How to cope with my constant jealousy

I am a very suspicious and jealous person. I’ve discussed this thoroughly with my boyfriend and he accepts it. But, I still have problems overcoming my suspicion and jealousy.

I know I can trust him.

But, when I don’t know where he is, I freak out and do things that may destroy our relationship. Often, I ask him probing questions. He answers me diligently, with a smile and quick responses, which make complete sense.

But just the other day he tells me he lied to me and met an ex-girlfriend, accidentally. They talked and he told me "nothing happened." But, then why did he lie to me about it? Would he have cheated on me? And he told me that she looks great.

Why would I want to know that?

Response:

To begin with, probing a partner is typically a bad idea. Asking probing, or invasive questions often puts a partner on the defensive. And in such situations, many people start to conceal information—deception is means of protecting one’s self from an overly inquisitive and invasive partner (see invasive questions).

And to make matters worse, asking probing questions is one of the worst ways to get at the truth. All of the research shows that asking probing questions is a misguided strategy to use when trying to find out what is going on (see common mistakes).

In fact, there are much better ways to get your boyfriend to open up to you than by asking him direct questions (see get others to be honest).

And your question also illustrates a fundamental aspect of being in a close relationship.

You say that you “know you can trust him,” but that is not what you feel. And relationships are governed by our feelings. Our feelings can overwhelm our ability to think and reason when it comes to love and romance. And some people are more anxious and insecure than others (see attachment styles).

If you are as anxious and insecure as you claim to be, it might be worth your while to talk to a counselor. Such fundamental, and emotionally driven, responses can be very difficult to change without some help. And suspicion and jealousy, if not dwelt with constructively, can ruin a relationship (see living with suspicion).

Finally, your boyfriend is probably having a difficult time coping with your insecurities.

If your boyfriend tells you the truth, you get mad. But, if he tells you what you want to hear, he probably feels guilty. And when he does eventually come clean, you get mad.

Consider how you may have put your boyfriend into a no-win situation. No matter what he does, you’re going to get upset. There is never a right answer. Again, this is all the more reason to talk to someone about how you are letting your jealousy get the best of you.

 anxious attachment | my jealousy | troubled relationship

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