A slap in the face and the green-eyed monster
Many years ago, I remember walking home following a lesson. A guy started following me mumbling a stream of incoherent compliments and politically incorrect nonsense. “You are beautiful, is your dad a cake maker?” and “can I buy you a coffee? What is your number?” I ignored him and kept walking until he fell behind, and I stopped hearing his voice.
Suddenly, I felt someone pulling my hair. I turned around and came face to face with an enraged woman who proceeded to slap me with all her might. “You are a filthy homewrecker”, she screamed. “Stay away from my husband, you whore” she spat through gritted teeth. In shock by the unprovoked attack, it took me a few seconds to realised that the creep following me a few minutes ago was her husband. Before I had a chance to regain the power of speech, she turned on her heel and stomped away.
Was she secretly following her husband without him noticing? Why did she slap me instead of him? Was it not obvious to her that I was an innocent bystander and had not provoked her husband in any way? Did she think that we had a secret affair part of which involved him following me around and muttering obscenities? And above all, was he such an incredible “catch” to justify such extreme measures from his wife?
I did not get any answers to my questions, but I never forgot the encounter. It demonstrated clearly how jealousy can bring someone to the edge of insanity and beyond. Had she always been unbalanced, or did he make her that way with his behaviour?
Raise your hand if you had a close encounter with the green-eyed monster. Did you ever stalked your partner’s ex on Facebook or questioned him relentlessly about their long-ago relationship? Do you feel bad when he strikes up conversations with any member of the opposite sex and do you secretly think that he fancies all his female co-workers? Do you try to restrict his freedom because you don’t trust him?
I am here to tell you that whether your jealousy has grounds or not, there is really only one good way to approach it. You can safely assume that none of your actions will make a difference to his fidelity. If he wants to cheat, he will find a way, in fact, he may be more inclined to do so if you try to restrict his movements. If he never intended to cheat and he is perfectly innocent, he will resent you for not trusting him and will quickly grow tired of your possessive nature.
Jealousy comes from insecurity, meaning that at some level you think that he is too good for you and will cheat/leave you as soon as he meets someone better. Perhaps, realising that you cannot influence this will help your moderate your behaviour.
More importantly though you should examine the source of your insecurity. Is he out to make you feel jealous and bad about yourself, or is it self-inflicted? If the problem is with him, you need to discuss it in a calm manner using specific examples of his behaviour and how it makes you feel. If the problem lies with you, must acknowledge it and deal with it before it scuppers your relationship and you end up following him around and spying on him while slapping imaginary rivals.