My husband and I have been married for 5 years and have two toddler boys. He is a wonderful father but has been unemployed and looking for work for some time now.
My husband has always showed some jealously and possessiveness but the intensity fluctuates and is now getting worse. He is obsessed about any relationships I had before I met him and thinks that I’m unfaithful to him, especially at work. I hold a pretty senior position at work and have to travel a lot. He usually calls me, when I’m on travel, to accuse me of the worst things. He believes that he has proof of my infidelity and flirtations. For example, he refuses to go back to one of my favorite restaurants because he thinks that I flirted with one of the waiters in front of him. He says the fact that the waiter filled my glass with water and not his is proof. He also says that he knows I’m “lusting” after someone if he sees me bite my bottom lip. He once accused me of looking at the preacher’s crotch during church. Lately, he has been accusing me of dressing to impress men at work whenever I put on a “power suit” or take extra care with my make-up. He is suspicious if I take an 1.5 hr. lunch brake and insists that I lie about all the meetings I have to attend.
The issue is that this behavior is not constant but it does happen at least once a month and when it does happen he says the most hurtful things to me. It hurts that he is always questioning my integrity. He is not physically abusive and is a good father, but I’m at a loss about what to do. I also find that his “episodes” of insane jealously seem to be triggered by anything. If I’m too tired to make love, he accuses me of wanting someone else. If I forget to tell him that he is a “good husband” or “good father” on father’s day, then he gets into a jealous rage and begins accusing me.
Any advice is helpful.
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Jealousy is, perhaps, one of the greatest destroyers of relationships and marriages than any other. The reason is that it creates feelings of anger and frustration in the one who is being accused of infidelity, and is extremely painful for the one who harbors these suspicions. In reality, suffering afflicts both partners in the relationship. What causes jealousy?
There are many explanation for the causes of this emotion. The driving force behind one persons jealousy varies greatly among those who display this irrational suspicion.
Some of the roots of jealousy:
1. The jealous individual has such low self esteem that it’s impossible for him to believe he deserves love.
2. Difficulties with feeling of attached to others with resulting feeling of insecurity and the self perceived need to hold on.
3. The need to control others. This need is expressed through jealousy. The jealousy masks a wish to manipulate the partner.
4. Anyone one of these factors are reinforced by the lack of commitment in the world today, as reflected in the high rate of divorce.
5. Jealousy fueled by the accomplishments of the partner.
6. Depression that goes along with poor self esteem.
7. Deep seated feelings of anxiety and the need for constant reassurance.
These seven do not represent all the possible dynamics behind jealousy.
Even though your husband exhibited jealousy early in your marriage, the fact that he has been unemployed for a long time only serves to worsen his emotional state. It’s important to understand that this is not your fault. With employment being at an all time low in the world today, stress and depression are rampant. People derive a lot of self esteem from their employment. Your husband’s sense of security in the world has taken a beating as a result of being unable to find work. In my opinion, he will feel much better once he has a job. Everyone wants to feel worthwhile.
On the more positive side of this problem is the fact that, at lower levels of intensity, jealousy is a compliment because it says a lot about how in love he is with you. Naturally, at this level, it is beyond what is endurable because you feel harangued by him.
What are some possible remedies for your marriage problems? While there are some things you can do, there is no guarantee they will work. For example, you travel for work and are away from home a certain percentage of time. It’s a good idea for the two of you to spend quality time together when you are home. That can be difficult with two toddlers but, perhaps you can hire a baby sitter or have a family member serve as a sitter. That way, the two of you can go to dinner and have a romantic time, go to the movies, spend time together where you can be affectionate and sexual with one anther. I’ve known couples who will do this by spending a romantic night in a hotel. Costly? Yes, but well worth the investment in terms of nurturing the relationship. Remember, having babies takes it’s toll on most marriages. When you add all the ingredients you mention, it is that much more burdensome. Hugs and kisser always help, talking and sharing work experiences when you come home after a full day, asking about the job search, providing help in that search and showing interest in what is happening with you husband and sharing what is happening with you.
These things may not cure his jealousy but they may serve to relieve at least some of it. Maintaining a healthy marital relationship is like tending to a garden, it needs lots of attention, watering and fertilizing to raise a healthy and happy crop.
In the end, if these problems persist despite all of this, it’s a good idea to seek marriage therapy.
Best of Luck