The Green-Eyed Monster
July 26, 2011 3:38 PM Subscribe
How do I deal with sexual jealousy that stems from a history of lousy experiences (possibly with therapy)?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm 24 and in my first mutually serious long-term relationship. I have issues with jealousy that I'm doing my best to work on privately. My last boyfriend cheated on me with (and eventually broke up with me for) his ex-girlfriend while we were temporarily long-distance. My father also has always had a wandering eye, and I grew up seeing how my mother was hurt by it but never said anything (although I'm fairly certain he has never actually been unfaithful). I know this personal history contributes to my feelings, but the objective knowledge is not enough.
It upsets me beyond the bounds of common sense that my boyfriend is attracted to other women, especially if we're together and he sneaks a peek. I know it's not right to feel that way, so I try to ignore it or do the standard self-pep talk or remember my unique qualities, but nothing works. It's not that I think he'll actually act on his attractions. I'm also not afraid of being left alone or the relationship ending, because I know from experience that I can definitely survive the end of a relationship. I have very high self-esteem in all other areas of my life, and a positive body image, but when it comes to romantic relationships I constantly feel inferior to other women just because no matter how great I am, I can't possibly satisfy the need for variety all by myself. I irrationally fear that my boyfriend will be unsatisfied and resentful despite his excellent track record of successful monogamy.
That last worry is probably because my boyfriend has a history of staying in truly bad and abusive relationships he didn't want to be in until the other person broke up with him. I worry that he's going to reach a point where he really does want to be with someone else, but won't tell me and will just be secretly frustrated, wasting both of our valuable time.
I would love to work this all out with a professional therapist, because other than this issue I'm very happy with the relationship. I'm a graduate student with barely enough of an income to get by, and our university only offers group counseling (which I would not be comfortable with, and which is not led by licensed psychologists/psychiatrists). Are there any options for someone like me that won't put me out on the street? Thank you in advance for any advice.
Throwaway email: firstname.lastname@example.org