My wife is insecure about my equation with a senior female colleague and a junior mentee too. She starts with the premise that I’m having a scene with both of them and then uses the most toxic language that is designed to hurt. Finally, her words have found their mark, and I am hurt, angry and disgusted with her assumptions, her language and her insistence that I cut off from them and/or give up my dream job. I am repulsed by her touch when she tries to get close and push her away, which she views as a confirmation that I am being satisfied elsewhere. I don’t know how to navigate this and often think of ending the marriage but worry about my kids. Please advise.
Ans: For her words to have found their mark, one would have to assume that you have accepted the role of a target. You are so much more than that. Your purpose and proclivities are yours to calibrate and celebrate. The suspicions of human beings cannot become your cross to bear as that can get humiliating and exasperating.
For every opinion that comes your way, a buffer must be developed. An unapologetic filter. Remember that a skewed narrative and image about your role and personality doesn’t need to build in your mind just because you are not amenable to someone else’s ‘plan’ for you.
A marriage is a shared endevour, but it is nurtured and fulfilled by two individuals of differing tastes and temperaments. A marriage needn’t become a court of law where the burden of proof lies on the accused. Discussions diffuse disgruntlements. When you are accosted in this manner, you’ll want to clear your name. This is a world of speedy information transfer and speedier judgement.
Sometimes its hard to be understood and accepted for one’s choices. One of those choices is — whom we call our friends. There are whispers that ensnare the imaginations of those looking to point fingers or clench their fists. Investing in a lie can start feeling like the truth. The truth can appear suspicious to someone looking to nitpick.
Have you been honest with your wife about how her sharp words are hurting you? What are her insecurities about this situation involving you brushing shoulders with female friends? Does she feel ignored or inadequate? Does she feel challenged or threatened? Does she feel obsolete or unfulfilled in her life? Does she feel like she is entitled to her position as your wife? It is crucial to understand what her exact reservations are about your friendships with these women. Does she have a history of being let down by men? Has her trust been taken for granted or broken?
The socio-cultural values that your wife subscribes to or her life-experiences may need to be accounted for before we can know why she is so uncomfortable with other women in your life. You need to be privately accountable to yourself as well to respect the boundaries of a purely professional / platonic relationship with these women lest there’s the possibility of a one-sided or reciprocal attraction developing.
It is possible to give your wife some perspective about her choice of words and the toxic language that you say she is using with the mediation of a relationship counsellor who may be in the perfect position to give her objective feedback without prejudice about any possible vindictive stance that she may be taking against you.
Her insistences are not your problem to handle. We must learn to manage our expectations in this world or else disappointments compound quickly. Giving up your dream job is unnecessary if you’re well settled into it. It’s natural for the sexual relationship to wane when there’s a bitterness growing between a couple.
If a couple parts ways, children may suffer from guilt or neglect. If children witness feuds between parents, their self-esteem suffers again. One way or the other, the suffering is inevitable — so you will have to make a decision before circumstances force you into a corner from where there’s no turning back.
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