Jealousy is getting in the way

Dear Guys,

I met a guy at work, 10 years my junior, and we hit it off fairly quickly. He is 40 and I am 50. I initially was just trying to help him in the office because he was new but he later told me that he was very attracted to me. We started dating in August and generally met at coffee shops to talk. We talked on average two hours every night up to four hours a day for two months. It was very intense.

He started getting frustrated about not seeing me more but also unsure about a guy I dated previously. He would call me literally at 4am, 6 am and 8am. I assumed he was attempting to make sure nobody was in the picture so I allowed him to. Apparently, some women at work were feeding him information that I was using him to make my previous man jealous. (The issue was another woman was interested and thought I was in the way. Oh my God!  It was crazy and I hated this kind of situation…too much drama.)

Anyway, as we moved forward, some elements of us were so beautiful but still we had issues with trust. It plagued our relationship since he was cheated on by his ex-wife and that cheating ended a 16 year marriage. I am also divorced after two failed marriages and the last one ended after 11 years after cheating. So here we were, I believed madly in love for six months with arguments starting to get out of hand due to jealousy. That’s when he started to pull away from me and by the six month mark it became very obvious what he was doing.

Here is the situation as it is now. He never directly ended it with me but stated he wanted me to hold on because he has to get his life straightened after the divorce and to give him some space. He is in transition to moving out of state if he finds a job in another state. He stated that he wanted me to move with him and wanted to remarry and he is interested in marrying me. That’s a little touchy for me and not because I don’t love being married but making sure that I am in a good marriage. My heart can’t take another divorce. He stated that he will not wait more than three years. I said I need time because I have been deeply wounded.

He started becoming unavailable after 5 pm on Fridays and difficult to reach on the weekends and I have been furious and told him so. I stopped talking to him at work, via text, calls and emails for three weeks after his disappearing act. I made an attempt to ease the tensions and so we started talking again and I have been trying to be supportive. But he is treating me differently. Am I being a fool? I don’t know why he is treating me this way. It makes no sense at all. He told me a few weeks ago that he has a lot going on and he has kids and trying to make extra money. Why do I have to ask him for information when this was definitely not the man he was all of those months. It’s like I don’t even know him. What am I missing here when it wasn’t a problem before?

Jackie

Dear Jackie,

Thanks for your question.

We don’t think you’re missing anything, because you said it yourself: Jealousy has taken over your relationship and created tension and mistrust. Until the two of you learn to trust one another again, your relationship is going to officially come to an end.

We understand why your man has trust and jealousy issues. He’s been hurt badly, and is still reeling from that. When men get cheated on, it’s a huge blow to our ego, and it makes us question our manhood, and causes us to doubt our worthiness, especially when it comes to sex. Women might question the emotional aspect of the relationship and be hurt by their man establishing a connection with another woman, but all men can think about is sex. We might ask ourselves: Was I not man enough for her? Did I not please her? Is he better than me? Is he bigger than me? Why is he better than me? Can he give her more than me? What does he have that I don’t have? I must not be much of a man. Maybe other women will think the same thing of me? And so on and so on.

You’re dealing with a wounded man Jackie. Probably more so than you originally thought. That doesn’t make him less of a man, it just means he’s complicated and overly sensitive. The minute he presumes to sniff any sort of behavior that might lead him to think that something is amiss, he’s going to pull away and protect himself. That’s what’s changed in your relationship. As things have progressed from the getting-to-know stage to the more serious stage, everything has become more real, more heightened, and now more risky. He’s pulled back because he’s uncertain about how it’s going to turn out. He’s looking for a guarantee that he won’t be hurt again, that you won’t hurt him. But, as you know, relationships don’t work that way.

You might be wondering what type of behavior would cause him to believe that something is amiss. Here are a few.

1. Certainly another man in the picture. Even if you tell him that there’s nothing going on and that he has nothing to worry about, he’ll have a hard time believing you. And this holds true for men who are just your friends. Jealousy can make the imagination go wild.

2. Any sort of change in your behavior might be interpreted as you pulling away. Which would then spiral into him believing that you’re dissatisfied with him for some reason. Another potential blow to his ego.

3. Other people telling him things about you. (Like the rumors he was told from those other women.)

4. Unaccounted for time. (He might wonder why he couldn’t get a hold of you.)

We know you care about this man, but there’s a lot to sort out here, and a lot of issues to work through. Every relationship requires work and compromise. And if both parties are not ready and willing to put the work in, well, that doesn’t bode well for the relationship.

Question: Are you actually ready for a serious relationship? You mentioned that you need time to work through your own past relationships/marriages. Is this something you really want? Is the timing right? Do you really want to move out of state? What if it doesn’t work out? Will you be okay with moving? (These are some questions we think need to be answered by you.)

That said, it’s hard to say whether or not he’s already extracted himself emotionally. The first step is to sit down and have a heart-to-hear talk with him. You need to find out where his head is at. And yours. Only then, can you figure out how you want to proceed.

Let us know if you have any follow-up questions.

Take care,

THE GUYS

ps. Please tell your friends about us. Thanks!

More Relationship Advice and Dating Advice:

Jealousy: Friends with the opposite sex

Break up confusion; will he come back?

 

 

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