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How can I handle my jealousy in this case?
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DecentButConfused posted:
i,

I need help because I don't trust my own judgment in this case.

I've been seeing a woman for about six months, though only within the past month has she reciprocated my romantic feelings and slept with me. We are both divorced, me just over a year and she about 4 years.

Moving to more of a romance has been great, but along the way she's periodically mentioned this male friend of hers who apparently has repeatedly and persistently propositioned her for sex. She tells me there is no chance she would ever sleep with him and that she finds him harmless but flattering and a nice perceptive guy. She told me that he told her he's slept with perhaps 400 women, and that (paraphrasing) he says he's well-endowed and that she should sleep with him now because when she remarries she will lose the chance. For her this is all a big joke, but it has started to grate on me because she still sees him every month or two, and most recently was going to see him for dinner.

Last night I started to get angry with her about this and freaked her out. Then she offered to cancel the dinner and I said that was patronizing because she is clearly going to remain friends with him and could go out with him other times, and if there is nothing to fear then why the need to cancel on him? I told her I don't understand how this friendship works, and that even if she thinks there's no chance she'll sleep with this guy, if it's true that he continues to go after her this way, to me as a man it seems there is always a chance something could happen. She claims she doesn't want to become a "statistic," but I wonder why she finds this kind of attention fun. The other day she told me he once got her these massage balls for her back, and she lay on her back on her floor to use them, and that she did find it soothing, but then he asked, "Do you want me to finger f--- you while you do that? It's awesome." She says she said, "Um no." But why does she tell me these things? And how am I supposed to respond?

Sorry to be a bit long-winded, but I just want to hear feedback about whether I'm being crazy and irrational (as she thinks) or whether I have reason to be concerned. Ironically, she is also involved in a LDR with a guy in California but I don't feel the same jealousy about him because he's trying to do what I am -- be with her in a long-term committed relationship.

I welcome any advice or criticism. I do want to treat my jealousy if it is the main problem, especially because this morning I hated the feeling of distance between us as a result of this argument, but I also fear being a fool.

Thanks.
Reply
 
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dfromspencer responded:
Hi DBC, and welcome.

If she tells you "its nothing", why not believe her? Has she given you any reason not to? If she is being honest, and nothing is happening on these dates, you have nothing to fear. Some women feel the need to brag. She may be saying she has more men interested in her than just you? Possible.

I knew a woman like this once. She was telling me things like this, in the hopes of making me jealous. What she wanted, was for me to hurry up and ask the big question. That backfired on her, and i called the whole thing off. Could she be doing this to you? Maybe. You need to have a open, and honest conversation with her.

If you are serious about this woman, you need to make her understand how this is affecting your relationship with her.

Best of luck to you, Dennis
 
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1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on responded:
DBC,

I agree with Dennis, if she says nothing is going on, then she is probably telling you the truth. Especially since you know about the other guy she is in a LDR with, she seems to be pretty honest with you. As for her bragging, it could be that like Dennis said, she is trying to make you feel jealous or trying to force you into something.

My concern would be that she is in a long distance thing with another guy??? Your not jealous over that? But a guy that she says she has no interest in, it bothering you. Id be more worried about the LDR guy. How long has that been going on? Was she seeing him before you started dating her? Does she visit him or vice versa?

Not to put her in an awkward spot, since she doesnt seem to take questioning lightly, but there will be a point when she has to make a decision, she cant have her cake and eat it too.

Being recently divorced, i know it took me a while to get back on my feet and into the dating pool again. I found myself settling for less just because i missed the companionship, so its up to you to decide if your emotionally ready to enter into another serious relationship or are you doing it to fill a void?

All the best

IC
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD responded:
Depending on how and how often she says this, I might also wonder whether she is trying to make you jealous. I agree with Dennis's suggestion that you talk more with with her about how you feel- preferably at a calm time. How she responds and how the two of you talk it through can tell you a lot about her motivations and how sensitive she is to your feelings. I also think that IC makes a good point in asking you to think about how much you might be motivated at this point by wanting to fill a void. I wish you well with this.
 
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DecentButConfused replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
Thanks all,

I'm replying to the last post but will address all of them.

Dennis: I agree with you and in principle that is what I should've done. We have had a couple of subsequent arguments and event though I basically got her to concede that I'm right, I'm still wrong, if you know what I mean. This feeling of jealousy that I have is a no-win attitude.Maybe she was unconsciously getting a small thrill out of making me jealous, or more likely because she is extroverted probably thinks this is OK and even sexy behavior to go on and on about how silly this guy is to keep going after her and she has the power to resist it because she finds it funny. The thing is, and I didn't mention this before, there was a time when she did make out with this guy at a vulnerable time. A guy who pursued her strongly finally slept with her and then left the next day. That is horrible. But I was right in that she let her guard down and let this other guy make out with her for 15-20 minutes, she says. She insists nothing else happened or would happen, and although I know that even she knows this has not been all talk with this guy and he has kissed her that way, somehow she thinks I have nothing to fear.

IC: Yes I know I sound confusing with regard to the LDR guy. I guess I think that she has been up front about the LDR guy and you know what, if she decides that way then I can live with it, strangely enough. It's the other guy that taps into my sexual jealousy or fear of being made a fool by having her say she has the willpower and I have nothing to fear, and somewhere I'm waiting for the admission of "I'm so sorry he caught me off guard etc." I guess one way to solve this would have been to give her an ultimatum not to talk to him again, which she offered up but which in my heart I know is as controlling as she has accused me of being. I feel like the only way to figure this out is to truly trust her regarding both men and let me just do the best I can to show her I care. Only she can make up her mind in the end.

Dr. Becker-Phelps: Thanks. I will try to wait for a calm time. For now I have just told her, enough, we can let this go for now, you say I have nothing to be afraid of, that you'd never sleep with him or do anything physical with him, and that you do spend most of your time with me and rarely see him. In the middle of the argument last night she also told me that she loves me. It was so out of the blue I didn't know how to handle it even though I was so happy to hear it. As hard as this is for me, I have to find a way to trust her and let God sort out the rest, as they say.

Thanks again for all of the advice and kind words.
 
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1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on replied to DecentButConfused's response:
DBC,

Im going to pose a question, which we probably wont know the answer to, hopefully the doc could give some insight. How do you think she would feel, if she was in your shoes? If you had a close girlfriend who wanted to be with you intimately and you had another person in your life miles away?

You are the person that is there for her, giving her support. The other guy seems like a way to get a free dinner and i need more info on the LDR guy. From the outside looking in, it seems as if she is trying to take advantage of a good guy. I know i dont know all the details, so my assumption could be all wrong and i hope it is wrong. We know what happens when we assume lol.

I wish you all the best
 
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dfromspencer replied to DecentButConfused's response:
DBC,

You seem to be doing everything possible, so, i am just going to say, Good Luck!!! I hope this works out, and you both live happily ever after.

Dennis
 
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DecentButConfused replied to 1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on's response:
1nt3rnalC0mbu5t1on: Thanks. Good question, and I asked her. Last month she invited me to a party of a female friend of hers. At the party, a woman neither of us knew started talking about how she teaches pole-dancing classes. The woman demonstrated a move and bent over and shoved her rear end in my direction. She pushed into me. I was backed against the balcony railing and couldn't get out of the way. It was flattering, but I didn't encourage it and as soon as it was over I didn't give it another thought. But the woman I'm with says that made her angry at the woman, even though we didn't know her and the woman had no idea she did this in front of my date.

The reason I bring that up is that I fear sexual humiliation. I know that is my issue. But if she understands what it's like to feel angry over something as transient as what that pole dancing teacher did, then I hoped she would understand my anger over her friendship with horny guy. She says the way he talked to her is in the past. But yesterday I talked with my therapist about this, and he said he doesn't know of any man who would be cool with this kind of friendship in the life of a woman he's interested in, especially if she'd also made out with him as well. I told her about this discussion and she got upset. Then I got angrier, and we had another argument.

Basically, she's upset that she's willing to curtail the relationship if I'm saying it's disrespectful to me, yet I won't drop it. But I was hoping she would decide that on her own without my demanding it. To her that's overkill. You know, that nothing she says is good enough to reassure me. From her point of view, she has in every way possible tried to reassure me that she wouldn't sleep with this guy, and given that he canceled on her when he learned that I would be there, that even he may be backing off.

The larger problem, though, is that this conflict creates distance between us, and even though we had makeup sex last night, and it was good, she and I agreed that it wasn't as good as when we're connected and feeling close. Clearly this kind of conflict makes us feel less close. So I find myself desperate to regain the closeness but also wary that there may be a deeper, unresolvable conflict over horny guy that is just going to keep coming up again. She (perhaps correctly) says that my therapist should have considered that maybe I am sublimating my anger about the LDR guy, with whom she HAS had sex (just this past July, after she and I had known each other for 4 months) and I'm focusing on the imaginary threat of horny guy for some reason instead. She may have a point. But in either case, I feel sort of down on myself for not being able to handle this without anger and pride, and I don't know how to move forward in an open way with her where we can get back to that closeness that I feel when things are good between us. And seemingly little things have changed, like the amount she emails me and something in her tone that I can't quite identify. A distance, for lack of a better term. And then I feel distant and guilty in turn and it feels sad and awful.

Let me know if I can try to provide any other info on the LDR guy. In short, she almost had a baby with him (a miscarriage ), and she says that horny guy went out with her after that miscarriage and, she says, he perceptively noticed that she was touching her stomach and correctly guessed that something about pregnancy was bothering her. She may be accurate about his perceptiveness, but emotionally I hear that yet again he is a nice guy whom she has to defend against my suspicions. Does that make sense? Is she demanding too much from me, or the other way around? Am I just too rigid and jealous? And is my anger over the horny guy just a smokescreen for my anger about the LDR guy?

I hope you'll write back with your feedback. And certainly if anyone else has comments I would be very grateful to hear them.
 
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1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on replied to DecentButConfused's response:
DBC,

First off, you are not the only one who fears sexual humiliation...a lot of men have that fear, me included. Secondly, I agree with your therapist, if i was in your situation, i would have told her to make a decision. If she really cares about you and wants this to work, she already would have made up her mind. And she also could be doing this to have her ego stroked, knowing its driving you mad, means that you care about her. It's clear that you do care about her, but like you said, you shouldnt have to demand her to stop seeing those other two guys.

I am sorry that there is distance between the two of you, i know how that feels and being divorced as well, its an all familiar feeling. But maybe the distance is a good thing, you might be able to step back and evaluate things with fresh eyes. As for the LDR guy, i honestly think he is out of sight out of mind and you are focusing on the closest threat to home, which is logical. In terms of the distance thing and YOU feeling guilty...that doesn't make sense, i understand why you can feel that way. I am assuming that you are beating yoruself up over her not wanting to be with only you and that your doing something wrong. Obviously i dontk now all the facts about your relationship, but you seem like a pretty genuine person. You are reacting in a very rational and level headed way, you did do anything wrong. SHE is the one who should bear any guilt, she is the one with an almost baby daddy and a horny guy chasing after her. Which part of that is your fault? You can what if? or coulda shoulda woulda, its not going to change what happened, she is doing what she is doing because she knows you are not going anywhere. So in her mind she is going to have her fun and let you be miserable, wondering how you can fix this. It's not your problem to fix.

In all actuality we seem to do the same things in relationships at least based off of what i know. I would be in a relationship and i would pour myself into it, losing myself in making her happy. knowing that what ever she put me thru i would stick it out because i didnt want to hurt someone that i cared that deeply about. But over the past few months something changed, i am not exactly sure what. But i dated a bit more than i usually have and at first those same feelings where there...rushing into things to quickly. But most recently i set boundaries, i know what my mistakes where in the past and i spoke with my lady friend and set up boundaries. They might be silly or what ever, but i have never done that in a realtionship before. It felt amazing and if i dont talk to her for a day or two i dont feel like my stomach is going to explode.

I guess what im trying to say is that you seem like a good guy and you dont have to deal with all of her BS and issues. She obviously gets jealous very quickly at you, but cant see the forest thru the trees when it comes to her personal life. In all honesty, if i were in your position, i would have a conversation with her and tell her how you feel, how your hurting and then let her know that you dont deserve to feel like this. And when she gets upset or angry or how ever she reacts, tell her that you need to move on and you dont need all this senseless drama in your life. This is a conversation i would have never been able to have before and i know its easier said than done. But would ending the relationship hurt you more than your hurting now? possibly, but i guarantee that hurt will go away very quickly and you can get out there and meet a woman who is deserving of a caring guy like yourself.

Best of luck!

IC
 
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DecentButConfused replied to 1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on's response:
IC, thanks again for your comments. Sorry it has taken me a while to get back to you each time, I really appreciate your thorough responses.

I think you're right about that she wants her ego stroked. I haven't told her I've posted to a forum about this issue, but I have kept the comments here in mind as I have spent time with her. I did back off my initial anger and she immediately jumped on the chance to say again that she found me controlling and that she is still going to be friends with horny guy. Tonight she's attending a birthday party for him. I'm with my daughter this weekend so couldn't have attended even if she'd asked me. She and I had this odd series of texts where we misunderstood what we were texting and it felt awkward. I think part of me is preoccupied about this party that she's at, and what it means about what I have to decide about the relationship in the near future.

So as of now this is still all on me. I have to decide, do I present her with an ultimatum of some kind — decide between me and the LDR guy, and stop hanging out with this guy, or I will have to move on. My problem is that I am not good with ultimatums. Although I agree with you and my therapist that *ideally* she'd figure out these things herself, I also think that once it gets to the point of ultimatums, the relationship is a lost cause. Maybe you're right that I'm not going anywhere so she knows that. But it seems like a bluff. So when she calls the bluff I need to be ready to go through with it.

Am I wrong to think this way? I've watched some interesting videos by a therapist named John Gottman, and he talks a lot about trust. To be honest, something in me doesn't trust her, and I can't put my finger on it. Maybe she is waiting for me to actually propose or make a grand gesture and "force" her away from these guys. But she gets so testy when I express anger over he seeing horny guy that I can't imagine she genuinely doesn't want to defend him. So, I figure, if I can't handle that, then I should walk.

On the other hand, any attractive woman is going to have several guys after her, and I wonder if I am just too oversensitive to the reality of flirting. But for now this whole mess has made me begin looking at my dating profile again, which I find sad but also I guess it's my way of not putting all of my eggs in one basket with her, because I feel like she might not abandon me as I had earlier feared, but she may keep my in humiliating situations because she thinks I will take everything she dishes out to me.

I guess at this point I'm wondering how I can determine if there are any sensible, healthy boundaries I can ask for without coming off as a controlling ultimatum, or if this is it and I need to end it.

Thanks again as always.
 
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DecentButConfused replied to 1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on's response:
PS I know this something that makes me think I have trust issues to begin with, you know, like maybe I'm not ready for a fully trusting relationship. But given the party she was attending tonight, I installed an add-on on my mail account that sends me an alert when a recipient opens an email.

She texted me from the party saying her phone was dying. About 20 minutes later I sent her an email about an article i want her to read, and then I sent her a text asking her if her phone was still alive. The add-on showed me that she opened the email, but she didn't respond to my text. I then sent another text saying I was checking to see if she wanted to chat when she gets home. Still no response to the texts.

So I am suspicious. But here are my two questions.

1. Am I unreasonably suspicious? Was the time she said the phone was dying too close to when I sent the emails? And is the fact that I am tracking the emails already a sign of my own dysfunction?

2. Should I confront her about this or just let it go? And if I do confront, is it like a "goodbye" confrontation or a "can we make this better" confrontation -- better meaning either (1) I need to work on my jealousy issues or (2) she needs to stop hanging out with this guy or be more responsive when I contact her when she's with him.

Thanks again for any advice or comments.
 
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tmlmtlrl replied to DecentButConfused's response:
I've been reading this thread and finally want to say my peace about it so here it goes...

Yes, trust is a vital part of a relationship. But another vital part is RESPECT. This woman does not respect you or your relationship. I don't think you should be with her. I think you are wasting your time with her. Honestly, that would've been my reply to your initial post but I saw others were going another route with you so I thought I'd shut my mouth. I prefer not to be a downer.

Personally from my p.o.v there are many lines crossed. I would tell any friend in your situation to get out because no one deserves to be treated this way. But this is all my opinion. Remember -- you teach people how to treat you.

All I can think is 'she must be hot' that you would tolerate to be her man yet at the bottom of her list. There is a good woman out there that will make you a priority in her life, I'm sure of it. Go find her.
 
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dfromspencer replied to DecentButConfused's response:
Hi, again.

I've been keeping up with your plight, also. And i have to agree ith tml. This woman is treating you with great disrespect. You, have given her nothing but love, and respect, all the while she's using you. I too, think you should tell her you have had enough, and go find that woman that will make you "her priority in life". Then you will have a relationship you will never have to be jealous, or suspisious of.

Sorry, i hate to be a downer myself, but when i see a fellow man getting walked on, i have to say something. Get out while you still have some dignity left. And good luck, Bro!!!

Dennis
 
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1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on replied to DecentButConfused's response:
DBC

TML and Dennis are exactly right, she has no respect for you as a person. You need to move on. As for her being "hot" that doesnt give anyone the right to date as many people as possible. I know several "hot" women who are in great relationships and they are loyal to their man, so what makes this girl different? She clearly has issues and she craves attention. And you feed into that by constantly texting her and trying to keep her at arms length because you know she is seeing other guys. Give her a taste of her own medicine and ignore her, dont care about her and see what she does then. Actually, dont do that, just get her out of your life and find a real woman who will treat you like a human being, with respect and dignity. I wish you the best of luck man, but its time to move on from this train wreck!


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