I have been dating a guy for the past 6 months. We met online and both live very busy lives where our careers are very important to us. He currently travels for work to another state Monday-Thursday every week. I am his first serious girlfriend and the only girlfriend he’s introduced to his parents (that don’t even live in the same state as we do). Throughout our 6-month relationship he has taken many steps to show how committed he is to me. For example, when I had received an interview for school in Colorado, he began interviewing for jobs there. For the past couple months, he’s been looking for jobs back in the city that we live in. Despite all the great things he’s done, and despite how much I know he loves me, I have severe trust/jealously issues. My last boyfriend had lied to me and was dating a “friend” while he was dating me. My first love whom I dated for 2.5 years broke up with me because he developed feelings for someone else. Needless to say, I let past experiences and my insecurities get the best of me in my current relationship. I have gotten jealous about his female friends and have admittedly over-reacted many times.
However, I have had (what I fear) legitimate reasons to be concerned about his new friendship with a female coworker. Like I said he works out of state during the week. On the phone one night, he mentioned he met a girl at work who’s parents live where his parents live and that she invited him to get together for drinks with her and her brother during Christmas. Fast forward to Christmas, after not responding to my text for hours, he tells me he and his sister were having drinks and playing games at his coworker’s parents house. I got very upset and asked if they had hung out before. He admitted that they spent two hours together ALONE on the beach two days prior. I was distraught and did not speak to him until the next day. He insists they are just friends and I have nothing to worry about. I let it go until I recently saw that they became friends on Facebook. I again got very upset with him and expressed how much it bothered me. He was hurt that I didn’t trust him despite saying time and time again that I had nothing to worry about and that she was just a friend. He isn’t friends with anyone else on Facebook from work other than her and he even works with a guy that went to the same college as him. To me, this situation does not seem right. As I have told him, I fear he has developed feelings for this person and doesn’t want to admit it to himself, let alone me. I don’t want to be with someone who has feelings for someone else and I wish he would just admit it to me if that’s the case.
My question is: Am I letting my extreme jealous nature get the best of me and I need to learn to take my boyfriend at his word? Or do I need to interpret my feelings as instinct and walk away from the relationship?
There may be another answer than these two alternatives. It is often that people will choose someone similar to a person they’ve chosen in the past. Your fears are not all illusions. He was hiding information on you, he didn’t respond back to you on Christmas, and this woman has obviously become closer to him than other relations at work.
Whether or not he has feelings for her isn’t as important as the fact that his behavior bothers you. The sending of itself is enough for the two of you to have a discussion. It isn’t an all or nothing situation. You want him to know that his secret-keeping, and lack of responsiveness on the holiday were, in and of themselves, not OK. Stick with the facts. This isn’t a matter of trust as much as it is a matter of lying through omission. When he’s been with her—he’s not been truthful with you about it.
That doesn’t mean you have to bolt on the relationship. But it does mean you need to be clear about what is and is not okay with you. If he knows you have an issue with jealousy, then he’ll need to learn the behaviors that activate it.
Have a discussion, and if you feel you need some help you can find a therapist nearby at the ‘find help’ tab at the top of the page, or perhaps from this organization.
Wishing you patience and peace,
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral