11

A little background: My girlfriend is a very jealous woman. She has had bad experiences with past relationships, and firmly believes that I am also unfaithful to her even though she has no proof. She is very jealous of any relationship I have with other women, which is pretty limited to my co-workers and family.

A few days ago, an ex-girlfriend reached out to me. I ignored the phone call and texts. But the ex-girlfriend said in her voice mail to me that she is "tired of playing phone tag". I am not sure why she said this, because I have not had contact with her since we broke up six months ago. I let my girlfriend listen (at the same time as me) to the message and she fixated on this "phone tag" bit of what she said. She now thinks that I have had ongoing communication with my ex-girlfriend and won't come off that.

I am very transparent with my girlfriend and I let her view anything on my phone any time she asks. I have nothing to hide. But she can't seem to get past this. What can I do on my end to help alleviate her concerns?

  • 15
    Dear closers, normally I would offer advice to the OP on how to reword his question to fit this community, But honestly I feel you've closed this unjustly. OP has asked "what can I do to accomplish -x- with my girlfriend?" It seems like a straight forward interpersonal issue to me. Perhaps one or more those who voted to close could offer advice on how to improve the question? – Dan Anderson Mar 15 '18 at 15:57
  • I think this is duplicate of interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/10176/… and very close to interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/11076/… – Suma Mar 15 '18 at 18:11
  • Possible duplicate of How to deal with a jealous girlfriend? – sphennings Mar 15 '18 at 19:56
  • 3
    Eh, actually I'd debate it. The histories of both of these girlfriends are different. interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/10176/… speaks of a girl who has no dating history, she's just naturally acting jealous, while this question is about talking to a girl who has had bad experiences and is likely reacting because of that history. Because of this, I feel there's a good chance you'd want to approach these girls differently. – Jess K. Mar 15 '18 at 21:21
25

Honestly there is not much you can do. You see, her jealousy isn't caused by you or your actions. It's caused by her beliefs and insecurities, some of which may be subconscious. These are related to her personality and/or past experiences.

Basically she is choosing to behave in a jealous manner towards you. She may not be able to control her feelings, (I believe you can learn to do so to some extent but it takes a long time and a lot of practice.) But she does choose her behavior.

So :

What can I do on my end to help alleviate her concerns?

1) Be honest. Every little lie will be a confirmation in her unconscious mind that you can and will lie to her. So don't do it ever.

2) Be transparent. Let her read your texts, and have access to your email/Facebook accounts. Call her ahead of time your going to be late, etc. . . transparency usually builds trust between people. I'm not saying that you have a moral duty to let her read every email in your inbox. That's just an example of being transparent.

3) Stay calm, don't get mad at her when she is behaving jealously. You may be getting mad (even if it's justified) but it will probably be seen by her as you being defensive and having something to hide.

Personal advice.

So the thing is it already appears from your question that you are being reasonably transparent, and that you are honest with her. In which case it is unlikely that anything you do will ever assuage her jealously. If she is jealous of you when there is nothing to be jealous of (even in appearance only) then there is nothing you can do to fix that.

You can ask her to change her jealous behavior. Please don't ask her to stop feeling jealous. It's next to useless for most people and will usually just make them mad. But if she is behaving in a way that may harm your relationship, which unwarranted jealously definitely does, you have every right to ask her to change her behavior.

Don't make it an accusation, tell her why the behavior hurts you, keep it simple and specific, and express your love for her when you make your request. For example you might say:

Sweetheart, I love you and when you do -x- it makes me feel untrusted and hurts our relationship. Can you please work on not doing -x-

Be prepared for her to respond with both tears and then anger. After she has expressed both tears and anger then she might be willing to work on her behavior. Though honestly I suspect she has some very deep seated issues relating to her past that she needs to resolve. She should probably see a counselor to help her deal with her issues.

If she doesn't respond after you've made your request say 3 or 4 times. . . well you may need to sit down and consider if you will be able to put up with her jealous behavior.

6

You cannot reason someone out of a conclusion they did not reason themselves into.

She ... firmly believes that I am also unfaithful to her

You cannot remain in a relationship with someone who thinks you are a liar and a cheat. Tell her this, straightforwardly, in which case she either 1) recognizes that you have called her bluff on her manufactured drama, and drops the argument 2) decides she can not be in a relationship with a guy who refuses to flawlessly exclude every non-family woman from his life or 3) decides to stop letting your casual and totally innocent contact with women bother her, getting counselling if need be to make this resolution stick.

If she takes option 2, I suspect you will realize in a few months how nice it is not to be stifled by an partner who thinks you are a cheating pig.

  • Option 4) She just continues to accuse him... – user8838 Mar 16 '18 at 4:49
  • 6
    If he breaks up, it doesn't matter what she thinks. – swbarnes2 Mar 16 '18 at 16:17
3

I had one relationship that was very similar to what you are explaining and as a disclaimer I want to say that I was not able to save it and the jealous behavior was a big part of why it failed.

I learned that big part of what was happening in my case was not so much about things I did or didn't do but were largely based on insecurities and bad past experience on her side. It might be something else in your case so the first thing that I would suggest is to have a sit down with your SO and get to the bottom of this.

The key thing is about reassuring her and not accusing her that she feels the way she feels, but trying to understand why she has those feelings and trying to address the source rather than the result. You are already being open beyond what is generally expected so the reason must be somewhere else.

As an afterthought the biggest lesson I learned from my failed relationship was that you need more than just being in love with somebody to be happy with them and if you can't be happy with each other it doesn't really matter if you love them or not. Make of it what you will.

2

End things with her.

No matter how transparent you are with her, how much access she has to your phone and other means of communication, if she believes you to be unfaithful, it will eat away at her and she will always be thinking of how you could have done something.

Generally speaking it seems like a fairly unhealthy relationship and besides what happened in her past it is clear that she does not trust you, there is no coming back from that.

One other answer suggested and ultimatum, the phrased it differently but that's what it was and it is most certainly also not a healthy solution.

Another answer suggested giving up all hand and going as far as to get phone records, this again is not an ideal solution, because it will never end. Once you prove to her what you say is true, she will pick something else, and you will be forever proving to her that you are legitimate. Again unhealthy.

Also as another point to the "proof" idea, an irrational person (Inferred, but an acute description I think) when presented with evidence that invalidates their point of view is unlikely to respond favorably. Even a rational person is unlikely to respond well to that.

Regardless of which way you look at the problem and your possible solutions, there is no winning outcome and your best course of action is to end things before the relationship start negatively impacting your life and or you get any closer (feelings wise) to her.

0

While others say you can not do anything, I think you actually can.

I assume the phone tag bit made it sound like you are calling and texting each other, but 'missing' each others calls and such. While your GF probably will not believe you when you say that she can go through your phone for evidence, as you could delete it on your device, there is another solution.

Your telecom provider has detailed records of who called you and who you called. Where I live, they keep this information for at least a year per customer, but often longer. They use this for various things. (They are forced by law to keep this information, but they can also use it if a customer says they did not call line x, so they can proof that they did.)

You can just go to a brick and mortar store of your provider and ask them to bring up the call details for the last few weeks or if you have the specifics, ask for that too.

Nobody can falsify these details aside of high level admins within the telecom company, who would not do this as the punishment would be pretty severe.

Personal and opionated advice:

Your girlfriend has suffered injustice in the past. And you should keep that in mind when she acts like this. However, she can not hold this over you and your relationship. Over time this will sour and kill the relationship. Even if you actually cheated in the past, it would not be okay to hold this over your head. Either you go ahead, and let this be, or you split. You can not go on and keep this over another person's head.

I suggest you have a long talk about this with her. Talk about that you realise how hard it is for her, and how she feels but also talk about how it makes you feel. That all your efforts are in vain and she still distrusts you. If you can not talk it out on your own, go seek help. There are professional people that help couples with issues exactly like this.

Whatever you do, don't leave it like this though. It will kill your relationship on the long term.

0

This is a game you cannot win. Relationships differ from flings by having each other's back. That doesn't work without trust. Trust has to be both extended and earned. If you are being microcontrolled, it isn't there. It's like being a mail man where your superior keeps accompanying every tour of yours to make sure that actually deliver all the letters, sometimes openly, sometimes covertly.

That would not be a useful employment since it does not actually save labor. If she cannot be brought to trust you, whether through any fault of yours or hers, you don't have a relationship.

Trusting you may be a larger leap for her than for others so you should be supportive of her. Part of that may be not unnecessarily exposing her to stuff that worries her while at the same time not going to any length to hide stuff from her. That's a thin line. It also means answering questions without getting defensive, at the same time discouraging fishing expeditions getting nowhere.

It's about setting "soft" boundaries: telling her when you think it isn't being helpful to go somewhere, yet doing so when she insists. Until either of you gets tired of it.

If it is draining your enthusiasm for her, you need to convey that cost without taking away her choice of paying it.

Jealousy can destroy a relationship. Don't let her pay a higher toll for it than it actually takes, but don't hide the toll it does take from her. That's your best bet at making stuff work. Whether it's enough, only time will tell.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.