Jealousy and Messing You Up

It’s messed me up.

I realize the OP is kind of hard to sift through.

Basically, I am just a jealous person. Mr. Igloo is not. We have had issue over issue with this, with a real whopper today. The basic problem is pretty basic. He feels that he is entitled to being friends w/anyone (mostly professional) of the opposite sex and I feel sometimes bothered by this. Any attempt at speaking to Mr. Igloo about this has us in a war about my mistrust. I don’t get it. Why is this otherwise loving person so combative when it comes to this?

I dunno, if my boyfriend tried to tell me that I couldn’t be friends with someone simply by the virtue of them being male, I’d be pretty PO’ed too.

Because you are being possessive and that can drive a wedge between two people as fast as anything. You are saying you do not trust him, that means the relationship is on very shakey grounds. What if he started acting like he didn’t trust you? If you ever find out he is untrustworthy cut his nuts off, but don’t just grab them and lead him around by his nuts. That’s a bad show, mate.

Just to be clear, I don’t think I’m right with being jealous. I think I’m honestly seeking wisdom about why it’s so harmful to relationships and how the hell not to be jealous.

To me, asking why jealousy is harmful to relationships is sort of like asking why breaking a finger is painful. There’s all sorts of technical details to the answer, but in the end it comes down to: because that’s the nature of these two things–“finger” is to “misaimed hammer” as “relationship” is to “jealousy”. Just the way they’re built and interact.

The second bit is trickier than the first, in much the same way that the ocean is larger than a pond. I think one key bit that everyone could benefit from learning earlier is that how you feel and you react to having that feeling are two separate things. The problem isn’t necessarily the feeling itself, the actions out of it are (the hammer itself isn’t the real cause of a banged finger, it’s swinging it badly). Be mindful of when jealousy arises in you, and how it is you’re acting in response to that rising, and how those actions are causing distress to you both. Then work to change those reactions.

Really really easier said than done, but everything worthwhile takes work. The remarkable thing is that eventually this tends to start lessening how easily/severely the original undesired feeling pops up. Anyway, good luck.

My last relationship was heavily affected by my jealousy. Here’s a fun diagram!

Me = A Rather Jealous Male. Her = A Fiery Feminist.

My propensity for subtly intrusive, downright infuriating questions: <---------------------------|---->

Her tolerance of subtly intrusive, downright infuriating questions: <—|---------------------------->
Only through fast talking and clumsily executed ju-jutsu maneuvers was I able to keep my genitalia attached to my groin throughout that relationship (and I’m not even being entirely hyperbolic here). The things I learned, however, make the whole of it far from being a bad experience.

  1. One of the most important things in any relatinonship, especially a romantic one, is proper distance. You both have to be in full awareness and acceptance of the fact that one person can never fully possess another person’s body and mind. You are always both inevitably individuals. with your own thoughts and dreams. You have a union, but that does not mean you are one with each other. This is a tough pill to swallow, but if you want a relationship that works, that baby’s gotta go down.

  2. [cut out upon preview]

(For this piece of advice, just scroll up to Drastic’s second paragraph in the post above. He said it all, in very much the same manner I would have. Bravo.)

  1. The grand irony of jealousy in relationships, of course, is that it often becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy; guy meets girl, guy and girl start going out, guy is jealous and clingy, girl is repelled, girl starts turning her attentions elsewhere, girl goes out on the town, girl meets someone else, one thing leads to another, hurt feelings ensue. The jealous party is likely to have had a hand in pushing away their mate by being clingy and demanding. So it’s conceivable that the thing to do for you would be to embrace the distance between you, so to speak; find something you love to do on your own, and go do it. Make it clear to him that even though he is a large part of your life, he’s not its focal point. Nothing turned me on towards my ex-girlfriend more than the fact that some part of her was always unapproachable, always engaged in things she deemed important, and while I was loved and appreciated, I was far from her reason for living. You might find that unromantic, but it’s probably the sexiest thing I’ve ever encountered. It’s also scary as hell when you’re insecure and clingy, which is the reason I couldn’t handle it at the time. But that’s another story.

Now, this advice might not be what you’re looking for; it might be alien to your temperament or it might rub your husband the wrong way. In any case, if you see in it something that might work, run with it as far as you want to go and see what happens. Good luck!

I’ve had a similar situation, but on the other side. I’ve been married to Mr. Elgar for three years, and I had friendships, mostly professional, with the opposite sex (I work with mostly men). He acted all right with it, but one night, I was meeting some people from work for drinks and I realized that I was basically getting ready for a date. I felt kinda ashamed of myself, that I was primping for these other guys (no secret crushes, nothing like that) but rarely went all out like that for my SO. But, it took three years of this kind of behavior for me to realize that even though he didn’t demand that I stay at home or go out with him, it was destructive to the marriage. I have since changed my behavior.

My point is, while friendships outside of a relationship are healthy, there has to be a limit. And it seems like you feel he’s crossed it. If he chooses to have these friendships, he should make sure that you feel like his princess, that you are above all these other women he interacts with.

I’m sure he gets defensive when you bring this up because noone likes to feel that they are tethered. But, I don’t think you are completely unreasonable. Do you think you guys can find some compromise? Some give and take that you both can live with? I think the advice that others have already given on this thread is really sound, for you to make sure that you have your own life outside the relationship. I think that really helps.

I am a jealous person. I have done some pretty nasty things to rivals. No I am not going to tell you what they are.

Probably not the best solution, but it works for me: as a now married former semi-pro womanizer, I’m very blessed that so few attractive “opportunities” come my way anymore. I don’t trust myself, ergo I don’t trust my wife around other men despite the fact she’s never given me a reason not to trust her.

Mrs. Lorenzo is very attractive to many men, she works primarily with men and her job requires near-constant interaction with the public. If I had a dollar for every time my wife told me how the male customer’s heads pivot on their necks in whatever direction she moves. After about a year of this torture, I finally admitted my powerlessness over controlling my reaction to jealous feelings and told her to go ahead and have healthy relationships with men but I do not want to hear about it. And don’t tell me about all the men hitting on you/ asking you out despite your small but unmistakable engagement/wedding rings.

I just don’t want to know as long as everything is above board.

That’s exactly how I feel.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling jealous - feelings are innate, and you shouldn’t judge them.

But your reactions to those feelings are your responsibility. If you are addressing concerns of yours over his relationships with co-workers, with no other areas of concern, I am worried about your relationship.

Clearly, you are dealing with some significant insecurities in your relationship, if not with yourself. And insecurity is very unattractive.

Counseling may help, if not couples, then counseling for yourself. Telling him not have any outside relationships with members of the other sex is doomed to fail. You will either push him away, or push him underground. Neither is healthy for your relationship.

jealousy is just plain ugly.

not good to feel. not see to see

it’s just basically fear.

Let me tell you a crazy (but true) story about jealousy that shows a whole other side to this question. Heard this at a guest speaker seminar about this very topic:

This guy noticed one day that the Christmas lights his wife put up on their house blinked in unison with the lights on the house of their across the street neighbore. Irrationally, completely daffily, this guy became utterly convinced, based only on the blinking lights, that his wife was having an affair with the neighbor. His jealousy reached a toxic level, so bad that the couple went into counseling.

Turned out that, after several sessions… wait for it…


This anecdote, for me, points out exactly why jealousy is such a crazy emotional/cognitive cocktail of evil: sometimes, you’re not actually paranoia. Sometimes, the sumbitch IS cheating.

My ex didn’t like the fact that I was jealous and didn’t trust him. But you know what? After 2 months of dating him, I found out that he HADN’T broken things off with his fuckbuddy from before we got together. No, he wasn’t still sleeping with her (he swears), but she didn’t know it was over. He could never explain why except to say that he “didn’t want to get into it with her.” My theory was that he was keeping her in reserve in case things didn’t work out with us. Couldn’t prove it, decided to live with it without liking it.

Stuff like this would happen periodically throughtout our relationship: he’d hide information that may or may not have been a big deal, but the fact was, he was not the honest or forthright type, and I could never feel confident that he was trustworthy. In the end, he left me for someone else, lied about it, and then when I found out later, only said, “I didn’t plan it to happen this way!” And I should have known it would happen this way, but instead I flagellated myself for being too jealous, for not trusting, when the fact was, he wasn’t worthy of trust, and I was right all along.

Bottom line: if the lights are blinking in unison, it’s probably nothing but… maybe, just maybe your fears are justified. If you can’t trust the person, yes, maybe it’s you with the problem, or maybe it’s your most primitive instincts telling you to run like hell.

Jealousy is a funny thing. I’ve had relationships where I’m not jealous at all, doesn’t even cross my mind. I’ve had relationships where I did feel possessive, or jealous. I hate feeling jealous because (in most cases) it is a one-sided thing, not based on facts (as in, a cheating partner).

When I am feeling jealous I take a time-out. If I find myself behaving in a certain way out of jealousy or insecurity, I remove myself from the situation until I can cool down and think a little more rationally. Mostly it’s a grit-your-teeth but grin and bear it thing. And I try to base my decisions on rational thought instead of emotion.

I’ve had ridiculously jealous partners (jealous of sex toys, for crying out loud!) And partners that wouldn’t bat an eye at anything. Sometimes it can make you feel good (wow! he must really, really care about me if he’s worried about other men!) but it’s a superficial boost. Because in the long run, it gets annoying to limit oneself due to a partner’s insecurities. My last partner was of the jealous sort, and he would say, “it’s not that I don’t trust you! It’s that I don’t trust guys around you!” And it actually made me think, well, is it because that’s how he thinks around women? (Sex sex sex)? You know, like, how a liar will accuse another of lying 'cause they do it? So, it made me wonder.

First, realize that I don’t comprehend jealousy. Never learned it, don’t feel it, don’t get it… I do understand that others feel it, but I can’t relate and don’t see the value (sorta’ like guilt to a Tibetan).

Now for whomever said, “feelings are innate”–that’s NOT true. Certain feelings are, but others are learned.

(Natural emotions: sad, mad, glad, scared, excited)

In terms of the original query, assuming there aren’t other issues that this is simply a symptom of in the relationship…

The logical attack on minimizing jealousy might be to analyze on the benefits of it. It harms your spouse if he modifies his behaviour in response to your reaction. It harms his friends who are denied his companionship if it’s restricted. It harms his career if they’re co-workers. It harms you indirectly as your spouse has a less healthy social life. It harms you directly in his reactions to you.

However, I’m extreme; remember the childhood concept of “if you love it, set it free, if it’s meant to be with you it will return?” The same applies to my SO. I want the best for them. I don’t want to inhibit their lives. I want them to experience as much joy as possible.

Perhaps my example is too extreme for you to relate to, but I hope it offers a different perspective…


PS: Try changing something… Attend job socializing w/your SO, or if you already do, don’t! If you’re feeling lonely when he’s off, call a friend. Change your behaviour and you’ll experience different feelings.