Dear Positive Way, my wife continues to accuse me of looking at other women, what can I do? I’ve tried to tell & reassure her it is not true and it’s got to the point I’m considering putting a paper bag over my head, can you please help? I am an invalid pensioner due to car crash & have low sex drive but I do love my wife very much &would like some advice on what I can do to help her with these insecurities. I know she loves me too although she has been through a life of hurt from other cheating men &her dad cheated on her mum as she was growing up, how do you cope with this as it affects our marriage deeply?, I try not to get angry but feel helpless & hurt by the continuing accusations. Signed Sallad, age 45
Dear Sallad, you are in a difficult position with an insecure wife. The fact is that you cannot change or fix your wife's insecurities. She and she alone is responsible for how she feels and reacts to certain situations. Please read the following articles and then I have some thoughts and suggestions listed below for you to consider. The links are filters, express and own feelings, jealousy and setting boundaries.
1. We have our eyes for the purpose of looking and observing what is around us. We all look at the opposite sex and we all take notice of each gender when we are out and about. There is absolutely nothing wrong with looking at the opposite sex. As long as you are alive you will take notice of others. That does not mean you will cheat on your wife. Looking, in and of itself, is not wrong.
2. You cannot make your wife feel better about herself. She is 100 percent responsible for how she feels and sees the world around her. She obviously has filters going on that cloud her vision of you. She is holding you accountable for the actions of the cheating men in her past relationships and that is not fair to you at all. You are not one of those cheating men. You are not her father. With that said please do the following:
3. Set up a meeting with your wife for a set time of 15 minutes. Tell your wife you want to discuss a family matter and give her a choice of two different times to meet and allow her to pick which time works best for her. Make sure this meeting time in uninterrupted - no phones, no TV, no radio, and no other people. Bring a timer to the meeting and set it for 15 minutes.
4. Practice what you learned in the article express and own your feelings. Tell your wife how you feel hurt and sad when she accuses you of something you have not done and will not do. Tell her how her lack of trust is hurting your relationship with her. Use the "I" statements and just talk about how you feel when she does such things.
5. Tell her you love her and are in this relationship for the long term and that you will not cheat on her. Tell her that you feel you are being blamed for other men's mistakes and that you find that very unfair and hurtful.
6. Set a new boundary - a boundary that you will uphold. For example: you could tell her that if she accuses you of behavior you know you are not guilty of then you will no longer discuss that matter with her. You will leave the room if she starts to attack you about such things. Just leave the room or change your focus and do not buy into her accusations.
7. Suggest to your wife that she read all she can read on self-esteem building and learn as much as she can on how to get over her insecurities because you are not responsible for her insecurities. They come from within herself. We recommend some great books on self-esteem and overcoming jealousy that could help her if she chooses to read them. Our website has many, many articles on self-esteem that she could benefit from. Tell her not to hesitate to get some outside help if necessary on this matter.
8. At the end of the 15 minute meeting, thank your wife for listening, give her a hug and tell her you love her very much and that you want a happy, loving relationship where you both feel trusted and valued as a human being.
The main point for you to keep in mind: you are not responsible for how your wife feels. She is the insecure wife. She is the only one in control of her feelings and thoughts. Put a boundary in place that you can keep and maintain that will not allow her to badger you over such issues. Love her but don't buy into her insecurities. If you know in your heart that you have not cheated on your wife and that you never will then you can hold your head high and give yourself credit for being a faithful husband that should not be blamed for other men's mistakes and wrong doings.
Please understand you have free will. This advice is given only in the realm of personal growth and self-help. This is not to be considered a substitute for therapy or professional counseling. I wish you well and hope that she soon is not an insecure wife.