She's Distant With my Friends

Visitor's Question from a 31-40 year old Male
I am 40 years old and recently married for the 1st time. We have been married now for 1 year and it has been a very difficult adjustment for me. Although my wife is loving and does many things for me, she is very controlling and tends to create "walls" or "issues" with the people in my life that mean the most to me. (There seems to be some jealosy on her part for my relationships with my friends) I, on the other hand, get along great with her friends and family.

For example, she is very kind to my friends when she's throwing a party or running some event that she's in control of, but is very distant with them when she's attending someone elses party or event. It is very noticeable and it's starting to impact the way I interact with my friends. I feel myself (the person I am deep inside) slowly disappearing, and am starting to resent her. While I have communicated my feelings to her, she simply appeases me for the moment but quickly resorts back to her ways. I feel that we are not natural (not on the same page) as a couple. (especially in public)

I am starting to believe that I will always have anxiety wondering how she'll interact with friends when we're in public. (At 1st I thought it was just shyness but it clearly is not) I find myself becoming increasingly lonely in this relationship and don't know where to turn.

I just want harmony and true companionship but her behavior keeps us from getting closer and growing as a couple.

What should I do? Advice
Well all tend to have ideal visions in our mind about how a couple should act. When we get married (or even move in together), these ideal visions are expected to spring into life. It can involve chores, family, friends, intimacy, whatever. Since of course real life rarely mirrors our idea fantasies, it's inevitable that we'll be disappointed.

First, I have to say that out of all the things that could go wrong in a relationship, being withdrawn at parties is probably the least of your worries. So it's important to keep that in perspective. Remember, you hopefully did not marry her so she could be a properly acting arm decoration when you were out socializing. There are MANY many people out there who do not behave "as wanted" at social events. Some women flirt too much. Some women drink too much. Some women are too withdrawn. It's not that they do these things on purpose to antagonize people normally. It's just the way they are. And part of your responsibility as part of a couple is to accept how your couple is instead of constantly trying to change her so she fits into your ideal Wifie In Public role.

Some people just like to be in control! It's the way they are. They aren't comfortable in a situation where they are not in control. Think of it in this way. When she's in control she knows exactly what she's supposed to do, she has lots of stuff to keep her busy, she sets the tone and mood. When she is NOT in control, she's like flotsam and jetsam in a stream. If she doesn't like the food, she can't say anything or fix it. If the party isn't being run properly, she just has to put up with it. If she's stuck in a conversation she doesn't like, she doesn't have a built in escape route. It can really bother a lot of people to be in that situation.

You know, lots of spouses simply hate to go to parties! They stay home quite happily, reading a book. It's not "in" it in every person to be a party hound. You shouldn't ever resent a person for being what they are. You should do the things you like, and let them do the things they like, without dragging them along and then complaining that they aren't thrilled to be there.

So let her be herself at the parties. Instead of harassing her to be "better", ask her if something would make her feel more comfortable - maybe if she could keep busy helping in the kitchen. On the other hand, don't always make her go! Just tell your friends she had previous arrangements and couldn't make it. That way she is happy, you are happy, and you don't build up this hatred of a non-party-goer.

-- from Lisa
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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