Wife caught in the act
Q: I caught my wife kissing a strange man at a farmhouse party when she stepped out of the party hall for some fresh air. She did not see me follow her out, and I saw a long kiss between her and this man with her arms around his neck. When confronted later, she said that she was drunk and that he had forced himself on her. I cannot believe her as she was not resisting it. She also did not report anything to me till I confronted her much later. She was also dancing provocatively on the floor with this man dancing around her. Since we are married, I have been asking her to not dress provocatively or dance with strange men but she called me controlling, and then I had backed off. I was always uncomfortable with her flirtatious demeanour around men. I feel like a fool for accepting this against all my instincts. I am deeply troubled and don’t know what to do. Am I wrong in viewing her flirtatious behaviour as unacceptable? Am I being ‘controlling’ if I seek emotional and behavioural monogamy?
A: The writing is on the wall. Your wife has cheated on you. You better believe it. You have also mentioned that she dresses and dances provocatively. This could be to get the attention of other men or also just to feel sexy and desirable. While what she wears is her decision to make, based on what she is comfortable wearing, her decision to flirt with men despite your discomfort with it – involves the relationship.
You have all the visual proof you need to deal with this situation directly and swiftly.
Here are your options –
– You find a way (together) to move beyond what she may want to dub as a ‘stray incident’ by communicating your needs to her honestly and seeing how sensitive she is to your need to have a loyal partner.
– You go through couple’s therapy to see how the relationship can be saved with the intervention of a marriage therapist or psychotherapist.
– You find a way to permanently resolve this by terminating the relationship with her, because the truth that you have an unfaithful partner is too much to bear. This is an extreme step but not one that is off the books in many cases of infidelity. This is as straight as it gets.
-You do not need to feel like a fool. Feeling deeply troubled is natural and most men in your place who expect behavioural monogamy would be disturbed with this situation. You are no different.
-You are trying to deal with this situation and in writing your query; you have already taken an important first step towards some kind of finality/resolution. Sometimes, people tend to make compromises when they feel like they’re run out of choices or if they believe they don’t deserve better.
-To have dreams for one’s relationship to succeed does not amount to being ‘controlling’.
-This may be her way to ask you to back off and let her do as she pleases. All relationships require negotiation and attempting to arrive to mutually satisfying outcomes are a win-win way of dealing with situations. This isn’t always possible or easy.
-On the other hand, simply continuing to endlessly give in to a partner leads to a silo equation, bitterness and the relationship may begin to feel strained in due course.
(Aman R Bhonsle is a qualified Psychosocial Analyst and a Professional Youth Mentor with specialisation in Transactional Analysis and REBT. He is available for consultation at the Heart To Heart Counselling Centre.)