There's a guy in my wife's band that is a worse player than me by far, has to watch the other guitarists hands, has no concepts of scales, doesn't learn on first try, vs me who doesn't have to be told anything and has a perfect ear and can play anything back, but his gear is right, his sound is flawless. My wife yelled at the band for letting him in over me, but truth is, his sound owned mine, whether my solos were better or not technically, and whether my melodies were better and more complimentary and interesting, his off solos sounded better with the right sound. Sigh. I just learned a hard lesson last week. They asked me if I was willing to play Lap steel. Lol. I haven't played lap in over 2 years.
Im not saying gear>talent, but sometimes talent is knowing which knob to turn.
A huge piece of this might be that they do not want a couple in the band, and, I'd have to sgree that in my experience, relationships in bands tend to make the band break up dhortly there after. Don't take it as a playing issue, it prolly has more to do with this.