Boyfriend’s insecurities making me question myself

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I have been with my boyfriend for a year and a half. Within the last several months, almost everything turns into a fight. I am not allowed to talk to more than 1 male outside of my family, because he said he “doesn’t trust other men”- and since his friends feel the same way, he feels validated that I will unknowingly cheat on him if I speak to another guy. I have to tell him whenever I speak to anyone of the opposite sex (I can’t even mention visiting male friends who I have known for years), and have sadly lost and am losing a few friends over this.
Over the year, which has included many fights and near break ups, I have finally stopped him from angrily calling 25x in a row when I don’t answer the phone, or his texts. But I don’t feel like it should have taken that much time to achieve that goal (if you can call it a goal). He also makes me feel like when I was trashy in my past, and tells me constantly that he “wonders about what kind of person I was” and ends up upsetting himself and asking me very uncomfortable questions about people before him. We love each other a lot, but at this point, I don’t know what to do anymore. It is embarrassing, exhausting and hurtful, and yet he still thinks that he knows what it is to be in a mature relationship, and I am just not adhering to the ‘rules’. We have tried counseling, and turning to God for help, but there are still problems. I know he has admitted that he is trying to change, however how much longer should I have to wait?

A: Don’t wait another minute.

I deeply appreciate the challenge you have in your life with a possessive, jealous and controlling boyfriend. But this isn’t a life-enhancing relationship. This is a restrictive and highly conditional relationship that doesn’t have much of a future without your boyfriend being in ongoing therapy, including an anger management group.

Angry, jealous, controlling men are very resistant to change, and the amount of control they need over their girlfriend or spouse is typically insatiable. Even if they back off in one area, it accelerates in another.

I would encourage the two of you to make an appointment with a couples counselor—mostly for the purpose of getting your boyfriend in front of a professional. My guess is the couples counselor will recommend your boyfriend have his own therapy, which would be essential for this relationship to go forward.

The real work, however, has to do with you asking yourself what allowed you to get into such a relationship and stay in it. Discovering the answers to these questions will be important as you move forward. The find help tab at the top can point you in the direction of therapists in your area.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Nov 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). Boyfriend’s insecurities making me question myself. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/11/20/boyfriends-insecurities-making-me-question-myself/