How to Maintain a Friendship With a Married Man

by Emma Wells

After your friend gets married, it’s very likely that your friendship will change. This is a normal part of life, and it can even be positive, as you can potentially include his spouse, children and other family members in your growing social circle. Even if you are a woman trying to be friends with a married man, it is possible to maintain your friendship.

Adjust Expectations

Your married friend is not likely to go out to the bars and clubs on the weekends like he used to, according to the experts at the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center on He has new priorities now, and those priorities include his spouse, children, home ownership or his job. This chapter of his life revolves around these new responsibilities. Adjust your expectations to accommodate his new lifestyle, and try to see the benefits from his perspective. You might truly enjoy participating in his family activities or cooking dinner with your friend and his spouse.

Respect His Boundaries

Now that he’s married, your friend's primary relationship obligation is to his wife. In order for the marriage to succeed, he has to protect a foundation of intimacy and trust. If you’re a woman, he is wise to be cautious, according to an interview with Rabbi Shmuley for He may have boundaries regarding when and where you can see each other -- lunch or coffee, but not dinner, for example -- and have boundaries around physical intimacy. You also need to help him protect his relationship with his spouse by choosing not to complain about her. Hearing complaints about his spouse from friends puts him in a compromising position, because he doesn’t want to be disloyal to his marriage.

Include His Spouse

If you’re friends with a married man, you need to be friends with his spouse, too. This is the best way to maintain a friendship without threatening his marriage. If his spouse perceives a threat to their marriage, it’s likely your friendship days are numbered. If the relationship is truly platonic, there should be no problem with including his spouse in the fun, says nationally recognized etiquette trainer Diane Gottsman. If your feelings for your married friend are more romantic than platonic, it’s not in either of your best interests to continue the friendship.

Build Your Social Life

As previously noted, your newlywed friend has many responsibilities, so you can’t expect him to be always available for you. He is growing and changing, which is what you should be doing, too. Although it’s very possible to maintain meaningful friendships with married people, it’s also respectful of you to start branching out. Develop a large social network of friends and seek your own romantic partner if you don’t have one already. Make sure your life is as fulfilling and full of love as his is, and you’ll both have a lot to share with each other.

About the Author

Emma Wells has been writing professionally since 2004. She is also a writing instructor, editor and former elementary school teacher. She has a Master's degree in writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English and anthropology. Her creative work has been published in several small literary magazines.

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