Strictly platonic–or is it? | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Dear Emily,

You had a column once entitled, “Could her husband and his ex be more than Facebook friends?”


I am a happily married woman with a husband I adore and love. I identified with that column because I have a similar story.


I happen to be the woman writing to the husband and not his ex-girlfriend. The man and I were introduced 17 years ago and were snail mail pen pals for a year, but our relationship didn’t get off the ground. In between that time, we both got married to different people. We got connected again in 2010 through Facebook, which we let our spouses know about.


We talked about everything —our children, our Christian faith, work, or just events in life. We would flatter each other once in a while, but we were just friends.


I must admit, though, that we found each other attractive. In spite of this subtle attraction, we were both clear about being very happy in our married lives and that our partners are perfect for us.


But came the point when his wife got jealous and insecure about our friendship after he caught her stealthily reading his e-mails. It surprised me, because we knew we had no romantic designs on each other. My husband is so secure in our marriage that I can even tell him what this man and I write to each other.


Then, due to hectic schedules and other matters, we just stopped writing to each other except for holiday greetings.


Is it wrong for me to pursue a friendship with a married man whose jealous wife is so unlike my open-minded husband?


The Pen Pal

Paraphrasing Shakespeare’s Queen Gertrude as she tells her son Hamlet, “The lady doth profess too much (love), methinks.”


If it’s a platonic relationship you’re referring to having with this guy, then no vestige of romance should be in its DNA. The concept must almost be akin to writing a journal to a brother or a gay friend you’ll never have sex with. It’s that innocent.


In this case, yes, your e-mails to this man could have gone way wrong. The route you’d rather not think about. Didn’t you yourself confess that you found each other attractive? It had a slim chance of getting romantic, no matter how thickly you professed your love for your husband.


The jealous wife is obviously not a mirror image of your open-minded and totally secure partner at home. Pity that she couldn’t be more on the same page with you all. She was probably gritting her teeth and wearing this happy face for as long as she could endure—but woke up one day and refused to take it a moment more.


Humor her because she just refused to be a saint. She wasn’t that strong, or had banked on enough love to play dead in this nuanced relationship between you and her husband. He could have been a creep to her for all you know, and only showed his wonderful persona in the letters to you. Who’d ever know the truth?


You’ve escaped whatever was looming on the horizon in this supposedly innocent e-mail exchange. And lucky to come out unscathed and still keep your very secure marriage.


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