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'My wife once said her acquaintance would be a better partner. Now, she works with him.' MAJOR UPDATE

'My wife once said her acquaintance would be a better partner. Now, she works with him.' MAJOR UPDATE

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"AITAH? Wife previously said acquaintance would be better partner, now works with him."

My wife Alice and I have been together for 9 years, married for 7. Prior to getting married during a discussion we had about me being unhappy with her partying nature, Alice told me "Don't take this the wrong way but Chase (then boyfriend, now husband of Alice's former roommate Deena) would be a better partner for me."

This was a real gut punch in lots of ways. I guess because Chase would stay out late drinking and partying most nights of the week Alice thought that if her and Chase were a couple he would be OK with her also staying out late drinking and partying most nights of the week. Well, about 10 months ago Chase approached Alice about doing sales consulting for his business.

Alice already has her own business and does better than she ever did before, so the opportunity from Chase wasn't something we need to keep the lights on, but every extra bit helps. I expressed my initial concerns to Alice. She tried to reassure me in different ways, like she did when she had first said he'd be a better partner for her. Chase was a bro, parties too much, too loud etc.

All the while I know Chase and I are different people, I'm never going to be like Chase, and I don't care because I'm happy with myself, but it still eats me up when I think about the person I was set to marry, now married with amazing kids compared me to someone that I would ordinarily feel indifferent towards and now don't care for. For some added background on Chase and Deena, they started dating after Alice and I.

Deena wanted to settle down like us and met Chase through an app. He was non-exclusive with Deena and only hooking up, eventually giving her a mild but untreatable S-D that caused Deena to become somewhat depressed since she'd want to disclose that to any potential partners for the rest of her life.

After a few months Deena decided that instead of trying to date someone new and accepting, she was going to give Chase everything he wanted and would overlook all his previous sketchiness and all of his partying so they could have a future together.

Alice knew all this, and knew Deena was sad and depressed and ultimately gave up some of her standards all because this guy Chase gave her an STD. And then Alice turning around and saying "That's the better partner for her" seemed ludicrous and completely insensitive.

Alice and I worked through it back then, and one of the biggest reasons I was able to forgive her was because Alice and Chase had minimal interaction the 2 or 3 times a year we saw him and Deena, and Alice and I planned on moving closer to family so that there would be even further distance.

Enter the opportunity mentioned above. I only catch the occasional correspondence between Alice and Chase through a shared business email Alice has where I can help out for business filings and taxes, but it's friendly in nature, much more friendly than I've ever messaged people since meeting Alice.

Alice then deletes only correspondence from Chase from the inbox. Alice talks to Chase about 20 times more than she talks to Deena these days, and there's lots of laughing and joking around.

Chase is sending Alice pics of the cool outings he does since he owns his business. Chase calls on the occasional weekend or after hours, and Alice says to me that he should respect her off time and then after a few minutes go by she calls him back. Chase sends the occasional message excusing his partying for his messages having typos.

There's the accidental autocorrect where Alice suggests we go visit Deena and Chase. There's the couple times spooning where Alice has brought Chase up. There's the time when mentioning Deena's bday, and because there's more than one friend named Deena Alice clarifies it's the one married to Chase (not Deena's last name, not her old roommate).

There's Alice mentioning our kids and Deena and Chase's kids are about the same age and we should visit them (halfway across the country) sometime soon. There's Alice acting sad when she hears from Chase that Deena is pregnant again. Because Alice and my kids have birthdays close together, there's Chase asking what we've been doing in that same month of the year leading up to our kids' births.

All this stuff adds up to give me the ick. I've tried reasoning with Alice about the sales she's making and sending 50% to Chase that she could have all of if she started her own similar business. I've tried reasoning that Alice's own business is growing and will get much busier and more lucrative later this year and carry into the next.

I've tried asking Alice to keep her relationship professional with Chase and she gets defensive like it's OK for her to now develop a friendship with this guy her former roommate's husband, the "better partner." Then she'll act all angry and animated and say she's emailing Chase right now to stop working with him.

I tell Alice all I want is for her to have appropriate boundaries with the guy, and to be as transparent as she can. That gets her acting normal for a few days, and then it seems to start again. I'm not sure exactly what else I'm supposed to say or do to have Alice act differently towards Chase, and sometimes I think all I can do is focus on me and the kids and my work.

Commenters had a lot to say in response.

Practical_Hippo9126 wrote:

Boundaries, if you aren't happy draw the line, cut this bs or then things will go downhill...

No threats or any of that, just the truth to her. This is not acceptable for you so that should draw the line.

DrunkenDemon08 wrote:

That Chase is a bastard and your wife bought his bs so they're "just friends".

It's a matter of time 'til he moves on (if he already didn't do it). So set your boundaries and stick to your guns. Remind her all the bs that prick has done and keeps doing to his wife (include the S-D). Good luck OP!

jstanfill93 wrote:

She doesn't respect your feelings and plays games with your head. Of course with the double standards if you ever showed interest in another woman she would lose her f-king mind. You deserve better bro!

littlebittlebunny wrote:

Congratulations, sounds like you're 3rd wheeling to your wife's emotional affair.

Wasntme_37 wrote:

Your wife is cheating on you, the writing is on the wall way before you married her. But you also do not respect yourself and are still trying to justify all the red flags.

Two weeks later, OP shared another update.

I sat with everything for a bit, and then this Monday things got very heated. Alice makes her own hours since she has a growing WFH business all on her own, and then was doing the consulting with Chase as well.

Late Monday morning, Alice came back from the gym and got into a nice dress and I asked her what meetings she had since she typically only did that for big meetings with interesting people. She also has meetings in the clothes she rolled out of bed in for unimportant meetings so being dressed up is an event.

Unbeknownst to me this was "triggering" to Alice "as a woman." A few times over the last couple months, Alice would put on makeup or lipstick or a nice dress and me asking her what for was something she very much didn't like, but also never communicated to me. For context, on average Alice gets dressed up and puts on makeup maybe once a week.

More context, I also WFH doing very boring stuff so I'm very interested in her meetings with cool people and cool products since I really don't have much else going on. Well, that night as I'm cooking Alice mentioned something "being my girlfriend" which I told her I didn't find it funny and went back to cooking. Humor is subjective and I just wasn't in the mood.

She wanted me to tell her what was wrong, that she had an idea what was wrong, and then she started talking loudly that it was just a joke and yelling that me asking her questions when she gets dressed up and puts makeup on about who she's meeting with (virtually) or where she's going comes across as "searching for something" and she didn't like it. OK, fair enough.

I told her I wouldn't be searching if she would be more open and communicative with me. We delayed the full heated conversation until later when the kids were in bed. I had told her that from the very beginning that I was uncomfortable with her working with Chase, but that we could definitely use the money and so long as she could make me comfortable with the situation I was on board.

I thought that was a mature non-controlling way that would go a long ways towards asking Alice to give me reassurance. Alice has not made me comfortable with the situation. I also didn't expect their work to last as long as it had.

I expected a few months, and due to changing demands it was looking like it might go on for 2 years. The argument was wide-ranging and Alice was most mad about me "searching" and I mentioned so many times in so many ways I'd asked her to over communicate, which I should have specified to her I wanted her to primarily over communicate her dealings with Chase.

She wouldn't tell me hardly anything about their communication. So I'd ask and she'd tell me what was going on with the situation, but never their communication.

By me asking, she said that she took it that I was OK with everything, but I had to ask because she wasn't telling me anything. Like I mentioned from the start I asked that she make me comfortable with it and she never did. I'd known that Chase and Alice were on friendly terms overhearing the occasional phone call and meeting, joking around about stuff, and weekend plans.

They'd share some pics of the kids doing stuff, and Chase would mention the cool things he's doing since he also owns his own business and makes his own hours. I'd asked Alice if she was now friends with Chase (was always Deena's husband before) and she said so many times that she's a friendly person and that's why she's good at her job.

So that was a deflection. I then asked how often she's chatting and communicating with Chase and then how often she's communicating with Deena. Very little communication with Deena, maybe 5% or 10% of her interaction with Chase.

I said it sounds like she's becoming friends with the person she told me would be a better partner for her, more so than her actual friend. Alice tried some revisionary history by saying she meant Chase would be a better boyfriend and someone to party with, and that I'd be a better husband and life partner.

Alice had said that before but it was a while later when we were in couple's therapy after I guess she reflected on how bad and hurtful what she said was. She thought that would make me feel better then and I told her at that time it didn't, and she thought it would make me feel better now, and I told it still didn't.

I mentioned to Alice that she wasn't setting boundaries with Chase like when she'll answer calls, texts, messages, emails, etc. occasionally at night on on the weekends. (One example, Alice and Chase were supposed to get an update from a client Friday evening which is already kind of imposing. Alice showed, Chase and the client didn't.

The next day Chase calls Alice when our family was hanging out having a fun time and Alice said she wouldn't answer it since it's not respectful of her time, but then 5 minutes later Alice said she's really curious what's going on so she leaves family time to go call Chase.)

I asked her 3 or 4 times realistically, how many couples out of 10 or out of 100 did she truly think would still be together if another partner said what Alice said to me. Alice never answered and instead deflected by saying "well why did you forgive me?"

Alice told me how she disliked Chase and the type of person he is (even though she suggested visiting Deena and Chase before). I told Alice don't tell me that you don't like him, show me. Alice said she's so frazzled (which I often reply why she overcommits us all to so many activities) and that's why she doesn't over communicate with me.

I asked with the increase in her main business and the busy season coming up, how she expected to deal with it all. She said she didn't know. I said she could stop consulting. Alice said she'd have to stop consulting since her business is about to get crazy, so she'll end her consulting in a couple months.

That's where we're at now. I know outside of this, Alice and I are in a decent but not great place. I'm hopeful but then in another post I'd read a comment saying "If your spouse says 'I am uncomfortable with this' and you shrug and continue to do it, your marriage is over" and that really hit me. I hope that's not the case.

Commenters did not hold back at all.

BlueGreen_1956 wrote:

NTA.

"Unbeknownst to me this was "triggering" to Alice "as a woman." What a ridiculous load of bulls-t. Alice is chasing attention from Chase, and she doesn't give a s-t about what you think about it.

OP responded:

As far as I know, she's never dressed differently for a meeting with Chase. But if that ever does change I won't know unless I ask because she's not volunteering info. Every time so far, taking her at her word, she's told me the interesting client she's meeting with so that's what I expect now, and didn't see any harm in asking.

avast2006 wrote:

What Alice is doing is gaslighting you. She’s trying to get you to doubt your own sanity: that your perfectly understandable reaction to her deeply sketchy behavior, her outrageous statement, and her evasive treatment of your attempt to untangle this, is itself the problem.

You frankly should tell her that you’re done being manipulated by her, and you’re done being her safe option. Tell her to pack her s-t and get out of your house, and that if she wants a continuing relationship with you she’s now applying for the job.

OP responded:

See, I didn't initially think there was gaslighting. I thought there were clear boundaries and asks for what I needed to be comfortable with the situation. When bringing things up, asking Alice to communicate, she'd say "what do you think I'm doing" and I'd say I think boundaries I expressed are being crossed and you're becoming friends with this guy that would be a "better partner."

I really think Alice has this ingrained view that she is a good person, and therefore only does good things so any questioning of actions to the contrary of that is an attack on her character, and that's hard to talk through and deal with.

Fit_Work558 wrote:

Yea she seems to at least be having some type of emotional affair. I wouldn’t sleep with her though just in case. You don’t want a disease. I’d also talk with Deena because your wife is acting sketchy and homeboy is already sketchy.

NiceRat123 wrote:

Alice is absolutely attention seeking from Chase. deleting messages and s-t. And her "friend" that she barely speaks to now. Yeah, frankly if my partner does this s-t I'll put down an ultimatum and be called a controlling, insecure piece of s-t any day of the week.

People seem to think that they can have every opportunity and choice in life and if s-t doesn't work out you just find something new and keep all options open. Do people not realize the "contract" you sign when you get married? FORSAKING ALL OTHERS.

Hell, I'd probably find some sweet young thing from work and start "consulting" myself. Obviously it's all on board and family time means f-k all now because she is willing to go chase Chase at any beckon call.

Sources: Reddit
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