Boyfriend Jealousy

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I accused my boyfriend of looking at a girl in the street when he didn’t. Ive been with my bf for 6 months. about 4 days ago we were outside the main doors to our flat and a boy and girl walked past. he was fiddling round with his keys and i saw him look up and in the direction of them and i got totally paranoid and thought he was looking at the girl. we have had several arguements about this and no matter how many times he tells me he wasnt looking at anyone and no matter how many times i tell myself that i just physically cant forget it. i just keep replaying over and over in my mind what i thought i saw and its really starting to affect me now, i cant eat, having trouble sleeping and have even been sick! i know it sounds totally irrational hes told me he didnt but yet i still cant let it go! hes not one to lie he is a very honest person. help i feel like im going mad!

A. If you continue to falsely accuse your boyfriend of doing things that he is not guilty of then you’re probably not going to be a couple much longer. It is unreasonable to be upset at your boyfriend even if he did look at the girl passing by. It is impossible for your boyfriend to live in this world and not see a female passing by. Roughly 50 percent of the world population is female. Are you going to be angry with him every time he looks at a female? If so, prepare to be a very angry woman!

It would be disrespectful for your boyfriend to be overtly gawking at a female while in your presence and making statements about her looks. But if he glances at a female as she is walking by or looks in her direction and this upsets you to the point where you’re obsessing about it and losing sleep, you probably have a serious problem with jealousy.

If jealousy is your problem then you can do one of two things: lock your boyfriend in a room, blindfold him when out in public, cut off his access to the Internet, TV, movies (this is not a likely or desirable choice); or you can try to correct your problems with jealousy.

Since option one is not legal and totally ridiculous, let’s discuss option two since it’s more practical and realistic.

In your relationship, other girls seem to be a perceived threat to you. Jealousy arises usually because an individual does not feel confident about themselves or in their abilities. Generally speaking, other people are a threat to the jealous person because they fear that they are “not good enough.” Jealous people often compare themselves to others and determine that the other people are better. Jealousy is usually about low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence.

If you felt fully confident about yourself then you would not have had the reaction that you did when you thought you boyfriend was “checking out” another woman. In fact, you might not have had any reaction because this” incident” would have been a non-event.

If left unchecked, jealousy can ruin relationships. And in your case, I worry this will happen to you.

There is a very positive aspect to your letter. You were able to recognize that your reaction to the possibility of your boyfriend looking at another female was irrational and it worried you. This is good because now that you know it was irrational you can work to change your future reactions.

To do this, realize the truth which is that in this instance your boyfriend was not looking at another female. If this type of event should happen again, in which you suspect that your boyfriend is looking at other females, stop, take a ten minute timeout and try to determine what actually happened. Ask yourself whether you are overreacting and if so, try to put a stop to it immediately. This might prevent you from starting an unnecessary fight. Every argument hurts the relationship and if possible, you want to avoid them.

If you have difficulty knowing how to react to situations regarding your boyfriend you might want to consider therapy. Therapy might help you learn ways to be more rational and teach you what is appropriate and not appropriate behavior in relationships. Generally, building self-esteem comes from personal accomplishment but therapy could also help this. Be proactive, get help if you need it before the problem gets worse and don’t let this problem ruin your relationship. Good luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Dec 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Boyfriend Jealousy. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/12/01/boyfriend-jealousy/

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