Family

I Am Jealous Of My Husband's Love For A (Much) Younger Lady

Photo: Josh Willink on Pexels
jealous of husband's love for the child we are raising together

My worst fear has been realized. My husband has fallen in love with another girl. Life as I know it is over.

Just as I expected, the other lady is younger and cuter than I am.

Many jealous women remain silent, tolerating their husband's affection for someone else while dying a slow, painful death within.

I am not one of these women. Never good at hiding my emotions — try as I might — I confront the issue head-on.

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I'm jealous of my husband's love for the child we are raising together. 

What does she have that I don't?

I've just come home from brunch with my sister, one of the few solo outings I've enjoyed in the past month. As I enter the house that Sunday afternoon, savoring the final moments of solitude before being thrust back into the deep end of the parenting pool, I hear giggles coming from another room. And not just girlie giggles. Grown man giggles I've never heard before.

My heart races. I've never inspired my husband to laugh like that.

I realize that I'm holding my breath and I force myself to exhale as I tiptoe through the house. I don't know what the two of them are doing to elicit such pure joy. But whatever it is, I want to catch them in the act.

Finally, I reach the door, nudging it open as I peer into the room and see my husband and "The Wee One" sitting together. She is facing him, giggling and looking into his eyes with pure adoration.

It's the look on my husband's face that kills me. I know this look.

It's the same look he gave me the first time he told me he loved me. And now he's giving that look to someone new.

Someone younger. Someone more adorable. Someone I can't compete with. 

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"Ouie!" she squeals with delight. He once again giggles in that absolutely tickled way I've never heard before now.

What did she just call him? Ouie. This is her 14-month-old version of the pet name I call my husband.

To the world, he may be Luis. But to me, he's always been my Louie.

Ironically, the only other person to call him that is his sister. The tiny other woman's mother. She affectionately nicknamed him Louie as a tween. I loved the sound of it and adopted it as my own.

And now this little girl has found an even more adorable way to say it.

Ouie!

"That's right!" Louie says joyfully. "I'm Ouie!"

"Hi," I say, announcing my unnoticed arrival.

My husband looks up, sees me, and smiles. It's not as big a smile as the one he's been giving her.

Jealously pulses through my veins.

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My jealousy rears its ugly head

"Hey, baby. How was brunch?"

"Good," I say, approaching the bed. I plant a big wet kiss on him in hopes of eliciting a response from him.

Instead, nothing. His eyes and attention are already back on her.

"I want to give her back," I hear myself blurt out. Even as the words escape my mouth, I know how preposterous they sound.

"What?" my husband replies. I can't tell if he didn't hear me or he can't believe what I just said.

"I. Want. To. Give. Her. Back."

I enunciate more clearly as I raise my voice. I realize I'm now crying. Tears stream down my cheeks as I mourn the loss of being No. 1 in my husband's heart.

"Absolutely not," he responds, looking at me as if I've just gone mad, which I'm starting to feel like I have.

"Why?" I hear myself ask, which only makes me feel like a bigger baby than the actual baby in the house.

Of course, I know why we can't give this child back.

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We can't give her back

First, who exactly would we give her back to? Foster care? Out of the question. My mother-in-law? Even more unacceptable.

I don't know who I think we can give this child to. All I know is in this moment, I want her gone.

More specifically, I want my old life back. I want my marriage back.

I want to be the only girl my husband looks at with such love and adoration. I want to be the one who makes him giggle like that.

The one he focuses all of his amazing love, compassion, and generosity on. I want all of that and more ... but it's too late.

That version of my life is officially over.

Here I thought I was doing the right thing for my family. I'd intuitively known since finding out my sister-in-law was pregnant at 18 that we'd be raising this child in some capacity. 

Suddenly it hits me. The lifestyle Louie and I had purposely designed over the last eight years together was slowly but surely being revised to a life with children.

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He's a good man — a really good man

And while I'd thought this label was a disposable one, my husband made it clear that Sunday — like the good man he is — that he was in it for the long haul, with or without me.

"Baby, I promised my sister I'd take care of her daughter. I can't go back on that promise. Now, if you don't want to be in this with me, I accept that. But I can't give the kid back. I hope you won't leave. Stay with us. I'll raise the kid myself. You can just live with us."

It's always humbling when you realize you married a man who's a far better human being than you. But having that fact hit you upside your head in an already humbling state can bring a grown woman to her knees.

It certainly brought me to mine.

The truth is, my husband would have been perfectly happy raising this child alone and loving me while he did it. He would have made the most out of being a pseudo-single parent while married to (and sleeping next to) a woman who didn't lift a finger to help raise his sister's baby.

That's the kind of man he is. And I'm thankful every day that this is who I married.

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The Imposter Mom embraces family life

I'm also thankful that at this moment, one of my many rock bottoms to come as an Imposter Mom, this amazing man held the space for me to find a better version of myself. To suck it up, ego-wise, and show up better — for me, for our marriage, and for this child who needed a mother figure as well as a father figure.

As an Imposter Mom, I still wanted to put myself first. And I still wanted my husband to put me first.

But the truth was, bringing another lady into our lives had changed things beyond the superficiality of re-organizing our daily schedules.

Baby didn't just make three. She made a family.

Temporary or not, that Sunday marked the beginning of our New Normal, a.k.a. Becoming A Family.

And things would never be the same again.

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Lisa Steadman is a breakup expert, bestselling author, media personality, and highly sought-after voice for women who are redefining what Having It All looks like. 

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This article was originally published at Lisa Steadman. Reprinted with permission from the author.