Jealousy toward husband’s female workmate

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker


Hello, my husband has started a friendship with a workmate (female) 4 months ago, she is married we met her and her family. At first I was ok with it but I started getting jealous with the way my husband is extra attentive to her- we have other female friends too but to my observation he does not behave the way he is with them. He admitted that he like her more than he like our other friends, he enjoyed picking her up from home to go to work, it was his idea to carpool. He loves inviting them for family barbeque. He said he wants me to be friends with her- I am trying but my jealousy is still here. My husband is aware that I am jealous of his friendship with this person but assures me it is only friendship, a platonic one. Is it me who just had the problem, I admitted to him that I am jealous of the time he spent with her, like he would pick her up for work but have to go earlier so that they can have a coffee at her place ( sometimes the husband is home, other times it is just her at home). He asks me if I am ok, but when I say Iam not ok with this he seems not to be able to understand.Am I just stressing myself?

I feel like my feelings are not as important as his frienship, he would rather have this friendship inspite the fact that it is causing tension between us ( our marriage).He emails her and text her (several times a week), of which he has not done to other friends before. I ask that I read the emails/txt, it was ok with him. There was nothing there, just chitchat…but my question is he sees her at work, do carpools…does it mean he thinks about her more than necessary?

He also seem to be so concern of her- first he offered to carpool because they work nightshift and she only gets 2-3 hours sleep during the day so not really fit to drive. THen, he asks me if it is ok to have her daughter in the afternoon be dropped off to my place so that she can have a rest ( of which I said no because we already have our own kids. plus an additional child would be too much/noisy as he,my husband sleeps in the afternoon before going to work at 8.30).

Other small things too, she just need to txt him for small things and he’ll go,drive 15 minutes to her place to lend her a pliers, pick up this or that etc.)Please help me, how can I deal with this, how can I overcome this feeling.

This person is also aware that I am jealous of her, my husband told her that first time that we had the discussion. She said, she didn’t intend to cause trouble between me and my husband and hopes all is ok now. That time, she decided not to carpool with my husband, then after a cooling period of one week, my husband asked if he’ll pick her up again, she did say she’ll drive to work but my husband insist that it will be no trouble, that I am ok with it. I am not really ok with it, because I said to my husband that time, what if she decided not to carpool anymore he said, well he’ll be disappointed because he likes her company and since there is nothing really going on it should be alright. I told him I would prefer if he’ll just let it be, I mean since she bowed out that to leave it like that. But obviously, that didn’t happen. What am i to do? Thank you for your time and advice.

A: It’s very hard for me to assess a situation like this on the basis of a letter. It might be that your husband is more attracted to this woman than he is admitting to you or to himself. But the fact is, he’s been very open with you and has not acted defensive in any way – even when you asked to see his texts. That suggests that at the very least he’s trying to be respectful of your feelings.

The other possibility that occurs to me is that your husband is lonely for a friend. Working night shift makes it tough to have friends or even to be as close to you as he might want to be. Then along comes this person who he not only likes but who shares the same difficult schedule. It’s possible that what you are sensing is the beginning of a romance. But it’s also possible that what you are seeing is the enjoyment of a new friend.

If you two were seeing me in my office, I would want to ask you if you each have close friends you do things with and confide in. For many people, having young children and working third shift tend to crowd out having friends. Our partners can’t be everything to us. People need a social group. If your husband doesn’t have friends, I would then suggest to you that his solution is a healthy one. Make friends with her too and expand your social circle.

On the other hand, if your husband does have good friends in his life, I would wonder why this particular relationship is so important that he is willing to hurt your feelings to continue it. Is he feeling sorry for a single mom? Or is he letting himself get more involved with her than he should because it is kind of exciting to be around her? The answers to those kinds of questions would help you both figure out what role this woman has in his life and if it is a threat to your marriage.

I’m sorry to give you such an unsatisfying answer to your question. That always happens when an answer is “it depends.” What I do suggest you do is keep talking. Perhaps some of the ideas I’ve offered give you a different direction for your conversation. Work hard not to accuse or blame. Instead, just try to be interested in what it is that he is getting out of the relationship. Once you understand that, you’ll be in a much better position to make your own decisions.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Jan 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Jealousy toward husband’s female workmate. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/01/18/jealousy-towards-husbands-female-workmate/