Tag: jealousy

It’s a Matter of Trust

8

Dear Whit,

My boyfriend “Jeremy” of just under a year has “trust issues” that come from his last relationship with a woman who cheated on him, so I can understand why he can’t trust me.

If Jeremy sees me talking to another guy at a party or a bar, he will accuse me of flirting with him. When I tell him that I am not interested in the other guy and that we are just friends, then Jeremy will say that he is sorry. I’m not sure if he is looking at my texts or emails, but I kind of suspect it.

What can I do besides reassuring Jeremy that I am trustworthy to alleviate his fears?

Wannabe Trusted

Dear Wannabe:

Because Jeremy dated a woman who cheated on him, all women cheat. Not sure which illogical syllogism this illustrates (some kind of gross exaggeration or generalization), but his thinking is not rational.

The game Jeremy is playing puts you in a no-win position because he always holds the winning hand: He is the aggrieved party because he can’t trust anyone, including you. Remember the first rule of relationships: you cannot be in charge of “fixing” anyone else, and its corollary: you are not your SO’s therapist. All you can do is demonstrate to him that you are a person totally unconnected to the woman who cheated on him. And show, don’t tell.

But maybe a little telling might help too. If you think that he might not be able to grasp the reality of your fidelity securely enough, you might want to have a talk with him. Ask Jeremy what about you makes him think that you are going to cheat on him like the last girlfriend. Sometimes by asking someone to articulate his fears or insecurities, you can help him see how they are based upon groundless assumptions or expectations. Bring up the issue when Jeremy is not anxious about your faithfulness so that neither one of you feels defensive.

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