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Sian Confidential: Is my jealousy unhealthy?

Dear Sian, 

Please help, I think I’m going bonkers. I have been with my partner for three years and we still have our separate houses which I am happy about. He has two young children to his ex-wife; he sees them alternate weekends. The relationship is good but I think I’m ruining it and I can’t help it. I am anxious all of the time about him cheating on me. I used to check his phone all of the time but now he has added fingerprint security. I have this too as it’s easier but I had a panic attack when he did it. I question him about everywhere he’s been and with who and have followed him a couple of times. I hate it when he and his ex get on and pace the floor when he doesn’t text me back straight away. The anxiety is killing me. I have been nasty and sulked when we’ve seen an attractive girl when we are out. I even get angry and anxious if he looks at attractive women on the telly. I know it is insane. He is such a nice guy I don’t want to ruin another relationship.

Sam

Dear Sam,

Anxiety about a partner leaving you for another is jealousy. There are two types. Healthy jealousy is warranted in that your partner may well be cheating. That fear of losing him is a natural response. However, unhealthy jealousy is unfounded and based on deep insecurities. Rage will enter the frame as insult, abandonment and rejection coagulate to form quite a dangerous mix.

A number of factors may all be in play. Has he ever cheated on you or another? Have you been cheated on in the past? Is he a flirt? Have you got low self-esteem or body confidence? Your first option is to look at your self-worth. Jealous partners believe that they aren’t good enough in some way to stop a rival from snatching their man/woman. In reality, you aren’t giving them, or you, much credit.

No-one can snatch anyone away without them being willing. If a partner is cheating it’s a sign that something was wrong in the relationship. Happy devoted couples don’t cheat.

When things aren’t being addressed then holes appear but aren’t always spotted. The sad truth about morbid jealousy is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can drive the person into the arms of another, but don’t forget they have free will! To stop this compulsive checking you might need professional help. It rarely gets sorted on its own. I suspect from your letter that it’s happened before. If you don’t change how you feel about you, nothing will change.


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