Dealing with your partner’s friends of the opposite sex

Thursday November 16 2017

Dealing partner friends jealousy insecurity opposite sex

Some people become envious towards the opposite sex friends out of fear that their partner may develop romantic feelings towards the friend. COURTESY PHOTO  

By Esther Oluka

“Leave my man alone,” read a shocking text Getrude Kabasambu received one Monday morning.
The text message was from Patricia, the newly wedded wife to Mitala, whom Kabasambu had been friends with for a number of years. In fact, the duo were friends right even before Mitala met Patricia.

“I was not surprised when Patricia sent me the text because I always had this feeling that she did not like me to be around her husband. Patricia would give me an ugly stare every time she saw me with her husband. Sometimes she would deliberately refuse to either greet or talk to me,” Kabasambu says.
The businesswoman says she could not understand where the “jealously” was coming from since she was only good friends with her husband. “Even when I went out of my way to tell her that I had no romantic feelings towards her husband, she remained adamant,” she says.

Although Patricia persisted on Kabasambu breaking ties with Mitala, she refused to yield to the demand. She is still friends with Mitala who is now aware that his wife does not approve of the friendship. He believes Patricia will eventually get over the resentful feelings.
This is just one classic example out of many when one party dislikes their partner’s opposite sex friend.
But it is not only women who may brew these kinds of feelings. The men do too.

Men not spared
During a late night show on one of the local radio stations in Kampala, a man called expressing worry over his girlfriend’s closeness to her so called best friend who was male.
“She is always talking about him and honestly I hate it,” the caller mentioned to the presenter, adding, “They also love holding hands and hugging which really perturbs me.”

He then asked for advice from the presenter on what to do in his situation. “If her closeness to him is annoying you, ask them to limit their interaction,” the presenter responded.
The caller responded that he had already requested them to tone their closeness but his plea had fallen on deaf ears. The presenter then advised that he probably involves a third party preferably a relationship counsellor to intervene in the situation.

Why the resentment?
Ali Male, a counselling psychologist at Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) institute in Kampala, says love is often accompanied with heightened emotions including hatred and jealousy.
“This is why one may feel disturbed when their spouses associate with members of the opposite sex,” Male says.
Individuals may have feelings of resentment towards their partner’s opposite sex friends because of a number of reasons. “If you do not trust either your man or woman being around members of the opposite sex, you will get worried,” Male says.


The other reasons he gives include lack of trust towards one’s partner as well as obsession towards an individual.
A partner’s past also determines the kind of reaction one will have towards one’s friends of the opposite sex.
“For instance if a man has many ex-girlfriends or simply because his previous relationships did not work out because he was unfaithful, there will always be need to worry from his partner,” Male adds.
In some cases, the counsellor says, one may not like their partner’s opposite sex friends because they are intimidated by them.
“They may find the friend more attractive, confident and likeable which attributes will repel them,” he says. Some people become envious towards the opposite sex friends out of fear that their partner may develop romantic feelings towards them (the friend).

What should be done
Male says, “If you are not happy with the way your partner relates with members of the opposite sex, talk about it as a couple,” Male advises.
“During your discussion, it is important that you discuss aspects such as how to keep healthy boundaries for the sake of the welfare of the relationship,” Male notes.
But sometimes, one has to just accept the fact that their partners have particular friends of the opposite sex whose friendship they highly value and are not willing to let go of.

Boundaries a must
Mary Asiimwe Butamanya, a counselor and former president of Uganda Counseling Association gives the following reasons:-
• Unlike women, men are easily prone to sexual temptation. Therefore, when there are no boundaries in a relationship, they may easily fall succumb to cheating.
•Lack of boundaries easily creates an environment for another party to take over one of the spouse’s roles. This is why stories are often told of women snatching their friends’ husbands.
•Also, if a relationship lacks boundaries, it creates room for couples to develop feelings for other people. This is why individuals mostly women are not shy about shielding their men from the preying eyes of other females.