What do you do when your husband keeps talking about a female friend or co-worker? He’s not cheating—at least not in the traditional sense—but he seems fascinated by the things she does or says. In some ways, they seem to connect more than you do. They like the same things, or have these great conversations. (Meanwhile, all you ever talk about is the kids.) Should you feel threatened?
The real issue
It’s normal, even healthy, for even happily married couples to form deep friendships and connections with other people. After all, you can’t be everything to each other, and would probably grow very bored and stifled if you were joined at the hip.
However, when your husband seems to ‘connect’ more with another person, and you actually feel upset or jealous, then take it as an opportunity to assess your marriage. The problem isn’t that he’s close to another person. The problem is that you feel the two of you aren’t close enough. You feel a lack (maybe he does, too) and it’s a good chance to reconnect to each other.
Do you have quality couple time?
Many couples spend time around each other, not with each other. It’s inevitable to spend some evenings doing errands or watching the kids, but set aside at least 3 hours a week to just talk. Ideally you can go out on a date (like watching a movie or going out to dinner) but on busy weeks you can chat at home, sharing a bottle of wine, or take a walk after dinner. Or, you can share a hobby. Play a sport, or sign up for a class together.
Sharpen your listening skills
Are you a good listener or do you jump into conclusions and say some put downs? When we listen regularly and well, we give value to our partner. Many people who cheat are driven by insecurity. They feel criticized or taken for granted, and so they find someone who makes them feel attractive and admired.
Give one compliment a day
Even little things like ‘That shirt really brings out the color of your eyes’ or ‘Thank you for watching the kids tonight, honey. It’s so sweet of you to let me have an hour off to myself, I really appreciate it.’ Men have the need to be admired, and constant nagging and complaining can push them towards someone who can feed their bruised egos.
Be part of his world
Have you met his co workers and other friends? You don’t have to attend every function or tag along at every get-together (that’s clingy and cloying) but it does help to be kind and gracious to the people who are part of his life. This asserts your presence as ‘the spouse’ even as you give your husband space to know people outside of the family.
Take care of yourself
Make time for yourself—doing things that make you happy, sleeping right, dressing up and doing all you can to look and feel beautiful. It’s good for your self-confidence and self-esteem, which is the sexiest thing of all.
Mention to him that you notice that he talks about this lady often. However, don’t accuse or attack him. Let him know how you feel uncomfortable, that you need assurance, and that you love him and want to make the marriage stronger. With good communication and commitment, you will actually turn this situation into an opportunity to reconnect—in a deeper and more meaningful way than any other person in his life can. (Before you start this discussion, read our article on how to talk so your husband will listen.)
photo from helpinmarriage.com