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i am having jealousy problems
June 12, 2011 11:59 AM   Subscribe

am i being a crazy shrew? am i asking for too much? what is reasonable because i just don't know anymore.

i had an on again off again rocky relationship with someone who had declared himself a commitment phobe. we broke it off, i wanted a relationship, he did not, i decided to move on.

i went away for a time as did he. when i came back he declared that he was in love with me, was ready for commitment and was, as he puts it, "in it to win it". in telling me all this, he neglected to mention that he had fooled around with one of our co-workers after explicitly promising me that he would not become involved with anyone else in the office. we work in a very small office, i sit feet away from this co-worker and was regularly jealous of their flirtatious relationship. he claims it wasn't flirtatious just that she liked him, made herself available and he didn't discourage that. suffice it to say a week after we broke up, he made out with her after a work party, called me the next morning and told me he wasn't going to pursue anyone at work and then while i was away made out with her again. i had been pretty clear before i left that i was hoping to put away the baggage and suffering of the few months of our breakup and that we could be friends.

making out with someone seems generally pretty forgivable. the messiness of having to see this person every day has been hard but manageable. this all happened months ago.

since that time he has been available, loving, kind and generally a very sweet man. i can't seem to get over the past. he has a number of girls he regularly texts with etc. most of whom he had some kind of romantic relationship with. a few of whom he hooked up with while we were broken up. again, i know, that's totally fair, we were broken up but i still feel suspicious if these were long term relationships or meaningful friendships sure, but why text with someone you just occasionally hookup with? even if it isn't sexy texting.

i feel like a crazy jealous shrew. i don't trust him. i really want to but i don't and i can't tell if this is just paranoia, me being controlling or good instincts. over the last week i started three jealousy based fights with him. one over looking at a girl in the street (it's ridiculous, i know), one over talking to the girlfriend of a coworker he just met at a party (again, i am being an ass), taking her card and hugging her goodnight and one over the past co-worker who he had made out with (why can't i get over this already).

he is now fed up with me. he says i have a huge problem with jealousy, that he isn't doing anything wrong and that i have to get over this. i agree i have to get over this but i have no idea how. i feel broken and shitty and like i am sabotaging something which is just becoming good.
please help me hive mind. i just feel like a freaking ruiner.
posted by memi to Human Relations (49 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
i don't trust him.
I don't think you have a "huge problem with jealousy" as your boyfriend puts it. I think your behavior stems from that fact that you simply don't trust him. No one here can say that he is worthy of your trust...you are going to have to decide that. And it sounds like you already have...in the negative.
posted by murrey at 12:08 PM on June 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think his making out with someone and lying about it was kind of shitty. However, I also think that--recently-ended relationship or not--you have no right to make demands about who is allowed to be with who unless you are actually dating them at the time.

over the last week i started three jealousy based fights with him. one over looking at a girl in the street (it's ridiculous, i know), one over talking to the girlfriend of a coworker he just met at a party (again, i am being an ass), taking her card and hugging her goodnight and one over the past co-worker who he had made out with (why can't i get over this already).

I don't like the gendered language ("shrew"), but this is crappy, controlling behavior. You need to either decide to trust him--really trust him--or cut him loose. Anything in between is just a recipe for drama and grief.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:16 PM on June 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


He gets his confidence by inflaming women's insecurities. You don't trust him because he violated your trust! Run fast, run far, and do it eating bananas so that you can toss the peels behind you in case he chases you.
posted by pazazygeek at 12:18 PM on June 12, 2011 [44 favorites]


i didn't ask him not to make out with anyone. this was a promise offered by him completely unsolicited by me.
posted by memi at 12:18 PM on June 12, 2011


he's not in it to win it.
posted by elle.jeezy at 12:18 PM on June 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


You two have been on and off for about a year, yes? Might be time to just throw in the towel. Sounds like the two of you have been unhappy for quite some time. I'm sure working together in a small office makes all drama seem extra crazy, too. Maybe it's time to find some new interests and get out to meet some new people? I bet you'll feel better once you break free of all this mess.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:19 PM on June 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good relationships don't involve questions like this. Good ones make you happy.
posted by TheRedArmy at 12:21 PM on June 12, 2011 [22 favorites]


i didn't ask him not to make out with anyone. this was a promise offered by him completely unsolicited by me.

Fine, but even you say that making out is forgivable. So forgive. Or not, and move on.

we were broken up but i still feel suspicious if these were long term relationships or meaningful friendships sure, but why text with someone you just occasionally hookup with? even if it isn't sexy texting.

Because they're friends. You admit in your post that you've had melt-downs over behavior that could only be seen as platonic--"one over talking to the girlfriend of a coworker he just met at a party." Knowing that you're being an ass doesn't really help. You're in control of your behavior, and you really need to decide whether to trust him (and therefore stay with him) or not (and end it). No in between.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:21 PM on June 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


It sounds like your gut is rebelling against your head, and that you should consider listening your gut on this one. You don't trust him and he hasn't put much effort into earning your trust. He's investing in backup plans in case the two of you don't work out. That's not wrong if both of you are cool with it, but it sounds like you aren't. It's not wrong for you to feel uncomfortable, either. You'll have to judge whether he is doing this from habit (but intends to give your relationship his all) or whether he is less committed than you wish for this relationship.
posted by SakuraK at 12:24 PM on June 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


When you wanted a relationship, he did not.

When you were no longer available (a challenge for him), he pursued you.

He has inappropriate boundries with you and your coworkers.

You don't trust him. You feel jealous.

I don't understand your question- he sounds like a loser. Why are you even giving him any of your attention?

Just be aware that when you don't pay attention to him, he will try even harder- for a little while. He gets off on the rush of conquering.
posted by Monday at 12:25 PM on June 12, 2011 [33 favorites]


It sounds like your instincts are right. He sounds like an insensitive dickhead. Run far away, there are better guys out there.
posted by Sal and Richard at 12:27 PM on June 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Um, this doesn't sound like jealousy. This sounds like sense. I think you should listen more to your instincts, and less to him. Who, exactly, is telling you that his behavior is reasonable? And why are you believing it? And who benefits the most if you adjust to all this and stop acting 'jealous'? (hint: it's not you)

OK, let's say he's right and that you ARE jealous. Why is that so? Because he has, in essence, lied to you in the past and cheated on you (in spirit at the very least). Jealousy is, in and of itself, not a bad thing. It's how we react to it that counts. Listen to why you're jealous, and then ask why you're trying to talk yourself out of mistrusting someone whose track record does not make him... trustworthy.

Maybe I'm naive, but I just don't believe good relationships should be this much work, esp. at the beginning. You don't trust him. He wants you to accept behavior you find unacceptable. End of story, move on. You need to find someone whose basic relationship expectations are more similar to your own.
posted by hms71 at 12:32 PM on June 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


i feel like a crazy jealous shrew. i don't trust him.

He sounds gross. I'm sorry. You're not having jealousy problems, you're having a windfall of common sense.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:34 PM on June 12, 2011 [12 favorites]


i-am-having-jealousy-problems

Not so sure that you are. Seems more like assclown problems.

Good time to walk, and work on self-esteem and boundaries.
posted by vers at 12:34 PM on June 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


You don't trust him and you're allowing -- let me rephrase that, actually -- it's being allowed to snowball. It's not like you're the only one in the relationship. And this is probably fixable, assuming he does in fact mean well.

But you both need to sit down and have a conversation about this, the sort of conversation you're determined not to let turn into a fight no matter how tempting it becomes. So here's a crib sheet on that.

Your dude really really loves female attention - this is not necessarily a bad thing - and he needs to get a handle on that, he needs to rein it in and let it just be attention. So he's a huge flirt. Okay. He needs to establish inner boundaries on that and become someone who believes it when he says that it's only ever flirting, that he's a one-woman man, et cetera. He doesn't need to stop talking to women, he just needs to lay out exactly how it functions in his head. It's a horse, and he needs to be the one riding it, instead of letting it lead him places. You follow?

For your part, you need to work on figuring out whether or not you believe he's capable of achieving that, and if you do then you need to figure out where this insecurity is coming from. If you're constantly second-guessing him every time he talks to a woman, even if you were perfectly justified in doing so, then your relationship is going to implode and the chances are good it will do so very nastily. I don't think this is hopeless at all but the two of you need to start communicating honestly and on equal terms, and assuming good faith on the part of the other, always always always, if this is going to have a chance.

And while you're learning to deal with it, you wouldn't be out of line in asking (incredibly diplomatically and with no confrontation) if he might consider maybe being just slightly more circumspect about some of the more egregious things he knows will set you off, even though he's not doing anything wrong, even though it's on you. Just for a little while. Just as a show of faith. Whether he's willing to alter his behavior even slightly at times like those, or if he just decides to be all FUCK YOU YOU'RE NOT MY BOSS, is going to be a good indicator of where his head's at here, and whether you should bother trying to save this.

A lot of the comments here are pretty disparaging of the guy, and to be honest I can't really disagree with any of them. There's every chance he just happens to be a disrespectful asshole. But maybe he wants to grow, and maybe he's still feeling that out. And if that's the case then the above ideas may help in that. And if it isn't, I suspect you'll find out pretty quickly.

Here is some more advice free of charge (and worth the price, I assure you!). It is only tangentially related to this, but it is related, and down the road it may serve you well, and maybe anyone who hasn't heard it before and reads this.

It is this: If someone tells you they're not going to hook up with another specific person, never believe them, ever. Not to say that they're lying, mind you, because they may well absolutely mean it when they tell you. But it's been my experience that about nineteen times out of twenty, when someone assures you they won't hook up (in any way) with another specific person, it's only a matter of time. I have no explanation for why this is. I truly don't assume malice on the part of the people who do it. But I offer it in the hopes that it may do your blood pressure some favors, down the line.

Anyway, good luck. I hope it works out for the best for you both.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:36 PM on June 12, 2011 [16 favorites]


You are going out of your way to make yourself the bad guy in this situation. I agree with Monday here. There's nothing but grief here for you, (possibly) him, and the rest of your office.
posted by Caravantea at 12:37 PM on June 12, 2011


happily, he has left the office as my prerequisite for starting a relationship
posted by memi at 12:40 PM on June 12, 2011


You don't trust him. Trust your gut. DTMFA.

When you were together before, he told you he was anti-commitment and did not want a relationship, even though you did want a relationship. After you ended things, he told you he would not fool around with other co-workers and then did just that. Then, when he no longer had you, suddenly he wanted a relationship with you and no longer had commitment issues. Now he's trying to convince you that you're being a crazy bitch and that you need to just trust him and do what he says.

See the pattern? He constantly disregards your feelings and seems to get off on controlling you. He's a jerk.

Even if he's not a jerk, somehow, fact is that you don't trust him. In that event, you should still do yourselves both a favor and move on. You can find someone you do trust, and he can find someone who gives him whatever the fuck it is that he wants.
posted by J. Wilson at 12:41 PM on June 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


This sounds not like one person is wrong, and the other is right, but more like two people don't really want the same thing out of a relationship. He might want you, but it may be more of a dating challenge to him. Quit while you're ahead, and be the bigger person.
posted by kellyblah at 12:46 PM on June 12, 2011


End it. He volunteered the fact that he wasn't going to kanoodle with anyone in your office nd then proceeded to do just that. That's his lying not your jealousy.
posted by dgeiser13 at 12:53 PM on June 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


am i being a crazy shrew?

You are both behaving immaturely. According to you, he promised not to hook up with anyone else in your office. Then he turns around and does what he says he wouldn't do. That's kinda shitty, but to his credit, he confused to it the next day, even though you'll were broken up. Then he did it again. He's being flaky and self centered, a common occurrence in your questions about this relationship.

On the other hand, you are being pretty unreasonable:
but i still feel suspicious if these were long term relationships or meaningful friendships sure, but why text with someone you just occasionally hookup with?
That's pretty controlling and unhealthy behavior. It ain't sexy at all.

Based on the drama in your last question about this relationship, ya'll still aren't understanding each other and making much of an effort to do. These problems can be overcome, but both you want it do on your terms and don't get the other is different.

Focus on that, those differences in how you view relationships, if you can and see how it goes. Good luck, hope everything works out.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:56 PM on June 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wait, wait, wait. He left the office when you demanded he do so. He met all your requirements to be in a committed relationship with you, and yet you are still jealous of the woman in the office and even women you know he is just friends with, like the girlfriend of his coworker?

You say he made out with this office woman while you were broken up, and then he called you, said he wasn't going to pursue anyone in the office, but later made out with her again while you were still broken up, and all this happened months ago.

First, I am not sure that making out with this girl a second time meant he even lied to you-- we don't know who the pursuer was, or if the makeout was anything serious at all, or if he meant what he said sincerely but then you two didn't get back together and he changed his mind. And he's clearly been honest with you about what happened since you know all about it (unless someone else told you, and then you have reason to doubt him). And secondly, nothing you've written indicates he has betrayed your trust since you've gotten back together.

From what you've said here, though, I think you sound really insecure, starting fights over these trivial issues, and, yes, controlling.

You need to either put what happened when you broke up completely behind you, or end the relationship if you just are not going to be able to let this go.
posted by misha at 12:57 PM on June 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


hi misha- i didn't demand that he do anything. i said that if we were going to be back together i needed it to be a short-term goal that one of us leaves the office. i, was in fact, actively looking and expected that person to be me. a great opportunity fell into his lap and he took it. villifying either one of us is really not helpful.
posted by memi at 1:00 PM on June 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


It sounds like he needs a lot of attention from a lot of different women to feel good about himself. He keeps them all strung along, doling out a text here, a makeout there, an apology here, a promise there. It's exciting and intoxicating for him to have such a large pool of women to draw from.

By calling you jealous, he's basically pitting you against them, instead of him. Keep the focus on him, and what he doesn't do for you. And please, by all means, get away as fast as you can.
posted by hermitosis at 1:04 PM on June 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


It doesn't matter if it was technically legitimate for him to make out with someone else, or not. What matters is the overall pattern of him giving you good reasons to be insecure by making you compete for his attention. Don't play his game.

His leaving the office as a prereq for a relationship with you could be taken as a sign of good faith, and perhaps it would be arguably unfair of you to dump him, but sunk costs are a trap and anyway I would bet money he had a self-serving reason for leaving that you don't know about.

But if I'm being overly cynical and he does want a relationship with you and is trying to turn over a new leaf - the damage is done. You don't trust him, you don't like who you are when you're with him, and he is actively encouraging you to hate yourself by calling you a "jealous shrew". Maybe you are being a "jealous shrew", but it's as if he'd asked you to bake him a birthday cake, and you baked him one, and he then called you a "birthday-cake baker", you know? This is not exactly a good start.

He's making you feel bad. Cut your losses, and slam the door on the next guy who is dumb enough to try anything like this, and I think you'll find that you are, miraculously, no longer a "jealous shrew" nor a "freaking ruiner".
posted by tel3path at 1:32 PM on June 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oops, there you go. He left the office for a better opportunity, not for you. It's best he stays gone, in my opinion.
posted by tel3path at 1:36 PM on June 12, 2011


argh. i never asked him not to make out with anyone. i was pretty clear with him that what he did was none of my business. he made it my business by a) carrying on with this woman in front of my face at a mandatory party b) calling me and telling me that nothing was going on (after something had gone on) and c) then carrying on some more (by his admission at his behest) then not disclosing any of this in his i'm coming clean i really love you speech until d) i saw the girl making dramatic gestures towards him at work, put two and two together and asked what happened. which is when, to his credit, he came clean.
posted by memi at 1:39 PM on June 12, 2011


Like I said, it doesn't matter about the details of what is or is not technically legitimate about each incident. He has a track record of poor boundaries and provocative behaviour. If you don't like being provoked like this, and don't want it to continue, you're best off having nothing to do with him, and not engaging with whatever accusations he levels at you.
posted by tel3path at 1:44 PM on June 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


i feel like a crazy jealous shrew. i don't trust him.

You have every reason to distrust him, and he's not doing anything to mitigate your anxieties. In my experience, this doesn't get any better and doesn't end up anywhere good. Leave sooner rather than later and with your dignity intact.
posted by jokeefe at 1:45 PM on June 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


he says i have a huge problem with jealousy

This is what narcissistic assholes say to deflect criticism and retain their narcissistic sense of assholish entitlement.

You're better than this. And you know it. You just need to give yourself permission to feel it.

Put everything that reminds him of you into a giant pile. Invite friends. Burn it all.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:49 PM on June 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


I mean, "reminds you of him." Just like me to screw that up.

Seriously, though. Burn it all, turn your back on it and let its flames light your way.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:50 PM on June 12, 2011


When I initially read this question, I assumed -- and I sincerely don't mean this to be insulting, so I apologize if it comes across that way -- that you were both in your early 20s, so I chalked up most of this to an age/maturity issue. Then I saw from your previous question that you are both in your mid-to-late 30s, which gave me pause.

A guy who behaves this way at this age has some genuinely deep-set, toxic issues, as others have outlined above. This doesn't mean that he can't potentially get over them, but -- and forgive me for being so blunt -- it does mean that he's not going to get over them simply by virtue of being with you, no matter how attractive or understanding or interesting or cool you may be now or any time in the future. This is not a reflection on you; what he needs is genuine self-awareness to understand what these issues really are, and a deep determination to work through them in a committed, long-term way (ideally with a therapist) with the goal of having a more adult approach to relationships. In the absence of both factors, he's not going to change significantly, no matter how much he says he loves you, or how much fun you guys have together, etc.

So your next steps, in my opinion, should not be to continue to try fix this relationship -- because personally, I think it's unfixable -- but rather to start thinking about what a healthy relationship actually looks like in terms of dynamics and behavior (both a partner's behavior and your own). I recommend this book all the time, because it totally altered my expectations in my 30s of what a genuinely good relationship (and good partner) is, while also helping me to finally become capable of being a genuinely good partner to someone else, which allowed me for the first time to step out of the unhealthy relationship patterns I'd been repeating since I was literally about 17.

It also contains this insight, which I believe may be especially relevant in your case: "once we love ourselves, people no longer look good to us unless they are good for us." Respecting and loving yourself means you really only want to be with people (both in terms of romance and friendship) who similarly respect and love you. This guy has shown he doesn't really respect or love you. Proceed accordingly.
posted by scody at 1:52 PM on June 12, 2011 [17 favorites]


I think you would benefit from getting this book and reading up on the category "The Player".

You're agitated because you've undergone considerable emotional abuse, made worse by its intrusion into your workplace. The whole point of this is to get you agitated so he can calmly publicize that you are in the wrong and that yet another woman has gone axe crazy about him for no reason at all and why oh why does this keep happening.

He is driving you crazy. Actually driving you crazy. Violating your mind just to feed his ego. You need to cut off contact with him because he is some bad juju for you.

The good news is, once you are away from him, no-one else will be able to mess with you like this again.
posted by tel3path at 1:56 PM on June 12, 2011


Whether your jealousy is justified or not, you only really have two viable choices here.

1) You can choose to trust him, which means you promise yourself that you WILL NOT start fights about his behaviour unless he crosses your mutually agreed boundaries. And then you stick to it. Jealously isn't inherently a problem as long as you can control your behaviour and not jump on him as soon as he interacts with the opposite sex. Control it until you start to genuinely trust him again/ he screws up and you know you were right and leave him.

2) You realise you simply cannot trust him and aren't likely to in the future, and you have to break up. Because a relationship without trust is not a happy one, nor one that is going to last.
posted by stillnocturnal at 2:06 PM on June 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


You want to know how to get over your jealousy? Find a better boyfriend.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 2:18 PM on June 12, 2011


My opinion is that you should move on. I don't think you will fully get over the past and it will continue to impact your relationship with him.

He shouldn't be "carrying on" with ladies he had a relationship with while you are dating. He should end those relationships, or make them purely professional...unless, of course, the females are longtime friends of his..but then he shouldn't have had a physical relationship with them in the first place. Regardless, if he fooled around with a female while you two were split, and now you are together, it is unacceptable that he texts and 'carries on" with them.
Drop him and move on.
posted by Yunani at 2:19 PM on June 12, 2011


You sound miserable and angry. Don't suffer any more than you need to. Resolve this as quickly as you can. If breaking up isn't an option, get professional help fixing this. I don't see it quickly resolving otherwise.

If you won't break up, can you guys go to couples therapy? It sounds like you all's dialogue and/or approach lacks the compassion, mutual understanding, boundaries, and accountability that it will take to succeed. The way it is now sounds like, he violates your trust, you punish him with fights and anger, he punishes you (or you punish yourself) by calling yourself a jealous shrew, and some horrible dynamic equilibrium is maintained, while the "bad guy" label gets passed around like a hot potato or even a hand grenade. A counselor would defuse the grenade, create a space for you both to be understood, help you both hear how your actions impact the other person, and come to some agreements about what it would take for this to work and whether you're each willing to do that. If he's in it to win it, getting someone good to coach the team would be a great first step. What's more, even if you break up, counseling will facilitate a clean break and faster healing, and teach you both skills you can use in future relationships.
posted by salvia at 2:37 PM on June 12, 2011


Your man got around and you don't like it at all. If he's had sex with most of the people he interacts with, you're going to have to let go and accept his once slutty ways. This whole thing is new with declarations of love and you've yet to see where this is going. Maybe you are trying to sabotage this relationship now that he's says he's committed, or maybe you're having a reaction to his uncommitted lifestyle. Stop picking fights unless you want to drive him off. Do you want to drive him off? Do you feel sure about his fidelity to you at all? Part of you must feel he is really committed to bother with this relationship. If he has chosen you over all other girls, you should enjoy that and move on. If you seriously think he is fooling around on the side, forget about him.
posted by provoliminal at 4:00 PM on June 12, 2011


For what it's worth, this is what I see:

he had fooled around with one of our co-workers after explicitly promising me that he would not become involved with anyone else in the office.

1. He lies.

i sit feet away from this co-worker and was regularly jealous of their flirtatious relationship. he claims it wasn't flirtatious --

2. He denies obvious reality. He tries to make you doubt your accurate observations.

just that she liked him, made herself available and he didn't discourage that.

3. He avoids responsibility for his actions.

Lying, denying/trying to make you doubt reality, and avoiding responsibility for one's actions are highly untrustworthy behaviors. Distrusting someone who behaves in an untrustworthy way, does not make you pathological, does not mean you're a jealous person with issues, does not make you a shrew. It means you have good common sense.

If you think it's forgivable for him to make out with your co-worker, that's your choice and it's fine. But then the making out isn't the problem -- the *lying* is the problem.

In my personal experience, grown adults who frequently lie and behave in other untrustworthy ways don't improve, no matter how much they say they will. I, personally, would never trust anyone who displayed these behaviors, so I don't at all blame you for not doing so.

he has a number of girls he regularly texts with etc. most of whom he had some kind of romantic relationship with. a few of whom he hooked up with while we were broken up.

4. He enjoys attention from many women. This is also something that I think will never go away. Is that a trait you want in your boyfriend? I'm not saying, "is this a trait you can try to be okay with." I'm saying, is this a trait you *want*?

over the last week i started three jealousy based fights with him. one over looking at a girl in the street (it's ridiculous, i know)

Everyone is entitled to want the kind of relationship that they want. If you want to be with a guy who doesn't gawk at other women in the street, you're entitled to want that and you don't ahve to put yourself down as ridiculous.

That aside though -- maybe that one thing, looking at a girl in the street, normally wouldn't be a big deal to you. But with this guy, it's not just this one thing. It's hooking up with the co-workers, getting texts from all kinds of random ex-hookups -- and *then* looking at other women. It's the pattern, not the individual thing.

he is now fed up with me. he says i have a huge problem with jealousy, that he isn't doing anything wrong and that i have to get over this.

5. When something bothers you in the relationship, instead of hearing you, respecting you and trying to work it out in good faith, his reaction is to try to shame you and just get you to shut up, so he can keep doing what he wants. Another trait that doesn't bode well for a good relationship, where you're treated well.
posted by Ashley801 at 4:05 PM on June 12, 2011 [13 favorites]


I think the fact that his little black book is still active enough that he could find a half a dozen people to make out with during the short time you called it quits OUGHT to give you pause for thought. Not so much that he was on the make, right after the dump, but rather that he had enough live possibilities to get there that quickly. Maybe if they'd been random strangers i'd let it go as 'hitting everything that moved' and write it off as his personal coping strategy, but you seem to be indicating a buncjh of people he already knew. Do YOU know 5 people you're close enough to to throw a lip lock on successfully in the next week? To me, this is suspicious; it makes me very much suspect that this guy has been "keeping his options open." And your lizard brain isn't buying his professions of newfound commitment to you. Listen to your lizard brain. It may be WRONG, but listen to it and keep it in mind as you measure up this new man he professes to be.
posted by Ys at 5:45 PM on June 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Don't date this person any more, he is bad for you.
posted by citron at 5:53 PM on June 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


he tricked you - getting the other person to be "unreasonably" jealous is the oldest trick in the commitment-phobe's book. he gets to not be committed and to blame it on you. this guy's an ass, move on - and don't feel bad for a second -
posted by facetious at 5:53 PM on June 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, and one piece of wisdom I've learned the hard way: Nothing is worse for an anxious, paranoid, or insecure person than being with a person who is not completely honest. When the observable facts aren't adding up to what a person you trust is telling you, it is a fast ride to crazy-town. Because the person you trust is lying to you about your ability to interpret the evidence of your own senses.
posted by Ys at 6:06 PM on June 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ys and others have alluded to a phenomenon called gas lighting. I highly recommend The Gaslight Effect by Robin Stern: It's a real eye-opener. Be well.
posted by foxjacket at 6:19 PM on June 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


argh. i never asked him not to make out with anyone. i was pretty clear with him that what he did was none of my business. he made it my business by a) carrying on with this woman in front of my face at a mandatory party b) calling me and telling me that nothing was going on (after something had gone on) and c) then carrying on some more (by his admission at his behest) then not disclosing any of this in his i'm coming clean i really love you speech until d) i saw the girl making dramatic gestures towards him at work, put two and two together and asked what happened. which is when, to his credit, he came clean.

Ugh. Yeah, I can see now why you don't trust him! From your initial post I got the idea that you didn't trust him because he fooled around with office girl while you were broken up and just because you all still worked together you were insecure, so you were starting fights. i wasn't trying to vilify anyone, that was just my take (you did ask if you were being controlling).

But he's lied to you enough through this ( and he didn't really come clean; he got caught) that you just can't trust him and I can see why (especially since he only left for a better opportunity, as he might have hooked up with office girl again the next time you had a fight otherwise).

My answer still stands, though, because your two choices are the same: dump him or accept his word that he's not doing anything wrong. It seems like this has been a rocky relationship and more trouble than it's worth, so your gut may be right not to trust him, and I'm more inclined now to agree. Move on and find someone you can trust.
posted by misha at 7:10 PM on June 12, 2011


You know that charlie brown/lucy interaction with the football, where lucy swears that this time, she isn't going to move the ball and leave charlie flat on his ass, and then he believes her, and then she moves the ball like she did the last time, and then charlie is flat on his ass? That's you. Reasonably wondering if you are going to be landing flat on your ass in the neartime future.

The crazy thing about that interaction is that charlie believes her, though he has scant evidence that she has changed her behavior, except for her word. But he really wants to kick the ball, and apparently, he really wants to trust lucy. And so he suppresses any reasonable doubts, and runs towards the ball.

Real people aren't wired like that. Real people assess future behavior based on previous behavior, a nice biological defense mechanism to help you survive. Your man told you he wasn't going to pursue anyone at work, and then he pursued someone at work. Did he acknowledge that? Did he admit that he said X and did Y, and now you're looking at Y daily? Because if he didn't, then that wariness you're feeling isn't a bug, it's a feature. You aren't "broken and shitty and like i am sabotaging something which is just becoming good." You are someone who realizes there is a disconnect between what he said he'd do, and what he did, and you're now wondering if there are going to be any more disconnects between what he says and what he does. And that disconnect, that reasonable doubt, is oozing out as "jealousy", because you decided to suppress and ignore your own first wave of probably less dramatic defense mechanisms by repeatedly pointing out to yourself that he is a sweet man. Which he might be, but that's not the point.

I think it might help if you both have a conversation about what your expectations are when you are friends/colleagues/in the vicinity of people you each find attractive. I think you need to turn around and face this square on. It isn't enough for him to say "trust me" or for you to try to ignore the disconnect and say you trust him. That never works. Never. Facing it means you've got to think about and be clear about what you want him to do, and not do. (Whether he does it is another matter, but you've got to be clear about what your (reasonable and unreasonable) boundaries are, before you can 'trust' someone to do or not violate them.)

That's why just saying you trust somebody really isn't sufficient. Because "trust" is a stand in for a whole host of behaviors that need to be clearly articulated. He's not a mind reader.

So what is it you want to trust him to do/not do? Not kiss someone else? Not flirt? Tell you if he's attracted to someone else? How do you want him to behave if he is attracted to someone else? Do you want him to take a break from this person? Are you okay with him texting another woman that he was/is attracted to once a day? What about three times? And what does he expect from you? Is he okay with you going out for a drink with someone you find attractive, and want to be a friend? Hugging them? What exactly does this "commitment", In it to win it mean? In short, I think you all need to talk - not about the other women, but about your thoughts and expectations about the parameters of your relationship with each other. Once you have those on the table, you can hash out what is and isn't reasonable. That process and subsequent clarity is what either makes a relationship stronger or breaks it up because of incompatibility issues. But trying to bypass that process is just toxic for relationships and your own wellbeing, because the unresolvedness just manifests itself other ways, and next thing you know you're hyper jealous or starting an epic fight over something totally unrelated, like why didn't you turn off the light or why do you always use my cup but not wash it afterwards- how can you be so inconsiderate-type of shit.

In the absence of that additional data, you have no particular reason to trust him. Being a sweet man is nice, but beside the point. The question is whether or not you both have the capacity to sit down and tackle a problem together (Over lunch, perhaps?), rather than see each other, or yourselves, as the problem. You aren't broken. You're just fine. You just need more data, and one data point is whether or not your man is open to having this conversation with you. If he's not, go find a man who is. This is a must have conversation in almost every relationship at some point, and it's good to discuss is on the early side if you're coming together the way you two have, with your history, and attractive coworkers in the office and all. But the co-worker/other women is a shiny distraction, though it may feel like the point. The point is clarifying for yourself and then your partner, what your expectations are in the context of your relationship.

Good luck.
posted by anitanita at 8:29 PM on June 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


He lied to you. Twice. I wouldn't trust him either. And trust is probably the single most important thing in a relationship.

You deserve better.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:32 PM on June 12, 2011


I've never seen a relationship that starts out with misery, conflict and drama mature into something nurturing, mutually fulfilling and stable. I just don't think this one is ever going to get good. Maybe, if you both put a ton of work into it, it will get tolerable.
posted by milk white peacock at 10:47 PM on June 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


First- texting girls that he used to hump, and has very little of a real friendship with is unacceptable behavior. Other than pumping his ego and destroying yours, what's the goddamned point?

And absolutly bullshit does that make you controling. The general rule of "don't carry on with old Fbuddies" is not "controling." It's expecting respect. There is NO way there are multiple women who are continuing to text with him are all thinking of him as off limits. Why isn't he shutting them down out of respect for you? Would you think it was A-OK to text with an old F-buddy that was now married? What would you think of the woman he is married to? What the hell makes you think you have to accept him chatting up old hookups on a daily basis? Sure, he can talk to whomever he goshdarn wants, but you are holy crap not obligated to sit back and accept him chatting to the girl he only knows by her bra size- just so he can see if a real friendship can grow.

Adults set resonable boundries in regards to their sexual relationships, past and presant. Am I friends with past lovers? sure. Am I in daily contact with randoms I've hooked up with? HELL NO.

Anyway- this guy is no good for you. And he is making you crazy. If he wasn't clearly disregarding decent boundries around you, the crazypants you are wearing would not be coming out of the closet. Why do you want to be with someone who makes you less balanced?

so are you a little controling? uh only in the crazy way. which he is setting fire to by being a jackass. The relationship just came out of the ashes at his request. Why can't he say soemthing along the lines of "I realize this is hard for you. I know you need to feel like the most important woman in my life, so I will only be in daily contact with these close female friends, and I'll let my old hookups know that contacting me makes you uncomfortable and not to reach out to me any more." I bet he can't. because he is a jackass. DTMFA.
posted by Blisterlips at 5:54 AM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


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