wife loves another man

Ok, so I’ve been married for about 6 years, we have three kids who we love. my wife has been in love with this other guy for about 8 1/2 years or so, since before we were even dating. This is something we’ve talked about and struggled with our entire marriage, though the first few years it was more felt than spoken of… I knew going into it that something wasn’t quite right that maybe we needed more time to be sure, but I was in love with her and afraid of losing her too, also she was sure we were ready and I kind of trusted that if she was sure everything would be great.

Everything is great, except she still feels like she’s in love with this other guy, a guy who I now know and like and I trust them both. He’s also married and I think that their marriage could be a mirror image of ours the way things seem. They (my wife and this guy) are really fantastic jazz musicians and were in a band together before we knew each other and dated too, now the last year or so they have reunited musically and have been gigging like three times a week, I know the whole band and they’re great guys and am not worried that anything is going to happen as far as physical romance, kissing or worse., but I know these feelings are there and it sometimes feels like torture when she’s out with the band and I’m home watching the kids, she comes home late at night and I hardly see her weekends, I feel like we have little time together and she has ample time with her band. When we’re together we’re trying to get through stressful stuff and taking care of business and when she’s with them she’s having fun and getting fulfillment from feeling like she’s using her talents.

She keeps a journal and doesn’t mind when I read it, it’s full of her struggles with this unwanted feeling of love for the other guy, most recently she wrote in that they spoke of how things could’ve been had shed not quit their band back in the day and how she felt like it was just code for what might’ve been romantically…

at the moment we’ve basically agreed that she’s tried to stop loving him for all this time and it hasn’t worked, that maybe it’s just not going to happen. So I said just love him and love me, try to love him as a close friend. Just so long as she loves me and stays true to her vows everything will hopefully work out… I just feel like there’s not enough room for the both of us though, and don’t know what to do. If I say she needs to stop singing with them then she’ll be bitter and unfulfilled in that part of her life for sure, she’s wanted this for a long time… So my question is, am I a fool or a loving understanding husband and how do you think I should proceed??? any advice or anyone who’s been through something similar please let me know!

She made a vow to you, to (romantically) forsake all others. She cannot directly make these feelings toward this other man go away. Her attempts to do so haven’t worked. So she needs to do it indirectly, by avoiding him. I am not saying you need to issue her an ultimatum, but somehow somebody – ideally not you – needs to help her see what she is doing to you. She is making you feel like less of a man, because you are in competition. It is unfair to you.

If the situation is as you have described it, I would say that you are justifiably hurt and angry. Stand up for yourself!

I’ve tried for long enough being outraged and offended and hurt by it, it hasn’t gone away, if she hasn’t gotten the message that I’m hurt then she won’t. This problem didn’t go away when we didn’t see the guy for like 4 years it only went somewhat dormant, he is a good and trustworthy friend and I think that it would probably only make matters worse to take the band and our good friends (him and his wife, his kids and ours are friends too to make it even into even more fallout). I don’t want to take away her musical outlet because she needs it and will not be content without it. I think it would be selfish of me to cut their family off from ours in other words. Especially since my wife has diligently tried to be a good wife and shut out these feelings.

Thanks for the input, but I can’t cut them off… any other advise?

A few quick thoughts:

*]It is good that she evidently takes your marriage seriously, and seems to view these feelings for this other man as unwanted feelings.
*]While it is not sinful for her to be in a band with this man, it does seem to me that this is what Catholic teaching calls a “near occasion of sin.” In other words, she is freely putting herself in a situation in which she is exposed to temptation. That she has not given in to the temptation is wonderful, and hopefully she never will. But it is best for us to avoid temptation when possible, and it doesn’t seem like she is doing that.
*]Can she possibly find another band to play in? Is there a reason she has to be in this particular band?
*]I don’t think that you should push too hard to try to get her to distance herself from this other man, provided that she remains committed to you and to the marriage. But I do think that she needs to put distance between herself and him. (Quitting this band and joining a different band would seem to be the best option.)

She’s addicted to this relationship with this man. She cannot “shut out these feelings”, if she continues to spend tons of time with him. It just can’t be done.

Have you ever experienced an addiction? I have. You can’t keep the drug right at your fingertips, and expect not to use it.

I think you have a choice here. Sorry, I wish I could say something else. You say “I don’t want to take away her musical outlet because she won’t be content without it”. But you’re not taking away her musical outlet. You’re asking her to find another place to channel it. She chose you. If she chooses you and then makes you feel like ****, sorry, that’s not marriage – that’s not even decent. But she has the opportunity to make things better. And I swear to you, she cannot do that if she chooses to lean into her relationship with this man.

I feel like you’re looking for another way, but there is no other way. Jesus did not say, “If your hand causes you to sin, try to think about your hand less often.” He said, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.”

Sorry I’ve got nothing happier to say. :shrug:

Ooops, I got carried away there, and didn’t even notice that I swore in the last post. :blush:

The band she’s in is pretty much top notch and no other band in this area is competitive, I’m a musician as well and understand that when it’s right, it’s right and nothing else will do. most other bands around here are not only less compatible but less capable. I wish it was that easy.


(emphasis added)

As an amateur musician myself, I can understand how your wife feels about needing a musical outlet. However, part of being an adult is learning to prioritize our life, and to sacrifice less important things if necessary, even less important things that we like. For example, if I were single, I would probably be in a band. But because I am married with children, I choose not to be, because my wife and family are more important than my desire to play music. And I do get to play music, often for my kids to listen and sing along.

That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with your wife playing in a band, in theory. But given the situation with this other man, her playing in this particular band obviously presents some problems for your marriage.

But as I said in my previous post, I don’t think that it would be wise for you to push your wife on this. You can’t force her to make a sacrifice for the good of your marriage and your family; that is a decision that she has to make freely.

Well, then it’s just a matter of what you value more. If you value the band and your wife’s comfort more than your marriage, that’s the choice you make. But don’t pretend that you’re a victim, then. You’re choosing this situation. :o

that last was in reply to paulgh, not you prodigal, that was posted while i was writing… I understand the man up argument, but know that I’ll be throwing the baby out with the bathwater if I do it. I feel like if I i take away the band and cut off a healthy family friendship then I’ll be doing a tremendously selfish thing… I don’t need that right now and neither does she.

I understand this sounds like I’m being a sheep, but I trust my wife. I do wonder if she’s playing with fire though.! as far as the cussing, I’ve cussed about this issue before too as I’m sure you’ll imagine, thanks for your insights!

I agree. She needs to recognize that this is the best thing, and choose it. But somehow she will need help recognizing it. Questions are your friend – “Honey, what have you tried to make these feelings go away? Is what you’re trying working? Why not? What else are you willing to try?”

Trying to push her into this is not likely to work.

There’s nothing wrong with selfishness. Your wife has a duty to make you feel loved, to the best of her ability. I think the voice telling you you’re being selfish is the voice of the devil, quite honestly. If your wife is seeking out her needs, and you are seeking out her needs, it’s awfully unlikely *your *needs will be met.

have to disagree with you on that one, if she’s seeking out her needs, and I’m seeking out her needs, at least one of us is being selfless, right? That’s not to say she’s seeking any needs that shouldn’t be met either, she’s playing music. She meets many of my needs, I’m just not sure whether her being in the band is something that I need her not to do. in my mind I know she’s trustworthy. I can be very insecure and torture myself while she’s gone, but when she comes back I know she’s been true and that her feelings for him torture him in a different but perhaps equal or worse way to how they torture me… I’m trying to figure this thing out, bear with me if I take a while to adjust to any new input, it’s been a problem for years and I don’t think it’s going to be solved in a day. either she bends over backwards to give up the things that make her happy in order to not make me feel insecure, or I bend over backwards to be accommodating and trusting. Life is more complicated than I used to think possible. I don’t remember her ever vowing to feel any particular way toward me or him during our wedding. She does love me in the real sense of the word in that she does the everyday due diligence and makes our family the priority in life… Feelings are a bonus, I’d love to have her every feelings to be all devoted to me, but there are many great christian spouses who love their spouses without feeling in love. What a predicament! I don’t always feel in love with her, that doesn’t make me an untrue spouse, she feels love for someone else and me too. I don’t know that that’s worse or not.

hlewis, have you seen the movie ‘Fireproof’? It deals with a similar problem to the one you are having but in a very primal way. I love the whole concept of it because it puts a man in charge of his home, his family and his life. It involves commitment to a new way of regarding a marriage, but I think it really is the only way for a man in this situation to take charge. Women really appreciate the modern day (more civilised) but primal male approach. We really do! It would be ideal to have counselling yourself to support you and guide you through all this so that you don’t become too emotionally emasculated to rise above it.

I’m struggling with a similar problem and your post confirmed my fear that the issue probably isn’t just going to resolve itself. She might be able to get over him seeing him like this, but maybe she needs outside help? There are books about how to get over an addiction to someone and cognitive behavioral therapy might also help. Whatever she does, she needs to do her best to solve this problem for both your sakes. Have you talked to her about possibly getting outside help? Would she be willing to do that for your marriage? Something’s got to give here. This isn’t an okay situation at all.

Hi hlewis, you need to give your wife an ultimatum, she must choose between this man and yourself. I don’t think you see it but your wife is treating you very badly. You need to take a stand and forbide her seeing this man under any circumstance. If your wife chooses the other man, let her go and seek an annulment, yes an annulment because if she married you while still in love with another man then the marrage was never valid in the first place! If she chooses you, make sure she agrees to never see him again.
I wish you the best, and hope that you resolve the situation oneway or another.

I have seen fireproof and it’s been a while, I don’t remember it as much of a parallel to this situation, I wonder in your opinion what a fireproof response would be, I do tell her how I feel about it but I don’t want to be a controlling husband. her dad was a jerk that way and I feel like any movement in that direction will be calamity. I obviously sound like a wimp when I say that and maybe I am. I’m just bewildered and as you say I’m kind of emasculated by the whole thing. All I remember about fireproof is that the husband was kind of a jerk and then made efforts to resolve that. I’m trying not to be a jerk, I do admit that anyone who thinks I can’t take charge is absolutely right. I feel like I need to be confident in myself and just not feel threatened by her band/friend, but I feel threatened by her band/friend and it makes me not confident.

No, an annullment has nothing to do with who one is in love with.

You read your wife’s journal, with her permission, so let her read this discussion, and see what other people think.

As you are also a musician, you will appreciate the ‘emotional hothouse’ that the performing arts create, so having your wife in this environment, with someone she loves, is courting disaster.

It is possible to love two people at one time, but if you are not the ‘great love’, your position is in jeopardy when ever they meet. IF the love is one sided you stand a chance, but with this love being reciprocated, it is a conflagration waiting to happen. I could cry for you. I have seen this happen in theatre so often - nothing beats the high of performance, and when you love someone who shares that high, it is intensified out of all proportion.

It will take a very strong and principled woman to turn away from this situation and honour the vows she made with you. I pray she will.

Maybe counseling would be a good idea. I might try to get her to reply on here too, as hearing my side of it without hers maybe a little lopsided for you all. I can probably get her on here tomorrow for a little amateur counseling and see how it goes. I appreciate you all and have some fresh food for thought. It helps just to talk about it, I feel like I can’t talk about it with close friends or family because it’d drive a wedge between her and them. My wife is a good solid woman and I hope she gets on here tomorrow and you all come back and read it…

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