Is it proper for a younger lady (age 57 – who looks much younger) to go hiking with 3 men (age 65-70), none of which is her husband? Due to my schedule, I am unable to hike with them. All of them are great mountain hikers, and they are very impressed with this woman. Two to four times a month in the summer, they pick her up and drive 30 – 60 minutes, and then spend the next 6 – 7 hours hiking together. I was not asked how I felt about this situation at the beginning of the summer.This situation makes me uncomfortable – the men are all impressed with her hiking abilities and enjoy her being along.
I admit that I am jealous. This makes the relationship between me and my husband strained, to say the least. I FEEL he is giving this woman more words of affirmation and encouraging words than he does me. This hiking will continue through the summer and also next year. So, it is ongoing, and he would not want to hurt anyone's feeling by saying it isn't working out because of me. (Lori in AZ)
As I read your question, the problem you’re struggling with is not whether if it's proper that a woman hike with married men. Instead, your concern seems to be over why your husband is insensitive to your feelings about it. If you felt more affirmed and loved, then perhaps you would not feel as jealous or upset about their hiking trips.
From what you stated in your question, there are two other men with them at all times. Also, there isn’t a relationship with her outside of their hikes. There is no secrecy, no late night phone calls, e-mailing, or texting. That doesn’t mean that wouldn’t or couldn’t happen. Many extramarital relationships are not planned but begin after a growing friendship over a shared activity.
As I see it, you have three options. First, you say that you’re unable to go with them because of your schedule. Is this something that you can change? Your husband may love it if you went with them. That may help you have more common activities with him and help you feel less threatened by his relationship with her. If that’s not possible, then you have two other choices. One is to ask him to stop hiking with her. That will cause some other problems, but it is an option. Or, you could ask him to put in place some boundaries in order to exercise wisdom and build trust with you around this activity.
If you choose this last option, you might try saying something like this.
“You already know I’m having a problem with this hiking relationship. I feel uneasy and scared. I see how much you enjoy hiking with her and how impressed you are with her skills. That makes me feel insecure. I don’t want to ruin your hiking times by saying you can’t go or she can’t go. But, can we set some boundaries around it that would make me feel more comfortable?
Although you say you all are just friends with her, she is a single, attractive woman and you are all human beings. So, you can get tempted and things can happen even if you never thought they would.
I’d appreciate it if you would not drive anywhere with her alone. That means I don’t want you to pick her up first, or drop her off last when you go to the hikes. I also don’t want you to hike alone with her anywhere, anytime. I’d appreciate it if you’d stay together as a group. I don’t want you to have any contact with her outside your hikes. So far I know you haven’t, but I don’t want you to talk together by phone or e-mail outside the hikes. Would you be willing to agree to those boundaries to help me?
But I think my feelings have exposed a deeper issue in our relationship. I’d like us to have more fun together and enjoy and affirm each other more. Sometimes after being married a long time things get boring and perhaps we’ve just taken each other for granted a little too much lately. I’d like to breath some fresh air into our relationship.”
Readers, I'll be offering a free teleseminar on “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship” in September. To join me for this interactive teaching session, sign up today at: Leslie@LeslieVernick.com I'll notify you by email with the details.