Your husband is still working with the woman he had an affair with – which means he sees his “ex affair partner” every day. Of course you feel jealous and insecure!
You know your husband loves you, but what if he’s still emotionally attached or physically attracted to the other woman? What if they fall in love, or sleep together, or rediscover their old feelings for each other? What if your husband has a meeting with his ex affair partner that turns into more than an innocent day at work?
It’s normal to feel jealous when your husband still works with his ex affair partner. “Sometimes, old, unfinished relationships come back to haunt and take precedence over the current one,” writes therapist Randi Gunther, author of Relationship Saboteurs: Overcoming the Ten Behaviors that Undermine Love. “A couple who could once speak openly and authentically to each other suddenly cannot speak their truth or listen openly anymore because of a threat neither anticipated. Negative issues that were once only a small fraction of the relationship slowly overwhelm what positive experiences once counteracted them. Betrayals happen. Promises don’t pan out. And dreams change.”
It’s normal and even healthy to feel jealousy when your husband sees his ex affair partner every day because they work together. But, it’s crucial to deal with your jealous feelings in healthy ways or your jealousy will sabotage your marriage.
The first thing you need to do is face the root of your jealous feelings. For example, I wasn’t just jealous when my husband met his ex-girlfriend for lunch; I felt insecure and scared he still wanted to be with her. I was worried he wasn’t over her, that he and she would fall into their old relationship or even feel sexual attraction again. I felt threatened. These feelings are especially normal and understandable when your husband still works with the woman he had an affair with.
How to Cope When Your Husband Still Works With His Ex Affair Partner
Here’s what a reader said about dealing with the jealous feelings she experiences when her husband sees his ex affair partner at work every day:
“My husband assures me he loves me and only wants to be with me,” says a reader in response to Why Your Husband Cheated: A Marriage Style That “Allows” Affairs. “His relationship with the other woman is over and they will never be romantic again. But why doesn’t he quit that job and work somewhere else? He says it’d be too hard to find a new job and that he rarely sees his ex affair partner. What if she still wants to be with him? It is starting to really make me crazy!”
My jealousy of my husband’s ex-girlfriend isn’t the same thing, but I know what it’s like to let your imagination run wild. I really was scared my husband might leave me for his ex. I also refused to admit I felt jealous and insecure; I blamed everything on my husband seeing his ex. If you feel something similar, my tips on how to deal with jealousy may help you cope.
1. Understand why your husband is still working with the other woman
The truth is that your husband may genuinely worry about finding a job at a different place. Plus, there’s the complication of explaining to a new company or organization why he’s looking for work (your husband won’t want to say his wife doesn’t want him to work with his ex affair partner anymore!). Your husband may honestly feel that since the affair is over and he is no longer attracted to the other woman, there is no reason to quit his job.
Listen to your husband’s reasons for continuing to work with the other woman. Put yourself in his shoes, and trust your own intuition. I don’t know if your husband has good or valid reasons for working with his ex affair partner, but I understand why you feel insecure and jealous! If you want to save your marriage, you need to come to terms with your husband’s decision to keep working with the other woman.
2. Pay attention to your intuition when your husband talks about his ex affair partner
There’s a big difference between your husband going to occasional work meetings with the other woman versus talking to her on the phone every day. A wife once told me that her husband’s ex affair partner accompanied him on business trips three or four times a year. They wouldn’t stay in the same hotel room, but they spent a great deal of time alone together. This is not okay — but this wife refused to listen to her intuition. Her husband almost ended up cheating with the other woman again, but he stopped before anything happened.
She and her husband agreed that he should quit his job because he worked too closely with this ex affair partner. She ignored her intuition and pretended everything was find. It ended up okay because her husband really did want to save their marriage, but she said she’d never ignore her instincts again.
If your intuition is whispering (or screaming!) at you about your husband working with his ex affair partner, read Is Your Marriage Over? 6 Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore. Maybe you’re not “just” being jealous. Maybe you know something he hasn’t admitted yet.
3. Don’t let anyone call you crazy
Some wives feel crazy often because their husbands tell them they’re overreacting. “You’re jealous because I work with the woman I had an affair with three years ago?” a husband might ask. “It’s over. Nothing is going on. I love you, and you know it. You’re my wife and you have nothing to be jealous of. Don’t be unreasonable.”
If you’re confused about how you should feel about your husband working with his ex affair partner, talk about your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust. Talk to someone who knows you, who can help you sort through your jealous or insecure feelings. If your jealousy is out of control and you really do feel like you’re going crazy because your husband still works with the woman he had an affair with, consider talking to a marriage therapist who specializes in cheating husbands. He or she can give you an objective perspective on both your feelings and your marriage.
4. Tell your husband that you’re jealous because of his work situation
Talking to your husband about the fact that he still works with his ex affair partner might reassure you. Tell him the truth: his job makes you jealous, uncomfortable, or anxious. Be as honest as you can. If you tell your husband how you feel — no matter how painful it is or vulnerable you feel — then you’re being your true self with him.
However, don’t assume or expect your husband to quit his job because you’re uncomfortable that he works with the woman he had an affair with. You may already know this: your husband may be unwilling or unable to change his work situation because of your feelings.
Most loving husbands will change their behavior to make their wives happy — especially after something as painful as an affair. However, it’s not always possible to make changes, especially if a new job really is difficult to find. This means you need to decide if this is a “make or break” situation. Will this be the thing that ends your marriage? Before you answer that, read Is the Affair Really Over? 5 Signs He’ll Cheat on You Again.
5. Get emotionally and spiritually healthy
The best way to deal with jealousy and insecurity when your husband works with the woman he had an affair with is to rebuild your self-worth and value. Look outside your marriage for a sense of identity and purpose in your life. Are you spiritually grounded in God, emotionally healthy, socially happy? Can you recognize and stop unhealthy thought patterns? Is your jealousy caused by your own low self-esteem, or is your husband’s job a true cause for concern? Getting emotionally and spiritually healthy will help you answer those questions.
Don’t let your insecurity or unhappiness ruin a marriage that can be saved. Find ways to permanently resolve the pain of knowing your husband is working with his ex affair partner every day. This will take time and effort; rebuilding your marriage after your husband cheated isn’t easy. But it can be done — and you and your husband can enjoy a healthier, happier, stronger marriage if you and he can work through this together.
Your comments – big and little – are welcome below. How are you dealing with the pain of knowing your husband still works with the woman he had an affair with? You may find it helpful to share your story; writing is a great way to work through painful emotions and untangle confusing thoughts.