Trying to Handle an Overjealous Boyfriend
Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
I have been in a relationship for 5 months. My boyfriend has been cheated on previously and I feel I am being judged and treated as if I am one of those cheating ex's. He is jealous of me talking with any guy and asks me millions of questions about what we did together, how close we sat to each other, what we talked about, did he come up in the conversation, etc. We talked about this problem and how I could make him feel more comfortable and able to trust me.
As a result, I gave up a 4-year friendship with a boy who happened to be an ex(which I was not interested in anything other than friendship). Unfortunately I am living by an ex that I have to interact with at work. It is not my choice. I have agreed to certain things like not going into his house to hang out and to keep our contact at a minimum.
Even though I have tried to accomodate his trust issues, he still treats me as though I have or am going to cheat on him when I talk to any guy that I come in contact with. I also feel like sometimes I feed his jealousy by answering all of his question but if I don't answer them, he believes something happened that I don't want to tell him.
What can I do to stop his jealousy or is there no hope?
First, good for you for trying to work this out with him and trying to find some sort of a solution. Jealousy can EASILY destroy relationships if it's not addressed. Yes, he's being unfair by judging you by what his exs did to him, but as we know that's a pretty common thing for people to do. Your sacrifices are definitely above and beyond the call and duty, but you were doing your best to show him that you are quite unlike those other women in his life.
But, as you also pointed out, at some point you have to say enough is enough. It's one thing to help 'nurse' someone through uncertainties, to the point that they know they can trust you. But it's another thing to alter your entire life, for the rest of your life, based on his baseless insecurities that he is now unwilling to change. You did all of those things so he could learn to trust you. And most guys would have. But this particular guy you're with seems to be stuck with his insecurities and unwilling to trust you, ever, because he feels he's so unlovable. So that no matter what you try to do to show him you love him, he always doubts it and is suspicious. So I think you're right, at this point you can try to prove your innocence to him until you're blue in the face and he's just going to keep mistrusting you. Because at this point you've shown beyond any shadow of a doubt that YOU can be trusted. The issue is fully within HIM that he is unwilling to let himself trust you.
OK, so what to do. I've started putting together an Overcoming Jealousy web page set -
I would go through it and try to get him to go through it. I'll be posting more actual action steps in the next few days. At this point. HE has to actively want to deal with this insecurity and get it out of his head. That's the only place the problem now exists. And this imaginary concern in his head can easily destroy an otherwise wonderful and loving relationship. It might be that only therapy can help him get over it - maybe what you've proven these last few months is that he can't do it without a therapist. That just your help isn't enough. Some people are like that - they can listen to a 3rd party but won't believe it when it comes from someone they know.
If he's unreasonable about the jealousy, try to get him into couple therapy together so "you both can work on trust issues" together. That way it's not a "He must fix his problem" thing, it's more of a "together we have to handle this issue" prospect.
-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at RomanceClass.com