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Author Topic: 2.08 | How To Deal with a Jealous Partner  (Read 47657 times)
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« on: July 14, 2008, 12:36:41 PM »

How To Deal with Excessive Jealousy

Jealousy is a normal human emotion, just like love and anger. If managed appropriately, it is not destructive to a relationship. Jealousy becomes a problem when it becomes obsessive, invasive (e.g., stalking, spying), invalidating, or engulfing.

Jealousy in romantic relationships generally stems from a lack of security or trust of the other partner.

  • In some cases, that lack of security or trust is earned, such as in cases of infidelity, evasiveness, or lying.

  • In some cases, it is inherited, such as when one partner was violated in a prior relationship or has inherent trust issues.

  • Sometimes, it is deep rooted insecurity, unrelated to anything that has happened.

With a fear of abandonment at the core of many who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, this is a common issue in these relationships.

Once jealousy damages the trust in a relationship, it can be as harmful as any issue the partner may be jealous about. Jealousy can lead to obsessive thoughts or behaviors, such as hacking email, checking phones, stalking, or demanding to know the partner’s whereabouts or activities. When jealousy has replaced trust, it’s time for the partners to take action, individually or collectively.

A starting point is to identify the root cause. Rebuilding trust requires time and the commitment of both partners. Getting that commitment is rarely a given and may be as complex as the process of building trust that follows.

In this workshop, we ask... .

        1) How do we pinpoint the root cause of jealousy?

2) How do we deal constructively with the insecurity and lack of trust that fosters jealousy?

3) What is reasonable to ask our partners to do (and for them to ask us) to cope wit excessive jealousy in our relationship?
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2008, 08:19:51 PM »

I acknowledged his jealousy early so i avoid most of the things that upset him.

I did support and defend one of his close friends. I know now this was a mistake and will not do it again.

Now that I know what his reaction would be, however since I already have that insecurity to deal with, is it possible that their friendship may suffer, they have not yet spoken since and i feel bad.
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2008, 09:01:21 PM »

First, as hard as this may seem, you need to ask yourself “is there any justification for the jealousy?” Are you dressing in ways to attract attention? Do you frequently talk to strangers of the opposite sex? Are you evasive and secretive about some of your activities (even if you feel justified)? Did you maybe stand a little too close to an opposite sex friend? Did you flirt and laugh too much, while ignoring your partner? Are you acting like you are still single, instead of part of a couple? If any of these apply, then fix those problems first.

If you answered no, then the problem most likely isn’t you, it’s your partners. So how do you handle a problem that isn’t yours? Why should it be your responsibility to fix it? Because if you really care about the relationship, then getting it into a healthier state is crucial for the long term success you are seeking. If you don’t think you can, or you don’t think you should have to, then do nothing, and the relationship is doomed to die from anger, distrust, and jealousy.

~~ If you want to make an effort towards change, then here’s some things that can help change the dynamics over time. Remember, this didn’t get to this point quickly, so it will take time to see any results.
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2008, 02:48:15 PM »

My dBPDw can be extremely jealous.  And it doesn’t have to be that I’m sleeping around… it’s, more often than not, I’m steeling her friends.  She is hyper suspicious… certainly reads my emails (which I don’t care about… as I have absolutely nothing to hide) and can run wild with even the most innocuous correspondence.  It can be quite bad sometimes… perhaps I come home from work and in conversation say something like, “we have a new employee working in our group and her name is Wendy (for ex.).”  WOW… she’ll have a million questions and I know she’s wondering if I love Wendy and not her.  If I said it was a new guy and his name was Bill… nothing… not a peep from my BPDw.  It can get so bad sometimes that she’ll rage, “I should go F**K Wendy.”  She’ll kill herself so I can marry Jill… etc. etc.  Hell… I barely have any intimacy with my own BPDw?  It’s hard not to get pissed when I’m 100% faithful… and have never even been even emotionally involved with anyone but my BPDw.  I wish I could talk to her… logically.

I love my wife… but my life is a friggin’ mess.
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2008, 03:16:04 PM »

First, as hard as this may seem, you need to ask yourself “is there any justification for the jealousy?” Are you dressing in ways to attract attention? Do you frequently talk to strangers of the opposite sex? Are you evasive and secretive about some of your activities (even if you feel justified)? Did you maybe stand a little too close to an opposite sex friend? Did you flirt and laugh too much, while ignoring your partner? Are you acting like you are still single, instead of part of a couple? If any of these apply, then fix those problems first.

Okay, my bf, especially during our first year together, did all these things and more. He drove me batty w/ his mixed messages and his inappropriate behavior with other women... .all going on while simultaneously talking of undying love and commitment to me and us and our relationship.  After a year of this (and my constantly setting limits and being clear about what I will and won't accept... things started to get better)  except for one big 'topper' at the end of fist year together. He called an ex on the phone and demanded that she either reciprocate her love for him or he can't continue their freindly aquaintance because he can't just be 'freinds' with her... .this was done a couple months after recomitting to me, a written promise that he would stop all contact with her, and further this discussion he had with her happend the very week we were planning our 1st anniversary together and he was feeding me all this stuff about how I'm the best thing that ever happened to him, he will never hurt me again, we are a team, we will grow old together, raise our children together... bla bla bla... .and availing himself of being at my home and going to bed with me etc... .the whole nine yards... .

That week, based on gut instinct, I found this ex gf's email to him stating that she is sorry but she cannot possibly offer him anything more than freindship (she was married w/ kids)... .and I confronted him about it.

So needless to say, I have some bruises that are still sore and not fully healed from these kinds of trust breaking maneuvers that have gone down with him in the past.

Fast forward to present time; we are in counseling, he is dealing with his stuff, I am dealing w/ mine, we are making progress, are intent is to forge a life together, etc.

I have access to his personal yahoo email account... .it was given to me in the aftermath of his dishonest behavior in the past; when I was last betrayed, I demanded total transparancy if I were to go forward w/ our relationship, including access to his email accounts (he can have mine, too, I have nothing to hide).  I originally had access to work and his personal yahoo. I no longer have the work password; it has gone through several security password iterations over ther last 1.5 years, and I'm telling you... .asking someone to keep giving you their password (treating them like they are little children that can't be trusted) is a very, very uncomfortable thing to do. So, I stopped asking for the work acct; I've not has access to his work account in almost a year, only the personal yahoo acct.  The bulk of his email goes through work, not yahoo, but whatever.

A couple of months ago when I was randomally checking in on his yahoo acct, I saw an email from the same ex gf that he tried to re-establish a romantic relationship with behind my back a year ago. It was fortunately an email blast to many, not just him, updating everyone on her upcomming progress toward running a marathon in our city in a couple of months. I asked him about it; he said he had not responded, would not respond, the email sparked no feelings in him about her at all, and that all that nonsense is behind us.

That was a couple months ago. I looked again recently, and noticed that he moved this ex gf's most recently sent email message giving yet another marathon training update, as well as yet another message from another woman from his past , down to a "personal"  sub-folder where he used to 'store' correspondence with women he had various emotional entanglements with, mostly romantic, in the past. This is where he stores important messages for safe keeping, from women, rather than deleting them.  These ex's recent emails have been stored their by him rather then simply deleted.

Also, about two months ago, he told me about something that occured at his place of business (he owns his own professional firm). He has a new very attractive, young female employee who had only been there for one month. She came around the corner into his open air (loft) type office just as he was swearing angrily and slamming down his phone based on an annoying voicemail he had just listened to... .it had nothing to do with the employee, it was clearly just a 'timing' thing.  She broke into tears and ran out of the office. What did my bf do as the owner of the company? He called after her and when she did not stop, left his desk and the office, running after her... .this for all the office to see. He proceeded to tell me that he found her alone in her car in the parking lot. I do not know if he got into the car with her, but a conversation ensued so I assume most likely, he did. When I asked why he ran after her like that, why not let her compose herself and return of her own, why not let the office manager handle it, etc. he said he felt he had been inappropriate (be swearing while slamming down the phone) and wanted to apologize to her. I'm wondering what this young woman's issues are that she is so sensitive that inadvertently hearing her boss swear would cause her to run out of the office in tears?  It seemed, well, it seemed a little over the top for the cirumstances. So asked him, what was her explanation for being so emotional?  Oh, he said, she was having her period.  My mouth just dropped when he said this.  The next thing out of my mouth was... .'this young woman has worked for you for just one month and she is already tearfully running from the building and then discussing her menstrual cycle with the boss?"  He rolled his eyes with complete disgust and said "It's NOT like that".  If I continued on, I felt I would be see as the nasty bad guy... .ruining what was truly a tender and innocent moment between himself and his beloved new employee. Yes, beloved... .the month leading up to this parking lot encounter, he has came home several times just RAVING about this woman... .how great she is, how smart she is, how nice she is... .he can't just comment like most men how nice it is to find a competent employee... .no, he RAVES about her including using the words  I LOVE HER!

So there's my bf, the boss, sitting alone in a car with this tearful, hot, very young new female employee, discussing the finer points of her emotional state based on her menstrual cycle and giving his sincere apologies for his inappropriate behavior.

I want to bring up BOTH these issues in our counseling sessions, or alone together before counseling... .but I swear to God... .it is NOT fun to constantly have to wonder if YOU are the one with the problem because you are the one who constantly see's things that don't seem right AT ALL.  I'm the who has to discuss these things with him and it makes me feel so much like a jealous loser, even if I know his boundaries are totally confused... .it puts me in a very uncomfortable and unattractive role.

What I just wrote about are nothing compared to the frequency and nature of some of his previous antics in this area... .but they concern me nonetheless.

Please... .what, and how, would be the way to handle this with him now?  How do you handle being on the flip side of this problem in a way that is really effective and will not lead to a bunch of drama.
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2008, 06:24:49 PM »

This is a meaty topic and there is a lot to talk about. I wanted, however, to be sure the very basics tools got covered early in the workshop:

Listen to Your Partner's Fears And Anxieties

If your partner's jealously is affecting the relationship, sit down with them and ask exactly what's going on. Make sure you're listening when they tell you what exactly makes them jealous, and don't be afraid to express how their actions make you feel.
     
Do not try to minimize, negate or ‘fix’ their fears.
Do not try to bully your partner’s fear into submission.
Do not belittle, humiliate, shame, and threaten the fear.

Be an empathetic listener and give them your undivided attention.

Don't Get Defensive About Your Own Behavior - Don't JADE

If your partner starts to accuse you of something that's not true, don't feed the fire by getting in an argument. Take a step back and evaluate the situation. If you start to get defensive, your partner will probably misinterpret your reaction or mirror your emotions and get even more angry. Instead of getting defensive, try to talk to your partner calmly and problem-solve the situation together. You want to create a closer bond between the two of you and settle the fear that your partner has, so reassure them that your their to work with them, and you're not going anywhere. If you are considering ending the relationship, though, for whatever reason, this may be the time to be open and direct about that as well.

Be a little extra validating - show extra affection

Show your partner extra love during this vulnerable time. This is the time to be generous with your affection. For instance, touching your significant other more may help him or her mentally heal faster. Even though what your partner is feeling might not seem rational to you, you want to be as supportive as possible by showing them how much they mean to you.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you should continue to take abuse from them if an extreme amount of unhealthy jealousy is present. If your partner's jealousy is so bad that it has led to things like forcing you to avoid hanging out with certain friends, or them never wanting you to leave their side because they're afraid you will cheat, then the issue is serious, and you should consider seeking help to deal with the problem - like posting to members here on the "Improvinng Baord".

Don't be a doormat - maintain healthy values/boundaries

In healthy relationships, its important to know where each person's emotions lie and what's important to each other. You need to know what you like and dislike, what you’re comfortable with versus what scares you, and how you want to be treated in given situations. Afterwards, try to be clear about you and your partner's needs and be direct moving forward.

Be Available And Responsive

Even though this issue is something your partner needs to fix on their own, it can help the situation to be as responsive as possible when they reach out to you. If you're there when your partner needs you most, this can help calm their jealous habits. Without a doubt, this can take a lot of effort, but if your significant other notices that you're available and receptive, the trust between the two of you will grow.

Continue To Revisit The Issue And Be Patient

This is not an issue that will be fixed overnight. Try to be patient with your SO and show them that you're willing to work on this problem together by being supportive and continuing to discuss their fears. Be patient when you're practicing new ways to communicate with your partner. While it can be time-consuming and very emotional, don't let that stop you from trying to work things out. Celebrate the small victories with them and try to take it day by day until, hopefully, it isn't a issue anymore.

There really is no easy way to deal with a jealous significant other, but if you want the relationship to work and the jealousy is not at an unhealthy level, both of you can put the effort in to make it last. Talking with your partner about their emotions and why they are feeling jealous is a great way for them to be vulnerable. Be empathic to how they are feeling, but don't be afraid to set boundaries when they need it. Once you discuss everything, things can become easier for the both of you. Trust goes a long way, so if you're not giving them a reason to distrust you, then this little bump in the road can probably go away.
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2008, 07:07:54 PM »

Jealousy creates a very hostile and uncomfortable environment, for both people. Each one suffers, though in different ways. Trying to stop it before it gets out of control is very important, since once it becomes an ingrained part of the relationship, it is very difficult and slow to change. Research shows much of the jealousy amongst couples stems from a lack of security in the relationship. With a fear of abandonment at the core of many who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, this can become a real issue for their partners to deal with. The BPD doesn’t feel confident about their partners love, so they constantly look for clues to reassure themselves. They ask too many questions. They call too often to check up on their significant other. They often even make outrageous accusations from the most innocent encounters. This puts the loved one in a real bind. How do they handle these pleas and demands for reassurance, when they feel they are doing nothing wrong?
 
The BPD is saying, in essence, that they aren’t comfortable with something the partner is doing. Yet many times the accusation is based on scanty knowledge, incorrect interpretations, and make-believe beliefs. The BP wants reassurance and changes to make them feel better NOW, but to do that, the partner ends up changing so much that they lose a part of themselves in the process.
 
This is how the cycle works: the BPD feels anxious or insecure about the partner and they express it as jealousy and ask for change. The partner, wanting to be accommodating and helpful, makes the adjustment. Now the BP feels better, but soon enough, the green monster rears its head, and the BP again looks for relief by asking for more change. It becomes like an addiction. Something the BP needs to feel better about themselves. The more the partner adjusts and changes, the better the BP feels. Meanwhile, the poor partner is left feeling controlled and attacked for doing nothing wrong.  But the problem isn’t really stemming from the partners behavior (in most cases), it is coming from the BP’s own insecurities, so eventually, no amount of change will ever fully satisfy the demands of the BP and quickly the BP feels like the partner isn’t doing enough to make them feel better.  Round and round it goes, getting worse and worse and worse, and making each person feel miserable with each other.
 
One of the things that many partners do when they feel pressured and harassed by frequent phone calls and questions from the BP, is to start to avoid answering the phone and dodging questions as much as possible. The partner starts to conceal and withhold thoughts, feelings, and other info also. It is natural to react this way, since you are trying to establish some areas of freedom and independence. Unfortunately, this secrecy and avoidance can backfire, in actually making the BP even more suspicious of your intentions, thus making things worse instead of better. A fear of abandonment is at the core of the BP’s problems, so withholding and avoidance triggers them into defense mode.
 
... ... ... ... ... ... ... 1.   Experts suggest choosing a quiet peaceful time to discuss this openly and calmly. You need to ask directly what is driving the jealousy and really try and listen to your loved ones fears. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing them as groundless and baseless, even if you feel they are. Being told that they shouldn’t have the feelings they are feeling only makes them more upset and insecure (this is a form of Invalidation . Read the workshop on how to avoid this pitfall). Just listen and ask questions to deepen your understanding of how and why they feel as they do.
 
2.    Validate them as much as you can, without owning the problem and assuming all responsibility for it. Validation means that we understand and accept our partners feelings, desires, pain, and thoughts. It does not mean we have to agree with them. “I can see how you would feel that way.” “I know you are really upset over this.” BP’s are very sensitive to being Invalidated , so the more you can accept what they are saying, feeling, and expressing, the more secure and trusting they will feel.
 
3.   Reassure your partner that you truly care about them with your actions, not your words.  Constantly telling them "but I love you dear" isn't helping, since your partner is reacting to what they believe you are doing, not anything real. You can help reassure them with actions by not avoiding them (if you are) when they call and being more open with them about your activities. This will help soothe and reassure the BP that you are being open and honest with them. It won’t happen quickly, but they will begin to become less anxious over time. The hardest part is for the partner not to revert back to old habits of withholding and avoiding to maintain some autonomy and independence.
 
4.   Negotiate some agreements about reasonable BOUNDARIES around certain issues, such as agreeing to a limited number of phone calls at work (ex. no more than 3 a day), or agreeing to come home at prearranged time frames. Set reasonable time intervals (5:15 to 5:45) for arriving home from work in case of traffic or errands. These limits are to give you - the partner - a sense of control over your life, while also reassuring the BP that this isn’t a sign of trouble. If something major comes up, then you need to call to inform and reassure the BP so they don’t get triggered and go into a jealous frame of mind. Be proactive instead of reactive. Going out with friends and coworkers to maintain some outside friends is also something that needs to be discussed and agreed upon, by both people in a fair fashion. The BP may wish to have veto power, but there needs to be a certain amount of trust on their part, or it becomes too one sided and not really a fair negotiation. Both people need to have some outside influences, or the relationship is too emeshed and controlling.
 
5.   The BP also needs to practice asking for the support and attention they crave, instead of attacking and accusing. The two of you can come up with a prearranged signal or phrase that will be easy to say and remember, that will alert the partner that the BP needs some attention and time. This too, can’t be abused though, and needs to be within reasonable limits, or it will become too much of a burden and the partner will begin to resent the demands.

~~  Important... .If your partner becomes hostile or abusive - at any point in how they speak to you, then it is time for a TIME OUT . There is never any justification for our partners to become abusive towards us, and we never want to try to validate abuse.

None of these are any guarantee that things will get better. It will take work for both people to break the habit of jealousy and distrust. The more open both people can be, the more trust that will be built. Trying to see things from a position of love and acceptance goes a long way in meeting each partners needs. If the BP isn’t willing to accept certain boundaries, or, if they aren’t making progress towards more trust, then things may have to be rethought, because a relationship with jealousy and mistrust as a central part of it, can’t survive.



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    « Reply #7 on: January 01, 2010, 02:59:57 PM »

    I tried to "manage"the jealousy issue with a BPD for almost 5 years. In my situation, I found that it is simply unmanageable. I tried to do everything I could to avoid any situation that could possibly be misconstrued, even to the point that it was negatively affecting my career. What I found was that the need to be jealous seemed to really be rooted in the very deep insecurity that is the root of the BPD disorder and the BPD needed to find a way to make jealousy surface no matter what.Sort of like trying to "avoid" situations that trigger rage -- it is impossible because that rage has to come out eventually. Same thing with jealousy, or so I found. It is a damned no matter what you do type of situation. But in trying to do all that you can, you often sell your life right up the river -- and for what reward? You still get accused... .accused... .accused.

    Anyone that seems to care for you, that human bond is completely foreign to a BPD. They have such little self-worth they can't even imagine anyone caring about them because they feel unworthy. Likewise, they assume everyone else is too. They can't imagine anyone could care about you, just because you are a good person worthy of it, so they assume that what they are seeing is based on something inappropriate.

    About a month before I decided to split and end the insanity, we were visiting my parents in a town where I lived when I was about 5 to 8 years.  And during those years, my closest friend was a girl that was the daughter of my mother's closest friend. She was home visiting her mom too, so my mother let her know I was in town and invited her over. Well, first, my BPD ex might as well have pee'd on me right in front of this lady to mark her territory.The tension in the room, all emanating from my BPD ex, was immense.  She had that fake smile plastered across her face trying to hide her ugly real self and emotions. Not long after that my ex raged at my mother and brought that incident up -- how my mother had tried to manipulate and/or orchestrate some scheme to get me and this lady together.

    I never cheated on my ex in any way shape or form. Not sexually/physically, not emotionally. No extra curricular anything. Completely true to the commitment I made to her and under God. Yet this type of BS is what I lived with. Now that I have walked away, I can see it was so much more unhealthy and insane than I was ever aware of while smack in the middle of it. And my take away is basically that I was probably a fool to have been so faithful to her. I can't even recall the number of rages I endured because she was convinced I had cheated or was about to. If you have to endure the punishment, why not bask in the bliss of the crime?

    Well, because that isn't the type of person I am... .but realy my take away is a realization that jealousy isn't found in any relationship of anyone I know that is healthy and long lasting. That is the bottom line. A healthy relationship and jealousy are mutually exclusive. My current GF is at a new year's party today, hosted by a friend that I also know and populated with a number of people I know. I am unable to attend because I have my parents in town and also it is my Holiday time with my kids. I am not the least bit concerned and my mind is not wandering one bit about what she is or might be doing. There are two reasons for that -- 1) because I am confident in myself and value my self very much "good enough" in every way that the least thought from her mind is to be looking for another dude, and 2) I trust her completely. And enough situations have presented where the tables are turned where I know she is likewise confident with her own self esteem and trusting of me. Trust me folks, this is so much better.

    Trust has to come from a very deep place within a mentally healthy person. It just can't be faked, managed, etc with an unhealthy person. And if you go out of your own way to try to make it "easier" for the BPD to trust you, avoid triggering jealousy, etc. that is a form of walking on eggshells.

    Lastly, I will say this -- my opinion is that since the BPD can't comprehend the idea of trust, fidelity, commitment, etc. there is a very real likelihood the BPD is projecting when he/she is making jealous accusations. We all know from experience and hearing storied on these boards that BPD's are rarely monogamous and true to fidelity. As far as I know, my BPD ex was not unfaithful, but my gut is telling me that I only know the tip of the iceberg. I have a feeling she probably did much of what she accused me of doing. And in fact, in the midst of "marital counseling" she did admit that in past relationships they all ended because she thought they were cheating so she went out and cheated as revenge. So probably, I am better of not knowing what I don't know.

    Please consider this as you decide whether jealousy is something you want to add to your list of dysfunctions to "manage".

    Sorry if I took the spirit of this workshop off track.
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    « Reply #8 on: August 04, 2012, 11:51:55 AM »

    Luckily I stumbled upon this old workshop as I have been feeling peeved with my husband's new jealousy spree. I have validated, validated and validated. It seems to help every time, but then he gets wrapped up in the negative self-talk and convinces himself again that I am cheating on him. And there I go again: "It must be hard for you to think that I am cheating on you, I can see you feel scared and insecure about it. I haven't cheated on you and have no desire to do so. I won't do it." Top with a hug.

    What makes dealing with this easier this time around, is that I am actually aware of what triggered H's jealousy and why. It was my fault for lying him about a teeny tiny detail, saying that I had deleted some file from my personal computer that in a very disregulated state he demanded me to delete. I had told him I won't do it because it's a boundary of mine to be able to be personally in charge of what I keep on my computer and what not (it wasn't anything illegal or pornographic or anything). He went bonkers and I thought what the hell just to shut him up I'll say I'll do it. Weak of me, of course. Then I eventually hald forgot and half decided not to do it anyway. He found out and got mad. And is now convinced that I lie to him about everything.

    Fun times.

    However, the fact that I know there was something specific that I did that caused him to start feeling insecure makes it easier to bear the jealousy. I can heartfully agree that I shouldn't have lied, that it was wrong of me and I can see why that would make him trust me less. I validate his feeling of insecurity but then state my truth. And inside I know that I will never make such a stupid mistake again. I will be honest with him, even when he is sure not to like it, because once he feel reassured again I'm sure I'll be so sick of repeating the same SET-response, that I'll have learned my lesson.

    Well, I just came her to rant about it because it was getting on my nerves. Just seems unfair at times that can tell me: "You are too insecure. I think you have problems with your self-esteem and that is why X is going wrong." _
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    « Reply #9 on: October 26, 2017, 11:33:05 AM »

    First, as hard as this may seem, you need to ask yourself “is there any justification for the jealousy?”

    there was. if youd asked me at the time, i would have told you unequivocally, absolutely not.

    my ex feared that i would engage in flirty (or worse) conversations with other girls. and then she found out i did by hacking my email. at first i tried denial. then i pinned it on her, refusing to even discuss it since she hacked my email, and threatened a break up. then i tried lying; made up an exchange that sounded better than it was. after spending a few days with extreme anxiety i told the truth. it felt better. we (eventually) discussed the matter pretty amicably and touched on solutions. for example, she suggested if i had any such urge, to indulge it with her. not that i wasnt extremely attracted to my partner, it was just an impulse i acted on and immediately regretted. truth is, it wasnt the first time, either, just the only one she knew about. so why should it really be surprising that she had this fear?

    part of the difference between my ex and me is that i have a high need for privacy (in general, not so i can get away with doing things that are wrong, but i think my behavior at times bordered on secrecy) and she has a high need for transparency. we clashed on this frequently. there were, of course, many occasions where she would snoop, find something completely innocent, and wed have a huge hours long row over it. my response was typically to double down on the privacy, add or change passwords, refuse to discuss her concerns.

    so after the incident, i had agreed to let her monitor stuff like social media. i quickly reneged and she blew up, even threatened me physically. my thinking at the time was that it would help nothing, and maybe make things worse - that wed only have more fights about legitimately innocent matters, that she would more or less become addicted/dependent upon checking up. see, she had described to me feelings of anxiety she would get that gave her the impulse to snoop, and how when she didnt find anything, how good that felt.

    over the course of a year, year and a half, her resentment grew, and was probably the justification that she used when she, herself, cheated.

    i dont know if any one trick would have saved our relationship because i think we were probably too far at odds. jealousy, whether it be rational or irrational, makes me feel smothered. ive gone back and forth on whether or not it would have been best to demonstrate trust by giving her access to my social media and its hard to say, because by that point, everything was so convoluted.

    i do know a few things:

    1. her fears were valid
    2. i could have validated them
    3. there was probably a middle ground between transparency vs privacy (im not sure what it was)
    4. i wasnt willing to work toward that, i was completely dismissive and put it all on her
    5. some of her fears probably werent workable/healthy; she was very averse to the idea of me having female friends and even acted on it
    6. i think all of the tools listed in Skips post would have at least helped. i JADEd like crazy. i was blatantly, strongly, invalidating. i withdrew rather than showing a bit of extra affection (though i wonder if that could, at times, actually cause suspicion itself).

    as for the discussion questions, i think good, open communication is at the heart of all of them.

    1. we pinpoint the root cause of jealousy by communicating. as united for now mentioned, at the end of the day, our partners/exes are communicating a discomfort. odds are they arent doing it in the most constructive of ways. they may be firing accusations. they may be ascribing motives. it can be difficult both not to JADE, and to read between the lines. its possible that no specific incident triggered the jealous reaction, it could be something as simple as wanting attention/affection and not knowing how to communicate that. it may be valid. it may be an honest misunderstanding. you cant know if you dont communicate, and listen.

    2. take actions to demonstrate a willingness to build trust. this could include transparency. it could include taking your partners concerns seriously and listening to them.

    3. im not sure i have the answers yet. i think it is reasonable to express jealousy, and it is reasonable for either party to expect the other to listen to their concerns. insecurity is one thing. i think if my ex had "expressed jealousy" fifty times a day, without accusing or snooping, or excessive hypothetical questions and circular arguments, i could have coped. secrecy is bad, privacy is reasonable, and independence is healthy. there were other problems in my relationship where my ex and i found solutions that would help her cope. its hard to think hypothetically, but i would have been open to solutions outside of monitoring me.
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    « Reply #10 on: October 26, 2017, 01:55:39 PM »

    In my r/s, the root cause of my x's jealousy was pretty clear. Her father had cheated on her mother numerous times and made no efforts to hide it. It destroyed her family and she never forgave him.

    The first time that I noticed her jealousy, I did not handle it constructively and that set the tone for the remainder of the r/s. A female friend sent me a text message one Saturday morning to ask if I could help her move. At the time, I couldn't understand my x's reaction. I was, after all, completely enmeshed at that point. But, my x demanded that I never communicate with the friend again and I complied. I didn't even tell the friend what was going on, I just went silent and disappeared from her life.

    Shortly after that, the OW entered the picture and the downward spiral of broken trust, unreasonable demands, and desperate attempts to repair the damage began. But, at the time, I had no clue what was happening. It wasn't until after we split that I found out how far back the damage went.

    I again handled things surrounding the jealousy poorly, but this time went the other direction and engaged in an emotional affair with the OW. At the time I blamed it on my x and her lack of attention or caring for me. It took a great deal of time to admit my part.

    I could have handled the whole thing differently. The biggest thing that I probably could have done to stop the spiral before it became a war was to validate what my x was feeling. I had no interest in doing that at the time because I was too busy defending myself. But, had I taken the time to stop and listen to what she was telling me, I could have changed how the r/s played out.

    Had I been paying attention, I could seen the things that she was telling me that would have helped her to feel safe in the r/s. It would have also allowed us to establish healthy boundaries together.
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