I dated my ex boyfriend for a little over 2 years and we broke up about 6 months ago and cut off all contact. Our previous relationship had a lot of problems in it, one problem was that he would emotionally cheat with other girls and past girlfriends, then lie about it. I became a very jealous person during the course of the relationship, but had never felt jealous before he began hurting me.
Recently we have begun casually seeing each other again, and it’s been really great. We’ve both grown a lot in our time apart and I think there may be an actual future here. Unfortunately, I still feel racked with jealousy at times. I really want to trust him and go into the relationship with a clean slate, but I cannot forget his past lies and behavior. We have gotten a lot better at communicating, and he is trying to be very patient with me, but I can’t help but think about scenarios with other girls. I feel like my jealousy is going to be the downfall of this new, great relationship. How do I learn to trust him again and stop feeling jealous? Or are my fears going to come true that he will revert to past behavior?
A: I think it is great that you are willing to experiment in this relationship again, but keep in mind this is an experiment. The question here is what is he going to do to earn your trust? As you said, your jealousy was caused by his behavior. What concrete effort can he engage in that will help you regain your trust?
There isn’t a clean slate, so look at what caused the issues in the first place and address them directly. He needs to demonstrate that he has changed, and you need to be satisfied with his change in behavior. If you do move forward, consider a trial period. Your jealousy isn’t going to be the downfall of the relationship. His inability to address the reasons you are jealous will be.
If the trial period works and you are satisfied he has changed sufficiently, then your trust will grow. Don’t blame yourself for being jealous when the causes for the jealousy were real.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Jul 2011
Tomasulo, D. (2011). Rebuilding Trust and Resolving Jealousy. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 7, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/07/14/rebuilding-trust-and-resolving-jealousy/