He's Such a Jealous Guy!

Dear Dategirl,

My boyfriend is extremely jealous of my friends. I know it's a common problem and you probably hear this one a lot, but hear me out. His jealousy is detrimental to both our relationship and our friendships. Every other aspect of our relationship is great, which is why I don't understand the childish behavior. I hang out with him more than anyone else. This is not the first relationship it's happened in, and I've witnessed many of my girlfriends' guys get the same way.

My friends are respectful, platonic, polite, and inclusive, and I try to be the same.

Yet whenever we get together in a group situation, my boyfriend throws passive-aggressive/sarcastic comments at me and/or our company. Sometimes he runs far ahead or walks way behind to sulk when we're out in a group. He creates tension and awkward moments where I need to be the go-between between company and him. Not only does he avoid interaction with our friends, he criticizes me afterward.

The majority of men I've dated were intelligent and mature in all other aspects of our relationship, which makes their insecurity all the more frustrating. Granted, we all get jealous at one point in our relationships, but these insecurity problems still exist even a year or two into our relationships—long after a comfort level has been established. I try to address it by listening to his concerns and reassuring him, but I've also tried to call him out on acting immaturely. Neither method works. Is there any effective measure I can take to smooth over those situations? Is it just male jealousy, for which there is no cure? Do I break up with him only to have the next guy do the same thing? WTF!?It's a Vicious Cycle

I'm assuming that when you say "friends," you're not talking about a wandering troupe of horny David Beckham look-alikes. Because if you're one of those girls who's only friends with hot guys who not-so-secretly wanna bang her, the following advice isn't for you.

Instead, we're going to go with the assumption that you have a normal, garden-variety group of pals—men and women, none of whom you've ever cheated on the boyfriend with. If this is the case, you have to realize you're dating an insecure jerk.

Contrary to what you seem to think, your average, sane guy won't be jealous of his girlfriend's friends. He may not like all of them, but if he values your relationship, he'll at least be civil.

Not only that, but men who try to isolate the women in their lives often wind up beating the crap out of them once they've successfully driven away friends and family. I know that probably sounds crazy and alarmist to you, but I've been there. My high-school boyfriend was jealous of everyone. The first time he punched me, it was because he was certain I was having an affair with my 60-something art teacher! Oh, and did I mention my teacher was gay?!

Lest you think that could never happen to you, if you look at any study of domestic violence, you'll see that jealousy is the No. 1 predictor of domestic abuse. Some other adjectives used to describe a typical abuser include controlling, overly critical, hypersensitive, and isolating. Sound familiar?

I'm not saying your boyfriend is definitely going to start smacking you around, but it would be foolish for you to dismiss the possibility. He is not behaving like a rational adult. And even if he doesn't ever raise a hand to you (which I hope he won't), how much fun are you having? Do you really want to be with someone who embarrasses you in public? Someone who's too insecure to handle you going out for a night with the ladies and too socially retarded to handle the simplest group activity?

Don't kid yourself that there's anything you can do to make things better, either—this is his problem. You tried reassuring him, and where did that get you? Instead of soothing his brow or yelling at him, maybe you should try laughing at him. On your way out the door.

Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at dategirl@seattleweekly.com or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

 
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