“I wish my husband didn’t attract so much female attention,” said Kim, 34, a part-time ER nurse and mother of Evan, 5, and Josh, 2, who’s been married for nine years. “But I really wish I weren’t so afraid he’ll be unfaithful.
“Listen, I understand why women find Matt attractive: He’s tall and muscular, with wavy black hair and intense green eyes. But what galls me is how indiscreet they are. They check him out as if I weren’t there. Not long ago a waitress told Matt, ‘You’ve got gorgeous bedroom eyes,’ as she was taking our dinner orders. And last month, at a party, a guest whispered, ‘Your husband’s the hottest man I’ve ever seen.’ Those remarks bug me, and depending on my mood, I either stare icily at the person or jokingly say, ‘Enough already.’ Matt’s reaction is to smile, say thanks, and make small talk. He enjoys the attention, though he’d deny it.
“Matt has always been a babe magnet, though I was less bothered by it when we were first married. But he gets even more attention now — not only is he more handsome at 35 than 25, but he has more charisma, probably because he’s so successful in his business.
“The unfortunate result of all this is that I’m jealous and suspicious to the point where it’s ruining our marriage. He insists he’d never have an affair, but my dad left my mom for another woman when I was in junior high. The fact that my college boyfriend was a chronic cheater only reinforced my sense that men are inherently unfaithful. So when gorgeous young strangers practically throw themselves at Matt, I have a hard time believing he’d never stray.
“I was raised in an affluent suburb of New York City, not far from where we live now. My parents didn’t fight, but they showed no affection to each other. My mom was warm, but Dad was rather gruff with my sister and me. When I was 14 he left a note on the kitchen table saying he was unhappy and had moved out to ‘get his head together.’ Stunned and suspicious, Mom hired a private investigator, who discovered that Dad was living with another woman. When Mom broke the news, I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. Devastated by his deceit, I stopped speaking to Dad for many years; two decades later I still cannot forgive him, and our relationship remains chilly.”