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Insane Jealousy


Dear Dr Schwartz

My partner of the last 18 months is displaying thoughts and behaviors that are scaring me and causing a lot of emotional stress. He is what I call “insanely” jealous.  I dont know what else to call it. He wakes up in the morning after we slept in the same bed the whole night, go and inspect the house and be convinced that I entertained another man during the night in our house!! He follows me to work, not believing I go to work  I have a high profile management position at a large company.  He even drives me 100 km when I have to travel for meetings, and pitch up at the venue to check on me. When I go to the bathroom at work and miss a call from him he suspects the worste. I cannot be one minute late coming home because then there is trouble.

When we are in public and men just look at me, he suspects me of having affairs with them. I cannot go out with friends, have my nails done or go out shopping anymore. When I get sms’s from my bank on transactions, he freaks out and thinks its my “other boyfriends.” If I don’t eat well, or if I eat too much, or can’t sleep, or sleep to much,  to him it all they are all signs of other men. The fact that I dress with care for work in order to look professional and well groomed, he takes to mean that I dress to attract other men and accuses me of dressing for them.

I am at a total loss. I have tried everything and  am totally forthcoming and transparent about everything. I spend all my free time when with him. I”ve talked and pleaded with him. I check in with him regularly and on my own initiative in order to update him on where I am and what I am doing. I give him loads of affection and attention. Everything I do he just interprets as cheating. Unfortunately, he then starts to drink to cope with the feelings, and then things get ugly and abusive. I cannot express to you the hurt, anguish, stress and total helplessness that I am going through. I’m a nervous wreck.

Please advise!!

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Is it any wonder that you feel like a nervous wreck? Who would not under the circumstances that you so graphically and poignantly describe. There are several problems I must point out to you and then some advice. Remember, the only information I have to go on is what you have written here. What I will say falls into the category of “impressions” and not facts or diagnoses and into the catergory of “just my opinion.” You really need to go for some psychotherapy for your self in order to get some immediate support and help. Here goes:

1. I have the sense that you might be dealing with a man who suffers from a paranoid type personality disorder. Attempting to assure him and attempting to plead with him and do everything “right” like checking in with him during the day, is akin to trying to fill a bucket with water when its got a huge hole in its bottom. It will never fill. He will never be assured.

2. His apparent statement that he drinks in order to deal with his stress is nothing but an excuse to drink. He may not know this consciously because he does not seem to be a self aware man, not to me, anyway, but my guess is that he has a drinking problem. Paranoia and drinking go together.

As for advice to you, let me say this: In my opinion, there is no reason for you to continue to stay with him. He behaves totally inappropriately with you around issues of work, even insisting on driving you to meetings when you should go to them by yourself.

He interferes with your ability to function at work by insisting that you be available to take his calls and that is inappropriate. Whether it is that you go to the ladies room or are at a meeting, he should not be interrupting you at work.

You have a right to dress as you wish, whether its for work or for liesure.

You have a right to enjoy other men looking at you because you are attractive and that would happen whether you are married or single, as it should.

You have a right to go out with your friends without him present.

You are not married to this man and have been with him for only 18 months. It seems to me that you should end this relationship as soon as possible. You have done all you can. In my opinion, he will not change and if you marry him, you will condemn yourself to a marital prison for the rest of your life: In My Opinion.

You are not married, there are no children and you have a future. My advice? Cut you losses and get going. Free yourself of an intolerable situation that could become physically abusive in the near future.

That is my opinion.

I wish you the very best of luck.

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists

  • Dee

    Good advice. Get out alive. It can and will get worst. This is a form of domestic abuse. Google characteristics of a battering spouse and you will probably understand better about your partner and his traits. It may not start out with violence but the demands and attempts at control can increase and the situation may even get worst, even unecpectedly fatal. Take this advice. Get out alive.

  • D.

    I absolutely agree - if you haven't yet, do anything in your power to end this relationship, but beware of possible violence that mey ensue.

    As a man who experienced alost the same treatment from his (female) partner - I can only confirm that it will probably get worse. And if you should have children together - the vicious circle will affect them, too.

    Lastly, you seem to have nailed the term: insane jealousy, because there is an excellent book by the same name on this subject. When I read it - it was like a revelation: :so that's what it is", and "I'm not alnoe in this nightmare".

    Good luck!

  • chris

    You are not alone by all means...I am just ending a marriage of 35 years because "according to my husband" I gave a man a hug in my living room (someone he coached little league baseball with) and I lived 8 years of hell with his telling me it was more than that. It was either a simple hello or goodbye greeting, I don't even remember the episode. When I thought about it, it has been a horrible problem since the beginning. I knew there was mistrust amonst his parents and thought I could make him different with constant love and reassurance. He was the love of my life. I am now afraid of him, he does not want the children in the house (they are grown and only come to visit) but actually diplays anger from jealousy of them. He also drinks and is at his worse. The name calling and accusations are no longer tolerable. He ruins every holiday and vacation, treating me badly for things he believes. He left the house Monday night, theatening to come back this monday for the mortgage. He keeps me in the house by using my paychecks for house expenses and leaving me nothing. If you are not married, get out while you can. Be careful though. At the age of 57 I was on the streets at 4:30 in the morning, because of his rages. It will not end. Best of luck to you.....

  • Jules

    Yes, its been a year and i broke it off last week. Similar stuff to the initial poster - if i wore nail polish or lipstick he'd comment, he would say i was flirting, staring at men, i wasn't , didnt even notice them, he accused me of seducing his friends, would kind of stalk me.....

    i think the paranoia is related to alcohol, it got 10 x worse when he drank. I think as time goes on I will realise just how weird and dysfunctional it really was, you kind of get used to it, though in the end of course, i realised no future, and hey, im not married to him. Get out I say, better off single.


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