How do I get over jealousy in a relationship?
June 11, 2012 2:49 PM   Subscribe

I can't trust my girlfriend. I haven't been able to trust past girlfriends. Help? (snowflake details ahead)

I have been dating my current girlfriend for 4 months, although we were very flirty for 5 months before that. She really likes me; she's told me that that there was always a "but" with other guys she's dated (as in "Well, I like him, BUT...". With me, there are no such caveats). However, I am very hesitant about my relationship with her. I really do like her: I enjoy spending time with her, we have similar senses of humour, have good talks and get along great, but I have become a distrustful as our relationship has gone on.

In the past few days, I have been getting more and more paranoid of her activities (only to find out in retrospect that I had nothing to worry about). However, tonight, I had a brief moment of panic as she sent me a text were she was lying about her whereabouts (turns out it was just a misunderstanding). So I made the very stupid mistake of checking her Facebook messages. A huge invasion of her privacy, and one that I won't try to justify with a reason. Anyway, I found a message from a couple months before we started dating (but a time when she was crushing on me) about how she had "picked up a random hot guy from the bar and had sex". This isn't something that is new to me (she has alluded that had a one-night stand after we knew each other, but before we started dating), but it still hit me like a ton of bricks. Now all these mixed feelings are surfacing, and I just need some outside perspective. Stewing in my own thoughts will do nothing but make it worse.
Another little details is I will also be moving out of the country in 2 weeks. We will be a 7 hour flight apart (across an ocean), but she will be moving to the same country in 2 months. However, we will still be 2-3 hours apart at that point. We haven't talked about what we are going to do, and we will wait until the last possible minute to do so, partly to enjoy the time we have left, and partly because I think we both know it may be ending.

I am somewhat inexperienced in relationships. I am 27 (girlfriend is 26) and I recently went 5 years without having any relationship contact (kissing, cuddling, sex) with women at all, which I blame on social awkwardness and a 2 year, depression-filled stint in grad-school. I am also very naive: I have no idea when I am being hit on, and frequently miss out on romantic cues; almost every relationship I've been in has been because the woman initiated. Previously, I would get fixated on a single crush, and be oblivious to any other advances, something I've recently started to change. In the past year, I have had a bit of experience with dating and casual sex, but I am very inexperienced with that sort of thing, and when I hear a story about anyone else's exploits, I get a huge pang of...something. Regret? Disappointment? Jealousy?

I told my girlfriend that I didn't want to hear anything about her sexual past (advice from previous AskMe threads, which can be summed up by this scene from Chasing Amy), and that has worked so far. But whenever I get the faintest hint about her sexual past (or her views on such things), I remember them forever and interpret them to death, well past the point of gaining useful information from them.

I know I have a pretty unhealthy view on these matters, but I really don't know how to change. Part of me thinks the solution is to go out and do these things, because then I can't be a big hypocrite. For example, I should go out and have one night-stands, sleep with random people, date a lot of people, just so I can't be a hypocrite about it. Before my girlfriend and I were exclusive, I was casually dating a few different women, including one who was a FWB. If I found out my girlfriend had a FWB at the time, it would bother me, but I feel like it would be dampened because I was doing it too, and that would be pretty hypocritical of me to be judgey, so I would get over it. In theory.

Anyway, I guess I'm just looking for an outside perspective. I am looking for advice specific to this relationship, but I think general advice will serve me better, because I'd like to carry that advice over to future relationships as well (if things don't work out in my current relationship). I just can't get over my jealousy/trust issues. I feel like I have a very immature view of relationships. I hear all the time that I shouldn't care what people do in the past, it's what they do now that matters. But the past still bothers me. Should I just start to have casual relationships and not commit to anything until I get over these jealousy/trust issues? Is there any way for me to get over them other than time, experience and maturity?

(I've looked at past AskMe threads about this, but many of them have the advice to "Just get over it!". But I don't really know how. My girlfriend and I talk about our issues, and I will be bringing these feelings up. But I don't know if that will do it...)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Here's what the comments are going to say:

1. NEVER read anyone's private messages that are not sent to you. It's wrong and you are only looking for trouble if you do that.

2. Therapy. Although I don't know where you are moving to and how difficult it will be to obtain.

On a nicer note, I get that 'pang' too. I'm not sure what to do about it either but it's a pang about the past, and frantic sexual activity to get over it in the present is unlikely to work. Probably another topic for therapy actually. I wish you the best. But really it's not about this girl or this relationship, it's about more than that. So really 'getting over it' is actually going to involve quite a bit of personal reflection and work most likely.
posted by bquarters at 2:59 PM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I really sympathize, because we can't always control what bothers us and what doesn't. I also am a person who doesn't deal very well with hearing details about my SOs sexual history, and it's caused a lot of pain and frustration over the years despite my best efforts.

That said, I would start by telling yourself that this is your problem, and that it doesn't have anything to do with your girlfriend or whether or not she's actually trustworthy. Tell yourself that and work on sincerely believing it, because it's true. There's a huge difference between "My insecurities mean that I don't want to talk about the details your sexual history" and "Your sexual history makes me feel like I can't trust you." Try and internalize the fact that your discomfort has everything to do with you and your feelings and very little to do with her. That doesn't mean that you're a bad person for feeling that way, or that you should be able to magically stop being insecure, but redirecting and redifining those feelings can keep you from actually poisoning your relationship.

I would also advise against talking about it with your girlfriend more than you have to. You can absolutely tell her that you have insecurities, that you're working on dealing with them, and that you'd appreciate avoiding certain topics in the meantime. But please don't unload on her in a way that's going to make her feel like she's done something wrong, because she hasn't. Conversations with her should be informative and about you, not critical and about her.

As for how to stop feeling that way? Personally, all that's ever worked is time. The closer I feel to my SO and the more secure I feel in the relationship, the less I worry about these things. Eventually, it gets MUCH easier to manage these kinds of feelings. A year or so into my relationship with my husband, for example, I still didn't want to have a conversation about his sex life pre-me, but the very thought of his having been intimate with other people before me no longer filled me with completely irrational dread.

Good luck with this. It's a hard thing to deal with, but you can do it if you put the effort in, I swear!
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:05 PM on June 11, 2012 [10 favorites]

Part of me thinks the solution is to go out and do these things, because then I can't be a big hypocrite.

Sure you can! We humans are *fantastic* at being hypocrites. Going out and having meaningless sex with people will not solve this problem, and will definitely create other ones, especially if you're having meaningless sex to Learn A Lesson instead of just for fun.

I just can't get over my jealousy/trust issues

Actually, you can, so stop telling yourself this fairytale. It will take a lot of work, and it may never go away completely, but it is possible to break destructive thought and behavior patterns. You can, at the very least, learn to recognize when you you're spiraling into a pattern like this and think before you act (like, no more reading someone else's fb messages or emails).

The usual path is via therapy, which may not be possible/available where you're going. Some sort of cognitive behavioral therapy might be helpful, and I know I've seen websites and workbooks recommended here on askme.
posted by rtha at 3:06 PM on June 11, 2012 [20 favorites]

I think a large part of your trust issues stems from your perception of yourself, past experiences, your lack of confidence (at least that's what it comes across as based on your description of yourself), and what also appears be a lack of security in yourself.

Don't be so hard on yourself though, a lot of people struggle with relationships. But, learning from this current relationship and your past relationships will help you develop the foundation that you need in order to change your frame of thinking. It really does seem like you want to change but don't know how to change. CBT can help with this!
posted by livinglearning at 3:15 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Are the trust issues really the crux, though? Is it possible that you feel jealous because you feel your own experience is lacking? That you somehow don't or can't measure up to your girlfriend's past?

OP, you are going to have to face this. In your current or any future relationship, this will be corrosive. Unless you contract for a virginal child bride raised by nuns like the Comte de Gercourt (and we all know how *that* turned out), every woman you date will have a past. And thank god for that, because experience is the best teacher. Romantically, socially, sexually.

So can you try to turn this on its head and be grateful for your girlfriend's past lovers? They helped her become the person you love.
posted by likeso at 3:17 PM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Does it change your thoughts at all if you rephrase your wording from "I can't trust my girlfriend" to "I don't trust my girlfriend"? The second is accurate; the first is something you've constructed. Maybe thinking of the situation in these new terms will help you understand that she is innocent here.
posted by runningwithscissors at 3:18 PM on June 11, 2012 [10 favorites]

Meant to add: And the experience you are having with her is otherwise great, right?
posted by likeso at 3:20 PM on June 11, 2012

You are insecure in yourself so you need constant feedback/assurance. Not sure if you have had bad trust experiences growing up or in relationships (parents/ex etc.) but that would certainly curtail your trust levels big time.

You have no choice in this matter. Either you trust or you dont. But don't beat yourself up just because you are not able to trust, yet. That is okay. For now. Go with it. You might want to talk to your gf and let her know about your trust issues. Dont overblow it but be truthful about what you feel and how you are trying to overcome them. Simple. She will either respect it and work with you or she won't. The choice is hers so even if she decides she doesn't want to deal with it, it is her right to do so.

Don't be too harsh on yourself, this happens. You and others are not perfect, we all have our issues.
posted by pakora1 at 3:25 PM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

What do you think your jealousy is going to accomplish? I don't mean this as a glib rhetorical question, but as a real, serious question to be answered. When I have a really unhelpful attitude that I know is bad but I can't seem to shake, it usually turns out that some part of me thinks that that attitude is going to do something for me, or protect me somehow. Like, when I'm really irrationally depressed about something, I can usually find that my depression is rooted in this weird magical thinking idea that if I'm upset enough about something the universe is going to notice that I'm really upset and just fix the problem for me.

In your case, I suggest thinking really carefully about whether or not you believe, on some level, that jealousy can prevent infidelity. If you really examine your motives, is there a part of you that thinks that if you monitor your girlfriend enough, and really worry really hard about what she might be doing, that you can somehow stop something bad from happening to your relationship. It doesn't matter if it doesn't make any sense - do you think this, deep inside? Because that's not true. How you feel about what your girlfriend does or does not do has no practical effect on her actions. Think about that for a few minutes. Is it a relief?
posted by Ragged Richard at 3:28 PM on June 11, 2012 [16 favorites]

I just can't get over my jealousy/trust issues.

I would start by reframing this: "it's difficult to get over my jealousy/trust issues."

The messages/narratives we tell ourselves can be liberating, or they can be restricting. In this case, saying that you can't do something makes you helpless, whereas saying that something is difficult gives you agency. Because the fact is, getting over trust and jealousy issues is possible, but it's not going to be an overnight event; it's going to be a process that will require insight, patience, and hard work.

The thing is, your jealousy is coming from somewhere; it has a source (even if you're not fully conscious of it), and it's serving some sort of function (albeit in a counterproductive and upsetting way, as you're discovering). As Ragged Richard says above, on some level you feel your jealousy will achieve something for you... but what? These are ultimately the questions that need to be addressed if you would like to learn how to trust others, not going out and having a bunch of one-night stands so that you can count yourself "even" with someone else.

Therapy is definitely one way to approach this. Additionally, if you have any inclination towards Buddhism and mindfulness, I routinely suggest the book How to Be an Adult in Relationships (the author talks about how jealousy is a combination of three emotions: hurt, anger, and fear) and also think that The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology would also be worth a look (esp. the section called Transforming the Roots of Suffering). These won't be fast solutions, but -- again, if you're interested in Buddhism or mindfulness/meditation in general -- they may help you ask the right questions in a way that will allow you to find some useful answers.
posted by scody at 3:39 PM on June 11, 2012 [13 favorites]

You sound like you are letting severe jealousy get in the way of a perfectly good relationship.

I wonder why you feel like you can't heed the advice to "get over it" when your girlfriend hasn't even done anything wrong - actually you are the one who has wronged her by invading her privacy. Neither one of you are perfect, no one is. You need to step back and remember that if you don't show your partner some respect and give her room to show you she can be trusted, your relationship is probably not going to last long.

If you know that your partner trusts you and believes in you that you would not be unfaithful to them, how do you think that might change your actions compared to knowing that your partner does not trust you and is second guessing everything you say? I can tell you from my own experience, I had a partner like this and it felt like he was trying to drive me into someone else's arms the way he kept asking where I was and who I was with and going through my stuff. I knew he expected that I was already cheating, so it didn't exactly inspire fidelity.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 3:39 PM on June 11, 2012

What does it matter why you feel this way? Learn how not treat other people badly, then worry about your feelings and motivations in wanting to treat them badly. Save that for when you've learned and are treating other people well.

Print this entire thread out, give it to your girlfriend, ask her and then shut up until she asks you a question. Then shut up again when you've answered the question, and don't ask her any, until she gives you the okay.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 3:40 PM on June 11, 2012

I don't think you will feel comfortable doing this, but my advice for "how to get over these jealousy/trust issues" would involve telling her that you looked at her Facebook messages, how you felt when you saw that message, & telling her about your insecurities that provoked you to do that (and also that you are very sorry and will not do it again). In my opinion if you can get through that discussion with her, that the relationship has the potential of helping you get past this.

In fact I would say rather than avoid talking about her past or your insecurities, you should talk about it more - I'm not talking pornographic levels of detail, but I feel avoidance, repressing, & obsessing on this insecurity will not help you (you are doing this now and it's not getting better). This establishes trust and in airing it out, may help you realize it is not as bad as you think it is when it's all fraught inside you - you are jealous over something you have worked up to have this big meaning inside you and it might look more harmless and small if you see it's not a threat once you visibly poke at it and pull it apart.

If you still felt this way about it after that, well, I feel like if you love her she should honestly know what she is dealing with, because to me, strong relationships are built on openness & trust. And if she doesn't want to be with you knowing that, then you can learn from it, and you can take these lessons going forward, and establish more openness and discussion of these issues right from the start in your next relationship(s). I don't think you can "get over them" until you confront them, but I absolutely realize that is an uncomfortable idea for most. However, I do strongly feel you will continue to repeat this pattern until you drag it out into the light and face it head-on.
posted by flex at 3:43 PM on June 11, 2012

This is a mere slice of advice for a big issue, but ... give your girlfrend some credit.

So, she's out late, and you don't know where, and her texts to you are a bit sparse in number? OHMIGOD SHE'S MAKING OUT WITH SOME DUDE.

... or she's having a good time with friends, and really immersed in their company. Or she got lost in a good book / movie / show. Or she fell sleep on the couch after getting home. If YOU were out late and hadn't texted your girlfriend, what would be a more likely cause? You're cheating on her, or just doing something innocent-but-absorbing?

Some guy leaves a message on her facebook wall. OHMIGOD HE'S HITTING ON HER AND SHE'S GONNA CHEAT!

... or ... well, some dude just left a message. She can't control what he does, any more than you can control what your friends write to you. And even if he is hitting on her, that doesn't mean she's gonna do anything. If you get checked out or smiled at on the street, do you automatically do a 180 and chase down that person and try to get with them? I'm guessing not, because you care about your girlfriend, value your relationship, and wanna do right by her. Well chances are, she feels the same way, being a similarly-decent person.

You find out that she had some sexy times with some person in the past. GAK! URK! RAGEVOMIT! HOW CAN I BEAR THE THOUGHT OF ANOTHER MAN'S GRUBBY HANDS PAWING THE BODY OF MY LADY LOVE?!?!

... well, you've had sex before getting with her, right? I bet some of it was pretty hot too. Does that make your girlfriend somehow less appealing to you? Does it somehow make you want her any less, or any less intensely? Does your having had sex in the past take away from how you feel towards her? No? Well then, allow that your smart, rational, very-much-into-you girlfriend has a good head on her shoulders and recognizes this too.

Look, it ain't easy. Even the most well-adjusted and trusting person will get hit with these awful, gut-wrenching pangs of mistrust or jealousy once in a while. There's nothing wrong with not wanting to know/hear about a person's past sexual history, and DEFINITELY don't go seek it out by snooping through her stuff. If you think you need to sow your wild oats, so to speak, and that will help give you perspective, then by all means go ahead (obviously don't do this if you're still in a monagamous relationship). But you're not less of a person or lacking as partner for not having had some wild romantic history.

As you know, nothing you can do can stop her from cheating if she chooses to. So the way I see it (and I am one of the most jealous people I know)... if (IF!)someone I love cheats on me and I find out, it would be devastating. But it'll be devastating no matter what -- whether I discover it out of the blue, or whether I've spent months agonizing over it, trying to analyse their every act and syllable.

In the latter case, however, I've tacked on months of agony, and still not avoided the pain of being betrayed. So why add extra hurt? I choose instead to just give my partner the benefit of the doubt, give them some credit, and if they do cheat, I'll deal with it then.

Do get some counselling if you can. Your recognizing that this is an unhealthy way of viewing relationships is already such a big step, one that many people never even make. Take the next step, get help, and work hard. This IS something you will be able to overcome.
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 3:50 PM on June 11, 2012 [14 favorites]

Therapy. But if you approach it from the perspective that you can't control yourself, it will not work. You are in control of your own emotions and reactions - you just need someone to help you master them.
posted by mleigh at 4:33 PM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Obsessive jealousy like this wrecks relationships. You do need to get over it, even if you feel like you can't, if you ever want a relationship to last. This level of mistrust often becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. If your girlfriend can't do anything, ever to make you trust her, because your default state in a relationship is to be jealous and suspicious, then how can she ever fully commit to you? You, after all, are not fully committing to her. You can't fully commit to a person you don't trust.

Besides, if you keep and treating her as though her behavior deserves constant scrutiny even though she has not been behaving in a dishonest manner, then of course other men are going to start look attractive to her in comparison to you. Because those other men aren't obsessing over her whereabouts, freaking out over vague and innocuous texts, or snooping in her Facebook messages without her knowledge or consent.

In fact, if an attractive male friend were to say to your girlfriend right now, "Gee, it seems like your boyfriend is being kind of a jerk to you," HE WOULD BE RIGHT. Because what you did with her Facebook account? That was a jerk move.

As long as you are letting your jealously win, you are setting yourself up to be outclassed by some other dude who is not the jealous type.

Passing worries and feelings of jealousy are natural in a relationship but being constantly obsessed with them is not healthy. It's good that you recognize this as a problem: I think the first step you need to take now is to DECIDE that you will not let your jealousy rule you anymore. Whether that means getting therapy to get it under control or just trying really hard to be more mindful of how you let your feelings affect your behavior, or whatever.

Making a relationship last is hard work and a big part of that work is teaching yourself to be willingly vulnerable to the potential for heartache and loss.
posted by BlueJae at 5:00 PM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I should go out and have one night-stands, sleep with random people, date a lot of people, just so I can't be a hypocrite about it

That's ridiculous. First of all, lots of people have hypocritical double standards about lots of things, especially sexuality. Second of all, the problem is with your attitude, not with the specific actions and choices of people you have dated/are dating/will date.

Relationship agreements are not retroactive. Either someone is trustworthy about keeping the relationship agreements of a relationship they're currently in, or they're not. It's not like if someone has had lots of casual sex when they weren't in relationships, they've somehow lost the ability to keep relationship agreements scrupulously.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:28 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you want to break up with your girlfriend and go wild with lots of casual sex because you think that would be fun or exciting or whatever for you right now, go for it. If you think it would help your jealousy issues in any way, I am almost positive that you are totally mistaken about that.

I had an ex who was obsessively jealous about me even while he was actively cheating on me.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:30 PM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

from what you've said here it sounds like you are well on the way towards destroying this relationship. you might be able to avoid that, but it'll be a lot of work and you'll probably need outside help doing it. the tricky thing is that you're experiencing strong emotions that tell you that you're justified in not trusting your girlfriend - and it's very very difficult for a human being not to believe his or her own feelings - they totally feel real! but in a lot of cases they're just not. it sounds like you are only partly out of touch here, and do not totally trust your powerfully negative feelings of jealousy and insecurity - you're at least conscious that your girlfriend has explicitly told you that she's into you - but you're still acting in accordance with your delusional/unrealistic/unfounded feelings - e.g. violating her privacy.

i want to just point out one thing that might give you an additional motivation to fight back against your own tendencies - isn't it funny how you *feel* like she's going to do something wrong to you, but so far you're the one who has done something wrong to *her*? and isn't it funny that you think the answer to what your feelings are telling you is your girlfriend's desire to cheat on you is for you to engage in meaningless sex? they don't really add up, do they?

'the master and margarita mix' expressed it in kind of tough way, but their message is fundamentally sound - you are mistreating and disrespecting your girlfriend, and you think you have great reasons to do so, but you don't - they're all in your head, and they're all your problem, not hers.
posted by facetious at 5:33 PM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

My girlfriend and I talk about our issues, and I will be bringing these feelings up

Keep in mind she is not your therapist. I would be concerned that bringing up your issues may make her feel she needs to take ownership of them or have the dynamic of your relationship change. Not to mention that revealing that you have snooped may give HER valid trust issues.
posted by saucysault at 5:37 PM on June 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

when I hear a story about anyone else's exploits, I get a huge pang of...something. Regret? Disappointment? Jealousy?

Over time, as you get older (and not much older. You're 27, this should happen very soon), you will discover that there are things far more important to you than wacky sexual exploits, and these pangs will diminish and disappear. Unless of course you never grow up, in which case you have bigger problems than a lack of sexual exploits.

These feelings that you are having are temporary. The damage that acting on these feelings can do to other people (your girlfriend, your partners) will last much longer, if not forever.

Yes, I am aware that this does not help you with your feelings right now in any way at all. Sorry.
posted by yeolcoatl at 5:38 PM on June 11, 2012

I can only suggest that you make it a point to start dating a lot of different women at the same time. You are clearly a flirt and like to flirt but are flighty about committing to something you might have to invest real time in and I think that is your big problem. The issue you have to work to address is why these women are too much, like grad school is too much. My guess is that you probably identify a problem that your girlfriend cannot help you deal with herself unless she accept the kind of lifestyle change you have inflicted on yourself since at leaving the last place you were really ever happy.

You are afraid that this woman is going to continue having one-night stands while you are together. You don't have any evidence that she has cheated. I think she would have told you. I think she gets a real thrill from telling someone who is willing to wait for her that she is not always going to be exclusively yours until you...SPEAK UP! You could tell her about the kind of things you think she is doing and it might go one way or another. That's how you change a person and yourself to maintain this relationship for another day.
posted by parmanparman at 5:41 PM on June 11, 2012

Go for a run and stop thinking about this for awhile.

When your head is clear, consider that the way to introduce trust into your relationship is to act trusting. Rather than spending so much time determining whether or not your girlfriend is trustworthy, challenge yourself to behave as if you're trusting.

When you're tempted to snoop, walk in the other direction and take up a hobby. Go for a run.
posted by vitabellosi at 5:44 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Forget jealousy and infidelity, you have hang-ups about sex, period, that you need to look into. I don't know what the root of it is, but you seem to think that there is something inherently wrong or sinful about having sex at all. Take some time to figure out where that feeling is coming from.
posted by empath at 6:04 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had the same thoughts about my much more experienced boyfriend. It was immaturity and the sheer inexplicable difference in two people who otherwise seemed so similar. Even though I had permission to go out and have casual sex after we got together, I didn't Want to. And thus I was having problems parsing how he could be So Different from me - what other Huge Differences did we have? Could I believe anything about him if he was such a different creature?

I came to be grateful to those women who'd shaped him in the past. Therapy helped, but if it isn't available to you, you might try journaling about Why you're thinking this way about a normal relationship, and how you can change it to be better to yourself, her, and your relationship.
posted by ldthomps at 6:18 PM on June 11, 2012

That must be so hurtful for your girlfriend. She is being entirely trustworthy, and you are constantly suspicious of her.

In a relationship, you kind of have to act as-if. You trust, before you know whether they are 100% trustworthy. Not ignoring things, or wishing things away, but falling in love is about being willing to be loving, and trusting, without having had a lie-detector test first. If something goes wrong, you will be heartbroken, but if you don't trust, you'll never have been in love to begin with.

Basically, there is a part of you that has decided that if she has had one night stands etc (and really... so??), then you feel that you should reject her, that she is not worthy of your love or trust. If you are having some dissonance there, ie you know that she is actually awesome, then you need to chuck that belief out.

Personally, I think you should try listening to, or reading 'Savage Love' for a while.
Why? It might help readjust your expectations a little. There will be examples of such kinky and promiscuous people, that you will realise your girlfriend isn't even on the same scale. At the same time, you'll hear from people who are in loving, trusting relationships that happen to be kinky or open, and if you can feel ok about those people, be much less bothered by trivialities in your own relationship.

(Also, er, you do mean you went through public FB messages, right? Not private ones?)
posted by Elysum at 9:12 PM on June 11, 2012

I think miss_kitty_fantastico makes a lot of great points; in fact, you could even follow some of those thought processes in a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) approach to your jealousy/trust issues.

The point of this is to change your emotional response when you begin to panic from one of anxiety ("AHH SHE'S NOT ANSWERING SHE'S CHEATING ON ME I NEED ANSWERS NOW NOW NOW", cue obsessive Facebook creeping) to one based more clearly in fact-based reality ("Okay, she sent me a text and I'm not sure if I believe her. What am I feeling? Jealous? Nervous? Angry? What exactly am I worried that she's doing? What kind of assumptions am I making? What are the facts that support AND refute my assumptions? What's a more realistic way of thinking about the scenario?").

You can use online programs (like MoodGym, google it) to help you through the process if you won't be able to see a therapist (although I would really recommend that you try to find one at some point; if only to work on confidence and perspective, since you're worried a lot about your "unhealthy views". And maybe addressing communication skills? I found that I worried a lot less about my relationship when I could express my concerns less judgmentally/passive aggressively/more clearly/etc. YMMV.)

The thing is, a lot of people get jealous occasionally. But not everyone who gets a smidge jealous obsesses over it and lets it get in the way of their relationship. And you CAN stop obsessing. You have to work at it though.
posted by Paper rabies at 11:27 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Can I avoid an ultimatum with my friends over...   |   Recommend mystery fiction, especially mystery... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.