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In Tennis, "Love" Means Nothing (12 comments)

In Tennis, "Love" Means Nothing

Friday, April 18, 2008 - 12:00 AM

A reader writes...Q: My friend likes to play tennis, and he’s good at it. A couple times a month, he plays with a female co-worker about his age who’s at his skill level. His wife is taking extreme issue with this. It’s not that he doesn’t want to play tennis with his wife, it’s just that he likes the better “competition” he gets when playing with the co-worker since his wife isn't a good tennis player. The relationship between the friend and co-worker is completely platonic. I’ve always known this guy to be honest and honorable. His wife is insisting that he either find someone else to play with (none of his other friends play tennis), or to stop the activity entirely. She thinks you just shouldn’t do “stuff like that” alone with a member of the opposite sex. Concerns about cheating have never been an issue before. Is the wife being reasonable? Or should my friend stand up for himself and tell her to get over her jealousy?
Murgatroyd
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Re: In Tennis, "Love" Means Nothing (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 18, 2008 - 01:43 AM (#42277)

Seems to me that she's projecting her standards and ethics onto her husband -- that if she were in the same situation, she'd be tempted to cheat. Not good.

On the other hand, I saw nothing wrong when my ex-wife would go out golfing with her boss -- I'm not good at it, there are other things I'd rather do, and I trusted her. Turns out they were screwing their brains out. Go figure.


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inuchan01
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Re: In Tennis, "Love" Means Nothing (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 18, 2008 - 02:42 AM (#42279)

I wouldn't think that a current affair is necessarily her main concern, just a side effect of her concern about the temptation of any attractive, athletic female person whom he spends time with. "Completely platonic" relationships can be known to change direction rapidly. I would tell the husband to make sure to spend some time with his wife and figure out why she's worried about him being with this woman. Chances are, she's just a little neurotic (who isn't?) and they'll work things out.

If this doesn't work, or if he has already tried this, ask him if he would put his marriage on the line for a tennis partner. After all, if he could hire an instructor to be his partner twice a month, it would save him some pain and arguing...and a bi-weekly tennis instructor would probably be cheaper than a marriage counselor.


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NunyaBidness
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Re: In Tennis, "Love" Means Nothing (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 18, 2008 - 05:49 AM (#42280)

It could be projection about her own attitudes. It could also be simple jealousy--this woman can do something she can't, that he enjoys.

Talking about it is all I can suggest.


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Uriko
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Re: In Tennis, "Love" Means Nothing (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 18, 2008 - 06:14 AM (#42281)

Being a very jealous person myself, I can relate to the wife - what is needed is talking.

I stood in the same situation not so long ago and my boyfriend and I used three hours just talking about what could help the situation.
The wife doesn't nescesarily think about cheating herself - she may just be insecure about herself. They need to talk to eachother and find out how to work it out. The husband shouldn't be forced to stop playing tennis and the wife needs to feel secure that nothing is wrong. If there really is nothing to it, why not let the wife tag along and see for herself? Maybe even get to know the tennis partner? In a relationship, it's important to compromise and make sure that both husband and wife feels secure.


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CANgerADAmany
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Re: In Tennis, "Love" Means Nothing (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 18, 2008 - 07:05 AM (#42283)

I think it's completely normal and healthy for her to feel some little bit of jealousy but I don't think she should put him in a position to stop from playing tennis and hanging out with this woman. That's not reasonable.

That being said, I think it's important for your friend to not exclude his wife in his activities and to spend time with her as well. If he's not already doing so, he should play tennis with his wife once in a while and have fun doing it, even if she's not of the same caliber. That way, they get to spend more time together and I believe that she can be more understanding of the whole thing. She doesn't have to feel like she's being replaced.

The other thing I would recommend to your friend is to ask his wife to come pick him up at the tennis court sometime and suggest that they could all go for drinks afterwards. That way, she can feel partially included in this activity and makes her feel a bit more in control.


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Threesome
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Re: In Tennis, "Love" Means Nothing (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 18, 2008 - 12:24 PM (#42291)

I can see a number of problems here.

a) there might be a trust issue here. She might believe her husband would screw another woman if he got the chance.

b) there might be outdated moral templates in use. Doing "stuff like that alone with a member of the opposite sex" isn't done ? That seems like a moral standard from another time, but these standards still exist in a large number of places.

c) she might be projecting her own flaws onto her husband (she would want to jump an attractive man, so she assumes her husband would want to screw an attractive woman (assuming physically_fit = attractive)).

d) there might be some insecurity on her part, comparing herself to a potential competitor, and losing

e) he might actually have a history of cheating on her that you are not aware of, but that she either suspects of is aware of.

f) she is a control freak who doesn't want him to have fun.

Of course the answer to all these possibilities is: Talking ! They need to talk and, more importantly, communicate.

Having said that, assuming that they are not screwing their heads off, she is rather unreasonable. Apart from trust issues it is not acceptable for one partner to tell the other partner whom he or she can spend time with. That is clearly crossing boundaries.

Of course, if he has cheated on her with past tennis partners, then she might be well within her rights.


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LisaDroesdov
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Re: In Tennis, "Love" Means Nothing (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 18, 2008 - 10:18 PM (#42296)

I see a big problem here. A really, really big one. Here it is:

You're not married to this woman, nor are you playing tennis with the other woman. It's not your business, and interering in others' marriages is a recipe for losing a friendship, especially marriages with problems.

Repeat after me: "Not every problem requires a solution coming from me."

Give your pal the only advice that's both helpful and doesn't interfere: "Gee, man, that's rough. You should really talk with her about that."


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markdf
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Re: In Tennis, "Love" Means Nothing (Score: 1)
posted Monday, April 21, 2008 - 02:44 AM (#42330)
In Response to LisaDroesdov (#42296):

You know, an awful lot of "honorable" guys who have "platonic" friendships with women, DO end up messing around with them.

Think of it this way: honor is imaginary bullshit invented by idiots. Under the right circumstances, ANYONE will cheat on their spouse. These circumstances sound right.

The reality is that we're biologically programmed to seek out reproductive opportunities with the highest quality of partners that we can get our hands on. And in the case of your friend, his tennis partner seems to fit the bill quite nicely.


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darkraven911
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Re: In Tennis, "Love" Means Nothing (Score: 1)
posted Monday, April 21, 2008 - 09:03 AM (#42339)

One possible way to diffuse the situation is to invite the tennis friend for the occasional outing with the wife. Does this other player have a significant other or a spouse? Starting having them over for barbecues or other social events.

Another off the wall possibility is start a tradition where all three head out for lunch or drinks together after the tennis match.

Part of this is just including his wife in an activity she may be feeling excluded from and part is just letting all parties get to know each other a bit better. My wife and I have a few sets of friends that usually don't mingle, but we still go out of our way to have the occasional event together and meet each other's friends. It works wonders and often diffuses potential jealousy early on.

On a more sinister level, activies like this also allow couples to watch how spouses interact with "friends." If they can't keep their eyes off of a each other...well then...

It also works the other way. If the friend sees how lovey-dovey the married couple is, it can reinforce the whole platonic thing.


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NunyaBidness
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Re: In Tennis, "Love" Means Nothing (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008 - 07:35 AM (#42358)
In Response to markdf (#42330):

And markdf, by his own admission of regard of honor and integrity as "imaginary bullshit" and a belief that cheating is inevitable, has just shown that he is, in fact, that kind of person.

Perhaps the wife is, too.


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markdf
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Re: In Tennis, "Love" Means Nothing (Score: 1)
posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - 09:59 AM (#42375)
In Response to NunyaBidness (#42358):

And markdf, by his own admission of regard of honor and integrity as "imaginary bullshit" and a belief that cheating is inevitable, has just shown that he is, in fact, that kind of person.

It's just a fact -- under the right circumstances, anyone will do anything.

Feel free to cling to romantic delusions about Human behaviour ... but I wont be the one stuck in a state of perpetual confusion over why people do the things they do.

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TheOriginalJes
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Re: In Tennis, "Love" Means Nothing (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 25, 2008 - 12:17 PM (#42410)

It IS a tough situation. Temptation isn't about going into a situation looking to do wrong. The more time he spends with this friend, the closer they will become, sexually or not. It could go either way. The longer they play together, the harder it will be for them to stop. And, if their isn't anything there, pushing the issue could help to create it. After all, his core feelings and intentions are already set in his sub-concious.

It will be very natural for him to begin to fantasize about her. And the closer their relationship, the harder it is to resist temptation. Toss in a couple of after-tennis cocktails and a sob-story and you have the makings of a perfect tv seduction. Over time, it actually works,...for either one of them.

The only way to stop this train is to find the perfect man and set her up with him. And, if you insist on getting involved in ending their tennis game, DO keep your feelings to yourself until it's all over.

P.S.- If concerns about cheating haven't been an issue before, then tell your "friend" to stop b.s-ing you. However he sells it to himself is his problem. If that issue is baggage from a previous relationship, then it's always been there. If it really is new, then there's a damned strong reason (not necessarily good, mind you...) that it's there now!


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