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Jealousy, and overcoming it

ChibaChiba Registered User regular
edited August 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Alright, I have a problem, and I'm taking the first step by admitting it.

I have jealousy issues with relationships. Also known as "The jealous boyfriend".

Step 2: Fix the problem! This is where you guys can help me hopefully.

I've always had jealousy issues with my relationships, always. Examples are that I always get a jealous, dreading, something like that feeling when my significant other is talking to or hanging out with a male who is not me, especially when it would just be her and a guy friend. I sometimes get paranoid and ask a lot of questions about where she went, where she is going, what they did, stuff about the guy etc when she hangs out with a guy friend. Sometimes I let my imagine run wild with theories, etc, just bad unhealthy stuff. With this and some other things in my life I have trouble accepting the most likely and simple explanation, like Occam's razor.

Anyways, I hate this. This has recently become a major issue because of my most recent relationship. I'm 19 and I'll soon be dating this girl for 1 year. We go to university together so during this past summer we were only able to see each other for a few days once. I believe the distance has amplified and made this flaw of mine more obvious. When she lives far away I don't have much of a grasp of what her day to day is like than when she lives a few hundred feet away.

What sparked it recently was that my girlfriend starting hanging out with an old friend again. She's been hanging out with him a good amount, mostly just them two. By "good amount" I mean maybe 4 days out of a week they'll hang out. I don't know this guy, I don't know much about it.

I trust her, I really do. What I always say to myself is I don't trust these guys. Stupid reasoning I know. It's hard for me to flip it and think of my friends that are girls that I hang out with and I think it's okay, and nothing ever happens, it doesn't even cross my mind. But for some reason this latest one, especially since it's been almost 4 months since college, 1 and a half since i saw her, it really bothered me.

I noticed it in myself, and I asked her if she thought I was acting weird lately. She said "yeah a little". And in turn I could tell she was acting odd in reaction. So I knew I had to address it. So I admitted to her what was bothering me, and that it was wrong that it was, and I know it's a problem I have to fix. She understood why I felt that way, and she said it was okay and everything. Since then she's been acting more normal and not as detached. She is also trying to be more open about what she's doing, and trying to prevent to unintentionally cast a mysterious shroud on what she's doing, which would cause paranoia on my part. She's also doing some more little things throughout the day, like calling when she would have just texted, or just texts reminding me how much she loves me and that she misses me throughout the day. So she's helping in getting me to get over this also.

So I've been keeping my outward jealousy reaction in check to not bother her, but I still have my inner feelings on it. I want to, I NEED to fix this, because I know if I don't keep this in check it will destroy my relationship, and any other relationship I have after.

I know of what I should be doing, and thinking, but I need help in getting to that point. Maybe some reassurance or if any of you guys have or had the same problem and how you got over it would be great. I love this girl and have never had such a deep and successful relationship with someone, I don't want something this immature and juvenile to destroy it.

Thank you.

Some notes because they might be asked:
1) I've never been cheated on before, so it doesn't stem from that
2) I've never cheated on someone before, so it doesn't stem from that
3) I'm 19, 20 in winter. She's 19.
4) I'm her first boyfriend she's had past 2 or 3 months
5) We return to college in a little over a week

Chiba on

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    thundercakethundercake Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    The "I trust you, it's the guys I don't trust" is kind of bogus...it's really like saying that you don't trust her to fend them off should they make moves on her. Unless you honestly fear she may be drugged and taken advantage of, which is another matter entirely.

    Girls find it pretty easy to be friends with guys and not let it go farther than that...I've been good friends with a guy for a long time, and my fiance had a lot of trouble with it at first. I think it's pretty normal, and it's good you're trying to overcome it for her sake. As far as reassurance goes, you should probably get that from your girlfriend ;) But I'd suggest not bugging her too much...in my experience that can get REALLY tiresome. "Are you cheating on me?" "No." "Are you sure?" "YES!!"

    thundercake on
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    Liquid HellzLiquid Hellz Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    The way I look at it is (and I know its probably not this simple) if she is going to cheat then shes going to cheat. You will eventually find out about it and can dump her then. She hasn't done anything so far so you need to give her the benefit of the doubt. Trust is as much about yourself as it is about the other person. You need to have enough confidence in your relationship to be able to say "I know she won't cheat, she loves me, she isn't going anywhere, etc etc".

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    SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I think most jealousy is, at heart, a self-esteem issue. I mean, if you have every reason to trust her, what else could it be except that you expect her to cheat on you because deep down you don't feel your worthy of her loving you. Or perhaps anyone loving you. Not to psycho-analyze, but it is something to consider.

    Sentry on
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    TechBoyTechBoy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I know you feel like this is entirely your problem (and a lot is on your end) but a relationship is between two people, so there are two sides that need to address this issue.

    What the girl needs to be doing:
    1) She needs to constantly reaffirm that she loves you. Be it just randomly calling, sending texts, email, whatever. She needs to remind you that you're special to her and that her eyes aren't wandering.
    2) She needs to transparent in her activities when you aren't there. She doesn't need to tell you every little detail, but after she spends a day with him she should tell you (ideally without you having to ask) that she just spent the day with so-and-so, they played some games and she kicked his ass. If she has a problem with this then you guys need to communicate and sort out each others needs.

    What you need to do:
    1) Let your girlfriend know you have this jealousy issue. Let her know it's not because she's doing anything wrong, it's because you love her so much and want to fix it so you can be a better boyfriend. Be honest to her about how you feel, and what you would like her to do to make you feel more secure (short of never speaking to another male again :P). Make sure it's about you and your shortcomings, not her. If she understands, she'll be more accommodating. The last thing you want is her to be pissed at your for being insecure and possessive. (If you can get her to understand, you're golden. Honestly, my current girlfriend finds it cute that I get jealous. She'll have fun with it, running her outfits by me and be like, is this too skimpy? Would you be jealous if I wore this?)
    2) Trust your girlfriends words. If she says she loves you, believe it and feel mushy. If she says she spent a day with so-and-so playing games, believe that she wasn't doing anything behind your back. This may be hard to do at first, especially if you love her a lot. You might need her to reaffirm her love a lot more than she currently is before you can feel secure, that's something you'll have to work out.
    3) Relax. There was some study done where attractive strangers approached random people and offered to have free no-strings sex with them. Roughly 90% of the guys said yes, while only 40% of the girls said yes. Other studies showed that while males are more afraid of their partners physically connecting with others (i.e. cheating) females were more concerned about their partners emotionally connecting with other females (i.e. going to other girls for support). Despite it being our biggest fear, girls are actually pretty reserved about physical transgressions. So don't worry so much. Poke fun at your girl, pretend she has a secret crush on the dude in the billboard or some random passing buff dude. "Baby, don't leave me, I can buy steroids too!!" Stuff that's light and silly.
    4) Lastly, do everything you can to make yourself attractive to your girl. Remember, relationships take effort. Don't think you've won her over and can slack off in terms of whatever that got her attracted to you in the first place. No matter how long the relationship has been. Keep whatever it was going, and she'll be more attracted and you'll feel more confident.

    TechBoy on
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    SaltLickSaltLick Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I have the same issues as the OP and I have been doing pretty much what the above has said. It works and you can really tell a difference once you just relax and let go of all the irrational fears that run through your head.

    The only thing that has caused me troubles though is the light poking and jokes. While I honestly mean them in good fun, she takes them differently and feels I'm trying to guilt her for hanging out with other friends and such. So be wary of that and cut it out at the first sign of her getting annoyed.

    SaltLick on
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    ChibaChiba Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Thanks for all the advice so far.

    I have already revealed to her my problem. She understood and everything, but she isn't being any more transparent. I mean if I ask her what she did today, she'll say she hung out with her friend, or went somewhere with her friend. She doesn't frequently say who the friend is right away because I haven't met all of her friends, only know of them. If I do ask "which friend?" she'll tell me who. I feel like it's prodding if I ask 'well what did you do?'. I don't want to seem like a parent poking and prodding what their child is doing all day.

    Chiba on
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    ChibaChiba Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I talked to her again today about this. I asked her how I was doing with it, and if I was acting as weird. She said I seemed better etc. I suggested to her the one thing that TechBoy said. The whole not completely transparent thing. And she said she would try to do that, cause she realizes she's not totally forthcoming and descriptive about things sometimes.

    She overall seems happy to help me through this and not upset at all about it. Having this instead of a "you don't trust me?! what's your problem? why cant you trust me?" reassures me a lot in itself with overcoming this problem. I would think of something was really happening I would get that response, instead of a helpful loving one.

    Chiba on
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    TechBoyTechBoy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Chiba wrote: »
    I talked to her again today about this. I asked her how I was doing with it, and if I was acting as weird. She said I seemed better etc. I suggested to her the one thing that TechBoy said. The whole not completely transparent thing. And she said she would try to do that, cause she realizes she's not totally forthcoming and descriptive about things sometimes.

    She overall seems happy to help me through this and not upset at all about it. Having this instead of a "you don't trust me?! what's your problem? why cant you trust me?" reassures me a lot in itself with overcoming this problem. I would think of something was really happening I would get that response, instead of a helpful loving one.

    Appreciate all that she's doing for you, she seems really willing to make your relationship work and that's something you shouldn't take lightly. Remember to also let her know how much you appreciate it all. (You totally owe her AT LEAST surprise flowers + dinner ;-))

    Remember, she probably knew the friend longer than you, yet she entered in a relationship with you. What's that mean? Don't let this get to your ego or anything, but clearly You > Him in her eyes. You're doing good man, keep the communication going and just relax.

    TechBoy on
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    LondonBridgeLondonBridge __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2007
    A lot of it comes from immaturity. I was way more jealous when I was younger. When you get older you learn to deal with those feelings much easily. Use patience, I find that helps.

    LondonBridge on
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    Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2007
    I was like this in high school. Unfortunately, there's no real magic bullet that will fix this for you. It's just something you'll need to work on until it clicks for you. It's a frame of mind you need to work towards.

    My views on jealousy are thus: Do I trust this girl? If I trust her, outside of rape, trusting other guys simply does not enter into it. If I trust her, other guys can throw themselves at her full force, and I'll trust her to rebuff them. If she doesn't, then my trust was misplaced, and then I need to ask myself, if she's not worthy of my trust, is this a girl I really want to be in a relationship with? I deserve a girl I don't have to be jealous around.

    Bionic Monkey on
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    bentbent Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I too suffer from "Jealous Boyfriend" syndrome, however I've been cheated on twice, the first time happened when I was seventeen and the relationship had only been going for about a month, wherein my girlfriend slept with a drug dealer. That was down to poor decision on my part, as the girl is, by all means, a complete slag. The second time hurt a lot more though, despite only being a kiss, as I'd been in a relationship with this girl for a year. But I'm still with her. I'll post the angry story behind that one if anyone wants me to.

    The only advice I can offer is this - don't be jealous for no reason. Your girlfriend is allowed to talk to whoever she wants. However if the guy in question is blatantly coming onto her or trying to make a move, don't ignore it. In your case when you're not around your girlfriend, she has no reason to cheat on you unless she's a complete cunt, so if it comes down to that then you'll be better off.

    bent on
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    contagious_dcontagious_d Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I am trying to deal with a jealousy issue as well, and came across this article. Figured I would post it, might be helpful, might not.

    http://www.tc.umn.edu/%7Eparkx032/CY-JEAL.html

    contagious_d on
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