Does your wife have inappropriate male friends? How are you going to think about that?
This is specifically for the husband in a rocky marriage where you feel boundaries are being crossed. And for some reason you haven’t figured out what to do about it yet.
Your wife’s “boyfriends” may come in various shapes and sizes. These are some of the descriptions I hear from husbands about the questionable men she has in her life.
“At parties, she surrounds herself with men and initiates sexual conversations and dirty jokes with them.”
“She always gravitates toward this one guy in the neighborhood and enthusiastically hugs him when we leave – nobody else – just him.”
“She has lunch nearly every day at work with a male colleague who is “just a good friend” going through some tough times.”
She is chatting on Facebook frequently with an old boyfriend.”
“She constantly exchanges texts with a male friend who is in a bad marriage and says she is just supporting him.”
“She ignores me at home and lights up like a Christmas tree around other men whenever we go out socially. She laughs and talks with them in ways she used to do with me.”
“She says she wants to share a hotel suite with her business colleague to save money for the company during the 3-day conference.”
“She goes to happy hour every Friday with her boss because she thinks her job depends on it. And I’m not invited.”
“She chewed me out for rudely interrupting her on a phone call in our kitchen with the guy she now refers to as her lover.” (yeah, really)
Those real-life examples span the scale of “appropriateness”. But I believe there is a way to prepare yourself to respond to any one of them with a calm, clear-headed, confident strength.
As you read those I imagine you developed knots in your stomach and now you want to scream something into your computer/phone/whatever your gadget is.
No need. I understand your feelings.
But let’s talk about your thoughts on this.
How to Change Your Jealous Thoughts
Jealous thoughts will always create feelings of fear, weakness and powerlessness.
You wake up every day around 4:00am feeling insecure, uncertain and angry.
Bad stuff is happening to you and all you can do is react and ask questions.
Jealous thoughts sound like, “Why is she doing this to me?” and “How could she be so mean and inconsiderate?” and “Why does she give her positive, loving side to everyone but me?”
How do you break this death spiral?
You must decide to change your thoughts. But you can’t just decide to change your jealous thoughts, can you?
No. You’re going to have to decide to change the way you think about your jealous thoughts.
It sounds complicated because it’s not something you’ve ever been asked to do before. Think about how you think? Yes, think about how you’re thinking.
You need to accept that you’re feeling the way you are because of the way you’ve been thinking to date. You need to have acute awareness that the feeling of being in a death spiral is caused by the way you are thinking about it. As much as you want to blame someone else, you actually have total control – if you want it.
How would it feel if you could change how you think about your jealous thoughts and wound up feeling more clear, confident and strong in facing crossed boundaries?
Upgrading from Husband Version 1.0 to Husband Version 2.0
You absolutely can upgrade your thought process around your wife’s behavior and your jealous thoughts.
You will be required to change your thoughts about your own personal value as a man.
Husband 1.0 has a lower sense of self-worth than Husband 2.0. Husband 1.0 has guilt around his role in being the sole cause of the situation. Husband 2.0 knows beyond doubt that he deserves better and will have better.
Do you deserve better? Hell yes, you do. So change that thought.
You will have to make a stand and speak boldly and “unapologetically” about what you want and what you expect.
Husband 1.0 believes the consequences of doing that are scarier than if he says nothing at all. Husband 2.0 doesn’t give a flip about the consequences of standing up for what he wants and expects. Whatever the outcome – it’s what is supposed to happen in his life.
Can you not give a flip about the consequences of making a stand? Hell yes, you can. So change that thought.
You will have to allow yourself to imagine other options in your life besides waking up feeling insecure every morning at 4am.
Husband 1.0 believes he is stuck forever in this relationship and is doomed to be a victim of her choices. Husband 2.0 knows beyond doubt that he has many viable options to improve his life. Some are with her – some are without her.
Do you have options? Hell yes, you do. So change that thought.
Transforming How You Think About Jealousy
This is going to sound like some woo-woo personal affirmation. It’s not. It’s the truth about the man who lives inside you and one who may need to be unleashed. It’s about the man you were meant to be.
When this guy thinks about how he thinks about jealousy, there are no knots in his gut. Because he is a vulnerable man, he feels hurt and disappointed by betrayal and bad judgment from his partner. But he isn’t destroyed by it. He has no control over her choices – but he has total control over his responses.
He is well aware of his ability to create the life he wants and expects and doesn’t fear speaking up for it. He’s a man with options who isn’t afraid to exercise them.
Husband 2.0’s inner dialogue sounds something like this:
I am a tremendous man of value who owns the creation of his happiness and well-being. I can’t feel disrespected, insulted or offended by anyone unless I give them that power.
Jealousy is an emotion based on the fear of what my wife thinks about me. What I think about me will always be more important than that. My wife is a beautiful addition to my life – but she is not my life. I will care deeply about her thoughts, dreams and fears but I am unfazed if she chooses to reject mine. I chose her to join me in life and I can un-choose her if needed. This applies to all people I allow into my life.
I am accountable to the standards and boundaries I place on myself. And I’m unafraid to communicate the standards and boundaries I have for those I include in my life. I am an imperfect work-in-progress and respect that in my wife and others.
The relationships I choose will include mutual respect, trust, support, honesty and consideration of each other. And I will continuously work on being a man who can create that and who deserves to expect it from my partner.
Many men shy away from difficult conversations. We can be timid about stating our expectations and be afraid of rocking an already wobbly marriage.
When we lose the fear of the consequences of communicating our boundaries, we are liberated from feeling stuck – forever.
And, of course, that is totally “gender switchable”.
I wrote a free e-book to help men learn how to lose their fear and be more bold in their marriage to create the love and connection they want. Get The Hard to Swallow Truth About Saving Your Marriage HERE
If you want to learn more about how to take a bigger step toward being a clear-headed, confident man of action, then find out more here. I would be thrilled to help you get there – our first discovery call is always free and always gives you a BIG boost of confidence.
You WILL become a clearer, stronger, more confident man only through other men. Your woman cannot take you there – and she doesn’t WANT to…trust me on that.
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Photo Nicole Henzel/Flickr