When you take a person as your spouse, he/she rarely comes alone and instead brings a whole network of social relationships into your marriage. While you may have mentally prepared yourself to get along with your spouse’s parents, friends may be an entirely different ballgame. A group of guys especially can be up to little good and sometimes can even act as a negative influence on your husband. If you feel that your marriage is being threatened by your husband’s friends, here are a few ways to deal with the situation.
Consider why you think so
If you dislike the friends that your husband has, especially if it is someone in particular, consider the reasons that have raised your hackles. It could be that your first impression of this guy or group was not a favorable one – perhaps you were acquainted at a bar where they had already had a few drinks or maybe your husband met his gang after many years and promptly left for an entire night out with the boys. Again your dislike for your husband’s friend could also be based on other people’s negative feedback about him. You may have had heard not so good comments about him from their common friends or a member of your husband’s. If none of these is the case then look at the evidence that you have in mind against your husband’s friends – does his drinking get out of control only when he goes out with them or does he a habitual go on a binge? Again if the only way your husband and his friends can have a boys’ night out is by heading for the strip club instead of indulging in fishing, golf or other some activity, then probably your suspicions are justified. Even if your husband is not drinking himself or engaging in casual sex, simply being with just guys can be potentially dangerous – he may have got in a car where a drunk person is at the wheel or he may be present at a party where drugs are being sold and thus raided by the cops. The consequences of bad friends can be far reaching and if you have solid proof of their bad influence on your husband and your relationship, you need to do something before things get out of hand.
Keep the lines of communication open
Even if you dearly wish that your husband would end his friendship with bad influences, it is not going to happen overnight. For that he will have to see the reality of his friends and what they are doing to his own self and relationship. So don’t adopt a surly attitude towards your husband’s friends at the very outset. Instead be patient and ask your spouse about his friend’s personal background - talking about the less-than-flattering details of the friend’s work, home and relationships may actually get your husband thinking about whether it is worth keeping friends of whom you cannot speak openly to your wife. Even if that does not happen, you will at least get to know about the friend directly from your husband instead of depending on intermediate sources. As of now, just let your husband do the talking and do not give violent reactions or he will become defensive of his friends and feel compelled to support them, even against his better judgement.
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Meet the friends
Incredible as it may sound, if those friends have not caused any major damage as yet to your marriage, it may be more practical to keep yourself in the loop. So be open to bonding with your husband and his friend- just may be once or twice. For instance if your partner likes watching football with his pal, make them comfortable and then join in. Instead of saying that you will be out shopping or visiting a friend, research the teams and rules of the game and try to pitch into the conversation. The friends may realize that you are not here to wreck their party and this may change his attitude towards your marriage and in future they may be more considerate. Even if that is too much to hope for, by being in the picture, you could directly ask questions about what they are up to when by themselves. There could also be no way that they can cover up for each other.
Make your home a pleasant place
Most of the times, husbands get in the habit of going to a bar with friends after work because coming back home is far from an attractive proposition. If at the end of a long day, your husband has to come back to a messy, unkempt house, noisy children and left-overs in the fridge, he will try and stay away as much as possible. If you are a stay-at-home mom, ensure that your man can look forward to some quiet downtime after he returns home. On the other hand if you are working full-time as well, you both need to be able to relax when you get back home. It may not always be possible to keep the house shiny like a new pin but minimizing clutter and planning chores ahead can do wonders to make your home a stress-free zone. And the more loving and peaceful he finds your home, the less he will want to be out with his friends.
Bond with him
Even if you cannot find the time or energy to be an expert housekeeper, do whatever you can to make your husband look forward to spending time with you instead of hanging out with his no-good friends. So as your husband is coming out of the car, don’t rush to the door with a litany of complaints and chores or perhaps ready to carry on an argument you didn’t finish at the breakfast table. Instead be pleasant and ask him about his day. Even if there are issues to be thrashed, keep them for another time and place. As far as possible, spend more time with him- in between his work and your household chores; set up a date as often as your schedule allows so that you both can go out and without the kids and spend more quality time together. Make him see the difference of being with you rather than with friends who are a bad influence.
Have a chat
However if despite your best efforts at creating a positive alternative to his bad friends, your husband remains blind to the situation, then it may be time to take a more direct approach. Choose a moment when you boyfriend is relaxed and then express your concerns about the influence his friends have been having on your husband’s habits and your marriage.
Instead of attacking his friends’ character or your husband’s choice in friends, keep the focus on your concerns and how it could prove disastrous for your lives together. If your husband wishes to know what you know or have heard, be sure to clarify each point. After this calmly ask your husband what steps he is going to take to protect himself and his family from such influences. Keep in mind that sometimes your husband’s vulnerability to bad influences may have more to do with his own weaknesses like latent alcohol addiction, rather than bad friends. If this is so, he may need to see a therapist or counselor to combat his inner demons, only after which he can come back to a balanced life and relationship with you.