Lack of Trust and Jealousy

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hi, I have been dating a guy for almost 4 years now and we are planning to get married this year. I’ve had 2 boyfriends before him who both cheated on me. I was hurt for quite some time.

The problem is that now it’s hard for me to trust my current boyfriend. During these 4 years he has not given me any reason to believe that he has been cheating on me. He is very sweet. But he is someone who is very extrovert and likes to talk to people etc. Lots of people appreciates him because he is friendly. I have to admit that i dont like it that he’s that much extrovert.

He used to love going out on friday nites with his friends. Going to happy hours on friday and then ended up in clubs. I never liked that. But last year when he proposed to marry me, i started to impose things on him. I restricted him from going to nite clubs etc which he did. But what happened is that for new year’s eve he went out with his friends for dinner. I reminded and warned him on that day that i’ll be very angry if i hear that he’s been in a club. He said no he wont. But then under friends’ pressure ended up going. I was so angry and broke up.

We didnt talk for 2 days. I replied to all his text message very harshly telling him to get lost. Then after some days we hooked up again.

Well to get back to the problem. I can’t trust him. I’m tying to figure out if it’s all because my ex bfs cheated on me. When am with him and he receives a phone call or a text. I suspect him and ask him to show me who it was on the line etc. Worst, well we used to work for the same company and attend all the parties together. Now i have joined another company. He’s going to the end of year dinner tonight and like totally going crazy. Before going i told him not to dance with other girls and if i hear about it I’ll be very angry and will end it all.

The mere thought of him talking or dancing with other girls make me go crazy.:( When we fight he always tells me that i control him too much. I don’t know what to do to control myself.

Lots of people find it weird that am so jealous of him. Because to tell you the truth my boyfriend is not handsome (not a brad pitt). My fear is that other girls might be interested to seduce him because he has a good situation, nice car etc.

He knows very well that i’m not with him because of that. In fact when we started dating 4 years back he was at the bottom of the ladder. I always tell him that i dont care abt his money, property etc. I love him dearly because hes been giving me the kind of love i have always been looking for. And my greatest fear is to lose his love. I always fear that other girls ( may be more sexy more interesting than me) might try to seduce him to go out with him because of his position and i fear that he might be tempted.:(

But like i told you he has not cheated on me till now. So i would like some advice. Is there something wrong with me? I would like to get rid of this addiction to my boyfriend. I would like to be less possessive and less jealous. How can I change? Please help me. Thanks in advance.

A. You may need professional help to correct this problem. Whether you’ll need to see a professional depends on how easily you can change your own thinking and behavior.

Some parts of your letter are confusing. For example in the beginning of your letter you wrote that your partner hasn’t done anything to lead you to believe that he has been unfaithful. But in the latter half you write that “has not cheated on me till now.” I am unclear about what he has done to cheat on you. According to your letter he has gone to places that you disapprove of but you did not mention precisely how he had cheated on you. Did he go to a club with another female? Did he have an affair? Are you saying that when he lied to you about going to a club this was, from your perspective, a form a cheating? Or did you leave a cheating incident out of the letter? I am curious about how you define cheating. This is a piece of information that I’d be interested to learn more about.

You wrote that generally you do not trust your partner. This is because past boyfriends have cheated on you. As a result of your inability to trust, you have placed restrictions on the behavior of your significant other. You also realize that you are extremely jealous. You become enraged at the idea of him even being in the same room with other females.

Jealously comes from not feeling confident. It is the result of a lack of self-esteem. It is also true that no one can make you feel jealous. Jealousy stems from you and is produced by you. Generally, no one can make you feel anything.

If you had self-confidence then you would not be angry at the prospect of your partner being in the same room as other females. Because you’re insecure other girls are a threat to you. Therefore you feel it necessary to closely monitor your partner’s actions at all times.

I also wonder whether you are unfairly rationalizing the close monitoring of your current boyfriend by saying that you do it because past boyfriends have cheated on you. Did they really cheat? Or did you maintain many restrictions on their behavior as you do with your current boyfriend and thus almost anything they did that you did not like was regarded as cheating? As I mentioned before it would be helpful to know more about what you consider cheating.

I can tell you that your behavior is inappropriate and can destroy a relationship. Your partner might tolerate your restrictions and jealousy for a short while but soon he may come to resent you. Jealously is unhealthy and it is up to the person who is experiencing it to get help. If you feel that it’s something you have difficulty controlling, then you could benefit from professional help.

The positive aspect about your letter is that you recognize you have a problem with jealousy. Being aware of a problem affords you the opportunity to correct it. I would strongly encourage outside help if you find that you cannot manage these problems independently. Therapy can give you a chance to save the relationship before your behavior drives away a prospective husband. Thanks for writing and please write back if you have any follow-up questions.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Jan 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Lack of Trust and Jealousy. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/01/19/lack-of-trust-and-jealousy/