Hi Achokis. I have been married for three years and have a daughter. My hubby is a good guy, but likes flirting a lot with other women. Each time I catch him flirting, he tells me it’s nothing serious. I want to believe that’s true, but this thing is hurting me. What should I do? Please help!
The two of you seem not to have agreed on what boundaries to have when it comes to how you relate with others. When two people get married or are in a serious relationship, it is important they first recognise that their relationship is exclusive and that they need to honour each other.
When we talk about the relationship being exclusive, it means there are certain things you can only do for each other and no one else. Using words of endearment such as sweetie, darling, and honey should be reserved for your spouse and not for any Mary, Jane and Sue.
What then makes you different from the other women in his life? Secondly, if you are not comfortable with it, and have raised that issue again and again, the honourable thing for him to do is to stop even if he doesn’t see anything wrong with it. It is a sign of disrespect for him to continue flirting, yet you have made it clear you don’t like it.
So, what do you do? Trust is important for any relationship. If he doesn’t change his behaviour, it would be difficult for you to trust him and this could kill your marriage.
Therefore, remain firm in what you don’t like and won’t tolerate in your relationship. Jealously guard your marriage— it is not wrong to be jealous and to feel insecure when your husband is doing to others what you feel should be done only to you.
Be assertive and respectfully let him know that you won’t tolerate such behaviour. Help him see that it’s not about how far he goes, it’s about what you don’t like, and how that makes you feel. If not for any other reason, at least to honour you. If he really loves you, he should be sensitive to your feelings.
When the shoe is on the other foot
Ask him what he would feel if you did the same with your male colleagues? If that would make him mad, then why would he dismiss you when you raise that issue?
You could even rope in another woman, a friend or a female relative that he’s free with, to help gain perspective. Ask them in his presence how they would feel if their boyfriend or husband did the same thing. We often tend to minimise what our spouse is complaining about until an external party helps us see things objectively.