As I sit here, typing this out on my laptop, my fiance of five and a half years (boyfriend for seven) is at work where he has made friends with female co-workers who have his phone number, connect with him on social media, and text him regularly.
This isn't easy for me.
Approximately one year ago, Brad (that's my fiance) was at the same job, only I caught him hiding a conversation and a friendship with a woman who I found physically intimidating. She was blonde; I'm not. She was thin; I wasn't at the time. She's white, like him; I'm not. She had blue eyes; I don't. These are all physical attributes that I associate with feminine standards of beauty; he does not. He likes Asian women, like me.
Because I thought she was beautiful, I assumed he must have been interested in her. It took a really long time for me to accept that perhaps he wasn't lying, that he might have actually had no romantic interest in her. I projected my own painful feelings onto them both. I admit I still wrestle internally with myself where she is concerned. Deep down, I'm fearful that I caught their friendship just before something more became of it.
Don't get me wrong, I was jealous already before that woman ever came along. But the situation involving her really ignited the embers of my insecurities and my jealousy has been raging out of control ever since. I admit I go through his phone sometimes. I check his Facebook messages. He says that he feels like I'm looking for something to get mad about, that I'm looking for something wrong with him. I can't say I blame him. From his perspective, that really must look like what I'm doing.
I want to trust him but I don't.
Every human relationship I've ever seen in my life has been mucked up by infidelity. In most cases, the infidelity goes unbeknown to the one who is being cheated on. My mother, every one of my five siblings, cousins, just about everyone I knew in my youth and adulthood cheated on their significant others.
In addition, I was physically, sexually, and emotionally abused by immediate family members. Almost all of them. Not just the males. One of the things I hear myself saying most often during my arguments with Brad is that I am so afraid that he will stop loving me because, in my mind, it doesn't make sense for him to love me.
What would make sense would be for him to use me, discard me, manipulate me, destroy me just like everyone else I have known.
But he doesn't ever do that. After almost eight years together, he hasn't let me down in the way that I have been afraid he might. He really has put up with a lot from me, where my jealousy is concerned. I have driven him to his wit's end. But he stays.
I don't want my own damage and my insecurities to hurt him anymore, when he most likely is not doing anything wrong at all. I want to trust him with my whole heart so that I never feel it necessary to go through his phone or read his messages on social media again.
Jealousy is like an obsession. It's like a greed almost. It hurts that object of your obsession. Love should make both partners feel free, not trapped or controlled. So the first step I take to control this raging jealousy inside me is to just take it day by day and not look at his personal messages or go through his phone. Ninety percent of the time, there's nothing there anyway, and I just feel guilty after I finish checking it. Really, what was I looking for? Just another reason to be mad at him? Another reason to start a fight?
Instead of grabbing onto him and obsessing over him like an object, I also decided to start treating him with the same kind of courtesy and consideration I would someone I am not in a romantic relationship with. It has really helped to share things with him about my day when he gets home, instead of fretting over what he may have done when he was gone. If I think of something funny, or see it online, I share it with him. Laughing together is almost like medicine for couples.
I have had a tendency to get jealous when he laughs, smiles, and has fun with other people, particularly people he plays online games with. So I've made sure to be someone he also feels he can laugh and have fun with. Not only does it relieve him of the proverbial stranglehold of my jealousy, it also alleviates my own fear and anxiety to see his dazzling, brilliant smile and know that it's for me and that he feels carefree in that moment.
I put forth effort. Doing so gives me a sense of accomplishment.
When I feel jealousy welling up inside me, I stop and try to think about the situation objectively. I remind myself of the things he has had to say to me over and over, argument after argument. I remind myself that he has never gone back on those things or shown me that he wasn't sincere.
He says things like, "I'm not going anywhere," and "You're the one that I chose."
It helps to almost meditate over those phrases, to remember the honesty in his voice when he said them.
As far as learning to trust completely, as the saying goes, I'm going to have to fake it until I make it. I don't want to hurt him anymore with my own internal problems that aren't his fault and have nothing to do with him. I need to understand that not everyone is like the messed up, filthy gene pool I was lucky enough to run away from. If I can control my emotions, tame my overthinking, I really think I can be happy. And I know he'll be happier, too.