My wife has a number of pictures of her ex in our home. Every shot is of them at a resort in bathing suits with their arms around each other. She canít understand why I do not want these pictures in my home. If I mention that these things make me feel uncomfortable, she gets angry and tells me I am being childish or jealous and that she canít understand why this should bother me. I know she may be right, but I canít seem to help the way I feel. Is there anything I can do?
Jealousy is often referred to as the "green-eyed monster." When thereís jealousy in a relationship, it can often eat away at it and certainly make the person who feels the jealousy constantly experience a terrible state of anxiety.
There are a number of reasons that one can experience this emotion. For some, itís the result of things that have happened in their past that has left them still unsettled as far as trusting a partner. Yes, situations from childhood do impact your later relationships.
Of course, even if there is nothing that has predisposed you to feeling uncertain about the one you are with, you might develop a sense of uncertainty due to things your spouse does. For example, if you happen to have a spouse who is the type that flirts, itís understandable that you might feel uncomfortable. Or, in todayís world of technology, many people are back in touch with old flings on Facebook; we know now this is a possible precursor for trouble.
Because of the way you have written your letter, the situation you mention falls into a gray area. Are these pictures ones that are somewhat out in the open and easy to view? Or, are they hidden away somewhere among many old pictures?
If they are out in the open, so to speak, it is very understandable that you would be upset. Kudos to you for telling your wife how you feel and it really is unfair that she not respect your feelings.
If, however, they are just some old photos that are amongst many that are stashed away, perhaps it is more your issue. You need to think about the reality of your relationship. Are there any other factors which make you feel justified in your jealousy? If so, itís time to have a discussion. However, if it really is just a sense on your part of not wanting to visually see your wife with an old boyfriend, perhaps you could ask that she hold on to one or two and discard the rest.
Relationships are built on trust and respect for one another. This situation is a good one to offer the two of you the opportunity to understand one anotherís needs and feelings. Itís important to communicate with each other in a non-attacking way. Share with one another how you each feel. By doing so, this circumstance can bring you closer together.
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