I love my boyfriend and I think we have a great relationship. I’ve never cheated on him and I don’t plan on doing it. But there’s one problem: he’s always really jealous. I have a few guy friends and he’s constantly asking me about them or accusing me of flirting with them or something. He always seems to think I’m going to cheat and a lot of the time, he questions where I’m going and what I’m doing. I’m getting really sick of it. I’ve told him a million times I’m going to be faithful. How can I get him to calm down and stop being so jealous?
Jealousy is tough, because – as I’ve preached in the past – all healthy relationships are rooted in trust.
But to handle this as fairly as possible, you have to first examine your relationships with your guy friends. There are only a few scenarios in which a male-female relationship can be purely platonic - sometimes guys and girls suppress feelings, a subconscious crush or a desire for attention when spending time with members of the opposite sex (I’ve been guilty of all three). So before we lay the smackdown on your boyfriend, it’s important to be sure he’s overreacting.
Assuming that your interactions are kosher, your boyfriend simply needs to be able to take your pledge of fidelity at face value. You don’t need to further justify your friendships to him. If he wants to play judge a la Law and Order, then he must treat you as “innocent until proven guilty.”
Relationships provide support, shared experiences and physical affection – but these benefits are overshadowed when companions can’t grow as individuals. A mature romantic relationship should encourage each partner to experience life independently (monogamously, of course – I’m not pushing for a sex spree!), and that leaves little room for jealousy or judgment. Perhaps try reminding your boyfriend that you love him and trust him to hang out with whomever he wants. Lead by example: give him space without distancing yourself emotionally.
A little playful jealousy when another guy flirts with you is totally natural, and can even be flattering. But if it’s happening with increasing frequency, or significantly disrupting an otherwise positive relationship, your boyfriend could just be too self-absorbed and insecure to handle commitment right now. If open discussions don’t help, you’ll have to decide if his jealous outbursts are something you can tolerate. He may grow out of them in time, but there’s nothing you can do to speed up his personal path to maturity.
Ethan Fixell is a writer and comedian from New York City best known as one half of comic “dating coach” duo Dave and Ethan. He is also the creator and editor of ActualConversation.com. For more on Ethan, visit EthanFixell.com…or call his mom, Robin.