I'm a 25-year-old who just got married three months back. Everything is great except for my crazy jealousy and suspicions. I get jealous for the slightest things. I know this upsets my husband very much, but I can’t seem to overcome these feelings. I have had more than one relationship in the past in which my partner cheated on me and I have never had a strong bond with a man in my life, as I was never close to my father. I'm married to a wonderful guy and I don’t want to ruin it with all my insane insecurities. I have no idea how to deal with this. Please help.
With all the relationship advice available, there are lots of suggestions as to what is needed in order to have a good marriage. Perhaps at the foundation of it all is the need for trust. Without a good foundation, just like a house without one, a marriage is going to be shaky. The significance of trust is best seen by the consequences when one of them has breached it by some type of infidelity—physical, emotional or even financial.
It’s to your credit that you’re aware of the fact that you are plagued by jealous feelings and that this can hinder your marriage. Clearly, when one spouse is jealous, it is sending the message to the other, "I don’t trust you." And when there is no cause for this distrust, the accused spouse is likely to feel overwhelmed, frustrated and helpless among other things. The fact that your husband is upset is quite understandable; and sadly, I would predict that since you are married for only such a short time, it will only heighten on both ends.
Yet, it is also understandable that you can’t seem to help yourself. Emotions always seem to win out over clear thinking. Though you may not want to act this way, when your jealous feelings get set off, it’s like they have their own energy, apart from what you can control.
What I notice is that you state that you have had several previous relationships where your partner cheated on you. It is not surprising that the pattern repeated itself. You don’t specifically state why you and your father have never been close. However, my experience tells me that there’s a link between the lack of closeness with him and the pattern with other men, as well as your present situation.
Often, when there are issues from one’s past that are unresolved they get played out in adulthood. This happens without intention and automatically and instantaneously. What is happening is that implicit memories are getting triggered, or in lay terms your buttons are getting pushed!
But, here’s the good news: these concerns can be worked on. You have already taken the first step by acknowledging that you have an issue. No one can ever make a change if he or she isn’t willing to be aware that there’s a problem. I would advise that you seek professional assistance. Let your husband know that you think he’s a great guy and you’re ready to take responsibility for your part. I would further suggest working with a therapist who knows how to help release the energy around old memories. (Though there are many such therapies, EMDR is one, and I speak of ways to deal with these matters in my book, "Mindfulness and The Art of Choice: Transform Your Life").
Though looking at these issues will be a process, I know you will be able to come out at the other end much stronger both as an individual and as a wife!
Karen Sherman, Ph.D., (www.drkarensherman.com) is a practicing psychologist in relationships and lifestyle issues for over 20 years. She offers teleseminars and is the author of "Mindfulness and the Art of Choice: Transform Your Life" and co-author of "Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, and Make it Last." You can sign up for her free monthly newsletter with relationship tips at www.ChoiceRelationships.com