Is Jealousy Killing Our Relationship?

Posted on: 06 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Is it jealousy or something more?

Elspeth Asks:

I have been dating someone for two years.  However, I am very concerned because he is in regular contact with several other women who he speaks to frequently.  He says they are ‘only friends’ but when he is with them, he turns his phone on to silent and doesn’t answer it.  

I have asked him why he’s stayed in touch with these women, particularly with an ex-girlfriend.   Last night, we had a big row because he says he can’t deal with my insecurities over these women.

Do you think that I am doing the right thing assuming that if he is hiding calls and refusing to speak to me when he is in their company, then he must have something to hide?  

I have stopped speaking to all my male friends because I believe that to do so would show disrespect to him.  Please advise me.

Andy Advises:

Sorry to say this Elspeth, but I think you are being ridiculous.   All of us have friends who existed before a partnership began and who remain friends throughout that partnership.  What on earth must your old friends think of you, dumping them like that just because you are in a relationship?  Where will you look for friendship with the opposite sex if this current dilemma fails to resolve?  It’s good to have friends of both sexes, whether you are in a relationship or not.

Platonic friendship can exist between men and women, especially when those friendships have lasted years.  As for your man remaining in touch with his ‘ex’. So what?  I know many divorced couples who remain friends and stay in touch. 

Stop being so touchy. What you are doing by your unreasonable jealousy is encouraging your boyfriend to act as though he is being deceitful, even if he isn’t. In other words, his mind is saying: “If you want something to worry about, then I’ll give it to you.”  You are both playing silly games, you by showing your jealousy and him by fuelling it by turning off his phone.

Clever partners incorporate those old opposite sex friends into the new circle that they are creating – and I think you should do the same.

If you want the boyfriend to remain a boyfriend, I think you need to eat some humble pie.   Contact him before it is too late and say you are really sorry for mistrusting him and appearing to be so jealous.  Tell him that you really love him, value him and his love and friendship and realise you are being a bit silly.   Suggest it might be a good idea to invite these women round to meet you, possibly with their partners, for a drink – or go out for a drink in a pub together in a crowd.  You could also suggest asking the poor men friends you have ignored in your sincere, if misguided, efforts to prove your own fidelity.

Real love includes accepting the other partner’s ‘before’ friends, both singles and couples, as well as creating new friendships together.  We all suffer from insecurities at times.  On the bottom line, you should feel all the more secure because despite all these women friends, you are the one your man chose to be with until he couldn’t stand you nagging about it and questioning his motives any more.   Good luck and please let me know how you get on. 

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