Can a married man maintain friendships with women he has been attracted to or involved with in the past?

BOTTOMLINE: My wife is jealous of my friendships with other women; should I give up the friendships or is she asking for something unreasonable.

BACKGROUND: I've maintained friendships with some, but not all, women that I've either dated or been attracted to in the past (some of them were actually teens when we dated). Some of these are friendships that go back 20 or more years. I've never had an affair (infidelity) of any kind with these women. A few of them are deeper friendships and although I don't talk frequently to them, we may not email, IM, or phone each other for months or years and then have a "burst" of communication and catch-up. I consider them friends and nothing more. With a couple of them, whom I've known the longest, I will discuss marriage and relationship issues (mine and theirs). As a man, I don't expect them to "validate" my perspective as much as I trust them to give me a sanity check, as in "yeah, that's reasonable," or "no, you're being a moron." They've met my wife, but don't really know her, per se. I should also mention that I lost one parent before 18 and the other well before 30, so: 1) I hold tightly to friendships, and 2) I don't have parents to confide in or get sanity checks from.

PROBLEM: My wife feels threatened by my contact and friendship with these women. She doesn't want me to maintain intimate friendships with them or confide in them, ever, about our marriage. She regards my contact with them as a threat to our marriage and thinks I'm being disloyal to her by talking to them. She has not maintained any friendships with men she's dated or been attracted to (although she did talk to one on Facebook briefly last year).
I would say my wife's jealousy/insecurity on the matter is pretty high; she reviews my cell phone call records, my email accounts, etc. quite regularly (and doesn't consider this spying). I've told her I'm an open book, but I resent the implication of suspicion - in my opinion, by now the absence of evidence of any misdeed ought to speak for itself.

QUESTION: If you could decide by voting, and the vote represented your opinion of what is reasonable, fair, or best, do I A) Maintain the friendships, or B) End the friendships?
By Nymous 15 years ago :: Marriage
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