Hello everyone! I am brand new to these forums, though I have been following the blog for a while now. A lot of the information has been very helpful to my growth and to my own personal satisfaction. But I did have some questions regarding my relationship with my wife. We've been married for 6 years and have two children. Also, we're in our mid 20's.
I know that jealousy comes from insecurity and/or distrust, but what if you can't shake the feelings of jealousy? I love and trust my wife, but I can't help but get jealous in certain situations. She had a very sheltered upbringing, but now she is surrounded by an older--more worldly--group of friends (mutual business acquaintances that have brought her (us?) into their circle). And this particular group does not hold my same values of respect for a husband and wife (as I witnessed recently).
The problem is, my wife doesn't seem to notice it. So, it's like I have to break down each event or problem that I had from any given night, which of course starts a fight. She accuses me of being jealous/insecure and maintains that nothing "bad" occurred. (I should point out that I don't actually accuse her of wrong-doing, but it doesn't seem to matter.) And it's a big problem, because I feel like I have to be the leader and steer her in the "right" direction, but I must be doing something wrong.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
I'm not entirely clear on what, exactly, you're jealous of. Are you invited, or is she going alone? If she's going alone -- why aren't you going? Where are they going? What are they doing? You called these people 'business acquaintances' ... is she spending business or social time with them? Are you just jealous that they're spending time with your wife, or are you afraid its going to become a sexual thing with somebody in the group? Are you afraid that she's becoming too close with a particular person, or the whole group? Are they just a generalized bad-influence (bunch of drunks or crackheads or degenerates or something)?
I wouldn't want my wife spending a bunch of alone-time with a group of people I didn't trust. I wouldn't call that jealousy as much as protectiveness, though -- at least in my case. My wife is a very trusting person -- which I love about her -- but I'm not, so we try to use my general suspicion to our advantage. She trusts my instincts.
I can't tell from your story if you're being unreasonable or not. Your instincts may or may not be the one to trust, here. But, you seem to be misconstruing the 'leadership' thing. Headship in a marriage isn't about telling your wife what to do. She gets a vote in family business, including friendship circles. She gets to like people, even if you don't.
Be straight with her. If you're suspicious of somebody in particular -- tell her. If you think some dude has designs on her -- tell her. "That guy has his eye on you. I trust you ... but, I don't trust him." If you think they're a bunch of degenerate drunks -- tell her. If you're suspicious of the whole group ... weird ... but still tell her. Be specific, and talk things through with her. Don't accuse her, unless you have a damn good reason.
I don't think its unreasonable to ask your wife not to spend unnecessary alone time with other men ... but it is unreasonable to order her not to spend time with a whole group of people that she likes for no other reason than you don't like them much. Go along. Unless you have good reason to suggest cutting-them-off completely, learn to tolerate them for the same reason you learned to tolerate crap chick-flicks ... for her.
I have to agree with Shieldes on this one. You said she grew up sheltered. It sounds like you also grew up a bit sheltered. Women who are "very "familiar" with each other" is not a strange thing. They talk a lot about anything and everything. That is what women do.
Did she have brothers growing up and did you have sisters growing up? My wife didn't have any brothers. Even though she grew up as a pretty girl with the attention of boys it was not until later in our marriage until she really began to understand how guys think, what they think about and how they function. She was very surprised when I brought up the fact that a lot of boys had probably masturbated thinking of her. This was eyeopening to her. She realized how she had probably unknowingly tortured boys in high school.
Men and women are different. We think we know how the other thinks by assuming they think like we do. We then build what we think should be very basic common assumptions based on this thinking. Then we can't understand why or how they view something from a different angle. It really sounds like both of you have some learning to do. I'm not saying that as a bad thing. You have only been married for 6 years which is just long enough to start getting into these type of situations. Hopefully both of you will learn and grow together.
I don't get it. He drew a mustache on your wife's finger. Like he was doing for a bunch of people. He didn't single her out, he asked her permission ... and you were bloody sitting right there. Why is that 'unacceptable'? I doubt that'd even be 'unacceptable' if you weren't there. Its a drawing on her finger ... not licking whipped-cream from her cleavage, or asking her to sit in his lap, or whatever.
You're overreacting. Big time. Cool it.
And, if you don't like a bunch of private communication on Facebook ... sign up for Facebook and join in on it.
Did he ask her if she wanted a mustache ride?
Lots of women have no idea about what or how men think. They're probably better off not knowing.
You have to react to the actual situation, not what he might be thinking. Maybe he got a thrill out of drawing a mustache on her finger ... but he was still just drawing a mustache on her finger. Men can think all kinds of things about even the most innocent situations. You can't entirely account for that in determining what kind of behavior you find 'acceptable' ... unless you plan on dressing her in one of those black bee-keeper costumes women wear in Afghanistan.
And, if the guy is actually noticeably creepy during seemingly innocent mustache-drawing -- punish him for being creepy, don't punish your wife for thinking something that appeared innocent actually was innocent.
If you know you're overreacting, saying something to her isn't going to help. Overreaction is an internal problem, not something she can fix ... unless she intends to overreact with you.
Apparently, ignorance is not bliss.
The result of the introspection I talked about is that you realize when you need to make your wishes explicit, because they're idiosyncratic. Some wives would be OK with a half-humorous, half-apologetic, but sincere, "I'm strange, I'm a jealous type, but please only shake hands with other men, no other touching." But if that's what you want, it needs to be said out loud. You can't just assume she'll figure out your idiosyncrasies.
I think this is the way to go. I'm sorry she got angry with you, and I'm sure I can get why: she heard "I am uncomfortable with this" as "You shouldn't have allowed this." That is, she heard it as about her, not about you.
I'd bet that if you could make it clear this is you and you know it's you, she could hear it. Maybe even if you asked her to refuse contact. But certainly if you could say, "I'm not asking you to do anything different. I'm just letting you know how I feel, because I want you to know me."