When your husband is prioritizing his friendship with another woman over your marriage, it's understandable if you're jealous.
I mean, you're the one that cleans up after him around the house, makes him dinner and possibly even birthed him children. Why shouldn't you get all his love and attention? Isn't that what marriage is?
Maybe the relationship is innocent or maybe it's the beginning of something deeper. Both scenarios can be scary and hard to handle, especially if you feel your husband is slipping away. Doubt starts to creep in and before you know it, you're walking around feeling angry all the time. The more you see him being nice to the other woman, the more you wonder why you aren't enough. Before you know it, you're eating bon bons on the couch and crying to Hallmark movies.
Every time you see her or hear him say her name, you cringe. Resentment eventually sets in and you can't even fake a smile. You start lashing out at your husband. I mean, why can't he see how painful this is and stop hurting you, right? The next question is, have you discussed this with him? Does he know that he's hurting your feelings or that his behavior is inappropriate? Maybe you have and he just brushes your concerns off as silly or hormonal. Neither of which is easy to experience but what if he's correct...sorta?
I'm not saying that your feelings are invalid or that you being a woman means you're overreacting. Far from it. What I'm suggesting is that you take a look at the situation from his point of view to get a good understanding of what you might be missing. Is he being nice to the other woman out of obligation - for instance, she's a co-worker and he's trying to keep the peace at the office. Is she an overworked single mom that he has empathy for? Or is there something he's hiding? Examining things from every angle might shed some light on his behaviour that can help you strategize what to do next.
1. My Husband Is Being Nice Out Of Obligation. Now What?
Well, support him because this means it truly is innocent and when he doesn't have to be considerate, the other woman doesn't even get any of his attention. She's not creeping around in his thoughts or secretly popping up out of nowhere. The relationship is a means to an end - such as a supervisor that may have the power to veto his vacation time or the next door neighbor that keeps complaining about your dog barking when you're both at work. If his strategy is "kill them with kindness," play along with him. Flip the script and go from butting heads about it, to teammates playing the same game.
2. Is It Possible to Be Friends With The Opposite Sex?
The simple truth is that gender should never be a barrier, nor foundation, of friendship. With that being said, it should also be recognized that there is an inherent risk with having a friendship with the opposite sex, especially if there aren't strong boundaries set. Any kind of relationship, including platonic ones, have a level of attraction to them. Maybe you share the same values or he has a quirky personality that makes your sides hurt from laughter. I'm not saying that attraction equates to physical intimacy, because it doesn't. It's completely normal that we like and admire our friends, otherwise they wouldn't be our friends. With that said, don't let paranoia set in or try to isolate your significant other because both of those are key ingredients that lead to a broken relationship. If there're warning signs that the friendship is developing into something more, address it head on. Otherwise, cultivate your own bonds and trust your partner.
3. My Husband is Flat Out Flirting With The Other Woman!
First of all, ouch! That is never okay and I understand if this not only enrages you but also embarrasses you. Especially if it is done in front of other people. Married individuals should never be considering alternatives and flirting sends the communication that he is open to a different kind of relationship. And even if he isn't, does she understand or is willing to accept that? Flirting is selfish and unfair to both women. It's crossing a line in your marriage and is grounds for you to lose trust in your husband, but it also sets up cruel expectations for the other woman. Maybe her feelings don't deserve to be considered, I mean she knew your husband was married. But consider the harm it does to lead someone on. Not to mention the danger it can cause if that person loses their mind over it.
Now, what happens if your husband and the other woman crosses the line and become intimate! Laura Doyle, recommends you starve the other woman of oxygen. Not literally, of course. But the concept is to not give the other woman any attention, including in your own thoughts. "If you stop thinking about her, checking his phone for texts from her or mentioning her to your husband, she will fade away. It may feel like this is keeping you sane but the reality is, it's shopping for pain," Laura states. "Consider that your focus on the other woman is actually making the presence of her in your life bigger. You're bringing her to the forefront of his thoughts, even when he isn't thinking about her already" and Laura has a point. The Law of Attraction states what you think about, you attract.
4. Double Standards
If the tables were reversed and you were showing the same kind or level of affection to a male friend, would your husband be jealous? If so, what exactly does this double standard mean for your relationship? It could communicate that your husband doesn't think that men can have a platonic relationship with a woman, meaning that there is some level of concern to be had with his relationship. Why, exactly? This point of view and behavior directly conflicts what he tells you about his own friendship, meaning he's not being honest about something. It's possible he's attracted to his friend and believes that all men think the same way. If that's the case, he's crossing a line by keeping the friendship and is hiding the truth from you.
5. What Should You Do?
Phil Ashton hits us with a hard truth, stating "interaction and having friends of the opposite sex, even in marriage, is something that we all have to accept. It's how we manage these friendships - both on your part and the part of your husband - that determines whether or not the 'other' woman causes problems in your marriage."
If the friendship hasn't crossed any lines and just makes you uncomfortable, work on finding fulfillment outside of your marriage. Pushing against the relationship can send the message that you are insecure in your marriage and cause frustration from your partner that you don't trust him. This may lead to your husband keeping the friendship with the other woman a secret, which will no doubt cause problems when you find out. Instead, find something that increases your happiness and trust your husband.
If possible, get to know the other woman. You may like her and cultivate your own friendship together. If nothing else, the more you both know and respect one another, the more likely you will respect each other's boundaries.