Unjustified Jealousy - Two Problems
I am seeing this guy I really like
but he always gets jealous. Even if
I'm talking to a guy I don't even
like as a person, he gets all worked
up. He realizes that its a bad thing
and it is holding both of back but
he can't seem to control it.
He told me he has low confidence
and self esteem and we are thinking
that it has something to do with that.
He asked me for help with this problem.
I can tell he really wants to get
over this but I don't know how to
help him. do you have any ideas?
And Moira wrote:
I have been seeing by boyfriend for
about a year and a couple of months.
He has recently realized that he is
in love with me and might want to
spend the rest of his life with me.
Because of this he wants to know
everything about me, especially the
past. Questions like, how many people
I've been, did I enjoy it, how many
times....questions like that.
I asked him if he wanted me to be
honest and he said yes but didn't
like the answers. Now we are stuck
in this on-going argument about this.
How can I help him get over this?
He says he is jealous, but he is the
only one for me. How do I get this
through his head?
Dear Moira and Karla
First, remember that jealousy is
not a rational thing; it can easily
destroy relationships, but it is not
a deliberate act - no-one chooses
to be jealous.
That doesn't mean nothing can be
done, but it does mean that you may
fail, and in some cases, it is so,
so, irrational that professional help
is the only hope.
Enough doom and gloom! There are
simple acts that can help, and usually
First is to be sure you are being
entirely honest, and there is no foundation;
never confuse irrational jealousy
with genuine dishonesty; it can be
Second is to be entirely honest anyway.
Jealousy is about difficulty in trusting
others, so reinforce - by behaviour
- the fact of your trustworthiness.
Third is to remember that jealousy
forms a vicious circle, feeding on
itself; your challenge is to break
that circle. As it is an irrational
emotion, rational argument is futile,
and simply tends to remind and reinforce.
Resist arguing about it; try to reist
even talking about it - not by refusing
or sulking, but by gently reminding
him that it's old ground, you've been
through it, let's discuss something
Fourth, if it's appropriate (it usually
is) develop a 'reassurance touch'
that is shorthand for 'let's change
the subject'; for example, when you've
been talking to another man (or there's
been a reminder about the past) take
his hand and squeeze it lightly, and
briefly; at first, reinforce that
with words "I'm here for you"
"Don't worry" ... whatever,
but general 'between the two of you'
comments, not directly relating to
'the problem' - so you are acknowledging
that there is a problem, but not letting
it take over
Fifth, be consistent, gentle, firm
Finally, when you do discuss it,
remember that its not 'other men'
or 'the past' that's the problem,
it's jealousy that's the problem.
And from time you you can say "How's
the jealousy thing going, do you want
to talk about it?"
It's not easy, it's never easy. But
you both say you men recognise the
problem; be sure they accept that
it's their problem - but also, be
sure they realise the effort you are
investing in helping them.