Hubby keeps me in shackles

All Woman

Dear Counsellor,
I've been married for three years. My husband watches my every move. I go to work and he checks up on me to see what I am doing, he meets me at my workplace and takes the bus home with me after work, and we don't go anywhere because he doesn't want other men staring at me. I feel like a child. If I appear happy, he wants to know why. I am so miserable and I am having doubts about this relationship. I do love him, but I don't know if I want to live like this for the rest of my life.

Recently I met a guy at work who I am very attracted to. I had sex with him once. He tells me he is in love with me and wants to spend his life with me. I don't want to continue cheating, but I don't want to live a shackled life. I am confused.

It is evident that your husband is insecure in the relationship and doesn't have much trust in you. His controlling behaviour is indicative of someone who has experienced unfaithfulness directly or indirectly and is making sure there is no recurrence.

Sometimes in life the thing that we fear most happens to us, as in your husband's case. He believed that his close monitoring of you would make you be drawn closer to him, but in fact it did the opposite. Men who display this “close marking” of their partners will only push them away — sometimes in the arms of someone else.

Now to address you directly. Do you believe your husband has reasons to doubt your sincerity and faithfulness to him and the relationship? As much as you feel like a child in the relationship, do you display childlike behaviour that makes him assume a parental role?

So now you have complicated matters by getting sexually involved with your co-worker, albeit understandable given your need for emotional support. It is a dangerous path you have decided to take. One sexual act will eventually lead to others and before you know it you are hooked. And it will be a matter of time before your possessive husband suspects and discovers your extramarital activities.

You should seriously evaluate your situation and decide if and how you intend to address the challenges in your marriage. Sitting with a marriage counsellor would help you to articulate your concerns to your husband in a safe space. He needs to hear how his controlling behaviour is negatively impacting you and that he should loosen the grip. You, however, must do all you can to remain faithful and not give him reason to distrust you.

It will be difficult to hold off the guy at work, but you need to, as continuing down that road is going to create more harm than good in the long run. He is only filling a gap and soon will start making his own demands as well.

Get the conversation going with your husband and if he fails to adjust then you may want to consider other legitimate options.

All the best, and be safe.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.

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