Igloo, I know where you’re coming from.
I used to have terrible problems with jealousy, and likewise my partner would never have given me any reason for any of it.
I got so bad at one point that I couldn’t stand to know he was looking at other women, and I don’t mean oggling, I mean just seeing other women. I completely withdrew, wouldn’t leave the house, couldn’t watch TV or read magazines, and I had my browser set to text only. I had nightmares every night and couldn’t stop myself thinking horrible destructive thoughts. I did some very very stupid things to myself at the time.
The worst thing was even though I was beating myself up so badly about it, but I was hurting him far more, and he was completely innocent.
The reason for my jealousy is/was I have very little self-esteem or confidence. I’m very insecure. Although I’m nowhere near as bad as I used to be, I still find it a daily struggle.
I did try going to a counsellor, but I found it didn’t help me at all, might be different for you, and I’d certainly recommend you give it a try.
Things I found that did help me was taking a step back and examining when and why I felt jealous. Was it something my partner had done wrong? Had he given me valid reason to feel threatened? 99.9% of the time the answer was no.
Ok, so why was I feeling this way? Again 99.9% of the time it was paranoia that I would loose him, because I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, fun enough, and to top it all off I had this stupid hang-up with jealousy & self-esteem - vicious circle! I couldn’t understand why he would want to be with me where almost any other woman out there had so much more to offer than me!
I respected this man and his opinions and values, and that meant that I had to respect the fact he had CHOSEN to be with ME. If I found sense in the rest of his judgements, then therefore there must be sense in this too. Maybe I’m not so bad as I think I am.
Ok, so thats the Why, and a little rationalisation that helps put things back into perspective for me. But that doesn’t really stop me feeling like this.
The first thing I did was to remove myself from things that I knew would make me worse. - Hence the no TV stuff. Extreme yes, but I needed some space to get my head sorted out without the stimulous that was setting things off.
Once I had set my environment to “low-threat” it was time to change my way of thinking.
So I thought I would loose him to a better woman. Yet the fact he was going through this horrendous hang-up with me when he had done nothing wrong meant that he was going to stick by me, and if he could cope with this that meant there was something about me that made him want to cope with it. Therefore if I managed to get rid of it, removing the one thing he might leave me for, the thing he was staying for would have more space to develop.
I started working on changing the way I thought. When I felt myself feeling jealous or paranoid I’d think of all the reasons he’d given for me to trust him that he wasn’t going to cheat or leave. I’d think happy thoughts. I would forcibly stop myself from continuing a negative train of thought.
I also suffer from depression, so trying to think happy thoughts without twisting them into something sick and nasty can be very difficult.
I cant begin to tell you how difficult it was, and still is, I’m still desperately trying to improve my self-opinion, but after 25 years of feeling bad about myself it takes an awful lot of consious effort, and I do have set-backs. I’m able to watch TV again now, although sometimes I will still get a slight burst of fear (and yes, it is fear) when confronted with a woman I know my partner would find attractive. (I still don’t bother with magazines though. ;))
It’s important to remember that although it’s not your partners fault you feel like this, there are things he can do to help. I’m not good at taking compliments, but maybe they would work for you, if they are genuinely heart-felt, and not just said to “make you better”. It helped me a lot that my partner would stick by me, reassure me that I wasn’t completely beyong hope, that he still loved me and wanted to help me, and he was very tactful, he didn’t say or do anything, no matter how innocent, that might make me more paranoid, I have no idea how hard it must have been for him, he must have felt like he was walking on egg shells for such a long time.
(We did actually split up over a year ago for completely unrelated reasons, but he remains my best friend now, and the only “real” person that knows about this or that I can talk to about this - of course people reading this that know me now know about it, but ho hum, I can’t be ashamed for something that I have done so well on or worked so hard to overcome, regardless of the fact I still think it makes me look a bit psycho, we all have our mental quirks ;))
hmmm, on preview this is an awful lot longer and more rambly than I meant it to be, it’s still something that I find hard to put into words as it’s such an emotional thing.
I hope this helps you a little, even if your reasons for feeling jealous are not the same as mine.
Good luck with getting it sorted, it’s a bastard hard struggle!