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My wife thinks I am after her sister. How do I convince her that is silly?

Tagged as: Family, Marriage problems<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (5 August 2018) 10 Answers - (Newest, 8 August 2018)
A male United States age 41-50, anonymous writes:

My wife's sister is a year older than she is. Overall, I have never known them to be competitive or jealous. Recently, her sister got a job at my place of employment. I played a part (but only a part) in getting her the job, which resulted in her getting about a 50% raise - incidentally much more money than my wife makes. Her sister and I have been texting a lot and going to lunch together. Truthfully, I am excited to have her working at my organization. I think it is a great fit. The trouble is that my wife is jealous. She hasn't accused us of having an affair, but has basically accused me of *wanting* to have an affair. She says that I am pursuing her sister. I told her that is totally out of left field, but she says that she can tell that I would prefer to be with her sister. I can understand why she might be jealous of her sister's success, but what annoys me is that she thinks so little of me that she would assume that I helped her sister out of some nefarious reasons and that somehow the fact we are suddenly spending time together validates that. I love her sister but there is nothing sexual going on. How do I convince my wife that the time I am spending with her sister is all work-related and that the excitement we are sharing is just because I am happy for her!

View related questions: affair, jealous, money, text

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (8 August 2018):

I think you have gone too far sharing the excitement.” Her sister and I have been texting a lot and going to lunch together”. Why you need to keep texting her? Treat her like a coworker! We all have colleagues and I don’t think it’s common or appropriate to keep texting and going out to lunch with them unless there is something more going on.

Please don’t call your wife competitive or jealous! You have been inappropriat here.

Please respect your wife and tune down the relationship with her sister to the same level as it was before.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (7 August 2018):

Sorry, but texting any other woman " a lot", or at all (beyond necessary business communications) is quite inappropriate. Not sure why this isn't clear to you.

How would you feel if your wife texted a male coworker about non work related matters regularly? No wonder she is upset. You need to cool things off with the S.I.L. You shouldn't be getting so close to her- just not appropriate at all.

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A female reader, mystiquek United States + , writes (6 August 2018):

mystiquek agony auntThe situation might seem silly to you but can't you see that your wife might be feeling jealous? threatened? Sibling rivalry does exist. Her sister now has a job making more than her, she works with you and the two of you are going out to lunch together and you are gushing about your sister in law. Come now sir..don't tell me you cant see how your wife might feel uncomfortable with this! BACK OFF...if you want peace in your household. It was nice of you to help your sister in law but unless you start inviting your wife to the lunches...STOP GOING. Stop gushing about your sister in law. You do your job, she does hers. If you love your wife and dont want her feeling uneasy and uncomfortable you will heed the advice you're getting on here.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (6 August 2018):

Think about how this sounds and looks to your wife. You got her sister a job that "incidentally" pays much more than your wife makes. You're excited she's working with you, texting her "a lot", and going out to lunch together. You "love her sister". You say she may be jealous of her sister's success, the unspoken implication being that your wife is not successful.

Cool it with your sister-in-law. Stop the texting and lunch with her only occasionally. Curb your enthusiasm for sis and turn your attention to where it belongs -- your wife. She's the one that deserves your praise and excitement.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (5 August 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntOP, sister-in-law or not, she's just another woman. Would you be okay with your wife doing the same things with another man? Being so enthusiastic? Going to lunch frequently? Texting a lot?

You wouldn't like it, so stop doing it. Maybe go to lunch once a week, but no more and not alone. Only text when it's about a family meet up, although that should come from your wife(!), or work. Being friendly when you see her is one thing, but developing this close friendship isn't fair to your wife and is suspicious, even if you're not actually thinking about cheating.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (5 August 2018):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntI am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are so fixated on your job that you honestly do not understand what you are putting your wife through. There is a huge difference between being supportive to a work colleague (which your sister in law now is) and constant texting and going for lunch, not to mention gushing over how wonderful it is to have her working with you.

Even if you ARE completely innocent of any inappropriate intentions towards your wife's sister, and it truly is all work related, there are a number of problems with your behaviour:

1. There are people in every organization who make it their business to watch others and make assumptions about what they are doing together. It is bound to have been noticed that you two are always going off to lunch together. People presumably know you are married (you don't mention whether the sister in law is, so I assume she is single) and people WILL talk. Eventually that talk will get back to your line manager and hers and will not look good. It could affect future promotional prospects.

2. YOU may not have any ulterior motives but you do not know how this all looks to your sister in law. If SHE was writing in, I would be advising that she cuts the communication, especially the lunches, and concentrates on her job.

3. Even if there has never been any previous competition between your wife and her sister, can you not put yourself in your wife's shoes and empathize for a moment how your actions make your wife feel? Women usually have a sixth sense where their husbands/partners are concerned. One of the first red flags of things "going south" is usually a huge change in someone's behaviour. Your wife is not stupid. You are lucky she is still at the stage of talking. Don't allow this to get to the next stage.

4. How would you feel if your wife had been instrumental in getting a man a job at her organization, then spent her time texting him, going out to lunch with him and gushing over how excited she was that he was working there?

Carry on as you are and the next time you are writing in will be for advice on getting your wife to take you back as she will only have so much patience with your inconsiderate behaviour. If you want to stay married, back off the sister and go to work to work.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (5 August 2018):

Post script:

"I love her sister but there is nothing sexual going on. How do I convince my wife that the time I am spending with her sister is all work-related and that the excitement we are sharing is just because I am happy for her!"

If your wife read this, I think your clothes and belongings would be waiting on the porch in garbage bags!

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (5 August 2018):

[EDIT]:

"Seems you've been deficient in giving your wife the attention she needs, if you ask me!"

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (5 August 2018):

Sir, you have been just a little too active in good deeds!

Securing her sister a job, texting her, and giving her gratuitous attention. That kind of over-friendliness is exactly what does lead to "affairs!" Your wife is being preemptive in her behavior; because sometimes people do misinterpret your good intentions, and take them for something other than just "friendly." You're going far beyond the call!

Her sister owes you far too much in appreciation; so how does she repay you?

If you know for a fact there is rivalry between your wife and her sister; it seems abundantly weird/insensitive you would get smack-dab in the middle of it, and give her reason to be jealous! How would you feel if your wife was lavishing your brother with attention; and got him a job making more than you??? Seems you've been deficit in giving your wife the attention she needs, if you ask me!

How do you convince your wife to trust you? By keeping at the proper distance between you and her sister; and letting her sister know it was all done in good-faith and nothing more.

Keep your friendly little chatter by email at a minimum. It's inappropriate. I agree with your wife, it's far too much attention to be simply innocent. It looks suspicious; even if it's innocent, as you claim.

Try being considerate of your wife's feelings. She's your wife, she has a right to set boundaries. It's natural for her to be uncomfortable with her husband propping-up her sister with a great job, complimenting her strong-points, and sharing emails with her at work.

Come-on sir, you're not that naive! Nothing makes men look more devious and suspect; than when we get in-between two women we know compete or rival, then play the oblivious stupid-guy in the middle.

You really want to make peace? Back-off her sister! Who's side are you on anyway?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (5 August 2018):

This sounds a bit off. Why continue to text and go to lunch with her if you know it makes your wife uncomfortable. There is no need to do all this with her just because you got her the job. I understand why your wife feels the way she does.

Keep it professional and stop texting and gooing to lunch all the time. This should make your wife less on edge.

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