Wife Going Out To Bars
Q: You might call my wife and me "old souls". We don't have any kids yet (we're trying) but we enjoy each other's company and prefer a night home watching movies and drinking wine. We used to be go out at least a few times a week but those days are long over. At least, that's what I thought. Recent¬ly she began hanging around a female co-worker of hers who is recently divorced (and on the prowl!). My wife has been spending a lot of time with this new friend and they are going to bars and having "girl time". I'm afraid of who else she may meet at these bars. I know my wife wouldn't cheat on me, but I don't understand her need to hang out with her new friend so much. Should I be worried? Walker-31
Dr. Pamela: Thank you for your letter. I understand your concern. However, the first thing you need to do is figure out the true source of your apprehension. Is it the amount of time your wife is spending with her new BFF? Or is it where they're spending that time? Next, consider the circumstances. Your wife's new friend has just gone through a divorce, which is a traumatic and stressful life event. Supporting a friend during such a period, including spending a lot of time together is quite common. However, going to bars isn't the same as a going out to a restaurant or to a movie. The fact is your wife can be with her friend in a lot of places other than a bar. Should you be worried? I don't have enough information to answer that question. You didn't mention how often your wife goes out, how long she stays, or if her socializing is causing her to neglect other responsibilities.
What you should be concerned with is your statement about not understanding your wife's need to hang out with her new friend so much. That tells me you and your wife haven't had a direct and caring conversation about this issue. You need a discussion — not to win an argument or justify your worry, but for the purpose of understanding. Ask your wife why she spends so much time with her new friend and why they choose to do this in bars. Express your concern, listen to her responses and work out a solution together. The solution must be win-win, otherwise it's lose-lose.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.