Dear Fiona: My husband has become friends with a woman at work – should I be worried?
“Two years ago, my husband went through a difficult patch at work. His role in ‘middle management’ was being made particularly difficult by a young man who worked in his department, who couldn’t be trusted to do the job properly.
“My husband was supported and helped by the company, and in particular by a lady who worked in the Human Resources department. She helped him a lot and together they managed to resolve the problems, so that everyone was happy.
“Things returned to normal, but I know my husband continued to see this lady quite regularly. He said she was ‘just a friend’ but I always wondered if there was something more to it. Things between the two of us became a bit tense – I suppose I was jealous, although he always told me he loved me and that I had no need to be.
“Then came the lockdown and everyone was working from home. Obviously, my husband wasn’t seeing her, or anyone else, from work, and things between the two of us settled down again. Now he’s gone back to work again, and I’m worried he and this woman will take up where they left off. I don’t know what to do for the best.”
“It’s most likely that this woman was simply doing what she was paid to do and acted in a professional counselling capacity to sort out your husband’s problem. Your husband’s confidence could well have been knocked by a tricky management problem, and perhaps she continued to mentor and support him. Even if that wasn’t the case, it’s quite usual for friendships to grow out of shared work issues.
“I’m not sure where your concerns really came from, as you don’t indicate that he was staying late or away from home at all? If an affair had been going on between them, I’m sure there would have been ‘overtime’ and ‘conferences’ that may have given you reasons to worry a lot more. It’s quite possible for all of us to have friends of the opposite sex, without this ever being a threat to our established partnerships.
“You don’t tell me about your life, and I wonder if you are feeling a lack of self-confidence. I’m not sure how you fill your time but if you don’t work, could you think about getting a job or taking up a volunteering activity of some kind?
“I sense from your letter that there isn’t much going on in your life, leaving you time to worry about what your husband is doing. As you are still anxious about your husband meeting up with this woman again, now might be a good time to discuss your feelings of insecurity with your husband. It might also be an idea to contact Relate (relate.org.uk) to see if counselling could help you.
“If you and he can reassure each other, and work to make your relationship even better than it already is, there won’t be a way for anyone to spoil your happiness.”
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