So your husband talks to another woman, and it wounds you, and he doesn’t see why it does.
Wives reach out to me asking what they might be doing wrong because their husbands are talking to other women and think it’s okay.
By talking, I don’t mean a normal or passing conversation, but a closer relationship that rattles the woman in the marriage relationship.
But the husband doesn’t see it; he feels his wife is jealous and blowing things out of proportion.
Before I share the twelve tips, and because of the range of queries I have observed, let me clarify a few things. The observations are not meant to burden women who suspect betrayal. They are meant to support their journey of uncovering if betrayal is happening in their marriage. Crossing off these possibilities might help them better focus on subsequent steps.
If you believe your husband is texting, calling, pursuing, confiding in, or generally encouraging a borderline relationship with another woman, the chances are you have or are trying to filter out the following contexts.
– Getting some context
You can gather some context for clarity (as much as possible anyway.) This will also prove useful when addressing that relationship with your spouse.
At this point, it is also worth noting that just because a woman has come on to your husband doesn’t automatically mean your husband asked for it, is encouraging it or is interested in her.
Now, I know many a betraying husband will use what I just said to try and escape accountability. “I swear, I am not interested in her. She’s the one making moves on me” they’ll say. We’ll cover that in detail below. For now, just remember that this step is for your own mental processing as well. Not so you can be fooled. Related Post: 6 Things To Do If Your Husband Defends Another Woman
– Friends of the opposite sex
Before you met and married your spouse, you probably had a life and friends. Hopefully during dating, you met each others friends. Some of these friendships won’t make it past the early months of marriage because our priorities, focus, and energies change.
But a few, (hopefully the healthy ones,) friends stay a little longer. If the dynamics need to change, they do so gradually. Overall, the friends who remain tend to be your friends too.
– A spouse’s work life
If he’s an employee, he’s likely not in full control of his work life in terms of who he meets for work, for example. Certainly, we all need to have personal boundaries even at work. We should be honoring our spouses regardless of where or who we’re with and that includes our work life. And we should be able to take action if our boundaries are getting infringed upon.
– Healing your heart
If you have experienced past betrayal trauma unrelated to your husband, it’s possible to get triggered by some opposite-gender dynamics.
And that’s okay: my hope is that you have the right tools (e.g counseling with a therapist trained in betrayal trauma) to support your healing and open communication with your husband.
It’s also quite possible to have a trauma-response and be correct in your assessment of a relationship a husband has, so those two are not mutually exclusive. It’s just important to also address any individual trauma and grief as well.
With that foundation laid, let us dive into the 12 things to consider when your husband is talking to other women. Please note, in this post, we’ll cover
- Basic ideas which would apply where there’s no actual betrayal happening and spouses would benefit from better communication, boundaries or growth.
- Ideas for when there’s reasons to be concerned (betrayal is taking place.)
12 Things To Do When Your Husband Talks to Another Woman
1. Cut off your friendship with the other woman
This is for the wife who’s “best friend” is chatting up her husband, and she feels pressured to keep the woman in her life because she’s being told (by the friend and her husband) that there’s nothing going on between the two of them.
Obviously, the first step is to have a talk with your husband and make your thoughts and desires known. But as far as your friend goes, you should not feel guilted into keeping that friendship.
“She’s such a nice person! Plus I don’t want her to think I am petty and weird.”
Well, if my friend hinted that she’s uncomfortable with my association with her husband, I would drop the connection with her husband like a hot potato. Because friends listen to each other like that.
Anyone who inserts themselves between a married couple is paddling in the wrong direction. It doesn’t matter if the married couple is right or wrong: it’s none of your business at that point. Pack up your ego and leave.
So to you dear wife. If losing your friend makes you uncomfortable, if drawing the line and insisting someone respects your current perspective is wrong – take a minute to consider what you would rather lose; a friend or your mind? You are worth it.
2. Talk to your husband
Another obvious point: if you need to say something, say it. Presuming “he should know” or giving vague hints or sulking won’t cut it. If letting your husband know you are uncomfortable with a relationship he has, consider your end goal; to communicate your values and standards. It’s not a power move.
At this point, it is not a battle: it’s still a relationship. Don’t be afraid of stepping up for yourself. Plus you would rather speak your heart than rage with hidden problems. Those issues tend to leak out anyway.
3. Check on his point of view
I hear the uproar all the way up here in Texas but I am making a different point: what you see and what he sees might be two different things.
I need to find the science but many women have an uncommon sense; sometimes, we just know things. We pick up when another woman is flirting with our husbands or encroaching our marriage boundaries. Maybe its because we’re female and can better decipher certain female dynamics.
However, not all husbands will pick up certain types of flirtation or encroached boundaries. A wife can read all the warning signs while her husband thinks the other woman is just being a nice, friendly person.
So if a woman is flirting with your husband or being too cozy and your man is convinced there’s nothing to it: there’s a chance he might not be seeing it. (Of course, he might also be enjoying the attention and pretending he doesn’t see it and we’ll cover that as we go along.)
But decent husbands might not be covering anything; they might be blind to complex cues and calls. Obviously, once you’ve shared your observation and boundaries and even if he doesn’t understand it, he should listen and cut off that friendship. If he doesn’t, the problem is deeper and broader than connection blindness.
Systems of Love & Honor: A Guide to Recognizing Safe Relationships
Systems of Love & Honor (aff link) by betrayal trauma recovery coach Sarah McDugal outlines 13 behavior patterns that make relationships safe. When mistreatment is “normal”, it’s hard to know what safe looks like. Systems of Love & Honor illustrates simple, easy-to-understand actions and attitudes that reflect God’s intention for safe loving relationships. Access Now.
4. Correction can be painful but..
So, your husband is fully responsible for his emotions upon receiving your queries and questions.
Admonishment can be painful. But it must be received and acted upon, no excuses.
5. Seek safe counsel
When it comes to your husband talking with other women, the problems are as diverse as the individual couple. So it’s not possible to offer specific insights in such a general post (though we’ll attempt below.)
That’s why I encourage every wife who writes to me or leaves a comment to find a safe friend or a therapist trained in abuse and betrayal trauma to share her dilemma.
An article like this will help in a general sense, but it can’t walk you in “fine print.” For that, you need a safe community and/or professional counsel. (If you need to process the pain of betrayal from pornography addiction or infidelity, check out private coaching with Coach Sarah McDugal.)
6. If your husband is talking to another woman, it’s not your fault
There’s no excuse. Betrayal is an individual choice. Betraying spouses love to come up with different reasons (aka excuses) for why they went outside the marriage.
“My wife isn’t attractive to me anymore and so I’m going to look elsewhere” is not only immature, entitled and corrosive, it also devastating to a spouse.
We took vows. We made a choice. When we experience problems, we seek help and work on those as a team. There’s no justification for going outside the marriage. For more on the topic, read Why Women are Not Responsible for Men’s Sexual Sin.
7. Plug the holes
So Intentional Today, this website, is a newlywed website. (At the time writing the original article, it was.) My audience is mainly wives who are in the early years of marriage.
Sometimes, (not always) if you experience opposite sex problems this early in the marriage, the chances are they are nothing new. In fact, I’ve heard of husbands who said to their wives, “but you knew I liked to talk to women before we got married, why are you bothered now?”
Please note, I am not blaming you. After all, many women get married, despite screaming red flags, because society, especially the faith community, conditions them to ignore them.
With phrases such us “he just needs a good woman to help him settle down,” “all men lust,” “He needs respect in order to show you love,” it is no wonder we women ignore our gut feelings and marry problematic men.
So the holes I’m suggesting we plug are the ones in your heart. For example, if you assess that he was problematic before, don’t fall into the hole of shame and being guilted to silence and inaction.
For example you can say, “well, maybe I was comfortable with you talking to other women before but I’ve changed my mind. I’m no longer comfortable with it.” It’s okay to explore areas of growth and to change your mind.
So far, we’ve covered 7 possible steps to take when you find out your husband is talking to other women. In the remaining points, we’ll explore a few scenarios and some possible action steps.
8. When you stumble on compromising pictures of another woman on your husband’s phone, take care of yourself first.
Taking care of yourself might mean taking some time to sit with yourself for a minute.
For example, if you find a weird or compromising picture of a woman in your husband’s phone, feelings of disbelief, shock, numbness, anger etc are perfectly normal. There’s everything normal with your reaction.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to extend compassion and kindness to yourself. It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling.
9. Give yourself space to grieve. And plan.
So you found out that there was indeed a conversation before a picture was sent.
Or you stumbled upon texts or encounters that reveal it’s not accidental or unsolicited or one-sided. Maybe you find him engaging instead of shutting down another woman’s pursuit.
Or he’s blatantly pursuing intimate or borderline connection. Or there’s a woman who makes you uncomfortable, and you’ve talked about it and he promised it wouldn’t happen again, but you discover the connection is ongoing.
I am so sorry. What you’re experiencing is grief and betrayal trauma.
In an article titled Recognizing a Repentant Abuser, (yes, infidelity is abuse) Thomas Pryde of Psalm 82 Initiative, writes, “The most important first step of recognizing genuine repentance is that it has nothing to do with how much sorrow is exhibited. Tears and strong emotion can be worldly sorrow, just as easily as godly sorrow. The difference between these two types of sorrow is found in the fruit that grows out of that sorrow.”
In a different article, Thomas goes on to list the seven areas that an abuser needs to address to demonstrate repentance (at a minimum.) You can read the post: A Letter on Showing Repentance
If you desire private individual coaching tailored to meet your specific needs, check out private individual coaching for survivors of abuse and betrayal trauma, with Coach Sarah McDugal. (affiliate link)
10. Create some boundaries
Maybe you’ve confirmed he’s having an emotional affair.
You’re heartbroken and connecting sexually is the last thing on your mind. But he wants sex and thinks you should carry on as normal or as close to normal as possible. And you are conflicted and worried.
I want to know that it’s normal to feel disconnected from your husband.
Our emotional responses are mechanisms that actually serve a purpose. For example, most humans have a fear of jumping in front of a moving vehicle. That is a healthy fear; an inbuilt system that keeps us safe.
In the same way, the “check” in your heart, the loss of sexual attraction should not be stuffed or ignored; it’s serving a purpose. It’s protective. For more on this, please read When Your Husband Only Wants You Sexually: Your First 5 Steps
11. When you don’t know what to do, find someone who does
I want you to remember that God loves you and wants you safe.
He is bigger than what you face; so big that He can speak and you can hear His voice despite the rage within and without. He is powerful and loving and involved in your life. Romans 8:31-39
So continue talking to Him about the confusion and anger and numbness and betrayal. Offer your tears and heartbreak as prayers. (Surprised? God deciphers each and all human languages, including grief.)
God also speaks through people, specifically people who have the skill and training to help us work through complex situations. So prepare to make an appointment to see a counselor or coach who is also trained in betrayal trauma. (
If you have a close and safe friend, check in with them too. If you’re not ready to share the details, you don’t have to share everything. But just talking to a friend and letting them know you are going through something and could they pray with you or meet you for coffee can be helpful too.
12. When your husband talks to another woman, don’t wash your dirty linen in public
Sharing with trusted counsel is not the same as blasting out your husband’s indiscretion on social media.
You’re free to share as much as you want but consider your safety, margins and well-being too. Are you ready for that push-back and questions from everyone?
Might your sharing provide fresh ammunition for your already-problematic spouse who might use your public pain to paint you as the problematic person?
Tell the people that can be of actual help to you. A counselor, a close friend, a safe family member. Process this pain within a close and safe community/individuals.
There are many steps you can take when indiscretions and betrayal knocks on your wedded doors; Today’s post was meant offer clarity and ideas for the next steps. It was by no means exhaustive.
Next step: (aff link)
Unholy Fruit | Your WILD Guide to Discerning Toxic Character