MsDora, Certified Christian Counselor, has spent four decades empowering young and adult women to pursue positive, productive womanhood.
Not every single woman who tampers with someone else's marriage will become the man's soul mate (as did the woman in the 2009 affair with the married governor from South Carolina).
Not every every single woman will engage in sexual activity with the woman's husband.
However, if a single woman cheats the couple of their time together; and if in anyway, at anytime she makes herself a substitute wife, she hinders the sanctity and the purpose of the marriage. The marriage vow makes room for one wife for every husband, and no outsider is permitted to share the role of either spouse in the relationship.
A Single Woman's Disrespect
Take the example of single Susie. Another woman's husband has chosen her to be his best friend because he trusts her more than he can trust anyone else. They share their deepest feelings mutually on the level at which many wives (including his) wish they could share with their husbands. Theirs is strictly an emotional intimacy, which they have enjoyed since they studied together back in college.
However, after marriage, the man's relationship with his wife becomes his primary relationship, and Susie should expect the wife to replace her as her friend's number one soul mate. Instead, by ignoring the presence of the wife, she is actually ignoring the marriage, and the man is allowing it to happen.
Susie and her friend call or text every day, sometimes twice or more, because they care about each other. Because the man does not deny his friendship with Susie, and because he does not the hide the fact that he cherishes their friendship, he credits himself with being honest. He is one of those people who feel that a confession makes everything right, since they do the wrong out in the open. Susie talks with the wife too, but only when necessary.
The wife is not the aggressive type of woman who would put her foot down on this best-friend scenario. She is easy-going, cherishes peace, and hates disagreement, especially with her husband who tells her occasionally that he loves her. Susie does not think that she is doing anything wrong, but in fact, she is ignoring that important principle called respect.
Look at three different levels of respect that Susie violates.
(1) Respect for Marriage
Marriage is the framework within which, the couple develops spiritual, physical and emotional intimacy. Susie’s best friend is obligated to work with his wife toward the highest level of intimacy as much as they are capable.
If Susie genuinely cares for her friend, she would also care that he develops a happy, solid marriage. She can facilitate that by preventing the man from leaning on her for the emotional comfort which he should receive from his wife. It is appropriate for her to say, “That’s a matter for you and your wife.”
She might have the opportunity to teach him (if he didn’t know before) that in our culture, marriage is between two people, not three.
(2) Respect for the Wife
Susie doesn’t know how many times the wife has been disappointed or deprived because of her husband’s meetings with his best friend, or because of phone calls, or text messages which come at inappropriate times.
Susie doesn’t know and she doesn’t care that the wife has been forced to lower her expectations concerning her husband's attention. Neither does she know that her friend accuses his wife of being jealous whenever she asks for reassurance that he still loves her.
Susie cannot take full blame for the stress developing in the woman’s life, but she certainly provides support for the husband who is causing it.
Cheating is not limited to sexual interaction. Time spent satisfying the emotional needs of another woman, is cheating the wife of time to satisfy her emotional needs. It is selfish and disrespectful for Susie to treat another woman with such disregard.
Woman's Response Poll
(3) Respect for Herself
With Susie showing so much disrespect to her friend's wife, what personal disadvantages does she suffer? She may not think so, but she disrespects herself by voluntarily playing second fiddle in the kind of relationship where it is forbidden. She's is proving that she does not measure up to what her friend wants in a wife.
Moreover, if she releases herself from the undesirable, uncomplimentary role of support for someone else’s marriage, she frees herself to become someone's wife. Bet she could achieve more fulfilling intimacy with someone who values her enough not only to call her his best friend, but to make her his wife. That would be an upgrade on her self-respect.
(4) Respect for Womanhood
A woman judges other women by the woman she knows best—herself. Susie assumes that she does a better job than the wife of satisfying the man emotionally.
- Is she admitting by her behavior that she needs help from another woman to satisfy a man?
- Is she preparing to have female friends fill some of the needs of her future husband should she get married?
- Why does not the single woman think first of the married woman (every woman's a sister) before concentrating on making her husband happy?
In a UCLA study on female friendships, researchers found that the hormone oxytocin encourages women to gather and bond together rather than adopt the usual fight or flight response to stress in our every day lives. It should be easier for women to bond than create stress for each other. Not only does the hormone help us enjoy each other’s company; it reduces our risk of disease.
We can enrich our own lives by loving and supporting our sisters: teaching them, showing concern for them, scolding them if necessary, but never by substituting for them. Each has her place.
A woman’s place is never within another woman’s marriage.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: My husband is a people pleaser and does not know how to set boundaries, which leads to disrespect in our marriage. I am at my wit's end about it. We have been married 32 years and this has been a challenge in our marriage. I'm beginning to question if he truly wants to be in this marriage. What can I do?
Answer: I admire your patience. Chances are there were some positive aspects of the marriage that kept you loyal all this time. You've also been investing yourself in the relationship for these many years. There's much to hold onto.
Make sure that your husband knows that: (1) you want the marriage; (2) you have decided not to tolerate his disrespect any longer; (3) you are longing for him to make your marriage his priority relationship; (4) you are willing to cooperate with him in making adjustments which will satisfy both of you; and (5) what you really want is for both of you to be happy together. If you know a professional whom you both trust and respect, you might want to consult with him or her.
Meanwhile, please read my article entitled "Consider These Before You End the Marriage" and continue to be loving and kind as you work with him to make adjustments in his undesirable behavior. If you are a believer, don't neglect prayer.
Question: How do you ‘teach’ a single young woman to quit flirting with a married man that was her high school teacher? She is now 20 years old.
Answer: Your quote-unquote 'teach' suggests that you would rather use another word. I'm slightly amused as I wonder what word you would choose as an alternative.
Flirting usually signals sexual attraction. If we can convince the young woman that her behavior is inappropriate (since the man is married), a waste of time (since she can use her time and effort in attracting someone who is available), and self-destructive (since she is demonstrating poor choice and lack of self-control), we may succeed in getting her to focus on what is best for her now and in the future. Besides there is the Golden Rule: respecting the man's marriage the way she would want another woman to respect hers if she ever becomes a wife.
Tell her to save her charm until she finds a man who brings out her value not her viciousness; to whom she can become a priority, not just another option. It's all about what she thinks she deserves.
© 2011 Dora Weithers
ashiq on October 19, 2019:
i like u relationship interest. me
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 25, 2019:
HeFooledMe, I think you should change your name to something like WiserNow. Put the emphasis on you, not on him.
Sorry about that experience you had with your husband and that younger woman. Disrespect hurts, especially when it comes between two people who are supposed to respect each other. Since you cannot do anything about them, don't waste time watching them.
What you have is more important than what you have lost. Focus on improving yourself since we can all do with some self-improvement. Socialize. Make time to laugh. Close the book on this chapter and prepare yourself for the next. Single or married, you have the rest of your life to enjoy!
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 25, 2019:
Thanks, Tonysam, for reading the article and sharing your valuable insights on this topic.
HeFooledMe1995 on July 25, 2019:
When I saw this article, I was absolutely blown away because it is exactly what happened to me. Its completely disrespectful and sad at the same time. The girl that did it to me, is someone I work with and have to see on a daily basis and walks around like she is completely innocent and that is was perfectly acceptable. Most especially because my now Ex sees it the exact same way. They see nothing wrong with the behavior and now expect everyone to be accepting of the fact that they are dating and still in my office. That certainly wasn't what broke up our marriage but this mis-step took away all opportunity for any potential reconciliation (he hinted a few times), for a friendship to remain, or for our child to have parents that were at least amicable. The absolute craziness of this entire situation is that I am expected to roll over and be perfectly acceptable of having to see her on a daily basis - who I might add, never has addressed me once in 8 years with any type of greeting, even in church when we sat with us. My Ex actually thought it was humorous to tell me that I should take her out to lunch and basically make it comfortable for her as if I did anything to the two of them. I am so blown away by the audacity and ignorance of these two humans. The truly sad part about this is that this young girl (21 years his junior) was guided by her mom to go after an other man to take care of her and that mom knows me, my family, my business, etc. What type of mother raises a daughter to have no morals or respect?
tonysam on May 16, 2019:
Sure, single women are after your husband. If you made such a poor choice in husbands that HE would cheat on you, then it is time to dump him.
By the way, lots of married women go after other women's husbands.
This is backwards, 1950s thinking.
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 28, 2017:
Latrice, thanks for your comment. You think that you disagree with me, but eventually we are on the same page with respect for boundaries. A married man is not a candidate for special friendship with a single woman.
LaTrice from Las Vegas, NV on November 28, 2017:
This is an interesting article to read about marriage. However, I sort of disagree with your opinion regarding single women. I believe there's nothing wrong with maintaining friendships from the outside with the opposite sex, just as long both parties respect each other's boundaries. If there are any issues between the husband and wife, it's important to keep people out of their marriage. I do agree that the husband shouldn't seek advice and comfort from his single female friend every time something happens between him and his wife.
The best part about being a single woman is that I can date anyone that I want and have fun at the same time. If he's interested in getting to know me as an individual, he needs to be single as well.
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 11, 2017:
Anon, He hears your prayer. This must be the most precious response to this article. Best to you, going forward.
anon on October 09, 2017:
God forgive me. '-(
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 14, 2017:
Thank you, Truth for reading and commenting. There is a chance that honest loving singles will meet other singles with similar qualities with whom they can build happy relationships.
And The Truth Of All on April 13, 2017:
And it is very hard to get a woman nowadays to have respect for us good men that are still single when we really shouldn't be at all today since Most of the women of today are Nothing at all like the real good old fashioned women were in the past which made quite a difference. And times have really changed unfortunately today since many of us men that really wanted to get married and have a family would've been able to do so the way that it happened for our family members that were so very blessed finding real true love with one another back then. Many of us men aren't single by choice as you can see since it really does take two too tango.
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 31, 2017:
FROM MABELHENRY (without the link she posted in the original comment)
"This is an example of trespassing. A trespass happens when boundaries are not respected. There are lines of demarcation that can't be crossed in marriage. Single people should find other single friends, it is emotionally more healthy than the intrusion you describe. Nevertheless respect is the key. God is the only answer to successful singleness."
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 28, 2017:
Hester, Congratulations for sticking to your principles. If every female does that, the men would have to follow protocol. Our respect for marriage has a positive effect on the marriage, on the spouses (even if the offender doesn't think so), and on ourselves. Way to go!
Hester A on March 28, 2017:
I totally do. I found this post after some married guy told me that I was uptight and too rigid when I rejected him after finding out he was married. I believe in honesty and as a single woman, want true and lasting love for myself - how could I participate in breaking the vow?
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 12, 2014:
Thanks for your comment, Mabel. I will read your article also.
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 08, 2012:
Express10, I appreciate your observation and agree with your counsel. Thank you very much.
H C Palting from East Coast on December 08, 2012:
There is so much disrespect for marriage and even for relationships leading to marriage. It's frightening how far some people will go to have any semblance of a relationship at any cost and others find it a game that they must win to "take" someone from another. This behavior is very selfish and damaging to the relationships that the person being pursued is in. Women and men need to be more respectful of themselves and others.
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 13, 2012:
Thanks for your affirmation, Healthy Hanna. It feels good when sisters stand together.
HealthyHanna from Utah on July 12, 2012:
Well Said MsDora.
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 29, 2011:
Mrs. Celisa, thanks for your observation. Like you, I take issue with putting all the blame on the man. Women also need to observe boundaries around their sister's marriages. If women stand firm in respect of marriage, the would-be cheating males will have to back off. Loyalty is both a male and female responsibility. Thanks again!
MRS CELISA on October 29, 2011:
Love this, and I agree men definitely has to respect his wife and take care and protect his marriage. But a lot of times women will say that the man should hold all the responsibility and yes within the marriage the only one responsible is HIM. I like this article because I've heard thousands of times that it's ONLY the mans fault, however I believe that women need to be accountable too. I've seen plenty of women solicit married men with no care and nor respect for the fact that he is married and so I hope this hits home for them. It's integrity less when a woman solicits a man. If the man is running around soliciting women, he either needs therapy, because there are always going to be single women out there who will engage, or the wife needs to find someone who is going to respect her. But this article for me is for women who solicit married men regularly.
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 11, 2011:
Sweetie Pie, thanks for underscoring that the respect has to be shared by both the man and the woman. Hope all the male readers got that, even though we specifically addressed the woman.
Alladream asked a very important question. Thanks to you also.
SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on July 11, 2011:
Yikes, you have it out for the single women here. I think married man who decides to have an affair with a single woman is just as culpable. By the way, sometimes married women do not have respect for single women. I have been the subjected to catty comments by married ladies who marvel at my choice to be single. I do not want someone's husband, I actually like being single. I think being single is a strong a beautiful thing, and just to share, sometimes married women are overly harsh on the single ladies.
Victor Mavedzenge from Oakland, California on July 11, 2011:
It takes two to tango and a spark may lead to a flame.I think the key aspect in a relationship is truly, respect.I always like to think, how would the man feel if the wife had a best-friend who was male.I do not think that this would go down too well with fellows.
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 11, 2011:
Thanks to davidkaluge, ladyt11 and Storeboy who understand and affirm my message in this hub. I’m sure that your expressions make it clearer to some readers.
JanThinks2 may get a better idea from reading your comments. I agree with you Jan, that long term friends are a blessing. Such friendships are important and don’t have to be discarded. My opinion is that they just need to know their place and give space to the friendship between the man and his wife.
We’re on the same page mostly, dashingscorpio. Thanks for stressing the trust issue. Again, I’m just encouraging my women friends to grant their married sisters first position on the list of their husbands’ friends. You also made a good point about discussing what is and is not acceptable before the marriage.
I appreciate all your comments and the time you take to express them.
I enjoy reading all the different opinions. Thanks again to everyone.
davidkaluge on July 11, 2011:
you know it does not mean that people of opposite sex should stop being friends once we get married but it means we should close all others for sex outside marriage once we are connected. It may not be an easy task but it is what it means and it is what we accept to do at the moment we say " I do" so we just have to do our best to keep to the promise. However, like I pointed out it is what the single ladies can do some about it and help the men and their fellow married women.
dashingscorpio from Chicago on July 09, 2011:
"(Susie doesn’t know) how many times the wife has been disappointed or deprived because of her husband’s meetings with his best friend, or because of phone calls, or text messages that came at inappropriate times..." If the wife doesn't complain to the husband he's not going to ask Susie not call after a certain hour or whatever. Apparently Susie thinks it's fine because there have been no complaints from the wife!
I think a lot of this comes down to trust and whether someone believes people of the opposite sex can or should be best friends. In theory most people would say "Yes" to both until it's at their front door or in their face. If you don't like something you have to speak up (if you want to give your mate an "opportunity" to change) or you have to walk away. Each of us is entitled to have our own "deal breakers" and ideally you want to be with someone who is in "agreement" with you. There really is no "right" or "wrong" per se but rather "agree" and "disagree" You shouldn't have to "sell" anyone on spending time with their spouse. This wife would have been better off marrying someone who doesn't think men and women should pal around as best friends. Just as "deal breakers" are to each his/her own so is the definition of "cheating" especially the further away it is from sexual betrayal. Not everyone will "agree". One should probably have a meeting of the minds on such issues before they exchange vows.
ladyt11 on July 08, 2011:
Ms Dora you are a teacher! I agree with everything said in this hub. I think what most single women don't realize is that the union of marriage comes before any friendship or connections that she may have had in the past with the man who is now married. She can still remain friends with him but she has to respect the change in his life and the choice that he has made to commit to, forever, the lady that he is now with. All of the alone time that she had before has to change for example, if she wants to dine with him include his wife also. If she is a close friend of his develop a friendship with the wife also and include her in activities as well. His time is not hers anymore. If she is truly his friend from the past or the present she would want to see this union work and not be the cause of any issues or problems in his life. Of course remain his friend but realize that the most important friendship is between him and his wife, the others come in at a healthy second! I enjoy your hubs so much!
JanThinks on July 08, 2011:
You are missing a BIG point here. From what I read, Susie has been a friend longer than the marriage. If the wife is jealous of the time her husband spends with Susie, is she also jealous of the time he spends with his family or male friends? A long term friend will be there for you when the rest of the world goes away. We should all be so lucky as to have a friend like Susie. It IS the husband's responsibilty to make sure the relationship is appropriate and LOOKS appropriate to his wife - THAT IS NOT SUSIE'S RESPONSIBILITY. Don't let the man off the hook and blame another woman.
Storeboy on July 08, 2011:
Very good article. A must-read for all men who treasure their marriages and for all women who respect their male friends. This principle is applicable to married women as well, who seek emotional relationships with married men.
Sima Ballinger from Michigan on July 08, 2011:
This is a teaching Hub MsDora. You provide some excellent advice that is mature and strong. "Respect for Marriage," subtopic is right on.... This is a keeper! Awesome!
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 08, 2011:
Thanks for your affirmation, David. You expressed it very well. Both men and women have to share the responsibility. This is just a reminder of what the women can do.
davidkaluge on July 08, 2011:
It is difficult to understand why somethings happen. We can ask, why can't the single ladies or married men respect themselves? We also know that some married women, and men do cheat. So the whole picture gets complicated as we wonder why it can't be resisted. However, I think, like you said, single women have a part to play if they really want to stop such infidelity. They just have to put themselve in such situation and ask themselves how they will feel if their husband spends more time with another lady.