Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Husband Flirts with Other Women In Front of Me”

I’ve been married almost two years. “Alex”‘s best friend “David” has a family member named “Steph.” Alex used to have a thing for Steph, although it never went anywhere. From what I’ve heard, they didn’t really go on a date, kiss, or anything else. Still, the attraction was there. Recently, David asked Alex to help him move Steph into her new home. Alex did it. I told him I was upset, and I later realized this wasn’t right. They were just helping her move, and I was being jealous.

The second time, she needed a new couch brought to her home. Alex has a truck, and, again, David asked him. This time, he didn’t tell me about it. He lied to me. At first I thought this must be because of my overreaction the first time he helped her, but in the back of my mind, when someone lies about something completely innocent like moving a couch, I think there must be something else going on.

Fast forward to last month when we all went out to eat. I was seated beside my husband, and Steph was on his other side. What happened the entire time felt like sort of an out-of-body experience: He poured over and flirted with her. His body language was leaning toward her, not me. The waiter even thought the two of them were together. When we went back to a friend’s, I came out to the patio to see them fairly close, and given their body language and the abrupt end to the conversation, I felt like something was going on.

When I spoke to Alex about it, I made him promise that this would stay between us. A few nights later, he took our son to dinner again. This time, he BROUGHT UP the previous dinner incident with his best friend, his best friend’s fiancée, and Steph! I was totally shocked, disgusted, betrayed and embarrassed that he would bring it up, especially with her RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. At this point, he hadn’t yet admitted that the flirting debacle was wrong. I’m sure, in my absence, he made me out to be a really bitchy, jealous wife. Given the type of woman I know Steph to be (mostly going after married men), I’m sure Alex’s dinnertime confession was very gratifying to her. Another person at the table noticed that she lit up after he said it.

Last night, she showed up uninvited at my home along with an invited guest. When I came down the steps, I saw her roll her eyes. I was so angry; this is MY home she is visiting! Who did she expect would answer?

It’s been a month since the dinner incident, and I’m no more over it now than I was. We’re waiting on our marriage therapy appointment. The trust is gone. Although I don’t think he’d go all the way with her, I still feel so betrayed. I think I’d feel better if he’d admit her attraction for her.

My husband is completely addicted to attention, to the point where he betrayed my trust and feelings. We’ve had other issues in the past, but nothing like this. My real question is, I suppose… should I MOA? I feel like any trust we have is gone, and I don’t know how to repair it. I put myself into crying fits, and I feel I can’t be as present to my toddler. — Married to a Flirt

Get yourself together, woman, you’ve got a child to take care of. So far, the biggest crime your husband has committed is flirting with another woman and telling her and some other friends that you were upset with him. Yes, this is highly disrespectful, but I’m not sure it’s worthy of “crying fits” that compromise your ability to care for your toddler. As you said, you and your husband have other issues and I suspect this particular one is just the cherry on the sundae, so to speak. I’m glad you have an appointment for therapy.

In addition to therapy, you know what my biggest advice is for you two? Stop hanging out with your friends so much and take some time to focus on each other, your marriage, and your family. There’s nothing wrong with having an active social life, but when it’s directly affecting your marriage in a negative way, as it is with you guys, it’s irresponsible to keep going out to dinners, inviting people over, helping friends of friends move, etc. etc. Tell your husband the next time someone other than a very close friend needs help moving, he needs to tell them he’s busy with his family. The next time you have a dinner invitation where Steph is going to be present, tell your husband you’d rather use a sitter to go out just the two of you. You guys need to re-connect, talk about your feelings, and remember what it is you like about each other. You can’t re-build trust by constantly surrounding yourself with other people. And you can’t re-build trust without naming the thing that’s upsetting you — in this case, feeling like your husband is disrespecting you — and giving the other person a chance to hear you and understand you.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter and ‘like’ me on Facebook.

117 comments… add one
  • avatar

    oldie June 21, 2012, 9:13 am

    A marriage filled with that kind of jealousy isn’t really a marriage. You started out as your husband’s jailor, driven by jealousy of a woman with whom your husband previously had what, a platonic liking? He has perhaps rebelled from this treatment and inappropriately lashed out by blatantly flirting and complaining that you are his jailor. Perhaps there is something between husband and Steph, perhaps not. You both seem immature and messed up. Sorry you have a child. THis marriage isn’t going to last.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar June 21, 2012, 9:33 am

      How is this helpful? Their marriage has trust and respect issues – therapy is the place to see if those issues can be repaired or not. When a child is involved the parents should take whatever steps they can to see if their relationship is salvageable – but thanks for your crystal ball moment of impending doom.
      LW – Because you initially overreacted is no excuse for your husband to engage in an inappropriate flirtation or to disrespect you in any way. But you need to address the root causes of your jealousy during therapy and not just his errant behaviour…and I’m not entirely sure that you should be seeking MOA advice from us if you are truly committed to therapy and repairing the breaches in your marriage.

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      • avatar

        MissDre June 21, 2012, 11:49 am

        Definitely agree. Sometimes our own insecurities come out in ways we don’t even realize and it makes the people around us feel like they are walking on eggshells. I’ve been on both sides… the person who flips out and cries over the littlest thing because you take it as an insult against you, and also I’ve been the person who has to deal with someone else like that. It affects a person’s behaviour on both sides.

        Now LW, I’m not sure if you’re really like that, and I’m not blaming you, but I agree with Firestar that you need to look at your own insecurities in therapy in addition to the way your husband is behaving.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 June 21, 2012, 9:28 am

    WWS and I’m pretty sure WRS even though she hasn’t posted yet while I’m typing this! You are having a little bit of an overreaction here, and there must be something else going on with you two for it to get this bad over what happened, if not this all sounds a little immature, but with that some people have different definitions of cheating and this could be yours. Hopefully therapy helps you through your jealousy issues, and helps him understand what should be more important to him. You two do need to just reconnect, and do your own thing for a while, and you need to tell him that he needs to make you a priority instead of his friends.

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    • avatar

      Jessibel5 June 21, 2012, 10:28 am

      I feel like a total dummy right now, but what do WWS and WRS stand for?

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      • avatar

        Amy June 21, 2012, 10:44 am

        What Wendy Said… and I’m pretty sure What ReginaRey Said

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 June 21, 2012, 10:47 am

        Haha it stands for What Wendy said, and What Regina Said!

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      • Brad

        Brad June 21, 2012, 10:49 am

        I had to ask the other day too. WWS= what wendy said, WRS I assume means what ReginaRey said.

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      • avatar

        Jessibel5 June 21, 2012, 1:50 pm

        Gracias friends! I hadn’t had any coffee yet (holy moly it’s 105 here today and humid as heck!) and my neurons weren’t firing. I totally had a derrrrr moment!

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  • avatar

    artsygirl June 21, 2012, 9:35 am

    LW – I honestly mean this in a kind way, but you need to relax. Going hysterical on your husband just because he hung out with another woman and engaged in some flirtatious behavior is not a way to productively deal with problems. While he did fuck up (lying and talking about your feelings in public), people fuck up everyday and if you cannot see past this then it is on you more so than your husband. I think it is good that you are going to see a therapist both for your relationship but also because I think there must be an underlying reason why you are reacting to this relatively innocent issue in such a frantic manner. Have you had partners that cheated on you before? Good luck.

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    • avatar

      DMR June 21, 2012, 5:52 pm

      No, he didn’t fuck up. He has no respect for her at all.

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  • avatar

    Amy June 21, 2012, 9:36 am

    I bet there is a lot more to this story than just this other woman. If that’s the case, sometimes you are really upset about something that seems like a small thing to the world – but like Wendy said is just the cherry on the sundae. When you have a gut feeling about someone with whom you are so intimately involved with, sometimes it is hard to see the tangible evidence that something is wrong, but you could still very well be correct in your fears about your husband. (Unless you have a history of overreacting about many things – then maybe take a step back). I agree that it would be good to calm your social life down… but I can just imagine your husband making you out to be a huge stick-in-the-mud of a nag that won’t let him do anything fun if you try this. It sounds like your husband is very selfish. I suggest calming down and seeing if you two can get on the same page. If he doesn’t care that you have hurt feelings, or if he makes you out to look like a fool in public, he could just be too selfish to make a long term relationship work. Definitely give it a good go… but if he just doesn’t care about you or your feelings, you’d be better off considering a potential split as a possibility.

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    • avatar

      MsMisery June 21, 2012, 1:11 pm

      I was thinking this, too. Wendy’s advice is good, I just don’t see hubby going along with it. He’s already dismissed the wife’s feelings so much at this point. If she said “I wish you/we would spend more time with each other and not doing social stuff” I’m sure he’d at the very least “yeah yeah” her and then just do what he wants to do anyway. There’s no mutual respect or communication going on here. If they BOTH can’t get it worked out in therapy, there probably isn’t much hope.

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  • BriarRose

    BriarRose June 21, 2012, 9:40 am

    I dunno. This isn’t just petty jealousy that your husband helped a hot girl move. This is your husband being rude to you, in front of other people, for the benefit of another woman. When there is trouble in a marriage, and the husband sides with another woman, not his wife, there’s a problem. Him ratting out his wife to “Steph” was essentially siding with her, not his wife. When your wife tells you something in confidence, you don’t reveal it to anyone, much less your “friend” who was the subject of the conversation. Yes the LW needs to pull herself together and care for the child, but it’s not like this is “no biggie” that she needs to just get over.

    Maybe I’m just sensitive since my ex-husband had a friend who was actually named Steph, and while they never slept together, he often confided in her, would take his phone calls from her outside so I couldn’t hear, and she was also very rude to me in my own home. She was married as well, and he made it look like I was the one with an issue, for being “jealous” of his friend. He never admitted to liking her, just that she “understood” him. It was flabbergasting to me that he, and the LW’s husband, would place a friendship above his marriage.

    Obviously we didn’t work out, and I think it’s going to take a lot of work for the LW and her husband to move past this. It will involve the husband actually wanting to work on the marriage though. One person can’t save a marriage on their own. There has to be two willing participants.

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    • avatar

      Amy June 21, 2012, 10:18 am

      Very well said!!!!!

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    • avatar

      Nina June 21, 2012, 10:47 am

      BriarRose, THIS is exactly what I was trying to put into words. I think there are deeper issues here-mainly his loyalty towards another woman (and his own desires). Yes, he may not have cheated so her letter can be seen as a bit of an over reaction, but I think I see exactly where she is coming from. In relationships you won’t always agree, but you need to try to understand and support each other. It isnt always easy. I think I would feel the same as her, to be honest. Although, when there is a small child involved the game changes.

      My main point is, if he doesn’t feel like he is doing/has done anything wrong, then how is she supposed to convince him to support her and see that her feelings are not unfounded? As I am sure other dw readers have been in relationships with people like that, and if they don’t see a problem then they don’t usually change.

      Maybe she is asking if she should MOA because this isnt the first incident of her feeling uneasy towards him, and this is the final straw?

      Good luck LW, just remember that you know YOU best, and whatever happens you must focus on your child and your sanity.

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    • avatar

      bethany June 21, 2012, 11:04 am

      I totally agree with you!

      My dad is a big time flirter, and he’ll flirt with waitresses right in front of my mom, but it doesn’t bother her because she knows that when it comes to her and another woman, my dad will ALWAYS be on my mom’s side. Her feelings are important to him, her opinions are important to him- he will always place her and her well being above all others (except maybe us, kids). That’s what the difference is. The LW is not being ridiculous here- her husband clearly isn’t supporting her and valueing her the way a good husband should.

      I really have no advice to add other than to keep that appointment with the couselor… I think you’re going to need it.

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    • avatar

      Leah June 21, 2012, 11:39 am

      Totally agree. Plus, LW says that “I don’t think he’d go all the way with her”. There’s two major problems with that. You should be totally sure that your husband isn’t going to sleep with another woman, and the LW doesn’t sound totally convinced. Plus, there’s a lot of very inappropriate things that can happen up to going “all the way” with someone other than your wife, relationship-ending things! What advice would be giving this LW if she worded it “I think he might make out with this woman or maybe even have oral sex, but I don’t think they’d go all the way”?

      I think the reaction is in response to some serious disrespect and real red flags that this man might not choose to be faithful. Therapy is a really good place to start, but being prepared to MOA if he isn’t dedicated to working on the marriage will be important, too.

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG June 21, 2012, 12:14 pm

      Perfect, BriarRose!

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    • mllryjo

      mllryjo June 21, 2012, 6:53 pm

      This exactly.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle June 21, 2012, 9:47 am

    Yeah LW, it does sound like your husband has a thing for Steph and thrives on the attention. But this is not an insurmountable issue if you’re BOTH willing to work on it. I’m glad Wendy gave the advice she did, because that’s really the simplest way to start solving this.

    While you & your husband are focusing on each other, please make sure NOT to constantly bring up Steph. For example…if you’re having dinner out alone, & you see a wistful look in his eye, don’t jump on him (“Are you thinking about her??”) and try not to let your thoughts run wild (“He never seems to enjoy being with ME as much as he enjoys being with Steph!!”) Once the cloud of mistrust & anxiety floats away, your relationship with your husband might begin to repair. You’ll (hopefully) be able to see whether or not he’s invested in your relationship once you eliminate the bustle of social activity and clear your own head.

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    • avatar

      Riefer June 21, 2012, 9:58 am

      I agree that they have to focus on each other, but I’m wondering how the husband is going to react. She has to make sure she doesn’t frame it as a punishment. Like if he wants to go out with the group, she can’t just say no, we’re going to spend time together instead. And they can’t cut off all contact with their friends, either.

      She should probably have a talk with him stating that they need to spend more time alone together, and they should agree on how to do that. That way it’s not her “laying down the law”, it’s them working together towards a better relationship.

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      • avatar

        Amy June 21, 2012, 10:20 am

        AND…. he has to be willing to work on the relationship. It HAS to be important to him. If he’s just going through the motions – she is going to get her heart trashed.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle June 21, 2012, 10:40 am

        No, I agree– I just based my advice on the (perhaps too optimistic) assumption that the husband WOULD be willing to work with her on the marriage. You & Amy (in her response above) are right to consider that he could totally view any move towards more “couple time” as punishment (& possibly repeat his actions by telling the group “Now she’s so jealous, we can’t go anywhere!” or something)

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      • avatar

        Riefer June 21, 2012, 10:50 am

        My comment was more in general than pointed at you Fabelle, I should have just done it separately instead of in a reply. 🙂 I thought the same thing just reading Wendy’s advice – she can’t be putting her foot down like that. It has to be, here’s how I feel, and if we want to keep this relationship healthy we have to address that. Because exactly what you said, he’ll be off telling his friends about his punishment and his crazy wife. Hopefully he’s interested in working on it, since it seems that he’s agreed to go to a therapist with her.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark June 21, 2012, 9:56 am

    WWS.

    Look, either you trust your husband. Or you don’t. Moreover, nothing makes one WANT to have an affair than a clingy, overreacting, and utterly irrationally insecure wife. Seriously… if you are really so desperate to avoid being labeled the bitchy and jealous wife, STOP acting like one. Stat!

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    • avatar

      BeckyGrace June 21, 2012, 10:47 am

      Nothing helps to make a clingy, overreacting, and utterly irrationally insecure wife then a disrespectful, irresponsible, lying husband. So how about he stop acting like one? I think counseling is perfect for this couple to figure out the real issues. There is a child involved that needs healthy parents.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark June 21, 2012, 10:41 pm

        If a MAN was acting THIS nuts about his wife, you’d all blame him. (Rightfully, I might add.) Seriously… She comes across like a total psycho controller whackjob… The constantly crying? FRON THIS?! Seriously, she is sounds like a fucking psycho!

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom June 22, 2012, 7:03 am

        She’s crying because she thinks her marriage is over and she has a small child. It’s not irrational or whackjob to cry over the end of a marriage. When your spouse pointedly ignores you, flirts ad nauseum in front of you and mocks you to your social circle you’re probably over and done with and it’s not over wrought to cry about it. She is reading the writing on the wall and it’s depressing.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark June 22, 2012, 10:16 am

        It is WHEN you have NOTHING to base this on other than your own paranoia. All that we know here is her husband has help out a family friend twice when other people were present. Again, if a man acted this way everybody would rightfully say this was a sign of paranoid and controlling behavior and a total red flag. And they would all be right… Curious, when a guy acts this way, he’s nuts. When a woman acts this way, she’s only concerned about her marriage. Come on, this letter is so unreliable it’s hilarious.

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      • Heather

        Heather June 22, 2012, 10:42 am

        Well truthfully, we’re only getting her side of the story, so I think you should at least concede that we don’t really know the complete truth. I think it’s really ridiculous and unfair to call her a “wackjob” or whatever choice words you used.

        Maybe she is exaggerating, but maybe she isn’t. Yes, she needs to put her child first and foremost. HOWEVER, she’s also looking for advice on her marriage. And honestly, if my husband was doing the things that she says her husband was doing, I’d be upset too. Him lying to her doesn’t make HER the wackjob, and I don’t see how you could get that from this.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 22, 2012, 10:47 am

        Would you say its time to divorce and have “crying fits” over your husband possibly being overfriendly to a woman once or twice? She really does sound like a wackjob to me. And I don’t really blame him for not telling her he helped his friend move a couch after her reaction to helping his friend once before.

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    • BriarRose

      BriarRose June 21, 2012, 11:30 am

      So she should just give him free reign to do whatever he wants in regard to Steph? That’s not how a marriage works. Sounds like the guy from the recent letter who said he was a grown-ass man who could do what he wanted. If a couple gets married and they jointly decide it will be a monogamous marriage, one partner has a right to raise concerns when the other is acting in a way that is starting to go against their agreed upon relationship values.

      In an attempt to save my marriage, I didn’t say a single word when my husband decided he wanted to go visit Steph while she was away at Army training. Like BGM said, I didn’t want to be the controlling, clingy wife I knew I would be accused of being if I said I didn’t think it was appropriate, or that dreaded word, “respectful” for a married man to go visit a married woman. So I let him go. Luckily I eventually realized that I had no interest continuing to be married to a man who would treat me, and our marriage, with such disrespect. Also, I luckily didn’t have people telling me it was my fault that he acted like that, which is essentially what BGM is implying, I think.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant June 21, 2012, 11:58 am

        Eh, I have gotten into it with BGM over similar arguments, but I genuinely don’t think he’s saying the husband should get free reign to do whatever he wants, or that just because he may WANT to cheat with Steph means he can.

        If the wife is being insecure and overly demanding, then yes, her behavior could be pushing her husband away. Obviously, that doesn’t give him a free pass to go bang Steph without repercussions.

        I agree with Wendy, I think that this incident is likely the culmination of much deeper problems, and they probably have some serious issues to work out. One of which may be her insecurity and unreasonable demands.

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    • avatar

      spark_plug June 21, 2012, 2:43 pm

      Seriously?? I normally don’t comment that much, but I just had to because these statements are so outrageous.

      Perhaps LW is really clingy and annoying and needy. Perhaps she overreacts. The way to not deal with that is by flirting with another woman (who apparently has a thing for married men) in front of your wife to the point that people are confused about who the real spouse is. I flirt with guys all the time. I have enough respect for the men I’m dating to not to do so in front of them. That’s RESPECT. Not them allowing me to collect free drinks and get asked for numbers in front of them.

      If being upset that my husband is openly flirting with a woman in front of me when he knows that it bothers me and betraying my confidence (no matter how irrational it might be) is me being annoying and needy, my gosh, did my parents do a poor job raising me! Its one thing to call up a really good friend to vent about a spouse or friend.

      It’s another thing to do it front of a group of people that see that person on a regular basis. That is disrespectful to anyone – whether you betray the confidence of a parent, child, spouse, friend, coworker — I’d be afraid to have someone like this as a friend, much less my husband.

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    • avatar

      Jacqueline April 23, 2017, 11:21 pm

      If you’re wife loves you and doesn’t want you to flirt with other women blatantly in front of her it makes you want to do just that? It’s this type of argument that reinforces the belief that children shouldn’t be allowed computer time until they grow up! So unimpressive.

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  • Budj

    budj June 21, 2012, 10:24 am

    Question: Did you ever apologize for over-reacting? Because if not…then that is why he didn’t freaking tell you about the couch move and not because something was going on.

    Also – you didn’t comment on other aspects of your marriage besides this, but I would not be surprised if this isn’t the first time this happened and it seems you are really picking this situation apart with friends of friends…getting second hand information and perseverating about it. Your jealousy issues might have pushed him away. This doesn’t justify his actions as I think telling her about the dinner thing and then inviting her over to your house was extremely rude (and a violation of trust since it was supposed to be between you), but I think you really need to think about your relationship from the outside looking in and see if there are any repeat behaviors you can adjust.

    If your husband keeps up the bull shit when you change how you react to things then he is really trying to f your marriage up….and if this woman really is eye-rolling you I would absolutely be pissed off about that and if I was married to someone and friends with an opposite gender person I would be doing everything in my power to make that a comfortable, friendly relationship instead of this weird competition, resentment filled fiasco you have going on now. So talk to your husband about that too in the right environment / tone.

    Definitely do what wendy suggested and take time for yourselves / family. I hope you guys can work it out…and if not? Well women that go for married dudes will probably get over them as soon as they leave their wives for her. I hope that doesn’t happen, but your husband is an idiot if he takes that route.

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    • Budj

      budj June 21, 2012, 10:45 am

      Also – my brother has a gf with extreme jealousy issues. From outside perspectives it looks fucking ridiculous and she (my bros. gf) looks really stupid and stubborn. Stubborn to the point of justifying this behavior so far that he HAS to concede the “transgression” for her to start getting over it (but not after sufficient emotional brow beating) which results in him resenting her. It also manifests in the form of her getting insecure and projecting it on him that she is being ignored by him…and he isn’t ignoring her….(something you also mentioned in the letter)..

      If this is the case it is no wonder he is venting to a dinner table about your arguments….and no wonder he is enjoying the care-free company of other women (not saying I would do it…but it might make sense as a motivator).

      Cases of jealousy that I have observed….my brother (who comes off naturally flirty, in a nice, joking, platonic manner) talks to a girl…makes her laugh with a harmless joke while pushing our band and then his gf will get really pissy with him over that thinking “he is such an attention whore” and “it’s so disrespectful to me”…”did you see how they were staring into eachothers eyes?” “He wants to fuck her…” (you see how she filters this…and how it just keeps getting worse?) Don’t do that. And it gets worse with alcohol…..if that is the case with you then maybe don’t drink when you go out to socialize with mixed gender friends that you are worried/anxious about.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark June 21, 2012, 10:29 pm

        Your brother is setting himself up for a LIFETIME of misery…

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      • Budj

        Budj June 22, 2012, 9:22 am

        haha – i don’t disagree. And honestly I really like her besides that part of her personality…but that may be the thing that eventually breaks them up.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark June 22, 2012, 10:18 am

        I hope so. Because he behavior is borderline abusive and will ONLY get worse….

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    • avatar

      savannah June 21, 2012, 10:39 pm

      Jealously issues are often breed out of insecurities. Now maybe these insecurities are irrational or not justified or its how the person is framing everything in there head. But in a true partnership both partners would be concerned with reaffirming to each other their commitments and especially so in the face of insecurities. Its not just the jealous persons job to ‘get over it’ somehow by themselves. the other person should ‘take care of their worry’ up to a reasonable point. In the same ways that yes I am 23 and while I know I am safe in my everyday life I still let my parents know when i’m going to be traveling for a long period of time, not for my own comfort but to ‘take care of their worry’ even though I think it might be irrational. I do it because I care about them and their mental state. I see a reasonable about of jealously issues in the same light.

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      • Budj

        Budj June 22, 2012, 9:21 am

        I understand what you are saying, but irrational, illogical, random flip outs over nothing are really hard to play prevention defense on.

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  • avatar

    Suzanne June 21, 2012, 10:34 am

    I wonder if there could be lingering post-partum or other depression issues. The LW’s reactions appear to be too strong for the situation. And crying a lot is a symptom of depression.

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  • avatar

    Bossy Italian Wife June 21, 2012, 10:34 am

    Most of the time I 100% agree with Wendy… and while you do need to pull yourself together, you also need to set better boundaries with your husband. I am not entirely sure that you overreacting.

    Were it me, this is what I would do:

    1) Therapy, pronto. which you seem to have done–bravo.
    2) Ditch the bitch–this woman shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near your situation if she’s going to be rolling her eyes at your presence.
    3) Buck up in the self confidence
    4) rebuild the trust between you and hubby.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary June 21, 2012, 11:40 am

      Yeh if someone rolled their eyes at me (which shows contempt) at my own house, I wouldn’t want to be around them anymore. And if I don’t want to be around them then my husband certainly shouldn’t either.

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones June 21, 2012, 7:24 pm

        So much so that LW should be able to say “Steph is not welcome at my house. I don’t like her. She disrespects me and I do not want us to socialize with her in any way shape or form because she is no friend to our marriage.” That should, in a healthier relationship be all that it takes to draw the line. Period.

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      • theattack

        theattack June 21, 2012, 11:50 pm

        Hell, I wouldn’t let her in my house! I would ask her to turn around and march her attitude problem right out the door.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B June 21, 2012, 10:43 am

    I don’t entirely agree with Wendy this time. Her husband lied to her. This is huge. No matter what his reason is, he lied. I can see why her trust is broken. And, he allowed this woman into their house after he knew it upset his wife. AND being so close to this woman in public that a waiter thought they were a couple? Wrong again. AND breaking her trust again by talking about something in public that she had asked him not to. She has reason to be jealous. She is feeling insecure and this is where the jealousy comes from. Counseling is in order and if he doesn’t straigten up, ship him out.

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    • avatar

      Nina June 21, 2012, 10:50 am

      Kate B—- I agree. Her feelings are not unjustified-yes, jealousy is very unbecoming and turns people off quickly, but he continued to make the situation worse by his behavior (that you’ve described).

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  • avatar

    Calm June 21, 2012, 11:02 am

    Everyone else has pretty much covered most of what I was going to say better.

    Except this.

    *Hops on soapbox*

    You two are adults. TALK TO EACH OTHER.

    Not yell. Talk.

    Your friends should not be hearing all your dirty laundry, they should not be playing go-between in your relationship. For either of you. You and your spouse are the only ones in your relationship.

    The rest only causes drama.

    *Hops off soapbox.*

    Pet peeve. Sorry. I know sometimes you need to vent an’ all but playing he-said she-said never ends well.

    Now go read Wendy’s response again. Seriously.

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    • avatar

      Matcha June 21, 2012, 12:02 pm

      How are they playing go-between in her relationship?

      “When I spoke to Alex about it, I made him promise that this would stay between us. A few nights later… he BROUGHT UP the previous dinner incident with his best friend, his best friend’s fiancée, and Steph!?”

      It sounds like she’s already following your advice.

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  • avatar

    painted_lady June 21, 2012, 11:05 am

    Quick question: how much time each day are you spending alone with your toddler, or even just alone? I can’t tell a whole lot from this letter, but if I had to guess, I’d say you were probably a stay-at-home mom, which is the toughest job in the world, partly because, at least from what I gather, it’s like an intellectual sensory deprivation tank. Being alone too much is the same way. And because your brain isn’t reasonably occupied with the normal intellectual stimulation that humans need, it will go and create a mess just so you will have something to do. If I stay home alone for too many days on end, my boyfriend comes home to find me sobbing over all of his stupid boy books because I don’t like any of them and they’re all boring to me and since we don’t like the same books, that *must* mean we’re incompatible, and I’m mostly crying over not wanting to break up, but we’re obviously going to. So I speak from experience.

    I don’t know that this is the problem, but you have that sound of the bored and miserable. If this is the case, you need to hire a babysitter if you need and get out of the house a couple mornings a week, or if you’re not with the baby, find something more challenging for yourself, and if you’re working, then you need a more challenging job. Wendy’s right that you and your husband need to focus on just you two for a bit, but you also need to get yourself to a better place.

    Now, your husband is being kind of a dick. He seems to really thrive on inappropriate female attention, and he is far too dismissive of your feelings on the matter. But acting like La Llorona walking the halls of your own house isn’t endearing you to anyone. I think you need to pay better attention to your own needs and what the problems are for you and whether acting like this is unusual for you (I hope so) and get to the bottom of why. And you need to be clear with your husband about why you’re feeling what you’re feeling – again, without wailing like some haunted thing – and what you’re going to need from him and in your life in general. If you fly into a rage and blame him for all your unhappiness, this isn’t going to work. If you use this as an opportunity to point out how he’s failed you, that won’t work.

    And please don’t misunderstand that I’m trying to call “hysterical SAHM” here – I don’t know how JK and Wendy and every other SAHM (and dad) does it without dismantling every piece of furniture in the house and putting it back together just for the sake of having something to do that doesn’t involve baby talk. I’m saying that every single adult in the world needs time to him or herself to act like an adult as she sees fit, and SAHMs don’t get that a lot, which is an unfair expectation for any human being.

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    • Budj

      budj June 21, 2012, 11:35 am

      Yes – my brothers gf’s jealousy issues are also higher when she is less busy.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom June 22, 2012, 1:17 pm

        Stay-at-home moms aren’t less busy they’re more busy, usually on 24/7 with no breaks.

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    • avatar

      Jubietta June 21, 2012, 12:03 pm

      Love this! Once I learned that the first question to ask before leaving a relationship wasn’t about the other person…but about yourself. The question: do you feel successful/fulfilled in your own life? Only when you can say yes, that you’re happy because you’ve taken responsibility for your own happiness, then you can move on to ask if your treatment of the other person is on par with how you expect them to treat you. Then, when you can say that you’re treating “him” the way you want to be treated, that’s when you ask whether or not it’s time to MOA.

      If only one person in a relationship is unhappy there’s trouble. But if you’re both unhappy there’s a chance to fix it. Good luck, for the sake of your kiddo…

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    • JK

      JK June 21, 2012, 12:07 pm

      Thanks for the mention. 🙂
      The truth is that I´m a million times busier now than I ever was working 40+ hour weeks with an hour long commute, I ALWAYS have something I should be doing, so it really doesn´t leave me much time alone with my thoughts.

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      • avatar

        painted_lady June 21, 2012, 3:48 pm

        Well, and obviously I’m not saying being a full-time mom isn’t incredibly rewarding and fun sometimes. But for one thing, your eldest is old enough to have a social life and activities. I’m curious, was there a point when she was little and it was just the two of you that you went stir-crazy? You also seem really pro-active and naturally social, so you don’t seem the type to wallow and let your isolation take over. The LW either isn’t that type or isn’t in a headspace for that to be an option.

        Also, and maybe because my dynamic with students is a little different, no matter how much fun my kids are and how well my classes are going, at least once a week (though usually more often) I absolutely *must* go someplace where I can have drinks, talk about sex/drugs/politics/philosophy, and say the word “fuck” as many times as I want, or I swear I will lose my damn mind.

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        painted_lady June 21, 2012, 3:52 pm

        Also, I have a really sympathetic and supportive partner who is more than happy to let all of this happen – the drinking, the grownup talk, the cursing – and if he’s not in the mood is more than happy to give me a kiss and send me out the door to other people who will facilitate that. As dismissive as the LW’s husband is about her feelings regarding Steph, I doubt she’s getting heard in any other aspect of their lives, either.

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      • JK

        JK June 21, 2012, 3:57 pm

        Ha, I´m actually really shy.
        When my eldest was ittle she was really well behaved, and we played for hours, managed to get out and about quite a bit, as well. If she had been more like the youngest (who has a special knack for getting into things that she isn´t allowed to, so I´m 24/7 on top of her making sure she doesn´t kill herself)
        You might be right about LW´s personality though, and maybe she isn´t meant to be a SAHM (if that´ s what she is) or a working mother (if that´s the case)

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyLand June 21, 2012, 11:09 am

      Excellent point about the SAHM thing! Also we were totally on the same brain wave about rationally explaining “why” you are feeling this way. Lets be friends! 🙂

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  • avatar

    EricaSwagger June 21, 2012, 10:15 am

    The issue, as far as I gathered, isn’t about cheating or even lying really — It’s about respect.

    You feel disrespected by how your husband treated you and you SHOULD. Your feelings are right. I know I’d be furious if my boyfriend/husband turned his back on me to talk to another girl all night. It’s impossible to be a part of the conversation when you’re literally being boxed out of it. It just shows such a high level of disrespect from your husband and from the other people you were out with.

    Also, a woman who shows no respect for you as a person or for your marriage should not be welcome in your home at all, regardless of who she’s friends with. I understand your not wanting her there.

    But you may be overreacting while verbalizing it to your husband, which you should be careful of. Men find it easy to brush aside your feelings when you’re hysterical.

    Calm down. Explain why it’s wrong. If he doesn’t understand what the issue is, your marriage counselor should be able to help.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark June 21, 2012, 10:18 am

      Um, seriously. How is SHE showing respect for anyone? If women REALLY think that their spouse will never ever casually flirt again with anybody else for the rest of their natural lives, they are in for a REALLY rude awakening. So are any men who possess such utterly irrational thoughts.

      The phrase “disrespected” is so overused right now, I seriously, seriously wonder just how many marriages it has successfully broken up. Frankly, all it ever really seems to mean is that MY feelings matter more than yours, because GOD forbid I am disrepected…

      Ugh. End of Rant. And I am off to work for the rest of the day…

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      • avatar

        Matcha June 21, 2012, 10:38 am

        If I went out to a dinner and my husband was so intently flirting with another women and ignoring me that the waitstaff thought they were together, we would have to have a talk.

        Plus, she didn’t bring it up at the restaurant. She brought it up in private and then asked him to keep it mum so they could move on. He’s the one who said yes and then decided it’d make a hilarious anecdote.

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      • Budj

        budj June 21, 2012, 10:46 am

        So not sure if the LW falls in this bucket (not enough info) but people with jealousy issues filter everything they see as a personal slight and exaggerate it…compounding their righteouness in their feelings. I posted on it underneath my initial post.

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      • avatar

        Anna June 21, 2012, 11:13 am

        Exactly. She had the right to be furious about that. When you are out with your spouse and friends, it’s perfectly fine for both of you to talk to others and have a good time. When it gets to the point where the waiter can’t even tell you’re his wife because he’s completely ignoring you, it is a problem. And then, after being specifically asked not to talk about it in mixed company, he decides to talk about it anyway. If I were his wife, he would be sleeping out on the porch.

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones June 21, 2012, 7:18 pm

        Her husband just sounds mean. It reminds me of a guy I dated (for too long) in my 20’s. He would openly flirt (and have sex with, it turns out) other women. In that “relationship” I turned into a jealous insecure raving mess. But seriously, pathological jealousy occurs unwarranted and without cause. LW (and I in that “relationship” ) had cause to be jealous because the guys were way out of line. I am not the jealous type unless someone gives me damned good reason to be. I have been married 17 years now, and am not a jealous wife because I married a loyal sweet husband who would never try to hurt or humiliate me in that way. DTMFA.

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        bethany June 21, 2012, 11:09 am

        I think the difference in this situatio is that he’s not casually flirting with women- he’s repetedly intensly flirting with ONE woman in particular.

        When I go out I flirt with guys- it’s fun, but I would never consistantly flirt with one of our friends… That takes it into creepy territory, in my opinion.

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      • BriarRose

        BriarRose June 21, 2012, 11:35 am

        Exactly. Her husband is not a friendly, flirty guy who is just that way with everyone. He’s focused on one woman in particular, and it’s to the detriment of his marriage. Big problem.

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      • avatar

        bluesunday June 21, 2012, 11:52 am

        Who exactly is she supposed to show respect for in this situation? The husband that flirts with his friend and then bitches about the LW to said friend, or the friend that rolls her eyes at the LW in her own home?

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      • avatar

        AndreaMarie June 21, 2012, 1:43 pm

        Agree BGM!! To think you husband will never check another woman out or casually flirt or have an attraction to someone is completely irrational. Same goes for women. Do I think if a hot babe with her boobs poppin out that my BF isn’t gonna glance over? No way. And I certainly wouldn’t go into a fit over it. And I have zero intention of cheating on him but I work with a guy that I joke around with, laugh and grab coffee with. He’s married and im in serious relationship and I would NEVER try and pursue him but I would definitley say I am attracted to him in a way. Its innocent. We are all human. (and just an aside I am not refering to the LW just this issue in general)

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  • avatar

    Desiree June 21, 2012, 11:19 am

    I suspect their marriage has some other issues, and I support the idea of marriage counseling. The LW probably needs some help with controlling her insecurities. However, if my SO was behaving in such a way that a waiter thought a different woman than myself was his date, I would probably not be particularly happy with my SO.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson June 21, 2012, 12:01 pm

    I think your husband has gotten a little too comfortable and stable in the relationship and no longer feels like he needs to make you a priority. YOU ALWAYS NEED TO MAKE YOUR SPOUSE A PRIORITY! That’s how marriages stay together. I can’t really relate because my husband (who from now on I am calling Jack for purposes of DW because I hate always referring to him as my husband – and yes that is Jack from titanic) kind of have a pretty strict rule with opposite sex friendships. I mean they can happen, but we would never cancel plans with each other to hang out with these other people.

    And honestly I am confused about how people have so much time on their hands for all these shenanigans. I have joked with Jack that I would love it if I had enough free time to cheat on him. I mean not really but by the time I’m done with work and school at the end of the day I have like 2 hours before I need to go to bed. And then on the weekends I’m catching up with friends (all girls) or hanging out with him or catching up on homework or house stuff or running errands.

    I agree with everyone that stated that you need to spend more time having fun with each other. He needs to be flirting with you. Maybe this is passive aggressive but you should just start filling his social calendar with fun stuff with you so he doesn’t have time to participate in these extra curriculars. Like next time you see him just be like, “hey babe this Friday after the baby goes to bed we’re going to have naked Fridays and I’m going to cook an awesome dinner with beaucoup de wine on the side. Get pumped. Oh and by the way you know we have that pool date planned with John and Jane Saturday which should be fun.” (John and Jane are normal friends that respect their vows or respect their relationship).

    In summary: This girl needs to get out of your life. She can’t be that important to him that he would risk picking a fight with you over her. And frankly she has some crazy balls to come over to your house after she knows she started a fight between the two of you. Isn’t she embarrassed by that? I would be mortified if I started a fight between a couple.

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  • avatar

    bethany June 21, 2012, 12:06 pm

    Honey all I can say is keep that marriage counseling appointment. My ex was, probably still is, addicted to attention from “other” women. He was absolutely horrible and yes it seemed to start out innocently enough, but it continued to escalate to the point that I had to go through with a divorce.

    Please think of yourself and your child at this time and focus on trying to stay sane. They will try every trick in the book to make you feel like you’re the problem, but I’m going out on a ledge here and say that you aren’t.

    I hope the counseling helps you.

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    • avatar

      bethany June 22, 2012, 9:16 am

      Another Bethany?!?

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      • avatar

        bethany June 22, 2012, 10:24 am

        Not many out there, I know!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 22, 2012, 10:36 am

        You’re going to have to add something or you will confuse us all.

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  • avatar

    AliceInDairyLand June 21, 2012, 11:07 am

    I think there are a lot of issues in this letter that justify why you feel so upset, and like people said above maybe you have some underlying anxiety/depression issues that are having you react so strongly. BUT, that shouldn’t discount the things he has done to cause you to feel this way.

    Emotional intimacy is one of the things I place really high on my priority list for my partner. I need to be the main confidante and feel secure in that place in the relationship (especially as a wife!). For him to 1, lie to you and 2, brought up a private conversation the two of you had is really not okay in my books. You have to decide if this is a recurring problem in this relationship, or a big mess up. Hopefully therapy will help you sort that out.

    One thing that I know has helped a LOT in my relationship is to write an email about how I am feeling if my boyfriend does something that hurts me (on purpose or not). I am really bad about confrontation and end up crying even if I know I am right, or it’s not a big deal, etc. So I write an email using lots of “this is how I feel when you do x” or “It bothers me because y”. If you word it in a way that maturely explains why you think his relationship with Steph is inappropriate he should catch on right away and might be more understanding of “why you flew off the handlebars.” (I am not saying that you did, but his attitude seems to imply that he thinks that).

    It’s then a lot easier to have a mature conversation and work on solutions to the problem without all of the emotional “I feel this way” stuff already out on the table. Just a suggestion!

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    • avatar

      painted_lady June 21, 2012, 11:12 am

      Great suggestion about the email! And yes, we should be friends!

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyLand June 21, 2012, 11:11 am

      *with all of emotional “I feel this way” stuff already out on the table.

      PS if you can talk about it rationally in person, go for it. I haven’t reached a point in my life where I can do that so writing the email works well for both of us.

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG June 21, 2012, 12:56 pm

      Hey Alice! I just wanted to say how completely I feel what you are saying. I am the same way. My fiance jokes that I will “win” every fight we ever have because the few times we have had disagreements, I cry. I let him know that this is not done on purpose. I am not trying to use my feminine wiles to get my way! It is just my natural reaction to conflict… especially with someone I care about so deeply. I know it is something I should “work on”. Get a hold of myself and act like a rational adult. Bla bla bla. But, at the same time… it is who I am. I get sad when I am arguing with someone I love. It is what it is.

      I love the e-mail idea! I have often used the tactic when I know everything I speak in person would come out as gibberish. I can also make sure to state how much I love the person who I am having a spat with. I can argue my side, without flying off the handle.

      As far as this letter goes, as often the case in life, I think the answer lies somewhere in between. The LW should *try* to calm down and not automatically feel that this is the end of the world. She should not up and MOA just yet. This can (hopefully) be fixed. Yelling probably won’t work. Treating her husband like a child probably won’t work. HOWEVER, I don’t think we should trivialize her feelings either. It sounds like her husband has been acting like a dick. Everyone should put themselves in her shoes for just a second. How freaking embarrassing! First, to sit at a dinner while her husband shamelessly flirted with another woman in front of a bunch of people. And then to have her husband laugh over her reaction with his buddies (and the other woman). That’s shameful. He does obviously need to make some changes. And yes… this is about disrespect (although another poster said we women use that term too often).

      She should tell him “Our marriage is something worth working on. But, make no mistake, it needs to be worked on”

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  • avatar

    rangerchic June 21, 2012, 12:43 pm

    I just want to say I hope you do give the therapy a try (and more than one appointment) and I hope it works for you! Good luck!!

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  • avatar

    cporoski June 21, 2012, 1:07 pm

    This reminds me of the Sex and the City movie where Mr. Big showed “The Sparkle” to other people and didn’t do that for her anymore. It happens in my marriage. My husband has women swooning when we are out and then when we are home together, he will fart and giggle. She is annoyed that the charm is only on display outside the house.

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  • Kristina

    Kristina June 21, 2012, 1:25 pm

    Get thee to therapy–individual therapy. Sure marriage counseling will help too, but it sounds like you have a lot of personal issues you need to work on first before you start communicating with your husband how to improve your relationship. In the letter, you come off as overbearing and melodramatic, but I know that’s only a glimpse of your relationship, so please, work on yourself and your trust/jealousy issues. It will be good for you, your child, and your marriage. And I’m not saying your husband isn’t in the wrong at all, but it doesn’t sound like you two are communicating very well. And keep people that don’t respect your relationship at a distance–there’s no reason to always be letting trouble interfere.

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  • avatar

    Muffy June 21, 2012, 1:30 pm

    I would feel the same way as you LW. And this is what I would do: I wouldn’t be around so much to give him that jealous attention. You said he likes the attention – you’re probably right. So don’t be there for it. He wants to go to dinner with D and S and so forth – eh you have plans with your friend Debbie – he can go alone. He comes home late because he was out with S? Well you didn’t know this – you had a workout class or spent the night with your son. Also your cell phone is mysteriously on silent most of the time and you don’t pick it up so often – maybe 1/3 of the time he calls. Suddenly hanging out with S is not so much fun anymore. In fact no one cares if he does. Also you have a new friend from the office named Brian. You and Brian love hanging out! Don’t mention that Brian is gay/there is no chance in hell.

    Let him know how it feels to be slighted. Men respond to no contact. And if he wants to cheat on you with S, then hold the door open for him and help him pack because you don’t want him anyways. Most people get off on the ilicitness of cheating. If it stops being about sneaking around it stops being fun. Let him spend as much time with S as he wants – he’ll get sick of her, and if he doesn’t – well it’s not your job to prevent your man from cheating on you – that’s his job. So just be pleasant and raise a good child.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom June 21, 2012, 2:32 pm

      This sounds like playing games with your marriage and acting immaturely. I can’t think of a better way to sink a marriage fast.

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      • avatar

        Muffy June 21, 2012, 4:26 pm

        She’s already told him it bothered her. He reacted by making her the butt of the joke. Instead of telling him it bothers her she should just start paying less attention to him and not more by suggesting therapy and all these couple-interactions because they don’t have enough. I really don’t think she needs therapy. She’s right to be jealous that her husband paid so much attention to another woman right in front of her.

        Ie: be pleasant and sweet to him but start moving forward with her own life – if he wants to come along he will. Or else just drop him.

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  • avatar

    Steeze June 21, 2012, 1:48 pm

    i dont understand how anyone could be ok with their husband blatantly flirting with another woman in front of them and disclosing a private conversation. especially if he knows this woman drives you crazy. a good husband would recognize your jealousy and try to put you at ease. <

    im a very jealous person. my boyfriend lets me know im being crazy but the next sentence is reassurance and he makes an effort to be extra attentive to me in the presence of the ladies that make me that way.

    you need to talk to your husband calmly and explain how youre feeling without accusing him. you need to reconnect. if after that hes still acting like a douche, then there isnt something to save.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom June 21, 2012, 2:30 pm

    My experience of marriage is that if the marriage is going to last it must be a priority to both husband and wife. By priority I mean that you don’t allow things to harm your marriage. A job that takes too much time away from the marriage is no good or that puts too many miles between partners is no good. A “friend” who harms the marriage is also no good and needs to go. You can tell a friend from others because the friend will act in the interest of your marriage. A friend who realized that a husband was ignoring his wife would try to pull the wife into the conversation. A friend would listen to concerns about the marriage in a way that supported the marriage and would not make any comments that undermined the spouse being discussed. Anyone who is rolling their eyes at either partner, a strong sign of contempt, should no longer be in contact with either the husband or wife. Anyone who has contempt for either partner has contempt for the marriage.

    You and your husband have a young marriage and are still working out boundaries. Counseling should help with this and with your communication in general. Your husband has done many things that are hard on a marriage but as you go through counseling you’ll probably find that you’ve also done things that undermine your marriage. In general both husband and wife respond to each other so that if you say or do something positive your spouse will feel more upbeat and then they say something to you or do something for you that makes you feel more upbeat and your spiral up together. When either of you does something negative then you both begin to spiral down together. It is important for both of you to appreciate the other and to suppport each other and to do nice things for each other. It is important to use common courtesy with each other, to say please and thank you for the little things day in and day out. It is important to do little things for each other that say you care.

    It is necessary to find a way to talk to each other that works for both of you. Someone suggested an email and I’ve also known a couple who each write in a notebook each day and then trade notebooks to read their partners thoughts and feelings. It is necessary that you not focus exclusively on your own thoughts and feelings, you must each be aware of how the other is doing. You need to be able to share hopes and fears and concerns with each other. I think that men often have trouble sharing their feelings of inadequacy about relationships and about jobs. If a man feels that he is not as good as his partner for any reason he sometimes tries to make himself feel better by seeing if he is attractive to other women as an ego boost. Women also do this but I’ve seen it more often in men.

    Through counseling you should both become aware of areas where you need personal growth. You should learn better ways to communicate. You should learn to appreciate each other better and to express that appreciation. You should learn to draw boundaries around your marriage that support both of you and that keep your marriage strong and a priority to both of you.

    For the sake of your child I hope that both of you can work this out. It troubles me that your husband would talk about you with friends in front of your child. Your son should not be hearing his father talking badly about his mother. Your husband was no only undermining your marriage he was undermining the parent/child relationship, both his relationship with your son and his own relationship with your son. Your son may not understand all that was said but he will understand that dad was saying bad things about mom and that some people were agreeing.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs June 21, 2012, 3:45 pm

    LW your husband is a total jerk…he lied to you…he flirted with another woman in front of you (total disrespect)…and then he put you down in front of other people behind your back (not cool!)
    Why anyone would want a pathetic excuse of a man like this is beyond me. I would want a man who respected me, stood up for me and listened to me when something was bothering me.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet June 21, 2012, 3:46 pm

    This letter actually bothers me more than the obvious “MOA” situations. The LW’s husband is humiliating her in public and doesn’t care! At least when most husbands cheat on their wives, they don’t flaunt it in front of them. I don’t really care if the LW is a jealous person. That’s who her husband married. I have dated jealous guys in the past and I adjusted accordingly, because that’s what you have to do to make a relationship work. Besides, in this scenario, she clearly has a reason to be jealous.

    I think she needs to try a different approach. Acting hysterical is clearly not working. Why not try joking about it the next time he crosses a line? Embarrass HIM in public. Bringing it up while it’s happening will be awkward, but at least he’ll have to face it. Be overly friendly to Steph, too. If she and the husband are engaging in a conversation, butt in and ask her what they’re talking about. If he craves attention so much, give it to him in abundance.

    Whenever you get home later, CALMLY tell him that, seriously, he should cut it out. Tell him he’s being disrespectful. Use facts, not feelings. Getting emotional about the situation probably causes him to shut down and believe that you’re simply overreacting and that his behavior is fine.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones June 21, 2012, 5:19 pm

    I usually do not recommend leaving a marriage with young children unless things are really bad such as in cases of abuse, addiction, complete disrespect,gross financial mismanagement, and criminal behavior, and this qualifies in my book as bad enough as far as complete disrespect goes. There is lack of respect, an openly brewing affair if it hasn’t happened already, and a man who is insensitive to your feelings and actively trying to humiliate you. After you told him how you feel he is still disrespecting you? This is way over the line. I think it is ultimatum time, myself, either he change his ways pronto, you both go to therapy or DTMFA!!! You are young enough to start over it seems, and if he doesn’t grow up, then just make sure you get sole custody, child support and alimony in the divorce from that douchebag scum.

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    • avatar

      DMR June 21, 2012, 5:44 pm

      I’m not a big fan of MOAs either, like you, unless under extreme circumstances. But I agree: this one’s a total MOA.

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    DMR June 21, 2012, 5:51 pm

    What happened the entire time felt like sort of an out-of-body experience: He poured over and flirted with her. His body language was leaning toward her, not me. The waiter even thought the two of them were together. When we went back to a friend’s, I came out to the patio to see them fairly close, and given their body language and the abrupt end to the conversation, I felt like something was going on.

    Anyone who thinks this is okay behavior by the husband has lost their moral compass. This husband is humiliating the wife in public. Flirting with women so much the waiter thought the other woman was the wife!

    She has every right to cry. She’s being shamed by other women and her husband, right in front of her. How humiliating to go out with your man, and him to behave like a teenager after a prom, all over some other woman. What a sleazy jerk.

    Unbelievable. She doesn’t need counseling or to talk it through with him. She needs to leave.

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    Mechie June 21, 2012, 6:23 pm

    LW, I do not think you are over-reacting or being crazy. From your letter, it sounds like your husband has been very insensitive. You, and your son, are his family, and he should be putting your needs first, above those of a friend.

    Also, have you and your husband laid down boundaries for people that either your or him have had a history with? Now although your husband never dated Steph, there was an attraction and possibly even an intention to date, but maybe it never actually happened because of circumstances? But, I think that does qualify as having “history” even though there was no dating/kissing for whatever reason. There is absolutely nothing wrong with continuing a friendship with someone you’ve had history (whatever the extent of that history might be) as long as you make your partner aware of it, observe the boundaries that you two might have laid down, and you do everything you possibly can to keep your partner from feeling uncomfortable about it.

    Like the other commenters have already mentioned, try (though it might be hard) to communicate your concerns and your reasons for being upset in as much calm and rational a manner as you possibly can. Telling your partner that you’re upset while you’re crying or using strong expressions, could push them away and make them less likely to take heed of you.

    I hope you are able to solve your issues through counseling. I think you should also see a doctor to check if you might be suffering from post-partum depression or anxiety. (since you mention you have a toddler, this could be a real possibility).

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    Me June 21, 2012, 7:33 pm

    I don’t know on this one.

    He was up front about his relationship/lack thereof before he and his friend help his friend’s relative move. She flipped out anyway, so naturally when the couch move comes up he’s reluctant to tell her because he doesn’t want to deal with her crap, so he doesn’t tell her. The most likely reason for that is that she flips out about everything and he just doesn’t want to deal. Why’d he marry her knowing she’s an emotional stage-5-clinger? Who knows.

    But then they’re out with this group of friends and SHE is there. Is he really flirting on purpose in front of his wife, or does she read into ANY attention he pays this woman? How does she know what the waiter thought? If she’s an emotional basket-case, which she still presents as, then she’d see every little interaction as “OMG he’d bang her on the table if there weren’t so many dishes!”

    But then, assuming it happened the way she says, she confronts him reasonably, in private, about how his attention to HER bothers her. Then he goes and talks about it publicly in front of the group. That’s either a huge dick move, or she flips out so often that he just doesn’t take her seriously because EVERYTHING is a five-alarm fire – so he genuinely doesn’t see a problem with what he says.

    Definitely go to therapy, you two. And get new friends. Move if you can. But don’t diddle around – if you’re not serious about each other, split while that kid’s too young to remember his/her parents together.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark June 22, 2012, 1:08 am

      Your first two paragraphs REALLY reflect my view of this letter. Yeah, I saw very little basis for anything the LW said. She seemed entirely overwrought and it was really all much ado about nothing. Your points about the waiter are dead on as well… She strikes me as almost paranoid and oddly insecure… Meanwhile, the fact that she has been reduced to sobbing fits doesn’t exactly give me much faith in her sanity.

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      bethany June 22, 2012, 9:18 am

      You have a very valid point here… people see things very differently, so it’s hard to say which scenario really happened, just based off one person’s perspective.

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    Meredith June 22, 2012, 12:04 am

    Ok, I can see both sides. Your husband has really messed up with this Stephanie chick, and I understand you having trust issues, and there are obviously respect issues as well. I’m glad you’re going to therapy, I think it’s imperative here. But I agree with Wendy, you do need to get yourself together, for the sake of your child. The constant, hysterical crying is a little much. A marriage is a total roller coaster, and during the course of it, guess what, your spouse is going to mess up, several times. But I’m of the opinion this is not a deal breaker type of situation, this is a dig your heels in, get you and your husband into therapy and work through your shit type. It’s only been 2 years, you have a child together, you need to both try your hardest to make this thing work. When things get rocky like this in a marriage, you can’t just give up. Yes, there are certain circumstances like abuse, abandonment, affairs that I feel are mostly MOA situations, but this isn’t one of them.

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    E June 22, 2012, 12:32 am

    Steph, the LW, and the LW’s husband are all being inappropriate in my mind. Look, LW may be a total drama queen but her husband has NO respect for her. The fact that he openly brought this up in front of a group of friends after promising her he would not? Even if my hypothetical husband acted like a gigantic douchenozzle, I would never do that. It just shows a lack of respect. The fact that “Steph” is showing up uninvited to the house too and rolling her eyes at the LW….That’s weird. Even if my guy friend had an irrational wife, I wouldn’t show up without being asked and roll my eyes at said wife. Steph knows LW has trust issues, and is clearly egging LW on. The biggest douche of all is the LW’s husband. He lies, shows no respect for LW, and flirts with Steph to the point that the waitress thought she was his wife. LW may be acting like a harpy, but he’s being a real ass. Well, I seriously think LW needs therapy to deal with her trust issues but that she also needs to MOA.

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      E June 22, 2012, 12:49 am

      The more I think about this letter, the more it bothers me. It’s not the flirting. It’s human nature that we often will be attracted to others. It’s the lack of respect. LW’s husband is using his wife’s jealousy to make fun of her to the woman who drives her crazy. Steph is showing up and rolling her eyes without being invited. I wouldn’t be surprised if Steph and LW’s husband were fucking, or at the very least if LW’s husband wants to fuck Steph. As I said before, I think LW has trust issues and needs therapy but I also wonder if the husband is gaslighting her, especially if Steph is showing up and rolling her eyes at LW.

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    laxhaxtax June 22, 2012, 9:21 am

    Love that is not freely given is not worth a damn. If your husband wants this woman and she wants him all the temper tantrums in the world are not going to stop them. You need to get yourself to a healthy place and be ready for a change should it come. If he is making fun of you in front of others he is already setting up a situation where everyone will think you “drove” him into the other woman’s arms. The hardest thing in the world is to be in a marriage where one loves more than the other and it almost never turns out well. If he married you because he couldn’t have her and now she is available you don’t have a chance. Don’t fall apart. Get counseling. Get a life apart from him and become strong. You have too much to offer to become a screaming doormat for a man to wipe his feet on

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    lets_be_honest June 22, 2012, 10:31 am

    Holy cow. LW, you sound CRAZY. I hope someone else commented like this, I’m a few days behind.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow June 22, 2012, 10:36 am

      (Psst! I thought so too! But I was too scared to say it!) (I’m whispering) (even though everyone can still see this!) (But it makes me feel better somehow)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 22, 2012, 10:38 am

        i love you, but you’re clearly flirting with this woman’s husband. Thanks to you these kids will have divorced parents. Good job, Cats!

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    dude July 22, 2012, 10:17 am

    leave him, he’s a jerk!

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    rebecca July 22, 2012, 10:28 am

    Humiliation in a marriage kills trust.

    It is probably impossible to know about the affair stuff, but the fact that he humiliated his wife like that is a pretty good indicator that he is mean or out of touch enough with his wife’s feelings to constitute emotional abandonment. Either way, the point is why care about steph and the husband, they sound like real garbage and they obviously don’t care about the lw. Anyone who ‘gets off’ on making other people feel bad or excluded are broken people who have a lot of psychological work to do and not worth the lw’s time.

    I think the really interesting challenge here is for the lw to ask herself why she was drawn to such a man in the first place. Did the relationship really do a 180 or has there been a history of this sort of disrespect, but it just never came to such a head because another woman wasn’t involved.

    The best thing to do would be to REMOVE herself from the situation (holiday, visiting family, separation etc) and decide whether or not she wants to be in a relationship where here feelings and confidences are ridiculed and ask herself what sorts of dynamics are pushing her towards the sort of people who are not equipped to protect her basic emotional needs.

    She needs to figure out how to not repeat this scenario in her subsequent relationships.

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    married April 7, 2013, 7:47 pm

    she needs to worry about herself and her child he has to want to change for the sake of his marrage and make that clear to his friends that his marrage is more important to him than anything but i think he has already expressed to his friends how important the marrage is and to his wife by announcing to his friends about is wifes feelings towards his friend without saying it he has said it in other ways that mean the same thing. she needs to ask her husband my he married her this behaviour he’s openly ok with regardless of his wifes feeling says his only interest in himself cause even though he may think she is jeolous he also knows he would to if it happened to him word will get around as to what kind of man he is when things arnt right in any relationship real people talk about them and do what needs changed to protect what they desire most and if he is doing the opposite then his behaviour is saying it all.then it is up the the wife to carry on without him he will be no different no matter who he marries a gentleman once told me thatmost men dont know what they wont in life untill theyre between the age of 35 to 40 and that 95 % of most men are munipulaters of womens minds they have been doing it for centurys and they are still doing it now they are the best in the world we women need to focus more about our lifes and what we wont that makes us happy he has what he wants and what he needs he is selfish and you need to flirt alittle to seek your needs since hes giving it to someone else and lastly men that behaviour this way are ego boosters they dont reailise what they had untill its gone the grass in never greener on the otherside dont wait for him you take action you do whats gonna give you happiness he does’nt care about your feeling at all sorry but his actions and words speck volumes i can see you much happier with someone else that takes your feeling seriously he still has a lot of growing up to do

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    married April 7, 2013, 8:27 pm

    he is creating the scene and insecurity on to his wife by his behaviour and has help from his freinds to help carry this deceatfull act now that he has mentioned his wifes feeling to his feinds this is the oldest trick in the book that way he has all the reason to blame his wife of him being unfaithful to his marrage he is dumb AND HE WILL DO IT AGAIN BELEIVE ME HE IS BY NO MEANS A GENTLEMAN you get out there girl and you work it you have everything to gain and nothing to lose he has everything to lose you deserve a MAN not a BOY remember that.and as for that flooosey well she wont find a man cause shes still growing up just as much you remember that to so dont cry no more wipe those tears and save for the happy moments to come be strong UPWARDS and ONWARDS if men treated their wifes right their wifes would treat them right
    HAPPY WIFE HAPPY LIFE.IT IS AS TRUE AS IT IS SAID ASK ANY GENTLEMAN AND HE WILL TELL YOU THE SAME.

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    lindaforrest April 26, 2013, 12:27 am

    Hi ladies..My husband has a tendency to flirt with other women especially when we are not getting along..he does this on purpose for some reason. About a month ago we went to an upscale martini bar..I went outside to smoke and when I returned I found myself between my husband and some blonde who thought it was hysterical that I was his wife.. they continued flirting like I was in on the joke

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    Kate January 3, 2017, 11:13 am

    All marriages have issues. Your husband definitely showed a lack of respect. This isn’t the whole of your marriage however. Couples mistakenly go nuclear over an issue, which is completely unnecessary. Be sure to focus on what is right with it.
    Make sure your counselor is marriage friendly and understands that love isn’t just a feeling. True love includes a lot of forgiving and – well- sacrifice. Don’t expect the counselor to fix your husband. He’s not a project. No couple should seek divorce unless there is abuse, use, and complete I fidelity. Remember also that women typically are more mature emotionally.
    Some say marriages are held together when there are certain habits. Doctors research note that blissful couples argue as much as unhappy couples. The difference is that they are differently and never go down the road if thinking their spouse doesn’t love them. Dr Greg Popcak has a great book; ” When Divorce is NOT an Option.” It’s got ideas for great habits for healthy marriages. Again, if you think you need to change your husband, don’t! He’s not a project. You’ll have to look at yourself and the feelings you have. You both need to develop better marriage friendly habits and stop hanging with other friends. That’s the cultural BS.

    Also, think about spending time with your husband just talking about your future together- dreaming…. Where do you want to be in ten years? What do you want your life to look like? If you both have married parents, spend fun time with your entire family as well.

    AND… Ignore this other girl. She had zero power over you. Talk to women who’ve been happily married for years. Learn feminine ways…. They are smart women. You might have to find them at a Church parish though. I’ve found faithful Catholic women to give the most amazing advice. They see men and marriage a little differently and sure have knowledge I never learned anywhere.

    Good luck. This is no reason to question a relationship…… When your really questioning how your husband spends his time. He married you! That was no accident.

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    Roni January 22, 2017, 1:34 am

    Same problem here, I’ve had issues with my husband flirting for 12 years now, and when I get mad and call him on it he wants to say he didn’t do anything…that’s his favorite line, he didn’t do it, it’s not his fault, blah blah blah…he was raised very spoiled, very catered too…therefore he turned into a horrible adult. A week ago he flirted with the McDonald’s girl right in front of me, I got mad and he wants to say I’m pathetic, I said no you are pathetic, she’s obviously got more kindness than I’ve got lately…I’m pretty much done, it’s one thing to do when I’m not there but it’s something else to do when I’m standing right there. I don’t care how innocent they want to say it it, if you have an ounce of respect for your wife you don’t do it period. He doesn’t care about his relationship though, I guess he was raised to not care about other people because he doesn’t, his sister also doesn’t care about her marriage so I just figure they were raised to only care about themselves. You’re a better woman than me, because if all that was going on with me, I would have left…it’s not worth wasting a day of your life with a loser.

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    anniyah February 23, 2017, 8:24 pm

    I don’t agree with most of you especially the people that throw the f word around . I think there needs to be mutual respect between a husband and wife and there is a difference between flirting and being nice. It is disrespectful to flirt with any one while being married . The Bible talks about the dangers of flirting and how it affects both parties and families. I think he has the problem if he has to flirt with other women to feel good about himself and not only lacks respect for his wife but himself. If you want to flirt don’t be married.

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    anniyah February 23, 2017, 8:30 pm

    There are more ways to be unfaithful than physically. There is the mental infidelity. That is hurtful to your spouse also and just as dangerous to play around with unless you really don’t care about morals, respect for your spouse as well as your children. Maybe you don’t believe in heaven or hell, and treating people like you want to be treated. Just something to think about.

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    karen February 28, 2017, 4:31 pm

    so sorry you are going through this, my brother wife hates me so she flirt with my husband every time my brother is out the room. she pretends like she is picking something off the floor and bends over in my husband face, and holds that position as long as she can. she is vindictive and hateful and I wish my brother never married her.

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    Tracy May 8, 2017, 1:12 pm

    I do not see this as a “no biggie” issue. This is exactly how affairs get started and from what LW stated, it seems like he is degrading her in front of a potential affair interest. My stbx did this very thing:
    Made me out to be a nagging idiot with no sense at all but only in front​ of other women.
    I realized he did this to improve his chances of having a fling with his next AP. It’s easier to look past the awful nature of an affair, if the other spouse is set up to look like a despicable excuse for a human.
    Husband eventually left me alone, pregnant and sole full time parent to a 1 1/2 y o boy.
    Don’t allow yourself to end up where I was a year ago. Trust your intuition. If you smell a rat, you’ll likely find the rats nest with keen vigilance.
    Another piece of advice- don’t show your insecurities regarding his relationship with bitch face. (sorry, but she rolled her eyes at you in YOUR HOME!!!) That will just cause them to go to greater lengths to hide their affair (whether it be emotional, physical or both).
    Get your proof and do what you will with it.

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    Sela June 5, 2017, 11:57 am

    Several people here think this is not a “big issue” because they don’t know how it feels, nobody knows, only one knows. My husband 20 years married, is not the type of flirting and never was, but, suddenly he was flirting with the neigbour just like that, we were at the neigbours to dinner, and for fun I invited him (my hubby) to dance with me, and then he left me and started to dance with her, and make her compliments, I just couldnt believe it. I justified this behaviour thinking that is the 60’s crisis and he doesnt want to lose it, but the truth is that I am completly upset and cant get over it. The partner of the woman felt for sure weird and invite me to dance, but the whole thing was disgusting. I think is disrespectfull to flirt in your face.

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