I met my husband when I was 16. We got married very young, and are still married with three children. Generally we’re very happy but recently I’ve noticed he’s been looking at other women and I’m starting to feel very jealous. I’m 36 and after 3 kids I don’t exactly have my 16 year old body anymore. These girls that he’s looking at are thin, young and pretty and it makes me feel really self conscious. I don’t want to think that he’s having an affair, but I know he’s not as interested in sex with me as he used to be and now I’m worrying that he’s getting it from someone better looking and thinner than me. How do I know if he’s cheating on me and how do I stop him from looking at these girls?
First of all, if you’re generally very happy, then I doubt he is cheating on you. From what you have described, it really does sound as if he’s being a typical man approaching 40. It’s an inbuilt mechanism that **most** straight men will notice sexy young women. (I say most because there are the rare examples where they miss them entirely.) For these men it’s a bit like window shopping – they see the latest car model and can’t help wondering what’s under the bonnet or how it rides. But like window shopping, it is exactly that. They look and nothing else. I would ask you to think about your own reactions to good-looking guys who walk past. Do you notice them? If so, you’re basically doing the same thing. You notice, and think “nice arse”, but that’s all it is – a fleeting thought.
I know from my own POV that this happens in my marriage a lot – and I’m probably more guilty of it than my husband! I’m forever noticing fit young men (especially those that I work with!!) and it upsets my husband, because like you he’s thinking that I’m about to up and leave him. The fact is though, that I have no intention of leaving him, I love him more than I could describe. But as my sister says – I’m not dead yet, my eyes aren’t painted on, I’m not made of wood.
I also understand how you’re feeling about yourself though, and I think it’s something that most mums, married or not, could recognise. Whereas men become virile and sexy when they have a kid, women become used-goods. This isn’t right, but sadly it is the way we are programmed as animals. You need to feel better about yourself, and I can promise you that when you do, having your husband notice young girls won’t be a problem any more.
Try joining a gym or a dance class – not because you need to lose weight (I can’t see what you look like!), but because exercise is known for releasing endorphines that makes us feel happy and good about ourselves. (So does chocolate, so eat some every day, but in moderation!!) You should also get out and socialise more, without the kids and hubby. Maybe some of the mums in the playground are feeling exactly the same way? You can help each other out by going for a girly night out, or having a girly night in.
Most importantly, talk to your husband. Sit him down and tell him how you’re feeling. Tell him how down it gets you when he pays them attention and not you. You should also speak to him about the lack of sex. This might be because he’s feeling nervous around you – if you’re giving off jealous and angry signals, then he might be wary of trying anything on! But equally, perhaps he’s having “issues” in the male department, in which case you should both speak to a doctor as these are often a sign of stress or underlying problem and shouldn’t be left untreated.
I honestly hope things look up soon,