DEAR CHRISTINE: Playing a cruel jealousy game
Dear Christine, my husband and I have been married for 12 years and during that time we have gotten together with my sister and her husband about every six months.
Whenever we do, my husband flirts with my sister. Her husband and I are good friends so we try to pretend that it is not going on, or else we joke about it.
When I ask my husband why he behaves like this, he says he wants to see if he can make me jealous and that it does not mean anything. He seems to think if I am jealous, it will prove something about our love and marriage.
As far as I am concerned, the effect could not be more negative. What happens is that I get upset each time we four are together and it takes me several weeks to get over it. I do not think this is amusing and it is certainly not something that turns me on. It does quite the opposite.
I see many factors playing out here. Firstly, you and your brother-in-law are wrong to just sweep this under the carpet with a smile.
You need to talk to your husband and let him know how you feel about his “fun” and “games”.
If you have not done so as yet, by all means, please do. Jealousy can be a destructive emotion, no matter how candid it appears to be.
If your husband is teasing, or trying to be reassured of your affection by his adolescent behaviour, let him know that it’s having the opposite effect.
If this has been going on for most of the years of your marriage, however, I suspect that you don’t have too much to worry about.
If you see your sister only once every six months and your husband has not given you any indication that he is wandering at other times, you may just be over-reacting to what he and your sister may see as kind of a cruel game.
Maybe, if you and her husband would try ignoring them – or at least not jumping for the bait – you might get a different reaction.