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Old 06-30-2012, 11:21 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Location: Saskatchewan
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There are two ways to ask the husband how he feels about this, and they're worlds apart.

1) "Do I have your permission to date your wife?" invites the husband to make a decision for his wife. I get the impression this is what you thought I meant by "talk to the husband first."

2) "Would it bother you if I wanted to date your wife?" invites the husband to express his feelings to his best friend. It does not ask him to make a decision for her. This is what I meant by "talk to the husband first."

I'm under the impression that if the relationship would hurt the husband, then openminds will not want to do it. I certainly wouldn't. In that case, the wife's wants are virtually irrelevant, because openminds himself is choosing not to date her. In that case, it's untrue that the husband is making the decision for her; openminds is. I think we're agreed that openminds gets as much a vote as wife, and he's free to use whatever reasons he wants for making that decision, including not wanting to hurt his best friend's feelings.I think it's extremely relevant that openminds is the husband's best friend first, and knows the wife only through his best friend.

Either way, he runs the risk of hurting someone's feelings. As the husband's best friend, he has a bigger responsibility to the friend than the friend's wife. The wife is only a friend by association. She's a grown-up, she'll get over a few hurt feelings. But sneaking around behind the husband's back, or putting the husband in a tight spot with his wife, could destroy the friendship and strain the marriage. I would much rather piss off my best friend's wife than lose my best friend all together.

Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
First, the idea that my husband knows first that someone likes me, when I feel I should be the first person to know (tied first, in this case). Secondly, and the more important one, it's the idea that my husband could say "no, not a good idea" and that I wouldn't be told what happened behind my back, and have no control over it. Someone else would have made a decision about my life without consulting me first.
(first) Well it's already too late for that, and really how many people are ever the first person to find out when someone has a crush on them? Since the dawn of time, when you have a crush on someone, your best friend is the first person you tell. It just happens in this case that the best friend is the husband of the woman you have a crush on...

(secondly) Again, you're assuming he's going to "ask permission" and not "talk about feelings." If openminds chooses not to date the wife on the grounds that it will hurt his best friend's feelings, then it's true that openminds is making a decision that she has no control over, but it's also his decision to make.

Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
I think everyone should always have the option to make an informed decision. If someone wants to date me and my husband says no, I want to be aware. I might decide to divorce my husband over it, for all we know. I think hiding that kind of thing from me is a form of cheating, and I would feel very betrayed.
But would you divorce your husband for having hurt feelings that caused his friend to change his mind about dating you?

I do agree that hiding things from your spouse betrays their trust. From the sounds of it, this couple has good communication so I'm taking it on faith that he would "do the right thing" if his friend brought this up. Whether he's a good husband or not is not openminds' responsibility.

Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
I do feel the proposal example is close: if the father says no it means no, if he says yes you can go on and propose to your girlfriend (who always has the option to say no as well).
When you referred to the daughter as property, I inferred you were talking about the archaic form of asking the father if you could transfer ownership of the daughter.

I didn't realize you were talking about the 1950s version where the boy and girl have already discussed the idea of marriage, but the boy hasn't gotten down on one knee with a ring yet, because asking the father is the only way to get accepted into the family. I can see that analogy applying to the "ask permission" scenario.

Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
We're not talking about people who like each other and are asking the husband if it's okay. We're talking about someone who hasn't disclosed his feelings yet. What is he going to do if the husband isn't comfortable with it? Tell the wife "I like you but your husband doesn't want me to date you", which is putting them against one another? Or lie, which is disrespectful considering her husband already knows, and she'd be denied the right to know about something that concerns her when a third party was told already? Talking to the husband first is putting himself in a bad position with no good answer if the husband was to say no. It's also putting the husband in a position where he might be blamed for making two people unhappy by making the decision himself on his own. If the decision comes from both of them at once (regardless of who said "no" to it), then it seems to me it would be less harmful to both the relationship and the friendship.
Quite honestly, if the husband wants to say no, he's going to be in a tight spot no matter what.

If openminds tells them at the same time and their initial reactions are opposite, then openminds talking about it at all will have put them against one another.

If he tells her first and the husband opposes it, then the husband will be standing between two people who want to be together.

If he tells the husband first and the husband opposes it, then the husband can at least save a little face by being the one to tell his wife.

Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
It seems to me we have strong disagreement on the issue, which I assume is because I see myself in the position of the wife and you see yourself in the position of the husband. While I can imagine my friends telling me first that they like my husband, I can't imagine giving any answer other than "why the hell are you asking ME for?"
That's a fair assessment. For me, what it comes down to is that a close friendship is more important than a few hurt feelings for the wife. People get offended and have their feelings hurt all the time. You get over it. But having his best friend and his wife have a sex/romance talk behind his back could leave him feeling betrayed by the two most important people in your life.
As I am sure any cat owner will be able to tell you,
someone else putting you in a box is entirely different
from getting into a box yourself.

Last edited by SchrodingersCat; 06-30-2012 at 11:24 AM.
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