Do you often find yourself wondering what it means when your husband defends another woman repeatedly? Does it mean that your husband is emotionally attached to another woman who you don’t quite trust? Do you feel hurt when this happens and are you seeking answers to some of these confusions?
To explore the answers to these questions, I spoke to psychotherapist Dr. Aman Bhonsle (Ph.D., PGDTA), who specializes in relationship counseling and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, about why a man defends another woman over his wife, what to do when he does, along with some tips to cope with it.
Why Does A Man Defend Another Woman?
Dr. Bhonsle believes it is imperative to do a post-mortem of this question to understand the possibilities. We need to first ask that if he confides in another woman, how long has he known her? Has it been just a few months, or has it been years? Once we answer this, we move on to the question: What are the power dynamics of the relationship that they share?
It’s also relevant to ask about the proximity of their relationship. How much time do they both spend with each other? Do they work together and therefore spend the whole day together or are they distant friends who meet sometimes over the weekend? What relationship do they share? Is this woman his family member, a friend, or an acquaintance? Before you think your husband is obsessed with another woman, knowing the context is significant.
Also, it might not be his behavior that is riding your emotions, but your own beliefs. It’s wise, therefore, to ask yourself a few questions such as:
- Does your husband have to agree with you all the time?
- Is it ok for your husband to have a female best friend or talking to another woman, according to you?
- Where is the suspicion of his motives to defend another woman coming from?
- Does his naturally defensive behavior bother you?
- If it was a male friend, would you react this way?
Here’s another set of questions you can ask yourself to get better clarity on what makes your man defending another woman a concern for you:
- Has your husband been silent in an area you wish he had spoken up in?
- Does your husband act unkindly toward you when he defends another woman?
- Is he defending the person or the opinion?
- According to you, is defense of an opinion a part of a healthy debate or is it a matter of argument?
All these questions need to be reflected on to truly understand why a man defends another woman and how it affects you.
Related Reading: 12 Things To Do When Your Husband Chooses His Family Over You
3 Major Reasons Your Husband Supports Another Woman
I understand how it feels when your husband defends another woman over you or in front of you. You might end up feeling rejected, neglected, and inadequate in front of her. You might even feel they have an inappropriate friendship or “My husband’s female friend is ruining our marriage” or “His sister/colleague/etc. keeps coming up in our personal conversations and I don’t like it”.
The first step to dealing with these feelings is to examine the reasons for your husband’s behavior. Here are a few reasons that can explain his tendency to be defensive toward this woman.
1. He stands up for what’s right
This is an insight given by Dr. Bhonsle. Your husband might be standing up for his opinion of what is right in that given conversation. The intentions of his actions might not have much to do with you, as much as they have to do with what he believes is right.
2. He is protective by nature
Men activate their protective instincts when they perceive a ‘damsel in distress’. In certain situations where your husband defends another woman, all he might be thinking of is protecting her. This is much like the hero instinct in men. Hurting you might not even have crossed your husband’s mind.
3. He disagrees with you
Your husband may have noticed that you were being disrespectful toward her, either accidentally or intentionally. He thought that he needed to intervene. He would probably expect you to do the same for him. So, in general, he may agree with you in a conversation, but he may also stand up for what he feels is right. Again, hurting you isn’t on his agenda.
Related Reading: 17 Agonizing Signs Your Husband Doesn’t Love You Anymore
What To Do When Your Husband Defends Another Woman?
When your husband defends another woman repeatedly, you might start to question everything about your relationship, about him, yourself, her, and everything in between. It’s normal in this situation to feel betrayed especially if your husband cuts you short or in some instances, your husband might belittle you to defend someone else.
It is imperative to be able to remain calm and in control to handle such situations. According to Dr. Bhonsle, here are some things you can do when your husband confides in another woman or defends her:
1. Communicate your distress to your spouse
The most effective step to take when your husband defends another woman abruptly or repeatedly is to communicate to him how you feel about it. Let him know why it bothered/bothers you. Be as open and honest as you possibly can. This is the most effective way of resolving a healthy conflict and it also might act as a catharsis for you.
2. Learn to negotiate what you want
Now that you have the conversation underway, Dr. Bhonsle suggests that you negotiate what you want in a situation like this. It won’t come naturally to your husband that his behavior is hurtful, unless you tell him. Once he knows it, work out a middle ground in which he is not compromising his very nature. However, you are also not left in a place where you feel betrayed and inadequate.
Related Reading: 12 Signs Of A Lying Spouse
3. Investigate what is making you uncomfortable
It is also helpful to dive deep within to understand what particular aspect of your husband defending another woman you did not like. Was there anything that triggered your values, morals, or beliefs? Only when you know what it brought out for you can you communicate it effectively to your spouse. Internal reflection is paramount to understanding what you are going through in depth.
4. Understand that you can’t micromanage
Your husband is not a child, he is a grown-up man and the fact is that you can’t manage every move of his. Micromanaging refers to observing and controlling everything that the other person does. This can backfire and create distance between the two of you. He might start to perceive you as a controlling woman. You can only suggest to him that you will feel better if he doesn’t defend another woman publicly over your point. However, in the end, it’s up to him. You must realize this.
Here are the other things you can do when you see your husband defending another woman over you:
5. Take his perspective into account
Try putting yourself in your husband’s place when he explains himself, in order to understand where he is coming from. This doesn’t mean that you support him at all costs. If you find yourself saying “My husband’s female friend is ruining our marriage”, try to comprehend his motives for standing up for her or any other woman present in his life. This can help in achieving a healthy and successful perspective shift and a successful marriage.
6. Don’t accuse him of cheating
At least not without evidence. It can take a hit on your mental health and self-esteem when your husband defends another woman repeatedly. It can even cloud your judgment and make you perceive things that aren’t there. It’s imperative to understand that your spouse can have female friends and may have different views and opinions about certain things. It’s paramount that you don’t let unhealthy jealousy stand between you and your spouse. It can ruin the trust you both have built throughout your marriage.
7. Be mindful of ‘how’ he comes to her defense
It is more relevant sometimes to notice not just what your husband says but ‘how’ he says it. If he agrees with her and gives a constructive reason for doing so, that’s great. However, if he defends another woman over you without hearing your side or explaining his, it might be a cause for concern. Also be mindful if there are present any signs that a woman is interested in your husband.
8. Share your insecurities and concerns when he compares you to another woman
It is critical that you let your husband know the things you have noticed about his behavior that are bothering you. As he defends another woman, your reaction might be completely justified if you had noticed other behavioral patterns that had raised your suspicion before. In this situation, even if he justifies himself, you might not believe him. Tell him about these patterns and the insecurities they have caused. Be honest with your spouse.
9. Try to be open to healthy conflict
When you express your concerns and suspicions, a conflict could arise. Learn ways to engage in healthy conflict if this happens. In a healthy conflict, couples tend to be gentle with one another. They usually stick to “I” statements and not “you” statements which makes a huge difference. Learn to communicate how you feel and what you need without blaming your partner for it.
10. Be careful of the time you choose for this discussion
Yes, there is a right and a wrong time to bring up issues. The wrong time to inform your husband that he is defending another woman might be in the heat of an argument or in the presence of the other woman. Try picking a time when you both are in a calm and stable state of mind.
11. Reflect on his relationship with the woman he defends
Like Dr. Bhonsle mentioned before, it is wise to make a note of your husband’s relationship with the person that he supports so often. His relationship with his mother would be different from his relationship with female co-workers or friends. Be mindful of if there are signs that he is having an emotional affair at work or with another female in his life whom he defends. This can give you significant insights into what makes him defend someone else in front of you and how to manage the situation.
Related Reading: 18 Complications Of Having An Affair With A Married Man
12. If this woman is a friend, ask if he has any feelings for her
In your conversation with your husband, you should ask this pertinent question. It is always suggested to not assume but ask. Observe his behavior around her. Does he often talk to her, text her, or visit her? Does he compare you to another woman? You should discuss this topic with him and confront him if this is the case, instead of assuming that he is cheating or that he is in love with her.
13. Seek professional help
It is always advisable to seek professional help if your spouse’s actions are causing you stress. A mental health professional can guide you in dealing with the situation and will navigate this journey with you. With the help of Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists, you can move one step closer to a harmonious relationship with yourself and your husband.
How To Stay Calm When Your Husband Defends Another Woman?
It is wise to stay calm when you find your husband defending another woman. You must try to restrain yourself and control your temper. When you react while you’re overwhelmed by emotions, you can say things you don’t mean which can have awful consequences for your marriage. It is also important to stay calm when your spouse says hurtful things or does something that is hurtful, like defending another woman.
Practice the following to stay calm when you feel like your husband is obsessed with another woman:
- Take a step back and take a deep breath
- Remind yourself that you will choose to respond, and not react in the heat of the moment
- Remember not to say anything right away. If that requires you to stay mum for some time, do it
- Dive deep within and see what is triggering this emotion
- Remember that your husband doesn’t necessarily want to hurt you
Keeping these in mind can help you cool down a little. This would then let you ‘respond’ to the situation with a better headspace rather than ‘react’ by saying mean things you don’t actually mean. This allows you some time to process it all and then decide how to cope.
- It’s helpful to first understand all the reasons a man defends another woman over you
- Some of the reasons your husband supports another woman can be that he is standing up for what is right, he is being protective, or he disagrees with you
- Communicate with your spouse, try to understand his perspective, be open to healthy conflicts, and seek professional help when needed
- It’s wise to stay calm when you find yourself in a situation where your husband confides in another woman. Take some time and respond, don’t react
Relaed Reading: 12 Expert Tips On How To Stop Being Possessive In Relationships
It is emotionally draining when your husband defends another woman when you are around him. Your first reaction can be rage, and as valid as that is, it is still essential that you cool down. Communication is the key to understanding why your spouse does that. If it gets overwhelming, you can also reach out for professional help since it can help you clear any unnecessary misunderstandings.
When your husband defends another woman, Dr. Bhonsle suggests that being curious about her can help. Approach her with kindness. You don’t have to be friends with her but understanding her can give you a perspective on your marriage and where it’s falling short. But if it’s a matter of infidelity, you do not have to accept that. All the emotions you feel are valid. It only means that you take a step back and analyze the situation in its entirety. Having said this, you can choose not to do this as well. Take your time, talk to your support system, and then decide how you want to proceed.
It might mean that he is getting some of his emotional needs met by her. Your husband is emotionally attached to another woman, and that’s okay. You wouldn’t react like this if it was a guy. You can only know for sure what it means when you have a conversation about it with your spouse. Let him know how you feel and listen to each other’s perspective openly.
You will learn this for sure when you ask your husband that exact question. Have a conversation about it with him. Let him know how you feel and what makes you feel that way. It is always suggested to not assume things when you can talk about them with your spouse.