reversed you would wish for her to accede to your wishes in the matter. (depending upon the specific situation of course). Maybe you could contact your local parish. I know that mine has a prayer ministry that will pray for the intentions of any parishioner that requests them to do so. At least that way you could do something concrete to help your friend, without the contact that is upsetting your wife. I pray for this matter to resolve itself in the most positive of ways for everyone involved!


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