Wife Just Wants to be Friends? Responding Correctly
Posted On January 22, 2018
What does it mean when your wife just wants to be friends? How you handle this situation can make the difference between reconciling and not
My specialty is reconciling relationships when one part no longer is in love and wants out. As you can imagine, the more damage that has been done to the relationship, the longer it is likely to take. 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 just wants to be friends. You may have a tendency to tell her “no,” because you want more than that. However, as I will show you today, “no,” is a relationship damaging response.
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. Many times women say this to soften the transition they are about to make in separating, especially when they have a very needy husband who is likely to fall apart if she directly rejects him. If your wife has said this, 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. 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–otten causing more harm to their relationship. When a woman says something, she does mean it at the time she says it. 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. Women who were not previously in love are falling in love and women who were in love are falling out of love. This is going on all the time. She 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. You are the only one who can trigger your wife’s in love feelings–just as you were the only one who was able to turn off your wife’s in love feelings.
“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.
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.
The mistake of telling her you don’t want to be friends
You may tell her that you don’t want to just be friends because you want more from your relationship with her than that. But, because she doesn’t feel the same way, you rejecting her offer of friendship will get you rejection in return. “Wow, you want more than friendship? So do I! Let’s really start working on our relationship.” Instead, she will tell you why she can’t be more than friends with you. You will hear a lot of negative things and it is so easy to get defensive or into an argument. Such behavior helps her to detach from you rather than connect with you. Good for her–not good for you–if you want to rebuild your relationship.
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. By doing this, you will help her to relax with you, keep her positive toward you, and prevent her from having to cut off all contact with you. This type of agreement for the purpose of connection is the main objective of my book, Connecting through “Yes!” You can then go on to use good connection skills with her to build friendship, restore trust, and help her to enjoy you again–all precursors to her falling in love with you again.
An important boundary to not become an unconditional friend
Unconditional friendship is not good if you want to reconcile with your wife. Specifically, you must not continue to live with your wife if she is dating others, you must not talk to her about any dates that she does go on, and you need to let her know that your friendship is likely to end after divorce. Many women would be quite happy to remain friends with their ex-husband’s while pursuing new relationships. That is not a path to reconciling. Although she might not like these boundaries, she will understand these boundaries. They are the same boundaries that a woman would have with a man (unless she were very needy).
Don’t date others even if your wife is
Although your wife may encourage you to date, do not do so if you want to reconcile with her. That would just help her to further detach from you. Your commitment and faithfulness at this time will be an important memory for her after you reconcile. Also, if you date other women, it will damage the love that you feel for your wife for the rest of your life. Faithfulness is something that we must have to stay in love with our spouses. There are also other good reasons to be faithful. Continue to wear your wedding ring until the day you are divorced–even if she doesn’t want you to. But, don’t make a big deal of her not wearing hers. She does not have a plan to reconcile with you, so her behavior makes sense.
Friendship is just one stage of reconciling
Men who have the most success reconciling with their wives take a step by step approach. Those who don’t, simply throw all their reasoning and pursuit behavior at their wives and hope it creates some change in her. That does not work because it does not rebuild the trust which she needs to feel in love again. Friendship, on the other hand, gives you a level of acceptable connectedness (for her), in which you can use good connection skills to help her to enjoy you again. You can also work on becoming a more secure and attractive man, so that she might 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.