I'm Not Jealous, I'm Just Uncomfortable!

Question and answer details
R (31_female_US)
Salaam, I am a mother of two and had a fight recently with my husband. We have been married for three years with my cousin. The problem is there is this girl who is also my cousin and was supposed to be married to my husband in the past that did not work out due to family acceptance; she suddenly came to visit us. I have told my husband not to be around her because it builds tension and I am so uncomfortable with them being together. Not because I am jealous but he’s my husband. Since she arrived she has been trying to get attention, laughing loud, her and my husband looking at each other; I can’t stand it. Whatever they had in the past I don’t know everything. My husband is looking at her too much, went picnic with her including the family- I decided not to go because I am 9 months pregnant with our second child. So whatever happened at the picnic I don’t know. She came at my house again doing the same thing while my husband was sitting not too far from her while I was hiding in the room hearing them laughing. I am so hurt; I am not talking to my husband. I can’t get this image out of my head; I think I am going crazy. I really need help. I feel I am so mentally depressed I will go on a coma or mentally ill soon. I have no one to talk to about this issue; no one will listen to me.
Aliah Azmeh, MSW

As-salamu `alaikum dear sister,

Thank you for sending you your question. I am sorry to hear that you are feeling hurt about the presence of this woman in your life. I ask Allah to grant you the self-confidence and strength to communicate your thoughts and feelings affectively and resolve the negative feelings that you have.

To summarize your question, it seems like you married your cousin three years ago and have two beautiful children and the third one is on the way. Recently, the woman that your husband was about to get engaged to before he married you came into your lives and you feel that your husband and this woman are remembering their pasts and the good feelings they may have had with each other. As a result, you have been feeling very uneasy and hurt that your husband is possibly giving this woman positive attention.

It is natural to feel this way, especially since your husband and this woman have a history together. Be honest about your feelings and ask yourself, “How am I feeling about this situation and why do I feel this way?”

You have mentioned that you don’t feel jealous, but to clarify things further, there is nothing wrong with being jealous and with being honest with how you feel. Being jealous (as long as it does not go overboard) is actually a good thing between husband and wife because it shows that you actually care about your spouse’s thoughts and behavior towards you.

To examine it further, jealousy is the fear of losing something, so in your situation, you may feel afraid that you will lose your husband’s positive attention to this woman. There is nothing shameful about feeling this way. Marriage is not a competition about who is “stronger,” or who can live without the need to have the other around. Rather, it is about you giving a part of yourself to strengthen your bond without keeping score on who does what. The first step to solve your issue is to be honest with your feelings and to understand why you feel them.

The next step is to do something about your feelings. The way you have dealt with your feelings didn’t seem very successful. You have been dealing with your feelings by avoiding the situation completely. You did not accompany your husband and this woman to the family picnic they attended and you also avoided sitting with them at your home when she came to visit.

As a result, you have been feeling helpless and miserable because you believe that your husband “likes” this woman and he isn’t doing anything to “stop” it. Instead of waiting for him to do something, you do something! No one around you can read your mind, and no one but you can speak for you!

To solve this issue, you need to talk to your husband about your feelings and not about what he did or did not do. A lot of times when people discuss things, they focus on the other person’s faults and say “you didn’t do ____.” By starting with “you” it makes the other person feel like they are inadequate or have evil intentions.

Instead of focusing on your husband’s actions, focus on yourself and your feelings. Instead of saying “this woman is bad news and you are having fun flirting with her!” say “I feel________ since this woman has entered our lives because__________.” Only you can fill in the blanks!

When you focus on yourself and your feelings when you communicate to your husband, it automatically shifts the focus of the conversation to you. When you start your conversation with how he is insensitive to your needs and he is not doing xyz, most often than not, he will feel the need to defend himself and the conversation will focus on his feelings of anger, not your feelings of hurt! This is true to any conversation you may have with any person.

This situation should also allow you to access the quality of your marriage with more depth. Ask yourself, “How is my relationship with my husband and how do I want it to be?” If you feel that you aren’t as emotionally connected with your husband as you want to, then you should focus on building that relationship a step further.

May Allah grant you success and strength to overcome your hardships.

For further guidance, please try the following link:

Communicating Effectively With Your Spouse

About the Counselor:

Aliah F. Azmeh is a licensed clinical social worker who practices in Detroit, Michigan. Aliah graduated with a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan in 2007 and has experience working in the United States and overseas. Aliah currently works as a clinical social worker and provides individual, family, and marital counseling at Muslim Family Services in Detroit, MI.

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