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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I have a pretty solid marriage, we started out not great but it's only gotten better and better.

That being said....

My wife, who's in her mid 30's, grew up with a father who never paid attention to her, and then left when she was 13 and had a series of impulsive marriages after the fact, and still does this well into his 60's.

Because of this, my wifes sense of self worth and security has always been derived from receiving attention from men. Growing up this made it psychologically impossible for her to be in a committed relationship, because the time and attention of one man simply wasn't enough to fill that self worth void.

When we first met and were dating i found out she was still carrying on with her ex BF, and after a year of turmoil we got past it, then married, and had our son......since then she's done a lot of self-work and growing, and acknowledges the above within herself... our marriage is better than ever and we're very much in love. So the trust came back.

But.... I still see these signs if her internal issue. She'll do things flirtatiously toward other men, and doesn't seem to recognize it as inappropriate.

For instance. We were at the gym and working out together, and she, for the first time did two pull ups, and she was excited. And there was a guy in the room, who's a total stranger, and was over near him getting a kettle ball, and she says to him "I did my first pull up!" in a cutesy way, and then a bit later when leaving said bye to him is a bit flirty way. (he wasn't some super attractive guy or anything)

when I brought it up to her, she had no idea that she was being flirtatious. I said, honey, you just randomly act all cutesy to this total stranger guy? while I'm right there? and she got upset at herself, because she didn't realize it.

Any way..... even though our marriage is good, I am feeling like this is eroding my trust a bit.... like my wife can't seem to speak to other men without this unconscious attempt at gaining their attention.
 

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Hm. 'daddy issues'.

I dated 2 girls like this. One had a father that split early and another that I think (not really sure) was abused. Both relationships didnt last.. not really related to why it didnt last - just saying I think I understand you.

Mid 30's. Still pretty young. My feeling is that alot of people eventually get more comfortable with themselves as the get older...40's...50's... and maybe this eases up. You seem pretty perceptive. You give her plenty of affirmation etc I am assuming?

My feeling is that this sort of behavior is not something that is going to change anytime soon.. it is instinctive. Thing is - it appears as an offensive behavior when my feeling is that it is actually defensive. Obviously it has worked for her to help her be accepted into groups.

For you too its a fine line between jealousy and controlling behavior and letting her be herself. How much of this is your own insecurity leaking out is hard for me to guage. What do you think? If my wife did this - I dont think it would bother me - but then again I also dont believe that would be a pattern of behavior for her, nor has she ever cheated.

Without knowing anything and just reading your words, I would say that you need to both be cautious and let her know how you feel - but you also need to learn to trust her. If she starts feeling that you do not - resentment will set in pretty quick. You say more than once you have a good marriage - call me crazy but now that you have said something to her - you need to balance the equation and also show that you trust her.
 

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Unfortunately my wife is the same way and to make matters worse she is talker. She will engage anyone in conversation man, woman, a complete stranger - it simply does not matter to her. If a completely strange man tries to start a conversation with her she doesn't hesitate. Is she unconsciously seeking attention? I would say yes.

When talking to men she will unconsciously get "flirty". It is how she is. She wants to be liked. She enjoys the attention.

Do I trust her to not let it go too far? Most of the time.

Has it caused problems in our marrigae? Definitely.

About six months after we were married we went with another couple to a club with a live band and unlimited drinks after paying the cover charge. I was the designated driver. By the end of the evening we were preparing to go and my wife was visibly tipsy. I had to visit the bathroom so I told her to sit right there and I would be back in a minute. When I returned to the table - no wife. I thought maybe she had gotten sick so I went to the ladies room and asked one of the women to check inside if anyone was sick in there - nothing. OK maybe she went outside toward the car. As I was walking toward the exit I glanced at the dance floor and see my wife dancing with a man I didn't know.

Afterwards I asked her did she know him - she said no. Then why did you go with him when you knew we were leaving and she was supposed to be waiting for me at the table? Her answer was "He asked me to dance". I said "Did it not occur to you to tell him you were with your husband?" She just looked at me with a blank face. She did not understand that that her behavior was not only crossing the line and disrespecting me but was also very hurtful to me. The next day when she was sober I told her that what she had done was absolutely disrespectful to me and I was disappointed in her. She said "it was only one dance". I told her that was not the point. The point was that it showed me I could not trust her to respect out marriage in all situations. I also told her that if she had done that while we were dating that we would not be married.

So if you are asking if you can ever trust your wife totally in all situations my answer is you would be a fool to do so. I think that total, unconditional trust in a marriage is not a good thing. People change over time. People do stupid thing and latter regret them.

So trust up to a point, but be on guard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry about the delay in reply.

I think you both relate, and I'm glad I'm not alone in this.

"When talking to men she will unconsciously get "flirty". It is how she is. She wants to be liked. She enjoys the attention."

I think that NAILS IT.

I actually think it's not JUST about men, she wants to be LIKED by everyone, I just think is manifests differently in men, with men there's an unconscious.."I am secure in my beauty when men flirt or show me attention" I'm wanted. with women it's easier for her to say, eff you who cares.

Many of her female friends tend to be less attractive than her, quite a bit so.

I discovered an IM she had with a guy in her crossfit class, and the exchange was totally platonic, nothing to worry about, but toward the end he said whens your last class, I wanna go so I can say bye, and she says, "oh it's on friday, thats sweet of you, see you then"
and the end she sends a "winky face" emoticon. no I'm not freaking out, because it's just an emoticon. But I think it sends the wrong message, it's flirtatious.

I said honey, I know you aren't even thinking about it, but I've got a lot of female friends, and I'd never send them flirtatious emoticons, and they wouldn't send them to me, because it's FLIRTING.

She wants guys to like her and think she's cute. I say to her, babe you're already HOT, you don't need to TRY, when a hot girl tries to be hot, it looks insecure.

Unfortunately, when I bring it up sometimes, she will turn it around as me being controlling or jealous.

I have NEVER been a jealous guy. I said honey, there's a difference between being a jealous guy, and a guy being MADE jealous, by a girl unaware of her behavior.
 

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She is right you can't control her BUT you can control what you are going to put up with. Maybe it's innocent now, but her boundaries are a bit of a concern imo.
 
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