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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Is My Partner Interested in the Soccer Mom?”

From the forums:

My partner takes our son to soccer practice on the weekends, and I have recently become concerned that he’s interested in the mother of one of the other kids. He is also good friends with the same kid’s dad (her husband). Their son had a birthday party recently and my partner took our son. While my partner was checking in (via text) to see how I was, he said that all the other parents had dropped off their kids and left, leaving only my partner, the birthday boy, and that boy’s parents. He said that he was sitting at the table with this boy’s mom while all the kids played. The dad had gone to run an errand. Initially, I didn’t have any kind of negative thoughts about this, but the more I think about it the more it bothers me. I know that she texted my partner recently with the party invite for our son (I don’t go to the games, so can see why she would send to partner rather than me) – but also why her? Why wouldn’t the dad make contact with my partner instead of the mom?

I admit I have looked at the messages between my partner and her (please don’t judge me – I recently had a baby and have been feeling somewhat insecure, boring, and undesirable). The messages are innocent: only a handful of messages regarding soccer games and the birthday party. However, he messaged her to let her know that our baby had arrived safely as she said the whole soccer team had been thinking of us. I don’t know why, but I didn’t like that he messaged her and told her this.

I am unsure as to whether I am being unreasonable, insecure, petty, jealous, etc., or whether I have grounds to be upset?

I haven’t confronted my partner and don’t believe he is hiding anything, but am I then being naive?? — Not the Soccer Mom

Yes, you are being unreasonable. There is nothing to “confront” your partner about here. He takes your son to soccer practice, he takes him to birthday parties, and he helps manage your kid’s social life while also keeping you in the loop and checking on you while he’s away doing kid stuff with your kid. He’s done the opposite of wrongdoing. You should thank him for taking the tedious chore of managing your kid’s extracurricular activities (well, at least the soccer) and some of his social life off your plate while you are adjusting to newborn life again.

I’ll say it again: You’re being unreasonable in your expectation that your husband not communicate with a parent of the opposite sex. You’re being unreasonable to expect that only dads reach out to other dads and never a mom acting as point of contact for a dad she’s not married to. It’s weird, irrational, and immature to hold these expectations, and I suspect you know that on some level or you wouldn’t have written in. I hope that you will consider that the extreme hormone fluctuation that you’re experiencing having just given birth may be affecting your judgment and your emotions and that your anger here is more about the lack of control you might be feeling as a mom of a newborn and not really about your husband who’s just taking care of his son and being a friendly soccer dad.

If I’m wrong and this isn’t atypical behavior on your part – if you have a history of irrational jealousy and super-outdated gender expectations, then that’s definitely worth exploring with a therapist because, left unchecked, it *will* affect your relationship and your family dynamics sooner rather than later. If, however, these feelings are new, you can chalk them up to hormones and lack of sleep, and you can cut yourself some slack. You could even let your husband know how you’re feeling – not in a way that puts him on the defense, but kind of like: “I feel like I might be kind of losing it a little. I actually felt jealous that you texted Soccer Mom about our baby’s birth and hung out with her at her kid’s birthday party.” That would give him a chance to reassure you of his commitment to you, and it would give him a head’s up that you’re understandably feeling more sensitive than usual right now and may need extra care and consideration.

This period that you’re in can be a hard adjustment. To go from one kid to two is no joke. It’s mentally and physically exhausting, and it’s no wonder a mom would feel less desirable than normal. Talking about these feelings with your partner can be a big antidote to the issues and can invite a deeper connection as you both work through adjusting to this new stage in your life together. And this stage will pass. You won’t always be a hormonal mom of a newborn and young child. As your kids grow and the demands on your body and your time ease, so, too, should the intensity of emotions you’re currently feeling. So, go easy on yourself. But go easy on your partner, too. He sounds like a loving and attentive co-parent your family is lucky to have.

This male co-worker and I have strong feelings for each other. We’re both parents of three. He pays child support for two of his three children. He’s also in debt for about $15,000 in lawyer fees, and due to his financial situation, he currently lives with his mom. We’re not dating because he’s married but separated and I just got out of a relationship. I care about him a lot, but I’m not sure if I can handle it. — Single Mom

 
Run, don’t walk, away from this man. There are too many red flags here. You have three children and just got out of a relationship. Why not take a few months to enjoy being single and focus on yourself and your kids? Relationships require so much time and attention, and if you’re someone who is legitimately considering a relationship with a man who is still legally married, doesn’t pay child support for all of his kids, has 15 thousand dollars in legal fee debt, and lives with his mom, that tells me that your judgment is cloudy right now. Stepping out of the cycle of serial dating can give you the clarity you need to balance single motherhood and maintaining a serious relationship. You aren’t there yet. Keep your distance from this co-worker for now.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

5 comments… add one
  • LisforLeslie February 9, 2022, 12:30 pm

    Copying my post from the forums and adding a bit more based on the LW’s reply:

    In many hetero households, the wife is in charge of all social interactions including planning parties for the kids. Since in your case, your husband is currently the contact through soccer it makes sense that she would reach out to him to make arrangements. She issues invites and tracks responses.

    At this point, neither person has stepped outside of line. I think your insecurities are kicking off your imagination. Have your husband add you to the text as a group chat as the owner of the family’s social schedule or at least as an involved parent who shares responsibilities for the social schedule. At least one parent has to go buy a gift and wrap it.

    Also, I hope you give your partner a little credit for not chasing after the wife of a good-friend. Unless that’s something you suspect he’s capable of – then you may want to look into couples counseling.

    Edited to add:
    LW – you mention that there is already a group chat – but maybe not all of the kids have been invited to that party?

    I really think therapy is in order – I’ve heard the change from 1 to 2 kids is HUGE. If you’re not feeling supported, it doesn’t mean your husband is running off because he loves soccer and so does the wife of the good friend. We all have our insecurities and a level of crazy that we don’t necessarily want to show people, even the people closest to us. But to be really blunt, thinking that your soccer loving husband is going to run off with his good friend’s wife because she also likes watching her kid play soccer is pretty freaking irrational . I think your brain is absolutely and totally messing with you and leaping to your most dreaded scenarios because that’s what brains do sometimes.

    And I say this as someone who absolutely lets my imagination run away and conceive of all the horrible things in bouts of 3am irrationality.

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  • b406 February 9, 2022, 4:15 pm

    As a single mom who coached soccer a few times, I had to interact with both moms and dads. Sometimes the Dads were the key people and sometimes the moms were. It doesn’t look like she is encroaching or pushing any boundaries.
    It can be really easy to create situations that are simply not there. Your husband appears to be really trying to help you out.

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  • anonymousse February 9, 2022, 5:54 pm

    I think you should tell your husband honestly how you’ve been feeling. I hope he encourages you to speak to your dr if he thinks it’s necessary, and reassures you that he’s just doing his totally normal, expected parenting obligations that men are not exempt from. He isn’t “doing you a favor.” He’s talking care of kid 1 while you have kid 2. You’re a team.

    I’m not going to come down hard on you. Not many people can imagine the true astounding power of the hormone fluctuations after making and giving birth to another human! It’s okay you had the wrong idea, just talk to him, figure it out and enjoy your family.

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  • Fyodor February 9, 2022, 6:34 pm

    Go to her house and demand that she stay away from your husband. It’s the only way.

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  • Brise February 10, 2022, 5:08 am

    @ fyodor: really? Nooo! I wouldn’t display jealousy neither toward this mum nor the husband. I wouldn’t speak to him of these obsessive thoughts. Just speak of your depression because… well, you are depressed as you have obsessive thoughts. If you are checking his phone – don’t do that, this is a major breach of privacy in a couple and don’t confess to doing it: it is a major turn off – over a simple text about a birthday party, you have a mental health problem right now, due to the huge transition of your recent maternity. Have an appointment with your doctor and seek a psychological support right now.
    What I definitely would do is to go to the soccer game. Take your newborn or let it to your husband and show up there as well, with your first son. This will defuse your cloud of projections and fears, and take you out, and nurture your link with your first born. And it is good to sometimes exchange the roles between parents. You seem stuck at home and having insecurities about your husband who is outside meeting people. Swap that. He can watch the newborn and you go to the soccer every now and then. Don’t take rigid roles in the family.

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