My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and we are generally very happy. He is an actor, and in his upcoming play he has several romantic scenes with another woman. Although I know he cannot help this and that he loves me very much the thought of it makes me sick, especially knowing that I am going to have to watch it. I want to be supportive of him during this time, but I can’t get the image of him and another woman out of my head. I feel selfish and crazy for feeling this way, but I just can’t shake it. Its even gotten to the point where I can’t be intimate or sexual with him anymore because I feel too uncomfortable and these images end up running through my head whenever he tries to kiss me or come near me. I love him so much and I feel horrible for having these feelings. I know that the situation is not in his control and he has no choice in the matter, but i still feel sick about it. Am I crazy for having these feelings? He has never given me any reason not to trust him, but I find myself thinking is this girl prettier than me, does he like kissing her more than me? I know I shouldn’t be having these feelings. What can I do to try and move on from this and be supportive in the way I know he deserves?

A: You’re certainly not alone in your feelings. There is a reason why so many Hollywood marriages and relationships don’t last. It takes a lot of maturity and high self-esteem to handle this kind of situation. That’s a tall order for someone who is only 19. People twice your age sometimes can’t manage it.

Since your boyfriend hasn’t given you any reason to distrust him, the problem lies within you. The good news is that means that solving the problem is very much in your control. The work you need to do is on yourself. Instead of competing with his stage partners, focus on doing whatever you need to do to feel good about yourself. Do your best to be the kind of person you most admire. Set your own goals and work toward them for a sense of accomplishment.

Then, draw a boundary around your relationship. There is no reason for you to watch your boyfriend perform any more than you would need to watch him fix someone’s tooth if he were a dentist. Send him off to work with your blessing and know that when he’s done, he doesn’t set up housekeeping on stage. He comes home to you. Greet him with the love and warmth you feel for him and the certainty that you are worth his love. Appreciate him for the person he is, not the role he plays. My guess is that he will respond in kind.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Apr 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). How can I compete with actor boyfriend’s sex scenes. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/04/05/how-can-i-compete-with-actor-boyfriends-sex-scenes/