From the U.S.: My husband has jealousy issues because of his past wife (20 years ago). (My first husband died of cancer within two months of diagnoses). He is not violent, but today when I let the dogs out, he said I think you are letting someone in.

I got extremely angry with him and started yelling that why does he not come into the room and see for himself. This morning I wanted to go to an unimportant appointment and did agree that it could wait but he said he thought I was going to try and see someone, again I got so angry and loud.

He said he can’t take my yelling and locked me out of the room, that is okay I have another room. But if he thinks I am letting someone in, I said leave the bedroom door open so he can see for himself, and then he would not be able to say that. Of course he did not open the door, which was probably smart.

I feel bad for yelling at him and think my anger is out of proportion but why does it get on my last nerve? My frustration level is low and I do not want to take it out on him.

A: You and your husband are in a painful dance. You’ve both been hurt in life and are ultra-sensitive about the possibility of being hurt again. I have a guess that you are both very anxious about being left. He apparently had a wife who betrayed his trust. You loved a husband you lost.

I really don’t think this is just about his jealousy or your anger issues. I think the two of you are triggering each other. For that reason, I suggest you get some couple counseling. A counselor will help the two of you find ways to reassure and support each other instead of just reacting out of your individual pain.

You didn’t mention how long you’ve been married. I’m guessing that it hasn’t been that long. You two are in your 50s. You could have 20 or 30 years together that could be happier and less burdened by your anxieties. I hope you will take care of each other by getting the help you need to make that possible.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie