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Dilemma in a Relationship

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I am a 27 years old woman and recently got married to the man of my dreams. My boyfriend, who never wanted to get married to me, a man who always lied and was always unfaithful to me (when we were in a relationship). We finally broke up, but one fine day he came back and asked me to marry him. As I was madly in love with him, I somehow agreed and got married last year. (I guess, that’s what I always wanted). But a few days later, after marriage, I found out that a week before our wedding day, he has slept with not one but two different girls. I was devastated and tried to break the relationship, but somehow he convinced me again that whatever he has done was before marriage. He shall never repeat this ever again. I accepted and agreed as I can really see now what a changed man he has become. But in between all this chaos, I met my husband’s colleague, and somehow started often meeting in parties and get-togethers. I don’t understand what’s the feeling, but it’s been a year, and my attraction towards him( my husband’s colleague) is just getting stronger. I don’t know how to relate it with my emotions. I just can’t stop thinking about him. We are like good friends and very formal, as he is a junior officer to my husband. I don’t know about him, but I am not sure what he thinks of me. I am really afraid of these feelings. I have tried everything possible not to think as I can see my husband working really hard to make things better between us. But it’s just my mind which cannot stop thinking about him (my husband’s colleague). Is it anywhere related to the anger and disappointment that I have got with my husband or just a pass going attraction? (From India)

Dilemma in a Relationship

Answered by on -

A.

You ask such a great question, and I’m impressed that you made the possible connection between the attraction to your husband’s colleague and your anger. The fact that you’ve identified this as a likelihood means that it is worthy of us exploring it as an explanation.

If your attraction is a type of revenge because you are angry, then it may be a type of passive aggression. Passive aggression comes from an abundance of angry feelings and a desire to avoid direct conflict. When the clash would be too uncomfortable, ill-advised, or not feasible, a passive-aggressive response is likely. At its core, passive aggression grows out of ambivalence of wanting to be angry but not having either the ability or willingness to do it directly. In your instance, you got the man of your dreams, but his deception and lack of faithfulness put you into a puzzle.

The solution? Harboring an attraction to his colleague.

As you will learn in the link above, passive aggression can emerge in different forms. Your silent fantasy feelings about his junior colleague would be the silent version of potential destruction. It would be the counterbalance to his infidelity and could have the potential to hurt him in the way he hurt you. Also, it is cloaked in socially acceptable and formal environments, so even if your husband were to confront you-you would be “innocent” enough because your behavior wasn’t inappropriate.

As the article will point out other forms of passive-aggressive behavior in addition to the silent, obstructive, or withholding behaviors are

1. Sullen, insulting, or negative communication
2. Regularly deny, forget, or procrastinate
3. Noncommittal in their agreements
4. Doing things inadequately/with little care
5. Struggle between independence and dependency

One possibility is that you struggle with expressing their independence in a socially-acceptable way. Like many people who are passive-aggressive, there is a core frustration in their attempt to exert some control over their life. More often than not, they are often unassertive and don’t know how to be more decisive and sure of themselves. Typically they have difficulty expressing themselves assertively and positively.

As this is often the case, I would recommend reading the book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud & John Townsend, or the book Assertiveness: How to Stand Up for Yourself and Still Win the Respect of Others by Judy Murphy. Either of these will be helpful in you speaking up more about your needs and issues with your husband.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Dilemma in a Relationship

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Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2020). Dilemma in a Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 2, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/02/19/dilemma-in-a-relationship/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 17 Feb 2020 (Originally: 19 Feb 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 17 Feb 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.