Reader Question: I’m Jealous of a Woman My Husband Works With

Reader Question of the Week

Every Monday I like to post a Reader Question and take a stab at it. I get a lot of variations of this one: “I’m jealous of women at work!” When you’re worried that someone at your huband’s work has her eyes on your husband, what do you do?

A woman writes:

My husband and I have been married for over a decade. We’re blessed with wonderful kids and we love each other very much. We love God and we seek Him in all we do. My husband has been working with a married woman in our church for more than a year now. Their offices are next to each other and they occasionally share a coffee and conversation with each other at work. He has assured me that he tries to avoid being alone with her, he avoids talking to her for too long and leaves conversations with his male co-workers when she joins in. He doesn’t do anything social with her outside of the office. However, I have seen how she interacts with other men at church–she doesn’t have many female friends but flirts and jokes around with the guys all the time. She makes a point of it to bring up some of the conversations she’s had with my husband when we chat at church… I’ve taken out most of my frustration with the situation on my husband and we’ve fought about it a lot. He feels I don’t trust him, but I don’t trust her!

Changing jobs isn’t an option because in his line of work there can always be women working with him. I’ve asked if he could move offices… but he isn’t too keen to do that as he would be put in an awkward position to explain why. Should we speak to our elders at church? Or should I just get over my issues and trust him and leave it at that? We fight almost every Sunday after facing her again at church and I feel like its become an obsession with me. At church he barely greets her and they never speak but then she tells me about conversations they had at work. I’m afraid I’m doing exactly what I don’ t want to: driving him away.

Many of us are in similar situations. Women at work seem to talk to our husbands a lot! And coworkers certainly can pose a threat to our marriages, as I’ve written about before regarding texting and other technology. But in this instance, it looks like the husband is behaving well. So here are a few thoughts for this woman and others like her:

Jealous of Women at Work: Dealing with jealousy of your husband's coworkers

Don’t Take Something Out on Him He Hasn’t Done

The one sentence that really stands out in this email to me is this one:

He feels I don’t trust him, but I don’t trust her!

I’m not exactly sure what that sentence means. If you trust him, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. What is it that you don’t trust her to do? Do you think she’ll have an affair with your husband? She can’t do that if he’s trustworthy. Are you afraid she’ll come on to your husband? So what? If your husband is trustworthy he’ll turn her down. Why, then, berate your husband because you don’t trust her? She has no power over your husband if your husband is trustworthy.

Here’s the thing: if your husband is trustworthy, it really doesn’t matter what she does.

So what does it matter if you don’t trust her? What does it matter if she’s flirting with your husband? If he draws boundaries and turns her down, you’re all okay.

Suggestion: Ask yourself, “has my husband ever given me any reason not to trust him? Is my husband acting appropriately in this situation?” If you can answer those questions to your satisfaction, then honestly, let it be. Don’t punish your husband for something he’s not even doing–especially if he’s acting appropriately!

Now, if he’s not acting appropriately, that’s an entirely different story, and I’d point you to some of the articles I’ve written on emotional affairs and on discovering your husband is having an affair. But let’s assume for now that the husband is acting appropriately. What, then, should you do?

Decide What You Want Your Husband to Do

Let’s look at this letter for a moment. She doesn’t want to go to the elders, because no matter where he goes he’ll work with women. She doesn’t want him to switch offices because that’s not practical. She does want him to set boundaries, but he’s already done that. And he’s not texting his female co-worker, and she’s not texting him.

So if you’re getting annoyed at a woman, instead of focusing on that woman, whom you have no influence over, ask yourself, “what do I want my husband to do?”

The answer can’t be, “Get her to stop flirting!”, because he can’t control what she does. So it has to be something that he can do.

And if you can’t name anything you want him to do differently, then you have to let it go and stop bothering him about it. It just isn’t fair.

Make Sure Your Marriage is Rock Solid

Every marriage goes through seasons of distance. Every marriage at some point is at risk. And the easiest way to minimize the risk ISN’T to get rid of all the possible temptations outside of marriage. It’s simply to make your marriage the best it can be!

If you find yourself starting to get jealous, then work on your friendship more. Find a new hobby you can do together. Plan more date nights with your husband, even if they’re just at-home date nights. Make sex a priority!

Get to Know the Women Your Husband Works With

I firmly believe that as much as possible spouses should be involved in each other’s lives. And you’ll find that if you know the people your husband works with, jealousy will likely decline. First, they’ll know you, and it’s much harder to go after a man if you know his wife. And second, if she’s no longer an abstract but a real, breathing person, you may not feel such jealousy towards her.

I have an article on keeping marriage strong by getting to know your husband’s co-workers here.

Confront the Woman, if Appropriate

If you feel that she is being flirty with your husband, there’s nothing wrong with going to her and saying,

“I’ve noticed that you’re really a friendly person, and that’s great. But I’m not sure if you realize how it comes across when you’re that friendly to your male co-workers. It just worries me, and I’m sure it worries others, too, and I’m asking you, as a woman, to keep your conduct with my husband on a professional level.”

Would that be hard and awkward to say? Absolutely. But it’s far fairer to your husband to have that moment of awkwardness with her than to constantly grill him on what she’s doing.

Ask Yourself Why This Bothers You So Much

Something in this whole situation is triggering something in this woman. She’s reacting in fear and anger and lashing out at her husband. The question is, why?

Ask and pray through that question. When you start feeling scared, ask yourself, “what exactly is it that I’m scared of?” Pinpoint it. Then ask yourself, “Do I have a reason to be scared?” If the answer is yes, then I’d suggest asking you and your husband to go in for counseling together, or talking to a mentor couple. It certainly could be that you’re anxious because you’re picking up the signs of a real budding relationship.

However, in this particular case it really sounds more like she’s reacting to something that’s going on inside of her, not something that her husband is doing. Many of us start marriage with baggage. We’re insecure. We worry we’re not attractive. We worry no one will really want to stay with us for life. We worry our marriage will end up like our parents’ marriage did. And so when we see someone who seems like a threat, we go overboard.

The issue, though, is with you, not with your husband and not with this woman.

In this case, talking and praying with a friend through some of your insecurities and fears, and especially talking with a counselor about some of the insecurities you may have from brokenness in childhood, is likely a  good idea. Perhaps the whole reason that this episode is happening is to give you a jolt, or a kick in the pants, to deal with something. God doesn’t want you to be insecure, and He doesn’t want you paralyzed with fear. He wants you healed. If you’re over-reacting to something, it’s a sign that something’s wrong, and that there’s healing to be done. That’s perfectly okay. There’s nothing wrong with having issues; there’s only something wrong with refusing to work on your issues.

So find someone to talk to who can guide you through figuring out the root of your insecurities. A licensed counselor is probably best, and many churches can direct you to someone if they don’t have one on staff. But do deal with this!

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I want to say, again, that I know that often in cases when you’re jealous of a co-worker it is for a reason. Your husband really is at risk of having an affair. In this case, though, it really doesn’t look like it, and I’ve received enough emails that are similar  that I thought it should be dealt with. Sometimes we blame our husbands for things that aren’t their fault, and it’s much better on the marriage to figure out what the underlying problem actually is.

Now let me know in the comments: Has jealousy ever reared its ugly head with you? What did you do?

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Comments

  1. Great advice, Sheila! I would encourage her to stop arguing with her husband every Sunday. This behavior just makes it worse. She wants to do everything she can to draw her husband to her and not away from her. Arguing with him and not trusting him pushes him away from her instead of to her. She needs to begin flirting with him, laughing with him, and enjoying him. Causing him to want to stay with her instead of looking somewhere else would be a much better approach.
    Lori Alexander recently posted…An Inquisitive Reader Of MineMy Profile

    • Yes, arguing and blaming him for something he has no control over is really counterproductive.

      • Stanley says:

        Yes Sheila, I completely agree with that statement – which is largely why I take exception to your rather harsh stand against men looking. Every single heterosexual male between the age of 20 and 50 looks. Every single one – no exception! The preacher – he looks. The religious devout that prays for strength and forgiveness for hours every day – he looks.
        Not looking may be a noble goal – but expecting a male to achieve that goal at a young age, or without decades of prayer (and or meditation), is unrealistic.
        He should not stare! Staring is easier to control and is, generally, socially inappropriate.
        He should not covet! That is the rule in the bible that seems to be over generalized it the fantasy world where men do not look.

        • “Be holy for I am holy.” The Bible doesn’t give an age range for when we should start being holy. It may be that few can achieve it, but the fact remains that this is still the commandment, and this is still the standard.

          • Stephanie P says:

            Maybe I missed something….but I’m not sure you were saying it is a sin for a man to just look at other women…I mean, guawking and staring is one thing, but simply looking and noticing if someone is attractive is not a sin…it’s what is done with the thoughts/actions that can become sin… like anger….we can be mad and not sin..or we can be mad and sin….There’s a line, I believe.

          • I’m not really sure how we got started talking about a man looking at a woman–because in this scenario he ISN’T looking and he isn’t entertaining thoughts about her, as far as we can see.

            It seems like Stanley is insinuating that men have no control over looking–but I would disagree. Men have no control over seeing and appreciating–but to look is to do something deliberate. And if you are deliberately looking at a woman because you find her attractive, that is not a good thing. If you are looking at her because you’re talking to her, or she’s a coworker and you’re in a meeting together, and you notice she’s pretty, fine. But if you’re in public and you’re deliberately looking at attractive women, you are making a choice. You DO have control over that.

            I agree that there is a difference between seeing/noticing and looking, but I’m still not quite sure how we got onto this tangent. :) We’re talking about this situation of a guy at work, and I just want to reiterate that the letter writer in so way insinuated that her husband was “looking” at this woman.

          • Stanley says:

            [This comment has been deleted because it continues a thread that isn't part of this post, and I'm afraid it does more harm than good by promoting the idea that men "automatically" look at other women. Considering how hard a topic this is for many wives, I just don't think this is a good forum for that discussion, especially this particular post.]

  2. Great advice!!! & I’d also encourage her, as a wife and as someone that has been through this, to continue to pray over your husband. Pray that God will continue to protect his heart and mind in general but especially where this person is concerned, that God will continue to give your husband only eyes for you, and that He will help him to form healthy boundaries. I found in the past, praying this prayer was more effective than anything else I could do. Also pray for God to protect your heart and help to give you wisdom in this situation, speaking to your husband in love.

    It is so hard as a wife in this situation, our imaginations can run rampid! I pray God continues to remind us of the love our husbands have for us and only us!

  3. He sounds like a gem of a husband, and is doing wonderfully on how he is dealing with this woman. However, she reminds of the women that “wait in the wings”, and may stand in when she notices that he’s having problems with his marriage, etc. The thing I’d consider is to make sure he does have a confidante to turn to when there’s problems (and no matter how fabulous your marriage is, you will some problems), a male confidante that he can turn to, so he’s not tempted to turn to her because she’s there and so friendly. It’s not the everyday she’s a threat, it’s the tough times.

    • That’s a good point. I read a stat somewhere that said that only 10% of men have a good, male friend they can talk to about issues. One of the best things we can do as wives is to encourage our husbands’ friendships with great, godly men.

  4. It’s possible that pro-actively seeking to befriend this lady might help. I believe I would rather the lady at work reference conversations with my husband to me than keep them to herself. It seems the work lady would be more secretive about the conversations if she were truly trying to put the moves on the husband.

    Having a friendship with the work lady would put the wife in a better position to tactfully point out that she is a little too flirty with men around her. She probably doesn’t even realize it. Out-going personalities often inadvertently intimidate more reserved people. :)

    • Bethany says:

      I strongly agree that pursing friendship with this woman if possible would be a good way to go. I personally am quite jealous (due to insecurity :( ) and I have found that getting to know people really helps me to see them as people, and not as some larger-than-life phantom threat. If this is a case where perceptions of her behavior stem more from the wife’s insecurities than from the actual situation, this would help a lot, and if it is more a situation in which this other woman does actually have trouble making female friends, she may deeply appreciate being reached out to.

      • Yes, absolutely! We really don’t know what’s going on with this other woman, too, and maybe she just needs a friend!

    • Yes, the fact that she’s telling the wife about the conversations does make it sound less nefarious to me, too. I think pursuing a relationship with her would definitely be best.

      • Mysituation is different in that I have caught my husband (of 37 years)having an online affair(that included phone sex and cyber sex) And in spite of questionable counseling, my husband still hides his email,and his texts both sent and received.
        I have encountered this situation before several times. One of these was the woman he had an affair with. She apparently thought I’d respond the way the woman in your question did and then he would leave me. He did tell her he was leaving………and that he weighs 100 less than he does,..and………that he can/wants to dance all night( the walk to the car is a workout for him).

        Once was a much younger woman on his dart team(almost 20 years ago) She seemed to be taunting when she brought up what they talked about. Her behavior bothered me even more so after I overheard her bragging to her college friends that she had already slept with three of the guys on the team(only one of which was neither married nor engaged) And she wasn’t shy about kissing his forehead which pushed her chest in his face–in front of me and our daughters!!!! It did not help the current situation to find this ones picture in his porn stash under our bed!

        The other two are online friends with the affair partner and my husband. One sent my husband love notes!!!!!! And then she offered to forward messages after he left the group. Of course they simply started a private Facebook version which they promptly invited him to join. And when I objected–”you just don’t want him to have any friends!”

        That all the above claim to know the Lord and follow Him really baffles me. The attitude of these women seems to be that anything they want is ok, that God wants to be happy and that there must be something WRONG with me for not just ignoring my husband’s hiding communication with other women even in the wake of an affair.

    • I agree with Iris that it’s actually a POSITIVE thing that the woman talks to the wife about conversations she’s had with her husband. In fact, I consciously try to do this – if I’ve had a conversation with the husband or boyfriend of a woman I know, I try to casually bring it up the next time I’m talking to the woman, in order to keep an open relationship with the both of them and to eliminate the possibility (or suspicion) of secrecy or deception. It could be that this woman is trying to include the wife in her friendship with the husband by keeping her up to date on what they’ve been talking about.

  5. I like all of your ideas Sheila. I like to stop by my hubby’s work occasionally with a drink or a candy bar, sometimes just a hug and a kiss. I try to make these visits really short (sometimes i’m there under a minute) so I’m not taking away from his time at work, but it helps my hubby know that I think about him when he’s not with me, and if he worked with women it would let them know he’s in a happy marriage. As he only works with men, he says they comment about how cool it would be if their wives did the same.

    • Yes, exactly! This is a great idea. And it does show him that we’re thinking of him, and it helps us to put faces to names of his colleagues, too.

  6. I agree with all the comments above about the husband seeming to be on the up and up and also the ideas about befriending the woman. Absolutely.
    I would say, though, that if the problems continue: the only reason the husband gave at work for not switching offices is that it would be awkward to explain why. I don’t think it would have to be as awkward as he makes it seem. He could always say that her conversations with him throughout the day are distracting him from things that he is trying to do. I think that would be reasonable and avoid as much awkwardness as going into detail would cause.
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  7. Believing the premise that the husband is trustworthy and faithful, it still wouldn’t hurt to talk with one of the elders or the pastor – ideally couple on couple – about the situation. Not with the purpose of holding the husband’s feet to the fire, but with the goal of smoothing things out for the wife.
    1. The wife needs to be reassured that her husband is facing a common temptation and that he’s meeting the challenge – yay, husband! And,
    2. If someone else is aware of the situation, it’s an extra layer of accountability/protection should he be tempted in a low moment, or falsely accused (think Joseph and Potiphar’s wife) if the flirty woman gets tired of being ignored.

    My dad worked for over forty years in a pulp and paper mill. During college, I spent three summers working there and would occasionally be on the same shift with my dad, and met tons of his coworkers. That mill had its share of flirts and affairs and immorality. My dad was very well liked, and I was amazed by some of the stories the other women told me. They had noticed that he did NOT flirt with the women. They had noticed that he treated them respectfully (he was really a joker, but not off-color). And more than one of them admitted to me that they had tried to flirt with him over the years, but had given up on that because they knew they weren’t going to get anywhere! Though he didn’t go around preaching, he had a testimony at that mill that was a very bright light in a dark place.

    I don’t remember any indication that my mom resented his job or coworkers, or showed any sign of jealousy. She trusted him, and for good reason :D

    Julie
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  8. I would add just one suggestion since it wasn’t said outright. Theses “boundaries” he has, have they been discussed between husband and wife? Don’t assume that you and your husband have the same ideas about what boundaries are or where they should be drawn. My husband is very friendly and funny and sometimes does not realize that this could be misread by women and that his boundaries are set in a place that are too close to the fire, so to speak. A few years ago, he found himself in a situation that had all the appearances of impropriety even though nothing happened (this woman was hoping for more and was mad when he said, “uh, no, where would you get that idea”). We had a long talk about where his boundaries were, and how sometimes it does not matter what actually happened if you permit the appearance that something did or could have. Sometimes that is enough to cause damage to a reputation. I also asked my husband if he would be comfortable with me having the same kind of relationship with another man that he has with a given women, or the same amount of text or phone time. This caused him to reconsider what he found an acceptable boundary. If he was not comfortable with me sitting alone in a room having coffee with another man on a daily basis, or texting during the day to another man, then he should not be doing it with another woman. Communicate!
    Also, I do want to add, that being jealous of your marriage is completely appropriate behavior. We are told in the Bible that God is a jealous God. The Isrealites were his chosen people and He was jealous when they dabbled in the pagan religions and “adulterated” themselves with the pagan gods. Jealousy is an appropriate and Godly response to guarding your spouse and your marriage that you love and hold dear and don’t want to lose, but guard it with love and positive action not with sin and hatred. Pray for your husband, talk to him, date him, make passionate love to him. Pray for the other woman, for her to be otherwise distracted and disinterested, perhaps for her to be employed elsewhere. God has the power to take care of business. ;)
    A little more than 2 cents … sorry.
    Erika

  9. I’ve been thinking about this situation for an hour or so. I’ve been in a similar situation… though I wasn’t in the position of this woman. But, I know what she should do. She needs to start talking to this woman and asking her about HER husband and HER life. If the other woman seems dissatisfied at all with her home relationship then she can decided to distrust the woman. If not, she is totally in the clear. Trust me. If the other woman doesn’t sing the praises of her husband then she could be a potential threat. Now, I also totally agree with Sheila’s post in that the wife needs to really take a good look at herself and her insecurities. She should also stop badgering her husband. He sounds completely trustworthy. However, if she frustrates him to the point where he is irritated enough to mention her in anything less than a positive light and it’s within earshot of the other woman…. it’s all over. Even the greatest of men can fall if thier wives push them away. And the same with women!
    Now in this woman’s defense, she may be like me – I was the only girl in a family with all boys and I just feel much more comfortable around men. Also, if that other woman is trying to talk to her about conversations she has had with the woman’s husband, I’m really very sure that she is just trying to start conversation. If the two women aren’t friends, what else is the other woman going to talk about?! If I meet one of my coworkers spouses, that’s exactly what I talk about, too!

    • P.S. A woman who wants to flirt or get involved with someone can smell a man that is suseptible to getting caught in her hook and flirting back from a mile away. If your husband is clearly not interested, she can smell that from a mile away, too, and there is NO way she will keep trying. She’ll just move on to the next guy until she gets a bite.
      Just like what happened in Julie’s story.

      • KD signals sometimes get crossed!
        We sort of had the reverse happen. A contractor we hired shared a common interest with my wife. He left a message on my wife’s cell phone suggesting they meet. She thought nothing of it but let me listen to the message anyway (she probably guessed that I would want to hear it because she usually deletes the messages). I met the contractor and, without going into any depth, made it clear that my wife and I have no secretes – anything he tells her she could repeat to me. He never called her again.

  10. My husband used to work with women at his old job and what I found useful is him telling me about his day/night shift and conversations he had with these women. The only thing I didn’t really like about him working with these women was because they got to see him more than I got to see him sometimes because when he worked nights I would hardly get to see him at all because I work 9-5 and he usually had to start heading to work at 5pm when working nights. It had nothing in particular to do with women I didn’t like the fact the men he worked with got to see him more than I did as well. Though when my husband would tell me about conversation he had with the women and if I felt like what the women were saying to him was inappropriate I would mention it to him and he would be more careful with the person next time (sometimes guys are a little oblivious to things like a women flirting and really don’t know when it is happening and need a little talking to about it), but I don’t really remember having any issue with that though. One thing my husband always does (and so do I) with new or people he has known for a while, he will always bring me up in conversations (when applicable-not all the time unless necessary) and that will let new women know he is taken and will remind other women of the same thing.
    My husbands new job he can come across women at their homes because he does service calls, but my husbands boss is a Christian and a good friend and what they have always done is if they know there is a women that is going to be there by herself when they go to the service call they will bring someone with them if there were supposed to be working on their own. I find you can never be too careful. The devil would love to ruin marries especially happy ones and if you can keep yourself away from temptations of any kind then do it!

  11. There are women who are only satisfied with the attention of every man they are around, whether either party is married or not. There are very manipulative women who play men because they know how men work–flirting, wearing attention getting clothing, and/or playing the ever grateful damsel in distress. There are women who would rub it into a wife that they know things about her husband that she doesn’t -conversations, work situations, inside jokes, office gossip, etc. this wife may be insecure or the woman may purposefully be trying to make her feel insecure. I agree to have a discussion on boundaries and expectations of both of them dealing with non-relative members of the opposite sex–texting, social networking, messaging, phone calls, lunches, office situations, work situations, being in a room alone w someone of the opposite sex, etc. . My ex-husband had an affair with my closest friend-we were in a rough patch and she knew of course from me confiding my concern and she played damsel in distress and he’s always been the good guy who thrives on being needed. My last boss was someone I admired greatly for his standards-unspoken to me but I noticed. He interviewed me with the door opened and we never had a conversation alone in a room with the door closed. (And I also did not put an extra chair in my office bc men would stop in the doorway to say hi on their way by and I did not want to invite sit down and chat time.)When I mentioned how much I respected our boss’s actions and respect for his wife (who I never met in 1 year there) our department secretary told me when she first started working for him she was working out of her home and not once would he come to her house during the day while her husband was at work-this was several years. I don’t trust the female co-worker in this situation at all. I would never talk to a woman about things I knew about her husband from work if I was actually interested in befriending her-I would be asking about the kids, what she thought of the women’s Bible study, if she were working at the upcoming church dinner, etc-anything but her husband. I think this couple needs to have a boundaries discussion, possibly with the guidance of a counselor. I think the husband needs to be open with details of his day and job–whether it includes the woman or not-and help his wife feel part of his day.

    • Crystal says:

      I have been in this situation…twice. The first time, my hubby and I were in a funky spot in our marriage. And there was a woman “waiting in the wings” as she too was in a funky spot in her marriage. That “relationship” resulted in an 8 month separation but spanned on and off for 4+ years. This lady was a co-worker of my hubby. Her and her then family had been in our home, we had been to parties with her and her then hubby and I had been around her. The second time was when I was about 6 months pregnant with our first child. I knew something was off as I had been through all this mess previously. This lady too was a co-worker. She was more of a friend of ours than the first. We had been around this gal and her hubby lots. She had taken maternity photos of me, she had stayed in our home, yada, yada, yada. Her and my hubby was planning a weekend in the city where she resided. I questioned the whole thing. Her hubby was going to be doing something totally different and she was going to show my hubby the city and go to a concert. However, I started snooping through his emails days before this getaway was going to happen and found that he and her had created emails with “pet names” and was sending emails with code words. He knew the minute he saw my face, I knew what was going on. I have to be honest. Had I not been pregnant, I would have left him. After all, at that time, we had been married 9 years and over half of them I had dealt with affairs.

      Now, I purge all that to say, this lady can befriend the flirt and it still may not help. I befriended both of my hubby’s mistresses. It still happened. I do think her hubby is trying to keep boundaries. However, there is always that split second that the flirt may expound on a weakness he may not intentionally have. I think he needs to flee. My hubby never intended for the first affair to happen. He said, “it just happened.” I think openness in the relationship is paramount. He should talk any situation with his wife. Even if it is a little uncomfortable. That discomfort is better than the discomfort of a divorce.

  12. I have been in a very similar situation. Husband working with a woman who was very “friendly”. She is a Christian. I confronted my husband and we discussed and wrote down boundaries. I still felt insecure. I didn’t trust the “situation”. I did get to know the woman, which helped to some degree. I was frustrated at my husband’s seeming passive attitude when I tried to talk to him about how I was feeling. I also talked to a wiser, older woman. She said this and it has made all the difference in how i have been reacting – even if i have to bite my tongue or go to another room to stop my behaviour. MEN WHO FEEL DISRESPECTED REACT WITH PASSIVITY.” Wow. My “badgering him” as he said, although I didn’t think it was that bad, translated to him as disrespect…….so I had to pray, pray, pray, and trust. And do all I can so he feels and knows that I respect him.

  13. I love this advice! My dad had a long-term affair with a woman he worked with and left my mom for her when I was 18, so this is a big baggage issue for me. It’s hard for me to NOT believe that every woman my husband works with is out to wreck our marriage. It doesn’t help that most of them are single and non-believers. I sometimes get worked up about things that are nothing, and my husband works very hard to have appropriate boundaries with all of them. I am going to bookmark this post! Thanks for addressing this tough issue.
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  14. LPaasch says:

    I have a simular situation… A couple that we have befriended and hung out with a lot,have hit a rough patch. Now the wife, who has several interests in common with my husband, seems to be focusing on and flirting with my husband more and more. I’ve come up an tried to start a conversation with her an get monosylibc responses, then my husband walks up an she (with me standing right there) jumps into this excited conversation with my husband! Even when we interact as couples she mostly converses with my husband rather than me or her husband! What do I do? For business purposes she does have, a few, legitimate reasons to talk to him, but she uses those to create a larger conversation than necisary! My husband and I have discussed his boundaries and he’s doing everything in his power to not enteract with her more than nessisary. But it’s really affecting my relationship with my friend. Should I talk to her tell her how her actions are coming across? Or do I just let her be and hope it works it’s self out?

  15. Brienna says:

    My best jealousy example isn’t quite the same situation but it was definitely a learning experience for me and our marriage.

    During a particularly long “season of distance” for me and my husband (one that very nearly destroyed us), an ex of his had the wonderful timing of crawling out of the woodwork and tried to “get back in touch”. She was sending him love poems and romantic song lyrics. It even got to the point where my husband and I would be in the middle of a conversation and he would stop to respond to a text from her. To me, he wood constantly complain about her but when I would suggest telling her to leave him alone he would just say that he didn’t want to be rude or hurt her feelings. Finally I reached out to her and as politely as I could told her that I understood they had history but would appreciate it if she would leave him in the past. She got very angry, called me some very choice names, told me how miserable i was to my husband, and when she finally finished dragging me over the coals exclaimed that if he didn’t want to talk to her then he could tell her himself. I once again as politely as possible assured her that he and I would discuss it and I would have him get back to her. Well she promptly started texting him at work telling him what his wife had the nerve to say to her. His response was, “I don’t know her reason for contacting you but if she doesn’t want me talking to you then I shouldn’t be.”

    Because of the situation our marriage was in at the time, he was ecstatic that I had defended our relationship. He told me that because I did that, he knew that our relationship still mattered to me. It was definitely a turning point for us.

    Needless to say, we haven’t heard from the ex since lol

  16. Great advice Sheila! This seems to be really common – women feeling threatened by other women in their husband’s life. My husband is a pilot. I’ve had many insinuations during our 10yr marriage about needing to watch those flight attendants, or worry about his fidelity during his many and necessary trips away from home. Just no! If he is trustworthy (and he is) then there is no need to worry about what the women around him do. As they say, it takes two to tango!
    I love the advice about being involved in your husband’s work life too, and getting to know the people he works with. It makes your own relationship stronger – you’re being supportive and interested. It can only be a positive thing.
    Also, on the little tangent which came up above about “all men look at women”, I would just like to say, RUBBISH! I’ve had this very conversation with my husband – who is a trustworthy, Godly man and he says that is simply not true. As a teen, he learnt very quickly that he had to train himself to see the person (not just the body) and speak to their face (rather than gawk at their body). A man is responsible to God for his own thought life and actions – all the modest dressing of Christian women will not help a man that has not learnt this!

  17. Thanks for this post. Boundaries with other women, at work or elsewhere are very important. There’s lots of lonely people, married and otherwise, and we’re not doing these people any favours by trying to be spouse substitutes. It took me too long to realize that some people were not looking for platonic friendships and weren’t going to be satisfied with just that.

    We need to examine our own motives as well. If we’re flirting in return or just paying too much attention because we find it flattering or it makes us feel special, that is really dangerous. Why do we enjoy this person’s attention anyway? Maybe I’m being too harsh here, but I’ve been very insecure and it’s still something to keep an eye on.

    As has been said before, not getting enough attention or affirmation in your marriage is no excuse to seek it elsewhere.

  18. I love the advice. I just want to add a couple of things. The first is something my husband does, I’m not sure its something you can ask your husband to do. I just know mine does and it is I believe helpful. My hubby tells anyone who will listen how great his wife is, How much he loves me that I’m a great cook, how lucky he his, etc, etc. I’m not bragging. I know this because people tell me this even the girls who work at the store by our house. The point is there is not a person who knows my husband that doesn’t. know he is HAPPILY married and loves his wife.

    I do the same. Friends at work give him strange looks sometimes it seems not evertbody feels this way. about their wives. We feel like we are lifting up marriage in this way, plenty of people will tell you how bad it is.

    Also pray for this woman it helps in two ways. First if this woman is working in a church and flirting/luring. a married man who has set boundries she needs prayer and lots of it. What must her spiritual state be to behave in such a way. Pray for her!!!

    The second benefit is it is very hard.
    tobe resentful at someone you are praying for sincerely

  19. My husband is always befriending women he works with. There have been at least 2 women who I know he was emotionally attached to. The first one was while I was pregnant and he talked about her all the time, they went to lunch together and he invited her to several events while I was pregnant and after I had our daughter. She was married too, but I did not trust her. I became very jealous of her and we fought about her a lot. We moved and it was about 2 years before I noticed another situation. He was texting back and forth a lot with a woman who he was her supervisor. It would be after work and on the weekend. Deleted all the messages, but I paid our cell bills, so could see the amount of texts and it was alarming! It got so bad we seperated and he filed for divorce, however we patched it up after 3 months and did not divorce. He has cut ties it seems with that woman, I don’t know if anything ever happened between them, but he says no. I honestly want to believe him, but part of me seems to romance the thought of him being a horriblely bad husband and cheater. Why??? I put us both through so much by being so jealous, but last week I found another text from a woman who works in his department. She is single as was the last woman who he was texting non-stop. I got pissy and quiet and then he was trying to be all sweet and said what is wrong? He saw I had his phone, went upstairs and then came back down. Then was like your mad because of “so &so ” texting me- really – grow up! I work in an area that uses multiple ways to communicate. I work in a digital area. We text- get over it! So we fought. I don’t know if I am crazy, but I expect him to not have texting outside of work on his phone to women about non- work issues. I love and hate him allay the sametime! I honestly know its not right, buyi wished was jealous and felt the hurt I have been through. Our sex life is horrible, it’s rare and quick with our emotions at best. I am broken and wish. He could see the shell that is left – my core is gone and I feel ripped for the inside out. I have anxiety that in ever had before. I rarely go do much and I have gained about 70lbs. I feel like a ghost of who I was when we met. That woman was strong, independent, sexy, and demanded attention. He was all about showering me with it too. 8 years later and here I am..

  20. I guess I’m confused. I mean, if the co-worker lady tells wife-lady that she talked to her husband and it bothers wife-lady, then what was the context of the conversation? If it was “Oh, I overheard husband saying that you guys were planning a trip to Disney World?”, then why does wife-lady get so upset? I’m guessing that if she’s getting upset, then it’s because the conversations weren’t as innocent.

    “They occasionally share a coffee and conversation with each other at work.” — Why the coffee? I work with mostly men and I don’t ever have coffee with them. That isn’t needed to have a good working relationship with them.

    I don’t know–this doesn’t seem as straightforward as it first appeared.
    jayme @ No Regrets Living recently posted…Everyday Life Day 35: Talk Ain’t Cheap. It’s Cute.My Profile

  21. My husband is always very friendly with women at work. And now he is working with women that is known to be looking for a relationship outside marriage. Upon his permission I looked at his IMs and I read both of them playing. Like she assigns him a ticket and he says oh no you are giving me work.She goes why you are angry. He goes I am not gonna do it.What you going to do. She says I will chase you till you do it followed by winkie. All the IMs that the girl write has lol smiley for no reason. And is full of hahaha and hehe. When I told him that this looks overly friendly he says I am jealous. This is after warning him about her and he kept giving me an impression that he is not that much in touch with her. They almost talk every day and she visits him in his room. My husband does not tell me anything any more as I get upset but I really want to know if I doing too much. This is 3 year old marriage. Don’t know how to handle it. He is asking me to trust him.

    • Hi there! That’s really a tough one. Can you sit down with someone else and talk about it? Maybe discuss how to set appropriate guidelines? Sometimes if we have a third party, like a counselor, a pastor, or a mentor couple, steer us through it can help both of us see the situation like someone from the outside would, and then we can make decisions easier. So I’d really recommend talking to someone else if he just doesn’t agree that it’s a big deal. I really hope you can find some resolution!

  22. Thank you so much for this! I absolutely needed this. I’m going through something extremely similar in my own marriage, and this has given me a lot of insight.

  23. Shelly . J says:

    Thanks for this post. I think the writer should really confide in a couple of older married women that go to the same church. They most likely went through the same feelings at some stage of their marriages and would be great comfort to confide in. The older married women who are mature in their christian walk, should take the lead and the burden to shepherd all the younger women in the same congregation. Just like Lois, Timothy’s grandmother in 1 Timothy. We are God’s kingdom people, he always wants the best for us, and in the end almost everything in our environments happens to make us turn to Him, pray to Him and deepen our relationship with God. Trust and depend on God, because He is the alpha and the omega. He is the eternal God!

  24. Ashley B. says:

    I can’t believe I just found this website and post! I have been working through a situation similar to these stories. It has gone on for over 2 years now. There was a woman at work that my husband built a friendship with and i started to feel a little uneasy about. My husband is wonderful and has corrected everything that has made me feel uncomfortable but there still seems to be a huge elephant in the room at work events. I’ve had a secure marriage for almost 12 years until after we had our last child. My husband is a manager and I befriended a woman at his work who we both clicked with and we went to her wedding. She is 5 years younger than me but about 10 years younger than my husband. After I built a friendship with her (during this time we were both pregnant)…my husband came home telling me how after 6 months into her marriage she was divorcing. She was the only employee of my husbands on my face book page and so I started noticing some real changes in this woman right around the time my husband counseled her at work about why not to get divorced. The background on her is that she also has 3 children from past relationships and now a new baby with the man who me she was divorcing. My relationship changed with her very fast after this. She started calling my home on the evenings and weekends and texting my husband about her personal problems at 11 at night…like they had been having conversations at work between the two of them and not with the whole office. He would tell me how she was in 3 different court battles and one with a past employer but she was the most amazing and hard working employee for him. After her divorce my husband said he wanted to help her out ( being that she would have all of these mouths to feed now) so he gave her a $20,000.00 raise per year. ..more than he has ever done for anyone in such a short amount of time. We started talking about her more and more until I felt like she was living with us in our home. I adored her and saw so much of my younger self in her. She is hard working, had a few bad breaks and she just needed some extra encouragement and a mentor. I always see ked mother type mentors but I felt that my husband was starting to fill this void for her as her father never did. And it’s a vicious cycle too because my husband is in sales
    …if his sales people don’t make their numbers, we don’t make our bonuses. She helps our family by doing a great job so I’m thankful but unfortunately my relationship with her went down hill. At work events and parties she started to say intimidating, rude and disrespectful things towards me and lead on that she knew my husband better. She would mention office jokes (when my hubby was not in the room) infront of the other office employees and I would feel humiliated. I would ask my husband about it and he would say she was just jealous of me and that he did not say the joke but she would repeat it again at the next office party ( while husband was in another room) until my husband said that he did say the joke but he saw how upset I got over it so he acted like it did not happen. My jealousy grew. She started acting ownershipy over my husband and kids when i would visit the office. I noticed how attentive my husband was towards her and when I mentioned my concern he called me crazy and that I was being ugly. He forwarded me an email from her personal email to him at work telling him on her day off how lucky he was because his wife (me) was so sweet. Of course that seems nice but at this point it was obvious that she was not treating me with the same respect as before. I felt threatened because my husband would defend her and then go to work and spend the entire day with this woman. My baby was just a few days old…days to to weeks and then to months. I started thinking I had post partum because the depression and anxiety over this situation was killing me inside. I felt betrayed by my husband because he had opened up his heart space for this woman. I defriended her on Facebook and she confronted me online as to why. Then she went to my long time friend who works in the same company and asked if my husband was mad at her and she would not let it go. My long time friend was cold to me the next time I talked to her. It made me feel as if she was turning the close people in my life against me…even tried getting in close with my mother n law. That would never work because my mother n law and i are best friends! Now I see this woman at work events and she hugs my husband then ignores me and does not make eye contact with me. It felt so uncomfortable at the last work party last week and my husband noticed it too so we left the party. I hate this situation! !! God please help! I now see that over the past 2 years she has given my husband lots of little gifts….wine, chocolate, his favorite candy and more. All the thoughtful things that I do for him and have never stopped but I feel as if I’m competing with her. I prayed to God with my mom and mentors that she would find a distraction and she has a boyfriend now…he’s cute…good for her! The only problem is my husband talks nothing about her anymore because it upset me so much but I feel left out not knowing anything. I had several older woman advise me that it would not be safe or smart to be friends with her and to back myself out of the situation as fast as I could. I just feel angry that after 10 years I have always felt comfortable walking into my husbands place of work and now there is a woman there that I have had this situation with so now I have not gone into my husbands work and it’s been over 6 months. I drop him off his goodies from Starbucks…he runs out to the car and then I drive off. I’m so upset over this because I really want to still be friends with her…she was always trying to make plans and get together with me and us outside of her job but I also don’t trust her. When I see her I get triggered and my wrists shake. I have some much bottled anger for her and the things she said to me when she was pregnant and I had just had my baby. I wish I would have put her in her place but I felt that she was my husbands problem…not mine so I left it alone. Now I just think it looked so strange that I was friends with her for 2 years and then dropped her so fast. I felt that fb was building her emotional attatchment to my husband and kids somehow. She acted like she knew us better than she did
    I know I hurt her because I asked her to open up to me if she needed to and she did…then I cut her off because I felt that having her too close was not a good idea for my family. What do I do about this?? My husband isn’t going anywhere and I know for a fact that she won’t be going anywhere so I have to change. I just don’t want to worry about it anymore but then I get so much anxiety when I have to go to a work party and I know she will be there. It’s so uncomfortable for me…

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  1. […] your husband at work. Don’t be a stranger. If you do this, you’ll likely feel much less jealous of the women your husband works with (if you’re the jealous type). Putting a face and a personality to a name often kills […]

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