My husband has been going to the neighbour's house for food several nights a week, even when I cook. When I cook, he doesn't eat my food. And when I confronted him about it he said he does it because I don't always cook, and she does. She makes him stew peas all the time, and he will go to pick it up, then come and sit in front of me and eat. I am a very good cook, by the way, so that's not the issue. Also, when he does drive into our community he goes to her house first and has long conversations with her, before coming home. I told him that this is very disrespectful but he said he doesn't see anything wrong with it as she is his friend. She doesn't really talk to me, apart from casual greetings.
You feel disrespected and humiliated by his actions. Understood. Allow me to make a bold statement here: For anyone in a committed relationship, please understand that you can be in an inappropriate relationship without sex being involved. You can cheat on your partner without having sex with someone else. In this case, what your husband is doing is tantamount to cheating.
Even if she is a "friend", this relationship is inappropriate. Likewise, ladies, that guy isn't just your "best friend" — you're cheating on your husband with him. And men, that lady isn't your close "confidante" — you're cheating on your wife with her. Too much personal time and attention given to someone else = being unfaithful to your spouse.
Let me explain. Whenever a partner's attention is overly fixated on someone else, for personal reasons, that's time, energy, communication, interaction, etc that their partner actually deserves. What belongs to their spouse is being given away to someone else. A spouse has their due. Note: Inappropriate extramarital relationships exist outside of sexual interaction.
If someone else is meeting an intimate need of your spouse, it's tantamount to an affair. So it's not only about the food or friendship, as in your case it's actually the time, care, respect and attention. While it is true that every couple must certainly allow each other enough space to have their individual lives outside the relationship, too much personal attention given to someone else will be detrimental to a marriage/relationship. A #Relationship is about #Relating — couples must maintain active relating so as to have a healthy relationship. And that takes time, energy, respect, and attention.
Chat with him about it again: Yes, you've done so already but try again. Tell him how you feel, and let him know that the time he spends with the neighbour is stolen time from you. Tell him you recognise that he enjoys her company but you feel cheated out of his company. Ask him if there's anything that he thinks you're doing or not doing that's causing him to be more interested in her company.
Date him: Guys like to be wooed and sought too. It can be hard to do when your heart is wounded by the folly he's done, but if you can muster the necessary strength you may just have an unbelievably amazing next phase of your marriage. And yes, every marriage has its time when it needs to change gear. This may be an opportunity for you to do so.
Find a counsellor: Like a broken record I say: "Get further help." Especially if dating him isn't working. You'll be surprised what a good counsellor can do for a relationship. The only dynamically intimate third party a relationship needs is a good counsellor. Hopefully, your husband will indeed join you for a session. Either way, get additional help. We're available at counsellorscouch.com.
Remember, a burning ember still offers great hope of a nice warm flame. May the Lord help you both to truly figure out how to fall in love again.
Get on The Counsellor's Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to email@example.com.