What To Do When Your Husband Looks at Other Women

03 January, 2019
Q First of all, thank you for counselor Aisha Muhammad-Swan for her first response and explanation to my problem. It was really helpful, but I feel I need further help. I always had low self-esteem problems. Before marriage, I told my husband that I’m not a beautiful woman actually just to know his reason for choosing me when so many pretty women surrounded him. I felt happy that time having an attractive husband, but later I noticed that he behaves with me in a different way than with other pretty women which made my self-esteem more down. He apologized and said he loved me, but still any time when a beautiful woman is near him, he acts differently.

I think in my 7 years of marriage, my psychological problems related to my marital relationship got severer. I do realize that it is part of human nature to like the beauty, but he stares at any other beautiful – covered Muslim or “uncovered” non-Muslim – women which disturbs me a lot. I sometimes also look at other men who are more handsome than my husband just to show him how annoying this behavior is.

As I wrote before, recently, my main issue is his assistant who works with him in the same company and lives in the same building or apartment. Sometimes, they go to and come from the office together or meet customers together. Now, their office moved to another area which is 1-1, 5 hours away from home. Before that, the office was only 7 - 10 minutes’ drive from home. I don’t want to be suspicious, but it does make me so suspicious and curious. Sometimes, I tried to express my feelings of worry to my husband nicely, but it became a source of fight.

Working closely with non-mahrams nowadays has become a trend and something which is hard to avoid, especially in the West. I don’t really care about this though, as long as their concern is only work and business. But it irritates me a lot when a man and an attractive woman are sitting together in a car without other people. I swear to God, I’m trying to handle my feelings and the situation by increasing my confidence level and thinking positively, but since I noticed that he felt ashamed of me and that how he behaves with other women, I cannot help but feeling like a failure again and again. In addition, my friends are negative as well about the situation. I feel deeply insecure not because he would leave me but because I feel I've been compared with. She is a non-Muslim wearing hot pants or miniskirts, and yes, she is attractive.

After the first time I met her, my husband is always praising her that it is the same as his, she focuses on work, hates gossiping,…etc. But I also have the same qualities! I just feel disgusted by the way he praises her. After some time, once I even harshly criticized her clothing. I was wrong, I know, but I really could not control myself and I couldn’t just think of anything else but that she is basically closer to my husband than myself! She said that she felt more comfortable with men than women in a friendship. I apologized to her for my harsh words and she forgave me, but my hatred toward her has not gone yet. And now we don’t have any relationship. I tried to tell my husband that what he’s doing is not allowed in Islam, but day by day he has become angrier. He said, he only worked and he didn’t have choice, and knew that all of that was not allowed, but he had to adapt at some level for the culture we live in to survive.

He continued that, in fact, he had told me many times that he didn’t have the intention for any affairs as he loved his family a lot, but I still didn’t trust him. My mind is full with whisperings: what would happen if a man and a woman frequently come and go together and the third person is Satan? It is not possible that they both only discuss work issues. There must be some personal discussions also when they are sitting in the car or are out for lunch together. Moreover, I found messages of him to her and to other women in his mobile: quotes of motivation and sometimes even love quotes. After his last trip, I found nasty chatting between him and another married woman. It really hurt! I know it’s all because of me, but until now I can’t control myself and I keep disturbing him with his assistant because I also read her messages sent to him late night or she called him because she was sick and some other things. I am too suspicious and check his mobile and emails frequently to release my stress. He said he would really commit zina if I kept pushing him and disturbing him with questions like whether she went to the office with him that day or what feelings he had for her.

Last week, I noticed that the way my husband dressed was not usual. His dress was matching with the girl’s dress. (I saw her walking down.) I want to be more patient, I want to put my full trust in Allah, but I feel really insecure. I don’t like if my husband has close friends who are girls. I don’t like that he admires her, I don’t like if he listens to her words and not mine and that he spends more time with her than me. Our home has really no peace nowadays. I want that girl to be fired from the company and that she is no longer in touch with my husband.

Please help me what to do with my suspicious and disturbed thoughts! I’m praying, reading Qur’an, but it doesn’t get better. I feel myself a really bad mother, too. Do I have OCD? Thank you and looking forward to your answer.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

  • Focus on your children, yourself, making du’aa’, and truly trusting that Allah will work this situation out.
  • Take control in a positive and Islamic manner.
  • Seek professional help and seek marriage guidance.

As-Salamu ‘Alaykum sister,

Thank you, dear sister, for writing to us again. I am so sorry things have not gotten better. It is quite clear from your letter that your anguish, anger, and frustration have increased (as you are expressing such).

As you did try to discuss this matter with your husband about being in the company of the female assistant and he got angry, at this point, I would advise leaving the situation alone and not bring it up to him anymore.

It appears he is going to do whatever he wants whether it is pleasing to Allah (swt) or not; whether it is Islamically incorrect behavior, and sadly sister, even if it hurts you. You cannot control or change his behavior sister and he refuses to discuss it. However, you can control how you respond to it.

I encourage you in sha’ Allah to focus on your children, yourself, making du’aa’, and truly trusting that Allah (swt) will work this situation out. I understand that you have been praying and reading Qur’an, but I also see that your mind is almost constantly preoccupied with your husband’s assistant. Thus, I ask you to in sha’ Allah, ensure your mind is clear of this when you are reading and praying.

While you do not know for sure if he is cheating on you, his behavior is making you angry and hurt. Sister, as it is causing you so much sadness, anger, and strife in your life, you may have to take steps to decide what you need to do to restore harmony and peace in the home. I suggest you seek the help of a professional counselor in your area to assist you with this.

As painful as this is, constantly asking him about this and that, yelling, being angry and so forth is not going to help the situation; it will only make it worse. While we are all human and sometimes tend to exhibit these behaviors, these are not communication skills that are conducive to a healthy marriage. Of course, you feel hurt and angry about some of the things that are going on, but yelling, constantly bringing up the subject in an angry way, and accusing is not going to get you anywhere.

I urge you to take control in a positive and Islamic manner. We cannot change your husband’s behavior or his desires. His relationship with Allah (swt) will be for him to deal with. Shift your focus and realize that what he does is not about you or your worth as a woman. It is about who he is as a man.

Your husband’s behaviors are a reflection of his level of maturity and his understanding of his own relationship with Allah (swt). And so are yours. And these behaviors can harm a marriage.

Behaviors such as yelling can destroy the vital ingredient in life you got married for, or ruin true intimacy or an opportunity to complete your religion.

While you did not mention other behaviors that your husband or you may exhibit towards each other, I would like you to add that demeaning you intentionally, calling you names, shouting to intimidate you and the kids, or physically assaulting you or them, this falls under domestic abuse.

You need to recognize it for what it is to be able to seek professional help. This means that if anyone in the household is abusive, you need to seek help immediately.  This would especially include if any family member is at risk of being harmed physically (hitting, biting, pushing, slapping, etc.).

Domestic abuse/ violence is a very serious matter, especially as there are children in the home. It not only has legal ramifications (going to jail, losing custody of your children) but spiritual ones as well, as Allah forbids and hates violence and abuse in families. It is forbidden in Islam to abuse another. In a worst-case scenario, a family member can die from abuse. If abuse is going on, you need to leave at once and ensure first of all that your children are safe as well as yourself.


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As far as your anger, hurt and psychological state of mind my dear sister, at this point, I would advise you to immediately seek professional counseling to address any depression, anxiety or other mental health issues which you may be struggling with. I cannot determine if you have OCD tendencies (as you asked). However, I do feel your feelings and behaviors in response to your husband’s actions are getting out of control and may be causing much harm to yourself and others.

Also, if possible, seek marriage guidance from an Imam or see if your local Masjid has marriage counseling services or a counselor in the area who provides marriage counseling. While your husband may not go, it would be beneficial for you to go, if only to learn how to deal with his behavior, manage stressors, develop coping skills, learn appropriate communication skills, as well as make an effort to save the marriage if possible.

You are in our prayers, dear sister. Please let us know how things are going.

Salam,

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

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Husband Flirts with Other Women: What to Do?

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.