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Is he insecure, jealous?

Tagged as: The ex-factor, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (18 March 2017) 5 Answers - (Newest, 19 March 2017)
A female United States age 41-50, anonymous writes:

Hi, I've been seeing this man for 5 months. I'm 49, divorced twice, no kids. He is 51, divorced twice, two kids 18 and 20. His second wife cheated on him. He was adopted. His adoptive father died when he was young and the adoptive mother was abusive. They never had much money. He is intelligent, has made a nice life for himself and is a good father. He has had therapy in the past for the adoption and abuse issues. (Sorry this is so long)

My question-is he insecure or jealous or what? And what do I say/do to try to make it work? Aside from the novel that follows, he is a really good guy. The relationship started off nice, respectful, mutual attraction, fun. He treats me very well, tells me how he feels about me, adores me. and it still is a good relationship except for the issue that started maybe in the second/third month?

He seems to want every detail and he remembers what I tell him verbatim. He is specific/literal and I am more vague/figurative. I also don't remember things with as much specifics/detail like he does. He once argued with me over my definition of friendship in regards to another man. I was telling him a story about my friend's family situation. My male friend lives in another state. He wanted to know if I dated him, no. He wanted to know how often we speak, maybe 2-3x a year. He tells me that's not a friend, that's an acquaintance. I was trying to tell a story about my friend's custody battle and it turned

into a "tell me about him and you" thing. We've had a few similar situations like this.

I spoke to him about this. I told him it made me feel like he doesn't trust me. I told him I won't cheat. I'd just break up. I told him he almost makes me feel slutty because I've dated a lot-not slept with a lot of them. I keep in touch with some exes. He doesn't like that. I've told him we both have pasts. I'm 49, I've dated more and traveled more. He said he's never going to be my first (he's bummed about that) but he wants to be my last-for travel etc.

he freaked out when I had lube in the top drawer. He asked if I bought it, did I use it with another guy, etc. I told him, yes, it's mine, I've had it and it probably was used w someone else. We ended up not having sex over it. I see it like shampoo or lotion. He doesn't and we decided to agree to disagree. He tossed the lube and bought new bottle. The rest of the weekend was uncomfortable, quiet, distant and he was short with me. We had a very long discussion days later. I felt great about it and us. I was glad we hashed it out. But then...

I helped a coworker with a problem and as a thank you he brought me flowers, red roses and lilies, beautiful small bouquet. This man is older, married, devoted to his family. No interest between us at all. We are coworker/acquaintances, not friends. My BF asked about the flowers and I told him. I didn't think anything of it, innocent gesture. Well, he got upset. It was ridiculous. He asked why I helped him-I'm a supervisor and I'd handle this situation the same for any employee. He asked my relationship with the man, if the man knew that I had a BF, etc. I said I'm not friends with this man and it doesn't matter. The man is married and an employee. AND we have no interest in each other. The furthest thing from anyones mind. He said the guy broke bro-code by buying me flowers.

He's causing a wedge between us. I don't know if he's insecure, jealous or if its a control issue. We keep having the same discussions but are not resolving the issue. I guess I'm not sure what the exact issue is or how to address it. How should I proceed?

Thank you for taking time to read and answer.

View related questions: co-worker, divorce, flowers, insecure, jealous, money

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 March 2017):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you for the advice. You've giving me some insight and different perspectives. Maybe I am naive. I appreciate you taking the time to respond and I will follow your advice. I will try to be more understanding and sensitive to his feelings. But I also need to be comfortable being myself. I have some work to do. Time will tell if we are meant to be. Thank you!

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (19 March 2017):

I think you are both contributing to make this problem. He is scrutinizing you than he should and you are giving him more reasons to worry than you should.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (19 March 2017):

If a co-worker of my boyfriend bought him a present for helping him with a work related problem, I would be suspicious of the woman buying the present. That is not normal work place behaviour. I imagine part of your job description is to help with problems? So why did this guy buy you flowers? Strange, weird behaviour that I think your boyfriend is right to be wary of. Not from your side, but I can understand why he wonders if something is going on?

I'm not intending to sound unkind, but are you a bit naïve? This man does sound as if he has an ulterior motive.

Also, using lube that you've used with someone else? Eeeww. Take a little look at your actions and his feelings and try to have a little more sensitivity to them. If my boyfriend came to me with lube used with another woman, I would definitely stop being in the mood for sex as well!!

Give him lots of love and reassurance and transparency. Let him see he is your priority.

If things don't improve, see a couples counsellor as you don't seem to see things form his perspective. I am like your boyfriend in that I am precise, remember things verbatim etc. If he says something to me one week, that doesn't quite marry up to something he says a week later for example I start to question everything. And I haven't been cheated on. His mind space and thought patterns may well be quite difficult for him to handle.

It may well be very difficult for you to allow for his thought patterns as you both seem to think entirely differently. Counselling may be able to help you 'see' each other. Good luck.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (18 March 2017):

You will have to be very patient and very understanding to hold onto a man with a fragile heart. And his has been deeply wounded by cheating. I am not sure if you have ever been cheated on, but there is nothing more devastating to your self worth and it does take away a part of you that can never be regained. So, understandably, he is going to have concerns and they may never go away, but it is all how you put it into perspective. And how you treat him and the relationship.

Some people would say I am out of here. I am not going to put up with this. I did nothing wrong; I will never do anything wrong and his constant insecurities or accusations are too much to handle. He will never trust me so what's the use of staying in a relationship without trust? I deserve better than this guy. He is not ready for a relationship. Nor secure enough in himself. He has too much baggage. Has not dealt with the baggage. Not an equal partner. Does not give me the respect I give him. And the list goes on.

Here is the other side. He has been cheated on. His heart was destroyed. He does not want to feel that way ever again. Or ever go through that situation ever again. It is not directed at you. It is not that he is blaming you. They are just his demons and ghosts returning and playing havoc on his fears and emotions. They do take on a life of their own sometimes, against our own will. We try hard to fight them off. Trust me, he does NOT want to feel this way. It is not a conscious choice. The fears just overtake him. So, if you think he is purposely trying to push you away, give you a hard time, doesn't care enough or thinks less of you as a person, then you would be wrong. He LOVES you and cares DEEPLY for you and that is why the fears are so strong. That is why he is trying hard to fight them. His being honest with you is not easy for most men. He is showing you his vulnerability. He needs you to show him he is SAFE in your hands. His heart is safe with YOU. Do you LOVE this man? Are you WILLING to help him through this?

Now, I know it sounds controlling but I think you do need to change what makes him uncomfortable. At least in the first little while until he is trying to feel safe. It is still a very new relationship so he feels he is walking a tight rope without a safety net at this point. You cannot build up trust in 5 months. It takes time. And it takes actions, consistent actions of reassurance every day and in every day choices. You must always be aware of how your behaviour affects your partner. So, contact with exes is not a good thing. In fact, I am not sure why you maintain contact at all. It is not a good idea generally and most people would not love the idea unless there were children involved and a necessity to keep in touch.

The co-worker thing. Well, from someone on the outside looking in, it does seem rather strange for your co-worker to send you flowers for a work related issue which you helped resolve. And how do you know there is no interest on your co-worker's part? You may have no interest in him but you do not know for sure what his motives are. I just think that sending flowers is over stepping boundaries. Some married men seem happy and devoted but in reality, sending flowers shows something different. So, tread lightly. And I would be keeping my eye on this man from now on. To be quite blunt, I would be pissed too if I were your boyfriend. Here is how a guy would see it. What exactly did you DO to get flowers? How could it be something HARMLESS? Men DO NOT go out of their way to send women flowers. They just don't. Yes, your co-worker broke a code by sending you flowers. The bro code, the professionalism code... His actions are fishy. So, let's not be naïve here.

You need to look at your own actions. Are you doing something to make your BF feel jealous or insecure? Does part of you secretly like the attention? Do you do these things consistently? Because if so, you will wear him down. And he won't be able to take it anymore.

On the other hand, if he is accusing you and feeling insecure without justifications for those accusations short of past cheating, then he may wear you down, until you won't be able to take it anymore.

It takes two special people who are committed and in love with each other to work something like this out. Because it ain't easy and in many cases, these issues do end relationships. Because they slowly erode it. Eat away at it. At least you are both communicating and honest with each other. That is a big step.

So, if you really want to be with each other, you are going to have to put some hard work into your relationship.

I do think you both should talk to a counsellor or therapist. I really do. There are issues to sort out and your relationship will always be a work in progress. You have to determine if you think your RELATIONSHIP is worth it and if you think HE is worth it. And he has to do the same thing.

I can tell you from experience that it can seem like a daunting task at times. Near impossible in fact. My boyfriend cheated on his partner to be with me. I am now with him in a relationship. It is a different situation but I live in fear that I will be cheated on just like he does. The ghosts are always there. And if you think it affects you, the imagine how it tortures him. He has to live with it everyday, and will likely live with it with every partner he is with. Clearly he cares a lot about you to open up to you, be vulnerable to you, and to pursue this relationship with you even though he is deathly afraid of history repeating itself.

If you care, be gentle. Be patient. Be understanding. And let your actions calm him and reassure him. Trust must be built. And it takes time.

Hope I have helped.

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A female reader, angelvoice United Kingdom +, writes (18 March 2017):

angelvoice agony auntHi my friend, I really feel for you in this. Having been cheated on a few times by men who really weren't commitment types, you can become paranoid and suspicious in the extreme.

I'd like to start by suggesting that part of this problem lies in your partner's deep insecurity about himself. His whole self-worth and inner equilibrium would have been dealt a terrible blow by the cheat he experienced in the past. The person cheated on believes that there is something deeply wrong with them. You could think to yourself, he has veritably suffered. They say being cheated on is like having a knife through your back, and I would add, as if the knife is being twisted over and over.

Obviously to an extent he has been able to put that behind him, and deep down he knows you are a lovely,loyal and devoted lady with his interests at the core of your being.

Try to keep such items as Lube out of the house if you can. But it is very awkward for you if he keeps questioning you about the most everyday of situations involving platonic or business males. Just say to him something like:'You must be joking, I wouldn't fancy a man like that in a million years.'

The next thing is that underneath it I think he probably does trust you and appreciates you as a precious treasure.

If he is jealous, it's because he desperately wants to keep you, so another angle is that you can feel flattered.

Keep reassuring him of his qualities and praise him on a physical level, including on performance!

I do hope this helps you, my friend

Angelvoice

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