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How to Respond When Your Wife Says She Just Wants to be Friends

What does it mean when your wife doesn’t want to divorce, but just wants to be friends? How you handle this situation can make the difference between reconciling and not.

being friends helps develop trust
If your wife just wants to be friends, it is an opportunity to redevelop the trust she needs to be in love with you again

If your wife wants to divorce and be friends, it is a different issue from staying married and being friends. If your wife wants to divorce and be friends, you need to access that information on my website rather than what I am sharing with you now.

My specialty is reconciling relationships when one spouse is no longer is in love and wants to separate or divorce. As you can imagine, the more damage that has been done to the relationship, the longer it is likely to take to reconcile.

However, it is not just time that is required for restoring love and reconciling. It is being able to handle a thousand small interactions that either lead to the relationship building or failing. One of those interactions happens when your wife says she just wants to be friends. You may have a tendency to tell her “no,” because you want more than that.

What I want to tell you today is that saying “no,” is a relationship damaging response. You can do much better.

What let’s just be friends means to her

If your wife just wants to be friends, it means that she is no longer in love with you. It is possible that she has already connected with another man, is attracted to another man, or can envision herself with another man in the future. What she cannot envision is being in love with you again.

She is not telling you that she just wants to be friends as a way of rebuilding your relationship. It may be her way to ease you toward a separation. Needy men often overreact with extreme anxiety, anger, or sadness if their wives don’t do things gradually.

If your wife has said she wants to be friends only, she does care about you and does like some things about you. But, she no longer feels like she used to when she really wanted to be married to you. And, she has lost hope in having that feeling for you again.

“Let’s just be friends” does not mean your relationship is over

“Let’s just be friends,” should not be taken at face value. Often, men make the mistake of taking whatever a woman says as written in stone and unchangeable. They then overreact–often causing more harm to their relationship. When a woman says something, she does mean it at the time she says it.

A woman may be absolutely sincere when she says she is going to slim down to her ideal weight. Don’t rush out and buy her a bikini, however.

Women’s conclusions about relationships are drawn from their feelings. If their feelings have not changed for a long time, they conclude that they are not going to change. However, women’s feelings do change. There are many women in love today who were not in love yesterday. There are also many women in the world today who are not in love anymore who were yesterday. This is going on all the time.

Your wife has not been able to fall in love with you because there is nothing that she has been able to do that would trigger that. Because we can’t make ourselves fall in love with anyone, the harder we try, the more convinced we become that it won’t happen.

Your wife will never be able to make herself fall in love with you. You are the only one who can trigger your wife’s in love feelings. And, you are the only one who was able to turn off your wife’s in love feelings.

If you want someone to keep liking you, stay in love with you, or fall in love with you, you had better do the things that make that happen. Just expecting that you can behave any way you want and other people will naturally like and love you is a hallmark feature of narcissism. Real life doesn’t work that way.

It takes a high level of ignorance to believe that your wife will be in love with you simply because you are married or that your kids will love you simply because you donated one sperm.

“Let’s just be friends” gives you an opportunity that many men don’t have

Friendship is the most important aspect of marriage. Indeed, I don’t know any way of reconciling a marriage without becoming friends first. Many men that I work with would envy you that your wife wants to be friends since their wives don’t even want to talk to them anymore. They are working just to get to the place where you are now.

If your wife wants to be friends, then you can reign back your relationship to the level of friendship–something that she is comfortable with. Using good connection skills, while not pursuing her like a girlfriend, will help her to enjoy talking with you again. This is a necessary precursor to dating your wife and helping her to trust you again.

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The mistake of pursuing her when your wife just wants to be friends

If you get desperate because your wife just wants to be friends, then you may start to pursue her right away. But, telling her loving things, trying to get her to date you, buying gifts, being romantic, and so forth will not get you the results you want. Instead, you will go from having the opportunity for friendship to her just wanting space from you.

Women always signal when they want to be pursued.

Her telling you that she just wants to be friends is not one of those signals. Pursuing a woman who does not want to be pursued will get you rejection. The way to get a woman interested in pursuit is to attract her and to connect with her. Never pursue until you have accomplished those things.

The mistake of telling her you don’t want to be friends

You may resist agreeing to be friends because you want to be more than friends. If you disagree with her the only place she has to go is to being roommates or separation. You may have a fantasy that she will say, “Wow, you want more than friendship? So do I! Let’s really start working on our relationship.”

Fantasizing that your wife will respond well when you disagree with her is an indication of your difficulty learning from experience.

Instead, she will tell you why she can’t be more than friends with you. You will hear a lot of negative things. That is likely to lead to defensiveness and arguing.

Defensiveness and arguing are two shovels men use to dig bigger holes in their relationship.

Begging and pleading will just make you less attractive. Begging and pleading is like trying to attract a woman by using dog crap as deodorant.

The best response to her request to just be friends

As hard as it may be for you to do, you need to admit to her that you both have become rather disconnected. You need to also say that you miss that friendship aspect of your relationship and even if you can’t have any more, that you would be glad to be her friend. Be sure not to include any needy behaviors such as apologizing, explaining, promising, or asking for chances.

You don’t need to get someone to give you a chance to do better to get to work on doing better.

By validating her, rather than trying to persuade her, you will help her to relax with you and keep her positive toward you. Validating her also prevents her from having to create even more distance from you. This type of agreement for the purpose of connection is the main objective of my book, Connecting through “Yes!” Agreeing accomplishes what arguing never will–a closer relationship.

After validating her, you can then go on to use good connection skills with her to build a closer friendship, restore trust, and become more attractive. None of those things require her approval, consent, or participation. Getting a woman to be attracted to you, like you, or fall in love with you has nothing to do with working together with her.

An important boundary to prevent divorce

If your wife wants to date others, tell her she is free to do that, but not without separating and working to divorce. Without these boundaries, you will never get past friendship. Men who stand by while their wives date, or who participate in an open marriage, need to assume they will be divorcing.

Using a boundary of separation and divorce promotes reconciling. Allowing your relationship to be sabotaged by extramarital relationships results in divorce.

Don’t date others even if your wife is

If your wife is dating or preparing to date, you should be separated, using good boundaries, and preparing to divorce–even if you want to reconcile. But, if you do want to reconcile you must not date other women.

Dating other women would:

  • make your boundaries meaningless, since you are doing the same behavior,
  • make it more difficult for you to feel love for your wife, and
  • be something that will create distance between you and your wife if you do reconcile.

Unfaithfulness damages trust and our ability to love deeply. It doesn’t enhance your marriage anymore than using cocaine will make you a great athlete. Like drugs, you will get temporary enhanced feelings but have more difficulty having those feelings again without being unfaithful again.

There are also other good reasons to be faithful. Never think that just because something feels good it is a good thing to do.

Friendship is part way to reconciling

Men who have the most success reconciling with their wives take a step by step approach. Those who don’t, repeatedly try to pursue and persuade to the day there relationship is totally done. Pursuit won’t make you attractive, it won’t build connection, and it takes away any fear she might have of losing you.

Friendship, on the other hand, is an acceptable starting place for her that you can build on by yourself. You can also work on becoming a more secure and attractive man, so that she will desire you again. If you would like help learning how to reconnect with your wife and to be more attractive than the competition, I would be happy to work with you.

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