Getting through to a jealous husband

Published 11:54 am Monday, June 10, 2024

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Dear Aunty Pam,


I recently heard through the grapevine that my former husband is in hospice. He and I remained on good terms even after we both remarried other people, and I called Ed’s wife to say how sorry I was to hear the news. She was very gracious and said Ed would love to see me before he passes, and I said I’d like that too.

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The problem is that when I told my new husband (we’ve been married five years) Tony, he got visibly annoyed. In fact, he was downright jealous. He said he couldn’t understand why I would want to see someone I divorced unless I secretly still had feelings for him. He even said he wonders if he can still trust me! I’ve never seen this side of him and can’t understand why he feels this way.

Aunty Pam, Ed and I were married for nearly 20 years and simply outgrew each other as we married very young. We ended up with nothing in common, but he was a decent guy, and I hold no resentment towards him or any romantic feelings whatsoever. For the life of me, I can’t understand why Tony is so jealous. I very much want to say goodbye to Ed. How can I get through to Tony?


 Baffled Barbara


Dear BB,


Well, clearly, someone (that would be you, Tony) is feeling exceedingly threatened. And Aunty Pam supposes that you’ve never seen this side of Tony before because you’ve never had a former husband in hospice before. Tony may have had his sense of marital stability and security rocked by this request from Ed to see you. It’s one thing when a spouse knows there’s a former spouse out there— as long as that former spouse has remarried and moved to Iceland, where there’s no threat of running into them at Piggly Wiggly…But oh, the imaginings of when a former spouse remains in the general area and is now leaving this world: is there a deathbed confession of everlasting love that might be uttered? Regrets of what might have been? Obviously, I can’t claim this is running through Tony’s mind, but something is and it reeks of insecurity, as well as control. To suggest that by being a decent and compassionate human being, you must still be harboring feelings for Ed that have made you now untrustworthy in Tony’s eyes is both ridiculous and juvenile.

I don’t know if you can ‘get through’ to Tony and really, you shouldn’t have to. You can try sitting him down and affirming your love for him while making clear your intention to visit Ed this last time. And if he continues behaving like a 5th-grader, you can let him know in no uncertain terms how very disappointing it is that the loving and comforting support you assumed he would offer, as the man you love and married, is nowhere to be found. 

Then, give him a Hotpocket and a juice box and let him think about it.


Cheers, dears!

Aunty Pam