Ask Emily - Jealous girlfriend
Ask Emily - Jealous girlfriend
Ask Emily - How to Deal with a Jealous Partner

Ask Emily: Jealous Girlfriend

Hi Emily,

I read your bachelor blog every week. I have a problem with my long term girlfriend. If I don’t answer the phone right away, she accuses me of cheating on her. The last say 10 days she calls me 5 times a day and the other day i didn’t pick up the phone cause I was at the bar talking to some friends and didn’t hear her call. I seen she called and called her back in 15 minutes. She was furious. What do i do when she acts like this? It’s getting irritating!

-Frustrated Boyfriend

Hi, Frustrated.

If you haven’t cheated on her before (which would cause a lot of mistrust and would explain her behavior), then her behavior is unwarranted and destructive.

I’m going to assume that you have been faithful to her. It sounds like she has a lot of insecurities and when people take out their insecurities on their partner, it causes the partner to distance themselves from the relationship which makes the insecure person feel even more insecure so the behavior escalates into a cycle of increasing mistrust as more and more distance is created by the partner who feels mistrusted. Your irritation with her behavior is completely valid but it’s also creating distance that she’s likely picking up on which is fueling her insecurities.

You say this is a long-term relationship. Not every relationship is meant to last forever and long-term relationships tend to end when the honeymoon period wears off and the people in the relationship either aren’t compatible or don’t know how to communicate with each other well or both. It sounds like one of those scenarios may be the case with you and your girlfriend.

The honeymoon period is definitely over. Now you are seeing your girlfriend for who she truly is and while I’m sure she has many good qualities, she also has this one negative quality which is usually a relationship ender. Unwarranted jealousy wreaks havoc on a relationship and is extremely painful for both partners. The jealous partner feels a great deal of fear over losing their partner and the partner who is the object of such mistrust feels their efforts to show their partner that they care go unnoticed and unappreciated and becomes apathetic to their partner’s needs since there’s nothing they can do to please him or her.

You need to decide if this relationship is one you want to stay in. Your girlfriend’s extreme jealousy is a symptom of deep-seated psychological issues that will likely require her to go to therapy for a long time and there’s a very strong likelihood she will not seek the help she needs until she realizes that she is the cause of her jealousy, not you. That may take a lifetime and you telling her that’s the case will probably just make her angry. She has to come to the realization on her own.

So let’s assume her behavior doesn’t change. Do you want to be with her if this is always how things will be with her? Do you love her enough to stick with her despite her extreme jealousy? If you do, you need to be aware that this kind of behavior can turn dangerous. She may get freaked out to the point that she hurts you physically. I’m not saying it will happen but it’s a definite possibility.

If you are willing to take the risk because your love for her is that strong, you need to sit down and have a serious conversation with her about how her behavior is making you feel. (Even if you decide you don’t want to be with her, you should have that conversation so she knows why you are leaving.) You should also ask her why she feels so afraid that you’re going to cheat on her.  Does she think you don’t love her? Does she think you spend too much time away from her? Does she feel abandoned?

But remember, her feelings don’t necessarily reflect on you so try not to get defensive if she says “yes” to any or all of the questions. How she feels is not your fault. Just try to listen and understand where she’s coming from. She should do the same for you but she might not be able to. People with extreme insecurities tend to blame others for their pain and not be able to take responsibility for their own feelings and issues.

If you want out of the relationship but are afraid to leave because you’re not sure you’ll find someone else (a common fear in people which causes them to stay in bad relationships far too long), ask yourself if you’d rather be alone and be free or be with someone and feel like you have to walk on eggshells all the time. Personally, I’d rather be alone but everyone is different. Some people find being single almost intolerable.

I could also suggest couples’ therapy. A therapist could help the two of you communicate and figure out the underlying cause of the destructive dynamic between you. The only thing is that it costs money and you’d have to get her to agree to go with you.

There are some graduate schools that offer significantly reduced rates for individuals and couples who have financial need. You would likely see an MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist) doing the fieldwork required to finish their degree. You’d have to do some research to see if there’s a school like this in your area.

If you have good insurance through your work though, you can see a couples’ therapist for a small copay.

I hope this helps. 🙂

 

If you would like me to answer an important life question (or any question), please, feel free to contact me. I love talking to people and giving advice. I also follow up after initial contact so we can have a conversation if there’s more that needs to be said.

2 thoughts on “Ask Emily: Jealous Girlfriend

  1. I have the same issue in my relationship. It’s so sad because, after more than a year of this, I’m coming to the conclusion that the woman is incapable of accepting love.

    • Hi, David.

      I’m sorry you’re going through this too. I’ve been with jealous people too. It’s a pain in the ass.

      If you want to try to save your relationship, Keller graduate school in Chatsworth is one of the schools I was talking about that offers virtually free couples therapy if you tell them you make almost no money. They operate on a sliding scale.

      But it sounds like maybe it’s time to think about exiting unless you really love her and think you can deal with it long term.

      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

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