My wife has a jealous streak. It came out stronger last summer after the lockdown when friends invited us to eat/have drinks with them in their backyard.
If I chatted too long with the wife, mine would change the topic. It’s gotten worse, though we never visit with people now, except online.
Her distrust of me emerged early in our marriage. My wife had joined a women’s group and was befriended by someone she met there.
She only mentioned her by her first name, so I never knew till too late that her “friend” was a former workmate of mine with whom I’d had a very brief fling.
It happened three years before my wife and I met. But the woman had borne a grudge after I ended things. I hadn’t realized how far she’d take her anger.
One night my wife returned from her meeting all flushed and angry. Her “friend” had disclosed our “affair.”
(Note: I was single then. We’d been intimate for only a few weeks when I ended it because I found she’d repeatedly check on where I was and stalked me one weekend).
I told my wife all this. But her reaction on finding that I’d formerly had sex with her “close” friend was beyond reason.
She said I was “scum” to her, that she “can never trust me again.”
I apologized, swore my love and said she need never worry about me. I love her and I love our family (two children).
Eventually she stopped raising it on a daily basis and we reconnected sexually. But not often.
Now she’s withdrawn again, since last summer’s get-togethers with friends. It’s hard on me to keep trying to assure her that nothing’s going on outside of the life we have together.
When do I give up and pull the plug on this marriage? Or will that just “prove” to her that I must’ve had someone else waiting? I don’t.
It’s a situation that’s equally hard on you both. Even though your wife can be described as extreme in her jealousy and distrust, she’s still suffering deeply within herself.
There’s a reason for this which you don’t know. It may come from some hurt in her past. But unless she opens up about it or seeks counselling, there’s no change likely.
Unless you step forward to get some professional insights. Talk to a psychologist online to discuss possible reasons for your wife’s extreme distrust.
Then, without blaming her, tell her you’re seeking to understand her feelings so you two can be happy together.
She may enter into the discussions if the therapist agrees. Or pursue the counselling on her own.
It’s certainly worth a try.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man, 34, whose wife is seeing a 52-year-old man she met through a book club, talks to him daily but denies that it’s sexual, saying they just both love books (December 17):
Reader – “Here’s my suggestion: Husband says, "He sounds really interesting and nice. Let's invite him to dinner."
“IF she balks at this suggestion, THEN he says, "Okay, we'll go out to dinner so there’s no pressure on us about what to cook."
“Extra inducement: He ADD, “Working from home, it would be nice to meet a few new people. And if you like him, he must be nice!”
Ellie – A lighter touch than what’s needed for the more intense situation of the jealous wife. But having doubts about trust in a relationship does need attention.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the mother’s pre-Christmas request to see her granddaughters on Christmas (December 18):
“Perhaps the benefit of seeing her granddaughters in person, if only briefly, outweighed the risk of COVID in her estimation?
“BUT I agree that having a full meal in close quarters with them and her older son and wife (as he planned to do) would’ve been VERY risky!
“But why not ten minutes at the door to say hello any time possible? Why can’t the protective younger brother encourage the older one and his family to see grandmother briefly, with everyone masked and appropriately distanced, at a partly-open front door?
“And perhaps drop off food and gifts, then go home and have virtual gatherings throughout the months while we still have pandemic risks?
“I think it’s sad if the mother loses out on having her needs and desires addressed because of the discord between the brothers.”
Tip of the day:
Jealousy and distrust are destructive to a relationship. Clear any reasons for doubt, or get professional help.