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When Your Friends Mean More Than Your Spouse

When Your Friends Mean More Than Your Spouse

Friends matter. They always have. We count our friends like money in the bank. The more we have the better we feel. Having a spouse is a bit more dicey…we don’t always feel like our spouse is our BFF. Friendships might be forever while spouses can come and go or vice versa. So, what does it mean when we just might feel more at ease with a friend than we do with our mate? Have you ever put a friend’s needs before your lover’s? Let me tell you a story of just that – a friendship taking the front seat over a romantic relationship – and what the underlying meaning is for a relationship when this happens.

The scenario: Two couples. The husbands are best buddies as are the wives. Then couple A separates. The friendship between the two husbands and the two wives remains strong. Late one night, as Couple B were talking, the husband reveals that his best friend has a new girlfriend. The next day the two women meet for happy hour. As they were talking and commiserating about the breakup between couple A, the friend who is separated suddenly turns to her friend with tears streaming down her face and exclaims that she can’t understand why her husband has been so distant during their separation. She is torn between going ahead and filing for divorce or continuing to work on things with her husband. She wonders aloud to her best friend if anything might be going on with another woman…Well that was it; her best friend couldn’t hold it in any longer and blurts out the truth about her husband and the other woman. This sets off a fire storm between couple A, and, of course, at home, when the other wife has to fess up that she spilled the beans to her girlfriend. She has to fall on her sword with her partner and though she apologizes profusely, it falls on deaf ears because he feels so pissed and betrayed.

Now, here you may be thinking, as the husband did in Couple B, that his wife’s loyalty to him, her husband, should’ve come first above all else. But I needed to dig a little deeper.

So I ask her why she told her friend when she knew that it would create such a debacle in her own home. She said something interesting. She said that she felt closer to her friend than she did to her spouse, whom she has been living with for seven years. This knocked me back because it was so telling as to what matters when the rubber meets the road. It’s all about closeness. It seems that her relationship with her mate is littered with conflict and criticism and her friendship is about two women caring about each other and being kind to one another. At the final call, we all yearn for connection, and sometimes our old friends will be there for us in a way that our mates will not.

It’s not really about who matters more, it’s about what matters more. Connection trumps everything: loyalty, friendship, kindness and care will organically exist where the strongest bonds are. You can’t continue to be loyal or kind indefinitely with your mate when the connection is lost. Creating a strong friendship with our mate is the key to the rest of the issues that come and go with our friends and family. The saying goes, “Treat family like friends and friends like family,”–and it is the operative condition for all good relationships, no matter who we are sleeping with.

So, what can you do today if you feel like your spouse isn’t your best friend or maybe they never were?

Here are four steps to take to regain and/or strengthen the quality of friendship and daily connection with your mate.

1. Express interest and consideration for their needs and feelings.

2. Make time to be together on a regular basis as in: date nights, developing interests and having fun.

3. Learn how to have productive conflict where tempers are not lost and acknowledgement and validation are the key components.

4. Above all be kind.

Friendship is the foundation for love and commitment. I often hear that couples are fighting about whether they should get married. What could be more counterproductive? It almost always ends in failure. Good friends sit down together and plan for their future, one in which they feel comfortable that they can tackle any problem with care and concern. That’s the secret to what makes relationships run smoothly.

Read more: Friendship, Love, Relationships,

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Dr. Bill Cloke

Dr. Bill Cloke has worked with individuals and couples for 30 years. He received a master’s degree in education from the University of Southern California and holds a PhD in psychology from California Graduate Institute. A frequent talk-radio and TV psychologist, he is also a contributor to and other popular websites and has lectured at UCLA. Bill Cloke lives with his wife in Los Angeles. To learn more about Bill Cloke, and for more resources on creating healthy, happy relationships, visit


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11:17PM PDT on Apr 22, 2015

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2:33PM PDT on May 31, 2012

Marrage doesn't mean that you are closer to this person.

11:33AM PDT on May 30, 2012

I find the notion of "friends" being closer then your spouse interesting. Intimacy is built upon in a marriage relationship so if a friend is closer then a spouse something isn't working right in the marriage! Not to say that you shouldn't have a lot of friends and even be close to them, but the closest person, the person whom you should be most loyal to and have the most trust with is your spouse. It all boils down to intimacy and trust. Not just physical intimacy, although that is a part of it, but emotional intimacy as well.

9:32AM PDT on May 30, 2012

thank you

5:40AM PDT on May 18, 2012

It seems to me that the husband who spilled the beans to his wife (the friends) betrayed the trust of his friend. If the guy getting a divorce shows off his new girl to his and his wife's friends before telling said wife, then he's the jerk. So it all boils down to..... it's always the mans fault!

7:34AM PDT on May 16, 2012

thanks for sharing

4:06PM PDT on May 15, 2012

I love my husband, but there are certain things that I wouldn't share with him, but would with my friends. My friends have helped me through some very troubling times in my life and have always been there for me. Some things my husband just doesn't understand or doesn't want to know.

3:04PM PDT on May 12, 2012

I can't imagine why people get into significant relationships with people they aren't good friends with. I've never been involved with someone who wasn't a close friend first. I'm still friends with my exes. Why would I want to be involved with someone if we didn't first truly care about each other? I don't generally have any friends who are closer to me than whomever I am involved with.

1:32PM PDT on May 11, 2012

When I my husband, I knew he had a lot of friends and hung out at the bar. He told me that if I didn't marry him, he'd never get married. Well, I married him, and I became the housekeeper, grass cutter , problem fixer, Mother to his children, clothes buyer, bill payer, and the sit at home and wait for him to come home. He was at the bar every day with his friends. He passed away 12 years ago this month, right after our 35th anniv.They don't change I know. We had everything we wanted, except what we really wanted, HIM!

8:49PM PDT on May 10, 2012

i am definitely closer to most of my friends than i am to my partner...

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Good reminders, thanks. Read your labels!

Thanks for sharing.

thankyou thankyou...careeer is my mine focus at the moment


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