Originally Posted by JT2
Sagency - Those are some really great ideas. I'll talk to Husband about them. It hadn't occurred to me that Wife might like to know about all the times when Husband deprioritizes Boyfriend (me) in order to do things for her. I think that on some level he's always assumed she'd feel awkward knowing that her special whatever happened at my expense. That it would contribute to a "scarcity mentality" and promote the idea that she and I were in competition for his time and attention. But... if it is a "competition" that she almost always wins... maybe she'd like that?
I was especially struck by your last point about encouraging Wife to have more things outside the house and the relationship. Now that I think of it, the problem became most obvious soon after she retired from her job, and she's just not the "stay at home housewife" type. I wonder if it isn't so much that she resents when Husband's job takes him away from her, but that she is jealous because she wishes she had a fullfilling "important" career like his that got her attention and praise from other people. Which might explain why attention and praise from him seems like it is "never enough".
My mono and I are pretty good about scheduling and routines. As such, she notices when something is out of place. Occasionally if I have something that is optional that really doesn't have my interest, I'll seek her out and offer to do something with her. Usually she'll ask why I'm not elsewhere. Technically, "meh" might be as true an answer as "sometimes I like to remind you you're a priority." But I'll guarantee one of those answers is better for the relationship than the other.
If something in the schedule gets cancelled so there's a pocket of free time I will consider what to do. Even though it seems redundant, if I decide to do something with K, I try to make a point of mentioning that she was the option I chose. It's not about trying to flatter her to score points. It's about words and actions together that reinforce the idea that she's important.
You might have a point about a scarcity mentality, but K's personality and my unwillingness to entertain a scarcity mentality mean we've not had that issue.
As far as other things, if she's basically retiring after a career, it seems like she might be a bit stircrazy. Volunteerism and hobbies could help with that. With what little details we have here, I'd suggest some sort of volunteer effort that involves interacting with others on a regular basis. (A hobby or solo volunteerism might not meet the interactive needs it sounds like she has.)
Best of luck.