Dear Barb – Getting Under My Skin

Dear Barb:

Hi, my girlfriend and I have been dating six months. We have a lot of the same interests and get along remarkably well, except that she’s extremely jealous. Her last boyfriend cheated on her, so I understand being cautious, but this is extreme. Everywhere we go she seems to pick out some woman in the room and accuse me of staring at her. She watches to see where I am looking and if it happens to be in the direction of the woman she accuses me of flirting with her, then we end up in a big argument. I find this so stressful. I really love her, but I don’t think I can live with this. Do you have any suggestions on how I can help my girlfriend to feel less jealous? Thanks, Paul.

Hey Paul:

There isn’t a lot you can do to help your girlfriend become less jealous, providing you are not doing anything to cause it. If you are not flirting with other women, or going out of your way to be overly friendly, then it is not your problem but rather your girlfriend’s. The only person who can fix this problem is her. Often jealousy is the result of insecurity, fear, or anxiety. You said your girlfriend’s previous boyfriend cheated on her, so I would say that could be the trigger. She has to resolve this issue within herself. Have you told her how upsetting this is for you? It would help for your girlfriend to speak to a professional who would be able to guide her through this issue. It seems like you have a good relationship otherwise, so I do not see this as an insurmountable issue. Thanks for writing Paul.

Dear Barb:

Recently I met this great guy. We had both been alone for a long time, so it feels good to connect with someone. The only issue I have is that he has tattoos, lots of tattoos. They are not offensive tattoos, just mostly family members and his kids, stuff like that. When we are out in public, his tattoos always draw attention and I feel uncomfortable. I guess I have this negative vision in my mind of what a guy with tattoos is really like and I fear others are seeing my boyfriend in that way, but he really is a sweet guy. Would I be out of line to ask him to get his tattoos removed? Sherry in B.C.

Hi Sherry:

I hear what you are saying, but I don’t believe tattooed people conjure up the same judgements as they used to. Today many people have at least one tattoo. Moms, dads and even grandmas have tattoos. A tattoo can be removed, but it is a painful and expensive venture that often requires multiple sessions by a laser to remove. It might be worthwhile to accept your boyfriend as he is and that may help others to do the same. Thanks Sherry, for your great question.

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