My Wife’s Friend Is Spreading Rumors About Me. How Do I Make It Stop?

wifes friends spreading gossip

“I recently found out one of my wife’s good friends spread a rumor about me that is totally untrue. I was completely alarmed when another friend mentioned she heard this woman take a shot at my character—and that it was not the first time. It’s possible she has some unresolved feelings for my now-wife, who she dated on and off for three years before we got together. But, how do I put an end to this?”

Staying friends with an ex is tricky, especially if the breakup wasn’t exactly mutual or one party still has unresolved feelings for the other. Your wife is probably oblivious (or purposefully ignoring) the dicey dynamics here. It's hard and painful to say goodbye forever to someone who was a big part of your life, so your instinct that this has something to do with unrequited love probably isn't too far off.

You have two options. Bear in mind, one is probably better than the other.

Option #1: Approach the issue yourself.

Sometimes, people need to be called out and literally disarmed. If your wife drags her feet on rectifying the situation, you can take things into your own hands. With your wife's knowledge, invite the ex to meet up for a coffee and confront the rumor directly. Ask her squarely, but calmly, why she's made up these lies about you. I have a feeling addressing the issue head-on will alleviate the issue—people who spread rumors are passive-aggressive (emphasis on passive). When called out on their behavior, they tend to tone down the mischief if they know they've been outed.

Option #2 (and the better one): Resolve the issue through your wife.

If your gut tells you that feelings for your wife are the issue, then the rumors really don't have anything to do with you and your involvement is probably more of a Band-Aid than a cure-all. In reality, this is a conflict between your wife and her ex. The lingering feelings need to be resolved. Otherwise, the ex is going to keep taking shots at you, which ironically makes this a conflict between you and your wife. So, you have to explain to your wife that when this friend spreads rumors and takes shots at you, it hurts. And when your wife doesn’t step in and come to your defense, it's pouring salt in the wound and affecting your marriage.

Now comes the part your wife has been avoiding: She needs to know that you believe this ex may have lingering feelings. Even if your wife doesn't accept your truth, she needs to accept your boundaries. How can she do that? She can confront the rumor mongerer herself and explicitly declare that she has moved on. Sure, this ex should know this, but maybe she needs to hear it from the horse's mouth. If the ex sees you and your wife as a united front, there's less opportunity for her to poke holes in your armor.

Your boundaries with this ex should also be be your wife's boundaries, too. You and your wife are a partnership. She should want to resolve this just as much you do.

Jenna Birch is a journalist and author of The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life and Love, a relationship-building guide for modern women. To ask her a question, which she may answer in a forthcoming PureWow column, email her at

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Jenna Birch

Freelance PureWow Editor

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