I’ve been married for four years, and we have a three-year-old daughter. Two years ago, I met a girl who I consider to be a friend. She knows that I am married. We constantly send text messages back and forth, but the conversations are very innocent.

At the beginning of my marriage I made a lot of mistakes that caused my wife to mistrust me. She has access to my phone, so she read the text messages I exchanged with my friend. But one day, while my wife and I were using public transportation, we saw my friend, who greeted me by patting me on my knee. My wife didn’t like that, and said that she no longer wanted me to communicate with my friend.

I can’t figure out how to tell my friend that we can no longer be friends, so that I can avoid future problems. What can I do?

Dear Friend,

We congratulate you for having given your wife access to your phone so that she could learn to trust you again. We always recommend that spouses have complete access to each other’s phones, computers, and social media accounts. If they are not willing to agree to keep everything out in the open in order to cultivate trust in one another, it is likely that they have something to hide.

However, the fact that you are not sure what you should do in this current situation indicates that there is a legitimate reason for your wife to be concerned about your friendship with the girl. If your marital relationship were what it should be, you would immediately be able to respect your wife’s wishes and cut off your friend. But you are ambivalent, and while you still communicate with the friend, you risk losing more of your wife’s trust.

We also agree with your wife that patting you on your knee is an intimate gesture. Even if your friend is very demonstrative by nature, she crossed a boundary when she greeted you in that way. It is an indication that she either doesn’t recognize boundaries or doesn’t care about crossing those boundaries. Either way, she revealed herself to be dangerous to your marriage.

It should not be difficult for you to come up with the words to tell your friend. The truth is always the easiest and the best. Tell her that your wife is the most important person in the world to you, and that in order to better communicate with your wife and to better focus on your marriage, you will no longer respond to communication with her as your friend because that communication has become a distraction. And tell her that you wish her well and hope she understands, but that your decision is final and immediate.

As soon as you send her that text message, block your friend’s number from your phone and show your wife that you have blocked it. If your friend tries to communicate in another way, do not respond even one time. Show your wife by your actions that you will respect her feelings even if you don’t agree with those feelings.

Though your wife may not be sure of what your true feelings are, God is sure because He knows your heart.(1) Ask Him to forgive you for your mistakes and sins, and to help you move forward in total integrity and honesty.

We wish you the best,

1 Ps 44:21