My wife seems to want to spend more time with her friends and on social media than she does with me. I feel jealous and rejected. Why does she choose that over spending time with me?

More than anything else in the world, we ALL need to FEEL loved. Not just any kind of love – but loved where we don’t feel like we have to give anything back in return – a love that is freely given without any strings attached. This kind of love is called unconditional love.

Many of us haven’t actually experienced this kind of love in our lives. People have cared for us, people have provided for us, people have helped us out, but without realising it, there are often strings attached that we can’t see.

I have counselled with hundreds of people, and almost universally I have found that many so-called ‘friendships’ people have developed in their life, have been as a result of a mutually beneficial trade with other people. This trade is very hard to see because having these people in your life feels good. Rarely do you actually see or know about the trade off of what you are having to give up in order to maintain this beneficial exchange. If you find this hard to see, then try and imagine what kind of response you would get from some of your friends if you decline to go their stag weekend or hen party. A loving friend doesn’t need anything from you. A needy friend would get upset if you chose to decline such an invitation.

In the absence of unconditional love, people often seek out poor substitutes – like trading relationships with friends. But, if your wife is seeking out a poor substitute for love to make her feel better, you might ask whether you are giving her everything she needs.

The world really doesn’t understand unconditional love. Even when we think we love someone properly, there are acres of opportunity to improve the loving connections within a marriage. Rather than focus on what your wife is doing, I would recommend that you start to examine whether there are things you could do first, to make your wife feel like she would rather be spending time with you, than with her friends and on social media.

Pete Uglow

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