Wife anxious about hubby's new paramour

All Woman

Dear Counsellor,

I have been married for six months after a five-year relationship with my boyfriend. I was very happy with him and now I feel that he likes someone else also, even though his behaviour is the same. He loves and cares for me a lot but still he sends text messages to a girl, has chats in the morning with her, and comments on and likes her pictures on Facebook. Maybe they are just very good friends or maybe he is cheating on me. Maybe these are some meaningless thoughts which are just coming in my mind, or maybe it is true. I don't want to approach him and appear silly if there is nothing going on with this girl. I think about this a lot and sometimes I am hostile towards him. How can I overcome my anxiety?

So after five years of relating to your gentleman and six months of being married to him you have doubts about his exclusive commitment to you. Is it that you would rather that your husband not interact with other women and focus his time and attention solely on you?

Well, let's be real — to suggest that he does not relate to other women is nonsensical as he must interact with both men and women as he goes to work or engages in any social activity. Where you have a case is when you insist that he gives you exclusive attention. That is not an unreasonable request; as a matter of fact this is an expectation or moreso an obligation.

Surely the time he spends chatting with someone else could have been used connecting with you and concretising the emotional bond. The truth is, some men and women don't know how or do not want to establish boundaries with friends of the opposite sex and so they engage in activities that should be reserved for partners in an exclusive relationship.

There are arguments for and against the idea that both partners in a relationship can have a best male or female friend who is not their spouse. Whereas there can be merits in having a best friend of the opposite sex who may have held that status prior to the boyfriend or girlfriend coming along, there must be a readjustment of the boundaries of the relationship. If, for example, you and your best friend would hang out together on the weekends and are constantly talking with and texting each other, this level of interaction must cease as a mark of respect to your partner.

In your case, we are not certain what is the nature of the relationship with the lady on the receiving end of his messages. Unlike myself, you are in a better position to get the facts pertaining to this online lady. And the only way to know is to confront your husband and ask the all-important questions — “Who is this woman and what is the motivation for having these morning talks?” Hopefully he will be honest and state the truth.

Don't be accusatory in your approach, just indicate to him your curiosity and clearly state your level of discomfort with his actions. It's important that you make yourself available so that he will have no excuse to be interacting with someone else when you are physically and emotionally present.

Hopefully the response you get from him will set your heart at ease and you can refocus on building the emotional bond with your husband. Sometimes in relationships one or both partners get distracted and preoccupied with minute matters that can be resolved with a conversation. Don't worry about appearing silly. There is no such thing as a silly question; however, it would be silly not to ask the question.

Take care.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.

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