Some folks wonder if men and women can ever really just be friends.
But what about when the female friend is more than a decade younger than the male? Does that complicate things even further?
That's the situation one wife is finding herself in, as her 30-something husband is suddenly having weekly dog-walking meetups with a new 23-year-old gal pal. He says she's just a friend, but the wife is none too pleased about it.
In a post on the parenting forum Mumsnet, the wife laid out the details — which seem to get wilder as her story goes on...
This woman's 35-year-old husband has "dog playdates" with his new 23-year-old female friend — twice a week, every week.
In the beginning of her post, the wife explains that she's looking for a "reality check" because she realizes her fears might just all be in her own head.
But she can't quite shake the feeling that something is "odd" with her husband's new friend, whom he met at a workshop.
You see, the husband and the new friend apparently bonded over having dogs. And now they meet up for weekly dog walks. Which sounds fine, in theory, until you learn that this friend is a 23-year-old woman. And that she bought the husband a birthday gift. And that she texts him a lot.
The husband insists it's fine. He even thinks his wife would love this new friend too.
Let's let the wife explain the whole story in her own words...
"DH [Darling Husband] is 35 and I admit, usually quite an isolated man," the wife writes. "He works from home and does have very few friends and hobbies."
"He has wanted a dog his whole life," she says, "and I admit that I am not a huge animal person, I do love our dog but DH does do almost it all, especially as he is the one at home (I work full-time out the house)."
"He had to go for an in-person workshop a few months ago," she explains, "and there was an icebreaker challenge (I'm honestly shocked they still do this!) and this 23-year-old mentioned her new puppy (hers was only about 13 weeks and ours 8 months at this time) and apparently they clicked over the dogs??"
"Not trying to be a downer here, but surely owning a dog isn't that rare, I am friends with about eight people that have dogs," the wife writes. "I instantly found it rather childish when he was telling me but this woman ended up giving her number to him at the end of the day."
"DH tells me how he told her how much me and her would get along and tried to say as much as he could to me to make it sound so obviously nothing more than friends but I just got the impression he had a bit of chemistry there," she adds.
"Anyway," she says, "I don't want to go on for pages and pages with every little detail. Basically he did text her and they arranged a playdate for the dogs, the messages seem very innocent and he would always tell me and it didn't seem like he was telling me for any weird motive and was just out of excitement (don't want to s--- on his cereal, but I'm really not getting it and never have)."
"She then got him a birthday present only a week later and now they meet up twice a week every week to walk the dogs," she writes. "He's very open about it with me and is never trying to act secretive but it really rubs me up the wrong way, I think I must have issues because seriously, him even saying her name makes me cringe. Am I just massively insecure??"
"I simply don't like it," the wife says, "she sounds a bit obsessive with him and DH has said how he does purposely leave a minimum 12-hour delay before responding to her because she replies almost instantly and constantly sends him pictures of her dog, I said to him just tell her to stop and he really just says 'no I don't mind her doing it if she wants to' so then I ask why he delays replying and he says because he just doesn't want the expectation of him just being there to respond all day."
"Seriously I hate the whole thing. AIBU?" the wife concludes her post, with the last part standing for "Am I being unreasonable?"
She later added in one of the comments in the forum that her husband "has offered for me to come but he knows I couldn't think of anything worse."
Commenters weighed in on the wife's situation.
Many commenters related to how the wife was feeling. They felt that this would ring alarm bells for them too.
"I'm a dog lover I don't think this is normal behavior," wrote one Mumsnet user, while another said: "Funny how when these things happen, it’s never another man that people 'click' with, is it?"
However, some felt there was perhaps a double standard at play, or that none of this was too unusual.
"If this was reversed it would be a different kettle of fish, one would presume? He's been open and honest, OP, where's the trust?" one person wrote.
"I've started weekly dog walks with someone from work... who is a man 😳 is it really making it seem like you've got a thing for them? It's good for the dogs," another person commented.
Another suggested that perhaps the wife should tag along next time and then explain to her husband why she feels uncomfortable and where she stands on the issue if he were to continue.
And one commenter put it this way: "To be fair it sounds like your DH knows that this could cause issues, probably doesn't 'like like' her but is enjoying the attention ... what man wouldn't urgh. He knows he should put a stop to it with the 12 hours thing but just can't bring himself too. I do think she is being really inappropriate and he should back off."
What do you think about this wife's situation? Is the other woman barking up the wrong tree? (Sorry, had to.)