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I stumbled upon this website after typing in "obsessive jealousy." Everything I've read is correct. I'm constantly accused of things I do not do and am starting to get depressed about it. My husband thinks it is all me and I never know when I'm going to have to deal with it. He would never think he has obsessive jealousy and we are going to go to a marriage counselor after I finally started believing that maybe I have something wrong with me. If I bring this up in front of the therapist, he will go balistic. How am I supposed to handle this?


OK, there are basically three possibilities here:

- you're entirely right, nothing's your fault, it's all his fault, and he's obsessively jealous
- he's entirely right, you're totally in denial, and he's just trying to be rational with you
- somewhere in the middle

If it's the first, then see Julia Roberts, Sleeping with the Enemy: if that looks familiar, well, you have a role model.

If it's the second, then you're unlikely to be rational enough to post the question, so let's trust for a moment that it's not.

If it's the third, then you have to do a little soul searching and decide what you can learn (and what you need to decide as to what is right for you) in this situation.

I did have one - better not say it, let's just say 'imaginative' girlfriend - at one time, we were running what felt like a 'hostel' for visiting South Africans, aka my home, with visitors every week - once or twice, fair enough, but there are a LOT of South Africans visiting London, so I got bored, go to bed; of course the next thing I know is a conversation that goes like this:

- (her) 'how dare you'
- (me) 'excuse me? What have I done?'
- (her) 'you know perfectly well'
- (me) 'let's pretend that I don't: what did I do?'
- (her) 'you slept with [visiting SA wife]'
- (me) 'er, no, I was bored and went to bed'

Now, had I slept with her, I'd be a slime, and she'd be a highly rational and appropriately upset girlfriend. As it was, I hadn't, had no interest in doing so, and was bored and frustrated with my home being turned into a hostel; but because the SA woman had then gone to bed not long after, of course it was to have sex with me. Hell, how difficult would it have been to follow ten minutes later, if she really believed that to be the case?

If that sounds familiar, then I'd go with your side of the story: you have an issue with an obsessively jealous guy.

Now, it's also familiar from helping others with said issue: and here's a hint: as long as you're afraid to raise the issue with the therapist because 'he' will go ballistic (I first though you meant the therapist, and thought wow, what kind of therapist do you have?), then you have an elegant demonstration of WHY he goes ballistic.

Revisit the Matrix: it's all about control.

What you may not like to hear is that you are also in control: go to a bookstore, and read up on co-dependency.

You're rational enough to be able to post, so a little introspection and heart to heart with yourself won't do any harm.

Starting to get depressed? I'd have gone ballistic about the third time I was falsely accused... in fact in the situation I revealed, it took me three years to get out, before I felt comfortable enough that she'd cope and be rational on her own: I'm a sucker for a lame duck, cos guess what, it makes me look good to be a helper: why do you think I'm on this site?

A rational, balanced individual might have an intellectual sympathy for someone with a problem, or empathy, but they wouldn't feel obliged to help, as they would recognise that the person with a problem is as much a fully developed human being as they are, and fully entitled to experience and enjoy their problem.

It's only inadequate people who feel a need to help, or be helped, in a consistent repetitive obsessive manner - a bit harsh - perhaps, perhaps not... we can all be 'momentarily' co-dependent, but when we get 'stuck' in that strategy, it doesn't serve us, it doesn't serve them (though they clearly believe it does).

The only thing you need to do in this situation is simple, and in a sense your partner (husband) is giving you a great opportunity: in fact, and this will really blow his stack, you should go out to Tiffany's or somewhere, and buy him a present, thanking your for the magnificence of his gift.

Because he is giving you the opportunity to decide who you are, what you believe in in life, and what kind of lifestyle, emotional, ethical, financial, you want to enjoy.

Right now, you're playing a target in his shooting gallery: if you stand still, he shoots you; if you move, he shoots; either way, you lose, no wonder you feel depressed. There was a wonderful Wizard of Id cartoon - 'Halt or I shoot!' 'Got him' 'Just as well he halted'.

Turn it around, don't bother shooting back: he'll just escalate, as you've already recognised viz the therapist.

What you want is to invent two magical things: one is an atomic shield, light, invisible, effortlessly ignoring his bullets; the second is a magical levitation stool, so you can move out of the way and find some peace and quiet. Now both of those are obviously 'fantastical', but they're also real: that's exactly what you can do, you have a mind, which can do the first, and you have a body, which can do the second.

The only reason you haven't is because you're getting something out of him: it's never a one way street. Go read the book (any book) on co-dependency, and consider some personal development courses, to look at who you're being: next time you lie down for him, in any way, figuratively or literally, ask yourself if you really want to be flat on your back like a doormat.

You don't have to do this for real, especially if you believe he has a genuine capacity for violence, but there's no law against imagination: start building up a repertoire of alternate realities, to scramble your 'I have to put up with this button'. Since you have a husband, I an assume you are over 18 and or legally entitled to have sex, so let's talk turkey: speaking of which, here's one 'who's the wuss now' scenario to play with:

- go buy (in your mind, if not in reality - let's keep you safe, but ultimately it's your call, but your mind is fine for now) a seriously big and lifelike strap on dildo, all for him: I mean, really, for him... make him the girl. See if he likes bending over and taking it.

- or do a Harry Potter and perform a Ridikulus spell on him, that's really what this is about. He has no power over you that you don't give him.

- set up in your mind a capacity to see your life as a script, and change the script, ask if this is reasonable, if it's a good story, a comedy, tragedy, whatever: if you can detach long enough to think about it, you're no longer the victim, you're the observer

Ultimately, you can do one of three things:

- give up, ask for help but never really take responsibility for your life
- explore and learn, and decide that really you can cope with him, the money's good, and you'd only be alone anyway, so it's not so bad really
- explore, learn and take action, create the life you want, and he's frankly irrelevant in your decision making in this matter: here's an interesting thought: when the worm turns, you can stay and make him the worm, or you can leave and find a healthy balanced life elsewhere

Sleeping with the Enemy - excellent film.


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I really feel bad for you and him. I think jealousy is mainly insecurity. I have no idea how you could go about changing it. I've had friends who were insanely jealous about their wives/girlfriends and they seemed to invent things to feed it. I would think therapy is about the only chance you have to at least get help for yourself. I don't think it's likely the therapist will expect you to mention it in front of him, but I'm no therapist either.

I've been married 44 years and I've never been jealous of my wife or her me, as far as I know. I feel she has the right to associate with or talk to whomever she wants and I expect the same.

When our kids were little one of my/our friends (single) had a pair of tickets to an Arthur Feidler concert. His date backed out the day before and I told him if he doesn't find another, my wife would really like to go to that concert. Well when he came to pick her up, her father drove up just as they were leaving and I was outside saying goodbye. He was shocked and could never believe we did that. Later on that made a great story at the bar. The time she went out on a date and made me stay home to babysit.

I hope you can find the help you need.