Dear Barb—The Green Eyed Monster

Dear Barb:

I know guys don’t usually read advice columns, but I do occasionally read yours. I would like your opinion on a situation I’m in right now. My girlfriend and I have been dating for one year and we have a lot of fun together when we are alone. As soon as we get together with other friends though, she becomes jealous and possessive. She accuses me of checking out the other girls and paying more attention to them than to her. For the first few months of our relationship she wasn’t like that, but now it’s constant. At first, I was flattered and thought she really cared for me. But now it has become ridiculous. Even when we are walking through the mall together, she accuses me of looking at other women. It’s very frustrating because I am in love with her.  It’s almost easier not to associate with anyone, but I don’t want to lose all my friends. A couple of my buddies told me I am better off without her and that there must be something wrong with her. What do you think, why would someone be so jealous? I could understand if I gave her reason to be jealous, but I don’t. I’m totally committed to her. Thanks for your help, Scott.

Hey Scott:

I little bit of jealousy in a relationship is normal and healthy, but this seems to be overboard and destructive.  You were clear in saying that you were not providing a reason for your girlfriend to feel this way, so obviously it is an irrational reaction. Jealousy is a response to a person’s own insecurity not necessarily the conduct of the other party.  First let’s look at the reasons for jealousy. Jealousy erupts from a fear of loss and insecurity. Your girlfriend may have had some losses in her childhood that became aroused when she entered into a relationship with you. Most likely she fears losing you, but what she’s doing may end up accomplishing exactly what she doesn’t want. Also if a person’s needs aren’t being met in a relationship, they may feel threatened and insecure.  There are things you can do to help to reduce your girlfriend’s feelings of jealousy.  It is important to make her feel appreciated, loved and important to you, which will help her to feel more secure within the relationship.  Another thing you can do, is tell her how her jealousy makes you feel. Perhaps she doesn’t realize how you feel.  Once you have done everything you can to reassure her, it’s up to her to make changes within herself. If she is not able to do this, she may have to seek counseling, as this will only continue with her next relationship. You seem like a very caring boyfriend, best of luck in the future.

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