What Does It Mean When Your Husband Defends Another Woman?

by Ellen EvansJuly 20, 2021

“Why is my husband defending another woman?” is a question that every woman will probably ask at least once in a long-term relationship.

Be it an emotionally unsupportive husband, a partner committing adultery, a wife who is found in the wrong in some way, or simply a difference of opinion, some wives will feel quite triggered when a husband defends another woman. 

Of course, defending another woman means different things in different contexts. 

See if any of these scenarios apply to you:

Note: Ellen Evans is a professional Psychotherapist with 10+ years of experience in counseling.

Possible scenarios

Perhaps you have been talking about a mutual female friend or work colleague that your husband disagrees with. He may choose to stand up for your mutual friend, despite him knowing how this might bother you. 

Alternatively, your husband could be in the throes of ending an affair yet still have residual feelings towards the other woman, which is why he could be defending her.

You may continue to feel emotionally betrayed if your partner defends this woman in any way.

For example, he may periodically compliment her as being “considerate and amicable” during the process of splitting up.

However, his positive feelings may cause you to feel anxious, jealous, or worried that they might continue to see each other.

Or maybe you are the type of person who feels sensitive every time your husband is courteous to another woman, whatever the context.

Perhaps you think your partner should take your side, or hold and support all of your opinions, even when he disagrees with them.

Fundamentally, if you feel hurt or distressed when your husband defends another woman (her actions, words, personality, etc.), then the core issues of trust and respect, your own defensiveness, are likely at the forefront. 

What is the best way to handle these situations? 

The following are useful ways to manage your upset, including some notes to think about when trying to relieve your concerns:

Firstly, any healthy marriage allows for some degree of independence on all levels: financial, emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual.

When it comes to your husband having supportive emotional or mental connections with another woman, ask yourself if it is ok for your husband to have such connections and why he is defending her. 

Think about if he needs to agree with you at all costs?

Do you have enough trust in your relationship and high enough self-esteem to enable your husband to function on his terms with independent perspectives?

A marriage is a coming together of value systems, beliefs, wishes, desires, and expectations. Neither partner owns the other, and therefore some freedom is necessary for a loving partnership to work well. 

2 Relationship must-haves

Obviously, mutual respect and trust are also necessary for a marriage to keep operating at an optimum level.

If your spouse is speaking his mind in an inappropriate place at an inappropriate time, then you are right to feel hurt and angry. 

Perhaps he is respecting the other woman’s view over your own. He may be handling the whole situation disrespectfully, or conversing with you rudely, or seeing you as being “in the wrong.”

Conversely, perhaps your partner’s silence is equally hurtful.

Maybe his lack of opinion or complete silence in defending you against another woman’s actions or thoughts leaves you feeling unseen and livid. 

In these moments, when you most want your husband to stand up for you, he falls short.  You perceive him as taking the other side (even if he isn’t). 

To help relieve this kind of distress, talk openly about your feelings.

You may just find that your spouse kept quiet because he felt it was the best way to support you – particularly if he felt like siding with the other person! 

Avoid assumptions!

It is important not to assume. Let your husband fill in the gaps, and you may be pleasantly surprised. 

You may also grow to appreciate his independent and confident way of being, especially in relation to you.

It could be that his very trust in you and in your strong partnership encourages him to speak his mind when necessary. 

He may trust that you won’t take offense. He may trust in your capacity to hold your “truth,” even if it is different than his. 

If you feel offended by your husband’s defense of another woman, express your feelings before they build up.

For instance, if the other woman is your spouse’s mother, and you feel he is always supporting her over you, try not to force the issue. Instead, find the right time and place to air your concerns.

Try not to be defensive. Maybe your partner is not so much defending the woman in question, but the idea of something, like a value system, theory, or belief. 

Disagreements can be healthy, debates can be inspiring!

Also, work at being open to his take on the situation at hand. Ironically, if you want him to respect your opinions and perspectives, you must respect his.

If he chooses to see things from a different angle, then let him. 

You can not expect him to be open to you if you aren’t open to him. Mutual respect is linked to mutual independence – it is healthy to hold and trust each other enough to permit different viewpoints.

If trust and respect are the main issues in your marriage, then you need to tackle this area with honesty and direct communication before further problems arise.

And remember, if you struggle with communication, then therapy may be able to help tackle these issues. If you wish to learn more, you can read about it here.

Conclusion

As Virginia Woolf stated on the subject of a healthy marriage:

“In marriage, a little license, a little independence there must be between people living together day in and day out in the same house.” 

Give yourself and your partner some space to breathe and to be unique individuals. 

Unity doesn’t mean two people holding the same views every moment, every day. 

Unity means allowing two views and two individuals to co-exist as “one.”

Recommended: When To Walk Away After Infidelity

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