Q: Ever since a new man joined my wife's company, she has been dressing up a lot more for work. I used to ask her to wear certain outfits that I really like, but she always said it was too much trouble. Now she often wears those outfits to work, and she has been spending more money on clothes and her hair than she used to. Am I wrong to suspect she's trying to attract the attention of this man at work?
A: Don't be too quick to jump to conclusions. Your wife's renewed interest in her appearance could be attributable to any number of reasons. Maybe she's just now realizing how important her appearance is to you. Or perhaps a comment at work sent signals that she needed to take better care of her appearance. Or it could have been something as simple as looking around at a professional conference and realizing her clothes and make-up weren't up to standard.
Your suspicions may have more to do with your own inner conflicts than with your wife's behavior. Maybe, without realizing it, you feel insecure about her role in the business world. If that's the case, any hidden anxieties would feel more threatening as your wife begins to look more successful.
I don't recommend mentioning your doubts to your wife. Instead, tell her you appreciate the greater care she is taking with her appearance. Then start paying more attention to her. Compliment her; tell her you value her accomplishments; and give her the kind of affirmation we all need from our spouses.
When a married person becomes interested in a coworker, it's generally not as much about sexuality as it is a hunger for attention. Combat your suspicions by actively loving your wife. Your renewed attentiveness could turn her attention to you in positive ways that would ally your fears and reinforce mutual commitment.1