There's times when women I'm attracted to visit our home or are friends of my wife and I don't feel comfortable completely ignoring them or telling my wife to not invite them. I'm not sure how my wife will react to raising this issue. Any ideas how to present this or avoid the issue?
First things first, You're human. You can't help being attracted to women, Gd made you that way. Only the whens and wheres are your responsibility. Also remember that this area is a very difficult one to conquer, so don't get down on yourself if you fail to climb Everest the first few, or dozen, or hundred times.
Getting a warning beforehand helps, so you can get your game face on, but that may not always pan out.
Learning Torah out loud works wonders, whether you're in the same room as the women or somewhere else. It puts you on in a different mindset, working with your brain instead of your body. The Talmud discusses this as a first line of defense against sin. For back up in case you can't find a sefer or don't have one, learn something small by heart; A mishnah or passuk, (preferably mishnah), that resonates with you to recite, or think to yourself if you are self-conscious.
Brachos 29a Gives more valuable advice. Never trust yourself. Assume, know, that at the first opportunity you will stare, flirt, etc. Act accordingly. Look at them once, warmly. Give them a big ol' smile, welcome them, and that's the extent of your job as the host here. They aren't here to see you and if they are you have other problems. Don't look at them again, you know what will happen if you do, don't rationalize. If they address you directly, glance at them to indicate that you heard them, then look at your toes while you answer. The gift of bad vision can help here as well as attractive women can become hazy blobs by removing glasses. If you're really having a tough time, look at your beautiful wife, and appreciate what she's doing for you here. She's your lifeline!
One more thing that has helped me is to get to know husbands. Talking about Torah with them for even 5 minutes will bring you closer. Then, only think of these women in the context of their husbands, your friends who you respect and care about. For example I have my friend Ploni's wife's number in my phone. Her name is Rena, (translates roughly in to Joy). I've known them both since high school and I care about both of them very much. Her name in my phone is "Ploni's Joy".
Taking this one step farther, at the risk of sounding like a chauvinist, try thinking of all women as vital parts of their current, or future husbands, instead of just as women which in your mind will almost always lead to sexual objectification without you even realizing it. This intellectual exercise can stave off the thoughts and feelings that are often invoked by attractive women.
I wish you much success in this. We can't ever beat our Yezer Harah completely, the important thing to remember is to remain vigilant and never give up. To quote Mickey Goldbell, there's always "One more round!"
The commandment to avoid negative reactions is on you, not your wife nor her friends. Of course they shouldn't be deliberately provocative, but if, for example, a normal conversation held in one part of your house bothers you in another part because of kol isha, or if the visitor is dressed appropriately and you are still distracted, this is largely a problem for you to solve. That's not meant to be unsympathetic; I'm just saying there's a limit to what you can ask your wife or her friends to do on your account before you have done everything you can at your end.
It's not unusual for one member of a couple to have friends independently of the other. In that situation there's nothing wrong with saying "hello" and then retiring to some other part of the house (or they retire instead). Unless you have a tiny apartment you should be able to separate yourselves without raising eyebrows -- they visit in the dining room while you study in the living room, or they visit in the living room while you go to your office to do stuff online, or whatever. Unless you're dealing with frequent surprise visits, you should be able to discuss plans with your wife to work out something that works for both of you.
I don't care to spend time with all of my husband's friends (and vice-versa). Our conversation usually goes something like this:
The key is to talk with your spouse about the visit beforehand. You both want what's best -- she wants to visit with her friend, you don't want to be uncomfortable, and she doesn't want you to be uncomfortable either.
For drop-in visits you can exchange basic pleasantries and then retire with something like "I'm sorry to not stick around, but I really have to (do something)" or "...I was in the middle of (something) and need to get back to it" or the like.
Yes, this may sometimes be inconvenient for you, and that's unfortunate. But look at it this way: you are getting the merit of fulfilling a commandment, and sometimes that involves a little inconvenience. I hope my suggestions are "managable" levels of inconvenience.
None of this requires that the friend know anything at all about the feelings she's causing in you. If the problem is frequent (your wife's best friend wants to visit a couple times a week, say), then you can talk with your wife about your discomfort and she -- who knows her friend better than you do -- can decide what if anything to say to her friend.
Great Question I have found that being open and honest with your wife without being insulting and derogatory to her and the other woman helps the most. That helps foster a healthy and open communication, and in the end she will respect you for it.