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Other Woman


My husband and I have been married 7 1/2 years. It is a second marriage for both of us. We know a lady that was a friend of both of ours, who behind my back, started seeing my husband while I was at work, for counseling. He is a farmer and he told me about this. I asked her why she was seeing him when I wasn’t home, and she told me that I am insecure. Ever since than, she will not talk to me, but always says hello to my husband, puts her arm around him in front of me, and "toots" her horn at him every time she goes by our house or downtown so everyone can hear her. My husband says nothing is going on, but my friends and family see this. How should I deal with this. ?

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When you used the phrase "seeing my husband while I was at work" I, like many readers, immediately jumped to the conclusion that this woman and your husband were having a sexual affair. But the rest of your email seems to contradict this conclusion. It seems more likely that while you are away from the house, your husband is being visited by this woman who was a friend of you both. She is somewhat forward, to be sure. Her action of putting her arm around your husband is surely intended as flirtation. However, I see no reason to believe, based on what you have reported, that this relationship has gone beyond her one-sided flirtation. Your husband has told you that this is occurring, and has denied that anything is going on. Also, you do not mention whether he puts his arm around her too or how he responds, but my hunch is that if he was being flirtatious back to this woman, you would have a fit and would have reported this to us. What this looks like to me then, is that a woman you both know is flirting with your husband. This is not optimal, especially if you are feeling any loss of connection with your husband (for such flirtation would surely make you jealous), but it is definitely not the same thing as a sexual affair or adultery in any real form.

You mention that the woman is seeing your husband for "counseling".  I wish you had elaborated on this some more becuase it might help to make sense out of what is happening.  It is not normal for a farmer to be in the therapy business, but maybe she is asking for life advice or trying to talk out a personal problem.  People do that sort of thing with friends all the time, and it is not a threat.  

In any event, you have a few viable options I think. You can talk to your husband some more, or you can do nothing, continue to monitor the situation, and let this ride for now. The surest relief from the tension you are feeling is to talk to your husband. However, doing so makes it clear that you are feeling insecure. While I think it is entirely reasonable to feel this way and nothing to be ashamed of, myself, you might not feel comfortable expressing this truth. Talking with your husband can also be a way to assert yourself, and as such a sign of strength.

If you talk with him, basically you can express how you feel about the situation (e.g., threatened, insecure, worried about how you look to others) in an effort to raise up his awareness that his behavior has an impact on you. You might also ask him to stop allowing this woman to flirt with him, but how that message will go over will depend on what sort of man he is and what the nature of your relationship with him is. If it were me, I’d have that conversation, but you may have a different approach.

I think there is a good case for not talking to your husband as well, provided you ultimately concur that there is no real affair happening here and no real reciprocation on his part of her flirtation. By not talking and not making a big deal out of the circumstance, you can communicate (indirectly) that you are not a jealous type and that you are secure enough in your connection with him to not be overly threatened by this attention he is receiving. This approach only makes sense if you can stand it, and if you really believe he has not strayed despite temptation.

A few thoughts about your flirtatious friend. Some women and some men are just flirtatious. It is part of their personality; a way that they interact with other people around them. Perhaps it helps them to feel desirable if they succeed in getting other people to desire them. I believe it can (but is not necessarily) a symptom of insecurity when people compulsively flirt. I say this because it is not necessarily the case that this woman is trying to steal your husband. She might just be trying to steal him away, but she might also be lonely and/or insecure, and looking to him as a safe person with which to flirt so as to feel more validated. If she is trying to undermine you, you have cause to be alarmed. If she is just lonely, and if your husband is a solid man not prone to stray, you have little to worry about. It is impossible for us to know her mind (or his) so you will have to figure out what her real motives are (and his) and act accordingly.

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