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Irrational Trust issues with my wife...


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My wife and I have been married for just over 8 months, but we have been dating since high school (over 9 years). I have always been the confident and independent one in the relationship and she has been the insecure and jealous one. Lately however, things have switched around. I have terrible anxiety whenever we are apart or I don't know where she is or what she is doing. I have no idea why this has started, but I have begun seeing a counselor about it.


Anyways, my wife has always been more inclined to have male friends. No idea why really, but I've always been ok with it and she's never given me any reason to doubt that I'm not the most important person in her life. We are each other's best friends. The last year and a half or so has been kinda crazy. I graduated college, we got engaged, we both got steady full-time jobs, we got married, and we moved in together. Now that we both see each other every day and are more or less settling in to the rest of our lives (and I say that w/out any hint of regret or worry, I look forward to our lives together), I am starting to have fairly debilitating anxiety over her friends she has made at work. First off, she rarely, if ever, hangs out with them outside of work hours, but still, I can't help but worry.


So here's the background on her friends. Let me start by saying that she hates her job. She is currently enrolled in a grad school program and is very much looking forward to the day she can quit this job because it stresses her out so bad, but the pay is good, job security is good, and they are helping her pay her tuition so there is no reason to quit for now. So, for about 6-10 months she had a really close male friend who she went to lunch with every day, just the two of them. They had 1 hour lunches so they would go to nearby restaurants and just wherever. On top of that she would text and chat with them while at home, typically while I was doing my own thing, watching TV, playing video games or w/e. I'm not sure why this started to bother me, but it did. Anyways, he had to move away and she was extremely upset to the point that she cried over him leaving on multiple nights. Still, they text and chat from time to time and she still considers him a very close friend and sends him letters and cards on occasions. At one point, not long after he left, I became extremely anxious about their relationship and ended up coming out and telling her that I was upset by their relationship. I don't remember the details of the conversation, but it upset her a lot (though she was very understanding).


So after he moved away, she needed a new work friend so she became close with a friend of the guy who moved away. Once again, they became very close, but this time I noticed she didn't talk much about him. They still chatted many times at night and she would watch movies and shows that he would suggest to her so that they could have some things in common. One day she came up to me and asked if I would have a problem if the two of them ever went out to eat or catch a movie after work hours. I told her it was fine (even though it made me slightly nervous), but then she went on to tell me that his wife (who is pregnant) was kind of crazy jealous so they were planning on not telling her about their plans. This made me very nervous and I told her that it bothered me that she thought that would be ok. Nothing ever came of that though, they never went out outside of work hours. However, she continued to kind of avoid talking about him at home with me. Once again, their relationship started to make me very anxious. I started to try to check up on her and things of that nature. One day I decided to show up after work to see her and noticed that she had stopped parking in her usual spot and started parking next to him. I saw them walk out together and both of them got in her car. They then drove off to a very remote area of the parking lot, a spot that was surrounded by trees and had only one other parked car in the area. I followed them on foot and at this point was very worried. Anyways, when I caught up to them they were both just sitting in the car talking. She looked excited to see me, but she understood how bad the situation looked. She told me that they were talking about a problem he was having with his wife and they didn't want to have such a personal conversation in public and also they didn't want to sit in the car together in front of their building to avoid causing other coworkers to become suspicious of their behavior. I believe her, but at the same time, the same anxiety I was feeling about her and her other friends has just become worse. I was struggling with trusting her beforehand, but now I am really having an issue with it.


We have talked a lot about the issue. She says she no longer parks next to him and parks in her old spot, and I told her that I thought what they were doing was very inappropriate and she said that they were not going to do that anymore. She said they were trying so hard to avoid people being suspicious that it was just making things worse. I agreed. However, I feel like I can't believe her. She has been nothing if not accommodating about every single thing I have asked of her, but she also does not want to give up on a close friend when she doesn't have anyone else to talk with at lunch to destress from her job which she hates. I told her she could continue going to lunch with him, but that I didn't want any more secrets between us, even if she feels like she is just protecting me from my anxiety. So far she has been much more forward about talking about him.


Despite the fact that I still feel extremely close with her when we are together and my nerves are calmed and am very reassured that she would never do anything to hurt me, when we are apart, I can hardly bear the anxiety. I feel that something is going on. She started going into work early (about 45 minutes) around 2 months ago and I worry that she is going in early to see him. She says that she just likes having time to herself before anyone is there to read Facebook and her web comics (which I will admit she spends almost 80% of her free time with those 2 things), but I still don't feel like I can believe her. I mean, whoever heard of an affair that only takes place between 7:25 and 7:50 AM. She's not even a morning person and has never liked being intimate in the mornings. When I know they are at lunch together, it is the same way, even though I know they don't exactly have time to do a whole lot besides eat and talk for a bit. ON top of that she only has lunch with him 3 days a week now (he doesn't work on Friday's and she has a recurring Dr. appointment on Tuesday, and we sometimes meet for lunch on those days).


Despite all of the rational reasons why I know they aren't messing around (incl. both being married), I still find myself struggling to get my work done at my job because I am so concerned. The anxiety has gotten to the point that it is debilitating and I struggle enjoying all the things I used to enjoy in my spare time. And I can't talk with her about it anymore. We have already had many conversations about it over the past month and it is wearing on her. I don't want her to not look forward to coming home every day. Even though I am getting counseling over this, being able to vent and talk once a week about this is not enough right now. I have been spending my work time reading self help blogs and all sorts of other things to help me feel well enough to work. So I really just wanted to post here to vent and to maybe hear others thoughts on my specific situation (because reading one more story where the spouse eventually cheats is not good for my psyche right now).


I feel like her relationship with her friend isn't anything out of the norm for a work friendship, but at the same time it drives me crazy. Obviously there are many things that I've left out, but this is already a really long post.


So really, any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated.

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I think that her hesitance to tell you about her friendship with him comes from past behavior that indicates you might get jealous (because of the previous friend she had and you said it bothered you) but not because she's hiding anything. Have you considered making a couple of female friends at work to know what she's going through? Do you have female friends at work? Or female friends at all? Because it might also be that since you don't have that bond with someone, maybe you can't understand that it could be purely platonic. I personally at work only talk to guys because the women are drama queens but I would never go "there" with them.


I've had lunch with them, and they're married but again, it has been purely platonic. We have never talked about going off work hours though because the place is really strict about that but I definitely would never go anyway (it's a clinical setting; ethics and stuff are off the hook). We all work individually where I work at so our only contact is in hallways, meetings, and lunch. However, other work places have different, more calm environments that maybe allows for the friendship to flourish more so that might be possible. I think you're also overanalyzing the parking situation. Would you think of this wrongly if it was a female friend as well? Do you think this would bother you too?


It's good that you're going through counseling because my own jealousy destroyed my past relationship (it was also an "emotional" bond with someone) but I think that communication in these situations can be extremely helpful. It's how you communicate too, because sometimes boundaries can end up pushing people away. In my case it wasn't just the jealousy but the communication issues as well.


I don't think you have anything to worry about but it's good that you've found a place to vent. Venting alone can help you a lot with anxiety. Good luck, I truly hope it gets better.

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Have you tried hanging out with him? Maybe invite him and his wife over for dinner or something? Sometimes the unknown is much scarier then the known. I tend to like my partner's friends. If I'm feeling strange or worried about someone I like to get to know them. Get a feel for who they are. If he is dealing with issues with his wife being jealous and you are also jealous maybe the best thing to do is sit down and all get to know each other.

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Op, being upset/worried/concerned about your wife being in a remote area of a parking lot with a man in one car isn't an irrational fear. Not only do you have a right to be upset, but frankly I think you'd be an idiot not to be concerned. I don't mean to upset you, and I don't know that anything is going on- However, they could have had a "private conversation" anywhere- In a restaurant, a bar, a coffee shop, etc- anywhere that wasn't in a far off place in a parking lot together. That is VERY odd for just a friendship. Not saying it isn't possible they are just friends, but you have every right to be upset and I'd say even demand that she not do it again or state in no uncertain terms that her relationship with him makes you uncomfortable and that you prefer that she not spend any time alone with him, inside of work or out. See what she says, if she truly loves you and doesn't care about him, it should be a non-issue.


On the flip side of the coin, why did you feel the need to follow her, check up on her- why don't you trust her to this degree ? Has she done anything in the past that made you feel this way (I mean aside from the "coworker friend" thing) ? It seems like you have severe trust issues going on. Regardless of what she may or may not be doing, you must trust each other. You can't, after all, check up on her all the time (nor should you). If you feel that you absolutely cannot trust her, this could become a huge problem and may result in the end of your relationship.

Not to sound negative, but a lot of relationship break up due to massive trust issues (it doesn't in the end really matter what the person is or isn't doing, if you can't trust them, you just can't) Unfortunately, there isn't really a lot of grey here. Trust is pretty much an all or nothing thing.


I applaud you for seeking help. But relationships aren't just about one person. She absolutely must know how serious this issue is to you. It's not your job to do all the emotional "work" while she does as she pleases. She needs to show you respect, care, and a willingness to compromise on this issue. I think you two need to have a serious chat and determine what is and isn't out of bounds, what you are uncomfortable with, and what will happen if nothing changes. You need to impress upon her what you expect and what you need from her. You might want to try couples counseling if this doesn't resolve after your chat.

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Thanks. It's good to get some validation for the rational part of my brain. I feel like I know there is nothing going on, but I just can't keep asking my wife to constantly reassure my feelings. It had started to wear on our marriage.

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I probably am not the best person to take advice from about male and female *just friends* relationships, but I have always believed that usually it's much easier for them to fall into even it-doesn't-mean-anything romance. The way I see it, the less attracted they are to one another the more likely it would always stay JUST friends. Otherwise, should it sway one direction as soon as one person reaches a low emotional state it's easy to "accidentally" make a big mistake.


Especially with a few of the things you mentioned I would be, well rationally, suspicious. I know of a couple who basically took part in cheating on one another, and I heard both sides of it. First she cheated, then he suspected correctly and started cheating back. (I never told either of them.) He would meet his sex-buddy and have a quickie whether it was in the car, on the side of a building, or whatever for 10-15 minutes and race home to be on time and give the illusion that nothing was out of the normal. So I'm thinking hopefully there wouldn't be nothing there because she's not specifically trying to HIDE things from you. If you notice any of that, there should be additional concern.


Going further than just this possible aspect that things can get physical, let's talk about emotional connection. There's things you share with your loved one that you wouldn't with anyone else, and when they are sharing some of these things with other people too frequently you may seem less engaged within the relationship. Men may not require as much of a communication connection but it is still important. It's your opinion of whether this may play a part or not. You're kinda newly married which shouldn't change much with the relationship, other than you wanted to be certain that she is there and you are the one for her and she wouldn't betray that. With a few of her sketchy actions I don't find many of the thoughts to be entirely irrational.


YES also never dismiss your feelings! They're often there for a reason, unless you've been diagnosed as insane.

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She understands that the incident was not acceptable and has assured me she won't do it again (I did specifically tell her not to do that again). Once again, it was a convoluted solution to a problem they were causing that became self-fulfilling. I just don't believe she would do anything spiteful or vindictive and then come home and be so supportive with me. The time we have been able to spend together recently has been great.


I also understand that I can't be controlling and manipulative. It's not good for me and it's just not healthy. It is hard enough controlling my own life, I shouldn't have to be concerned about how she handle's hers when we aren't together.


Also, I think all parties have suggested a meet up between all of us, but it just hasn't happened. Everyone is sort of on edge and knows that the situation would be tense so setting a concrete plan into action just hasn't happened. I'm wary of pushing it right now when I feel like I need to calm down a little first.

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