Husbands that do not understand a woman’s need for girlfriends and companionship are being grossly shortsighted. Many times as a therapist, these are the same husbands that frequent the tailgate at football games, fishing trips with buddies, and weekend golf outings. All of us need time with our gender, and a release time. History has always discussed the groups with women as well as men. It may be quilting groups in the eighteen hundreds, or shopping excursions in this decade. Women are in need of their female counterparts, to disclose, ask for advice, share, and bond. Not unlike men, and it is very healthy for women to do so.
There is an inherent bonding that is important, and necessary for mental health. Women have raised their children, told their stories and carried on traditions at a more consistent pace than men. Part of this consistency is the mother daughter bond, as well as having girlfriends, to unwind and brainstorm with. A marriage where there is a lack of respectful independence is a marriage fraught with jealousy, and fear. Men that have issues with their wives spending time with girlfriends need to seek out therapy and focus on their own issues. An addendum is imperative here. When time with girlfriends is so extensive that it takes time from family, children and upkeep then there should be concern.
We all encounter stress at home and the workplace. There is nothing better than time spent unwinding, relaxing, laughing, and even spending hobby time with your own gender. It is imperative for life to socialize,and bond. As humans we are social animals, there is no mistaking that fact. Socialization, and conversation with our own gender decreases stress, gives support, empowers, influences laughter, and helps problem solving.
As therapists it is important that we not only encourage time with girlfriends, but explain to their husbands the necessity and how this is a win, win for everyone. There are in fact numerous times where husbands fears are actually projective in nature. Projection, in the sense that husbands are aware what they discuss with their peers and are worried there will be disclosure of dissatisfaction with the marriage. This is indicative once again how good communication and resolution can benefit the marriage and girlfriend time can occur without a problem.
Time with girlfriends is normal, healthy and imperative. Combined with open communication it is an important adjunct in any marriage. Husbands need to confront their hypocrisy head on, and accept the importance of this bonding scenario. In the end it is nothing more than a necessary ritual of socialization, that occurs with every culture across the world.