Mostly Harmless: Your Wife Showing Attraction To Someone Else

Hi Athol – I have a quick question hope you don’t mind,my next door neighbour is having her house renovated and at anytime over the last 12 weeks and probably for the next 12 weeks she has had different builders there.
Now my wife has gotten quite friendly with one of them in that she chats to him (no harm I think). But she has made comments such as they have real mans job (ie builder),my reply was at least I earn more than them.
She makes comments such as Mr. X says such and such most of which I ignore. However she tends too speak to them a lot more when I am not around, maybe they talk more to her when I’m not around. She seems to do lots of jobs outside the house when they are here.
Should I be worried or just ignore the whole thing? A lot of this started when you were writing about infidelity so I started getting a bit paranoid.
Hi there,
The good news is that your wife is talking openly about this guy, so unless she is a master of deception and playing a “hiding in plain sight” game, she’s not actually doing anything physical with this guy or likely even thinking about it in a practical sense. Cheaters have an enormous need to hide the relationship because they know it is wrong.
The less fun news is that yes she is attracted to him. I think the talking about him, talking to him and getting outside and finding opportunities to be proximal to him are all positive signs of interest. Attraction isn’t a choice, just like you can’t help but turn your head and take a second look at a hot babe, Mr. X is just around and she’s attracted to him. And yeah that is an uncomfortable feeling.
You can’t just come out and say you’re threatened by him because that’s a weakness display and tends to imply that he is better than you. You also can’t tell her that she’s being inappropriate because most likely she will just hear you calling her a slut and get very defensive and angry at you… and then that puts the idea of cheating in her head as well.
I would suspect that Mr. X is probably in better physical shape than you, so that is one area to work on improving in yourself. If he’s good looking then it’s just natural biological attraction at work here, so you need to combat that with having you look as good as you can. This is all just normal behavior at work.
Also it sounds like Mr. X is just engaging her in conversation… is your wife just bored? So the solution is for you to find ways to engage her and keep her busy and occupied. And hanging out and cockblocking doesn’t hurt either. Don’t just arrive and give her gifts, do something with her.
The most concerning news is the tone of contempt for you that I think I heard in the statement that “they have a real mans job“. I think you should bump back on that. Don’t just say you make more money, tell her that’s a shitty thing to say in front of her husband and just glare her down.
And oh yeah I get the paranoia thing. I read so many freaking horror stories that it gives me the paranoia sometimes too. So don’t go too crazy about the current situation, just take it as a wake up call that things might have been slipping a bit on your end. If you start seeing her make changes in dress, suddenly working out, clamming up about him, sneaking about, or her establishing a relationship with him beyond “over the fence” (i.e. email, calls, texts) then you’re going to want to step it up and become more aggressive. In theory this guy is totally gone in a few months anyway.
So attraction in and of itself isn’t wrong for her, but her taking action on it is.  So for now, the battlefield you fight on is the attraction battlefield. So don’t draw attention to him, try pulling her attention on to you.


  1. Margie says

    "she is a master of deception and playing a "hiding in plain sight" game," I am SO ripping off that line…that could be my whole self-description…grin

  2. Anonymous says

    "a real man's job" Yeah, and I bet if she were married to HIM and had just met YOU, she'd be telling him that you have "a real man's job that makes serious money, rather than just being a glorified handyman" or something like that.

    What she said to you is the direct equivalent of a man telling his wife that the neighbor lady "keeps herself in shape so she looks like a real woman, unlike you."

    When a woman acts like this it's time to let her know that the continuation of the relationship depends on cutting it out. It only gets worse over time. Make her stop it NOW. Painful experience talking here.


  3. Anonymous says

    Hi Athol,

    I have a question for you. First, let me give you a little information on the situation. I am a woman and I started reading your blog about 2 months ago. I have been the one that has been the issue in our sexual relationship for various reasons…just had a baby, not feeling all that hot, etc. When I found your blog I realized my errors and have started implementing some of your strategies (in the girl equivalent). We have had more sex in the last two months than in a long time. We were once a week kind of people and now it is near daily.

    Here is my problem. My husband has a stressful job but now that I have started being the one to come on to him he has stopped really coming on to me. I don't get it. I thought that my new rejuvenated sexual interest would make him even more sexually charged to me. Instead, what I initiate is enough and I am left wanting more. (I must be getting a lot of testosterone in me). He loves the sex but I want him to pursue me.

    An aside: I have recently found a website on our computer that he has gone to in the past and again now. It is just silly photos of girls flashing breasts, etc. Nothing of real porn concern. But I have to wonder why he is checking out this site. Especially now when he is getting more sex than ever. Any insight?

  4. Anonymous says

    You know I am amazed at how you get all this advise not to really show your jealousy because it's a weakness. It's as if women don't feel you're jealous. Break this stupid little games.

    If you're coming off being whiny and insecure about "how she makes you feel", it is genuine weakness in you. Fuck that! Who the fuck does she think she is behaving like that? Real man's job? What the fuck did you just say? Hey, go on, marry him, you'll make a cute couple, and I need a real woman. I'll talk to that chick at work who's been giving me the eye lately.

    There's nothing wrong with scaring your woman a little so that she doesn't make you jealous. Women are people, too, and they get attracted to other men all the time. But only the ones who are scared to lose their husbands do not ever show it. The hard part is that if you really think she's so much better than you, it can be hard to pull off.

    You'd be amazed to what insane, hysterical, drama-filled requirements some women put up with to be with their controlling, jealousy-ridden angry boyfriends. Showing jealousy is not insecure. It's how you do it.

  5. mnl says

    Regarding the wife who talks openly about the construction worker… this sounds like some sort of fitness/shit test. I agree with Athol that a more concerning thing would be if she's thinking these thoughts and not saying them out loud. As she's saying this all out loud, it sounds like an indirect begging for attention.

    There's a helpful concept in psychology called an "optimum stimulation level"–which is a fancy way of saying that everyone needs a certain level of excitement in their life, and that the optimum level is different and achieved through different means for everyone. I think that women (more so than men) seek this optimum excitement through their romantic relationships. In other words, your wife may be just "stirring the pot" so-to-speak. She's tweaking your nose or pushing your buttons, trying to get a jealous response, all for a little excitement. If so, then the correct response is to give her some task, excitement, or unpredictability in return. To get pissed-off or jealous sort of accomplishes that. But it also indirectly says you think the construction worker is a true threat and worth her time. So, it's also a DLV.

    You need to respond to the shit test by being a bit of a smart-ass and doing something creative and unpredictable with her. Slap her on the ass and tell her to get herself ready while you go put on your "tool belt"–and nothing else. Then, do something different this weekend other than the same old dinner and a movie.

  6. Anonymous says

    Agree with anonymous. Some low level jealousy can be a useful tool. I have not experimented with high level jealousy.

  7. Athol Kay says

    The issue is a very finely balanced one. The other guy is just attractive and proximal, so her reaction is natural and normal. Just the same way a pretty woman walking by you is going to turn your head, he's turning her head.

    Just the same way a wife tearing her husbands head off for looking at other women makes the husband feel negatively about his wife, the same effect happens when you do the same to your wife. She very well may back off the other man, but she will also feel some less attraction to you. She APPEARS to be more attracted to you because he's (hopefully) out of the picture and you're the only guy around, but her actual attraction to you lessens.

    If she's getting extra attention from you because she is making you jealous, she knows that and it will only increase the behavior from her that you don't want to see. Plus you are acting like he's a threat to you.

    So the solution is to just to create more of an exciting alpha presence yourself and draw her attention on to you. There's nothing that you can really do about her being attracted to attractive men.

    However, should she start to step over the line and appear to be moving from just attracted to starting seduction, then you do have to start making waves and laying down the law about what is and is not acceptable to you.

  8. Jealous Woman says

    I've done this to my partner before. I do it whenever I feel he is not sufficiently appreciating me, romancing me, giving me attention. In other words, when he takes me for granted or when he notices other women.

    I'm proving that I still notice other men and yes, they notice me to, so if he doesn't get with the program …..

    Not that I'd leave him. That's not the point. The point is I want him to run up to me, grab me, pick me up, spin me around and say, "Damnit Woman! I love you and I'm not gonna let any other man on Earth have you!"

  9. Athol Kay says

    Jealous Woman – essentially what you are doing is what I suggest men do. You're just running game on him.

  10. Jealous Woman says

    I wouldn't advise husbands to ignore their wives pleas for some romantic attention. You just might push one button too many….

    Show her some love, boys. It doesn't hurt THAT much.

  11. Athol Kay says

    We're not saying "ignore her", we're saying "don't run over there and act threatened, just get active and do something else engaging with her".

  12. tspoon says

    If this bugs you (and it should) probably the best way to deal with it is to find a way to not-so-subtly remind her of precisely which one of the two of you is losing their market value at the faster rate, and who will come out best in the long run, in the 'hypothetical' scenario she clearly wants you to consider.
    Although this can be very hard to convey to a female, surprisingly, given how socially aware and what superb communicators they like to think they are….

  13. Jealous Woman says

    Tspoon (not Herbal T?), as a woman I tell you THIS WILL NOT WORK!

    How do I know? Story of my life.

    If the wife is the type to passively-aggressively drop hints at her husband as she is doing, then your suggestion will not work. I know from experience because I am the same type of woman.

    When I was feeling un-appreciated and under-romanced by my man, I did the same thing, to let him know that if HE didn't find me attractive enough to sweep me off my feet, someone else did!

    This is an attempt by the wife to "prove" that she's still "got it".

    Telling her that she doesn't is NOT going to end well.

    What WILL end well is if her husband treats like she indeed still DOES "got it" – and do something romantic and super sexy with her.

    Believe me, it's a win-win. She'll get what she wants and so will the husband.

  14. JackAmok says

    Point, tspoon! Nice prediction there.

    Of course, in reality, both tspoon and Jealous Woman are right. You could probably stop her shenanigans cold if you made her realize that she's losing DMV at an alarming rate and an attempt to find a 'better man' will probably just leave her out in the cold. And the odds are most modern women will just never understand that, so you shoudl probably try a different tactic.

  15. Jealous Woman says

    You're wrong Jack, by telling her she's losing DMV will just up her ante to the next level to PROVE that she's still "got it". It might push her into an affair, even if it's just a one night stand, or hell, a trip to the movies with him. Anything to prove to hubby, and herself, that she's still got it.

    Be careful boys.

    Play with fire? Get burned.

  16. elhaf says

    @JackAmok, I love how you agree completely with Jealous Woman, but she disagrees with you, making your point.

  17. Athol Kay says

    Anon 4:32 – he actually invited the builder to come work on his house/kitchen or something. We all said he was crazy for doing so.

    Then he stopped emailing me.

  18. Anonymous says

    Nothing happened,he did not work on the house I told him We were going to go for a new kitchen instead of repairs

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