My husband was inappropriate texting with several coworkers years ago and we had problems because of it. I think he has improved. However, I recently saw an email from a woman he used to work with who is looking for a job and asking for his help. He set her up on an interview after she emailed him incessantly pressing him to help her. She responded by telling him she “loves him like a porn film.” He responded with something benign. And she then said, “she loves him” again. I am upset by the email about the porn reference. And I am also upset that he is dismissing me as being ridiculous. What should I do? Communication is not helping and I’m at the end of my rope.
Naturally, you’re very upset by the email exchange your husband had with a past coworker. The behavior involved violates what you think is acceptable and appropriate. It helps to acknowledge your feelings — you have every right to be concern, angry, and upset.
You’ll also feel better if your husband acknowledges what you’re going through rather than dismissing how you’re feeling. Although you say, “communication is not helping” it’s probably the type of communication that’s causing the problems.
If you’re approaching your husband about this issue in either a hostile or accusatory manner, he’s likely to get defensive and dismiss what you’re saying. Many people behave defensively when partners raise concerns by focusing on the underlying behavior.
A better way to approach issues like this is to focus on what you’re feeling, and not your husband’s actions. Tell your husband that you want to talk about how your feeling and you’d like him to take a moment to understand your point of view. Don’t attack your husband or focus on what his coworker did. Rather explain that you’re feeling upset, hurt, and sad. Try to get your husband to understand how you’re feeling. By focusing on your feelings and not your husband’s behavior, he’s more likely to listen to you, make you feel understood, and take steps to address the issue.
We cover how to have such conversations in detail in our book, Broken Trust.