[Two Pronged] My wife and her flirty bodyguard
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives
Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.
Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer,
My name is Juan from the Visayas. My wife is a government official. For six years, I lost my job and I am unemployed. I owned the house but she is the breadwinner for the meantime. Because of political threats, she has a bodyguard. I discovered that her bodyguard flirted with her through text. We had a confrontation and the bodyguard is already out.
Sometimes, I discovered that she still contacts her former bodyguard, albeit with no flirting and only official and business messages. But I also discovered that she erased some messages – which made me jealous.
Now, I gave her an ultimatum that if she contacts her former bodyguard again, I will create a scandal and opt for an annulment. If we separate, I am unemployed although I have properties due to my former job. Please advice!
In a way, you have already solved your problem. If your wife persists with her affair with her bodyguard, you file for annulment. If she doesn’t, all is well.
However none of this addresses the real issue which is why your wife is behaving as she is in the first place – and it is only when you know the answer to this question that you can hope to find a solution to your current dilemma.
Is she simply tired of being married to you? Or is she perhaps tired of being the sole source of income because she is married to a man who hasn’t worked for 6 years? Maybe there is some other reason which you haven’t mentioned or even are unaware of.
Another question you might consider is your reaction to your wife’s behavior. While flirting with a bodyguard is not exactly what a husband expects from his wife, the threat of annulment seems a disproportionate response, unless of course all other remedies have been exhausted. It implies that this flirtation is not your wife’s only shortcoming, at least in your eyes, but you tell us nothing about this so this is mere speculation.
Have you broadened the discussion of your marriage beyond mere accusations of flirting to bedrock issues such as money, children, religion, in laws etc.? Problems after all are seldom soluble if they have not been identified. I suggest you initiate a wide ranging exchange of views with your wife and explore where your marriage currently stands, where you each want it to go and hopefully how to achieve that, keeping annulment in reserve for the eventuality that all else has failed.
Best of luck,
Thank you very much for your letter. First, I agree 100% with Jeremy who suggests you explore the deeper issues between you. That way, perhaps you will stop fighting about the symptoms and hopefully start addressing the real issues in your life.
Because we have so little to go on, perhaps the most I can do is share my observation about your negotiation skills which, in my opinion, leave much to be desired.
First, your threat of creating a scandal and opting for an annulment doesn’t seem that effective because:
- A lot of energy will be wasted on whether the contact was business or pleasure, etc, which she may rightly construe as a delaying tactic;
- Are you sure the threat of a scandal would serve your purpose? In case you created one and she still did not stop, does that mean you will immediately try for an annulment?
- An annulment usually costs a lot of time and money…since you are property rich and cash poor, your wife probably realizes this is not a realistic threat.
Second, what will you do for food and other living expenses should you and your wife separate? Will you need to sell some of your properties? She may insist some of the property is conjugal (which it probably is) and she has a right to them. There is the remote possibility that you have a right to her earnings, but in the meantime, what will you live on?
Be clear on what you can live with (adjust to, accommodate) and what you cannot (your deal breakers). Decide what things are important enough to break up over so that even if you should suffer the consequences (getting a job, living without any income etc.) it will still be worth it.
So to summarize, only when you are crystal clear on the possible repercussions should you repeat your threat or, better yet, try and find a way (at first) to negotiate with your misis.
All the best,
Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately, the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.