Q: “My husband is jealous of an old boyfriend who has found me through my Facebook network. I have reconnected with a lot of high school friends and am now planning a high school reunion for the summer. He is adamant about closing down my Facebook page. I have done nothing wrong. I have never been able to attend a reunion with my classmates due to our relocation years ago. Is it wrong of me to persist with my plans?” …
A: Hats off to your husband for being vigilant. I applaud you both for having a no-secret-password policy in your home. It is the mark of a strong marriage. I have every reason to believe you want it to remain as such.
Your husband’s jealousy speaks of his love for you. Unless he has displayed some controlling behavior, undue anger, or overt jealousy in the past, I wouldn’t be too hard over his reaction regarding this. Many marriage breakups occur over the most innocent and random encounters. Now, take a deep breath, open your mind, strap in your heart for compromise, and know that everything will be all right. There should be a way for the two of you to work through this if you both manage to remove self from the scenario and think about pleasing one another.
• Talk about the tenor of your marriage thus far. Has it been based on complete trust? If it has, tenderly remind him of that. Reassure him there is no other person who could take his place. He needs to hear that. Often.
• Let him know this is why you have shared passwords so that you both can be held accountable for your actions. Now that you realize he may feel a bit insecure about your revisiting the past, respect that about him. It is never a good idea in marriage to cause a spouse reason to feel uneasy about a situation involving his/her spouse and another party.
• Put yourself in his place. If it was his reunion, his old girlfriend making contact, his planning, would you be feeling the same way? Perhaps, and perhaps not. But, try to understand from his perspective how he feels.
• I trust you are including him in the plans to go to the re. Many spouses decide they’d rather stay home. After all, unless you’re of the same graduating school, and even class, the spouse has little in common with old schoolmates. However, he should get to choose whether to stay or go. Encourage him to accompany you to the reunion. Let him know you want him to go. Make plans for the two of you to have special times together apart from the time of the re. This might entice him to be a bit more eager about going should he be reluctant.
• If he chooses to stay home … the plot thickens. I see no reason why you should miss your class reunion. It is a thrilling time to visit friends and classmates you haven’t seen for years. Let him know as kindly, tenderly, and lovingly as you can that while you would never do anything to disrespect him or intentionally hurt him, you have looked forward to this opportunity for many years. You supported him in his career with the relocation, and have been proud to be his wife all these years. Tell him how much it hurts you that he mistrusts you, if indeed that is how it feels to you. Reassure him how important your marriage is, that you love him deeply, and you need him to support your decision to go – with or without him.
Hopefully, he will realize there is no reason for the jealousy. If there has been no misconduct on your part, he has no ground on which to stand. Some honest, tender reassurance should go a long way, given there is no past history to warrant suspicion and he is a man who loves with an abundance of trust.
As for closing out your Facebook page, this is something you will have to reconcile between the two of you. Perhaps agreeing to close it down after the re might be an alternative. Invite him to sit with you while you plan with your classmates on FB. I understand how socially fulfilling this online network has become for many people. However, you will need to discern which is more important: your social outlet with friends or your marriage.
I have found when people invest the time spent on social networking and shift it to their spouse/family, their need for online connections wanes. At day’s end, it’s a better investment.
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