Dear Wendy: “Am I Just Being Crazy Jealous?”
I’m 25 and my husband is 23 and we have been married nine months, known each other for nearly five years, and dated for two before we got married. In the whole time I’ve known him, he has never done anything to make me not trust him: no weird texts and not a single white lie; I have never found anything he was hiding. But lately, I have been feeling a little uneasy about a girl he works with. He used to hang out with a certain group of people at work and then this new girl came into the group. She got transferred into a different department and now he wants to get into that department, too. She is going to an event this weekend — an event I used to go to every year and that my husband, in the five years I’ve known him, had no interest in at all — but now he wants to know “if I want to go.” One day I stayed home from work and we made plans to go to lunch, but he decided that, instead, we were going with the work friends, including her, and I got angry after I realized we weren’t doing what we had planned. He turned the car around halfway to lunch with his friends and brought me back home and left me there a crying mess, letting me know, “I was just being a bitch and he wasn’t going to let me just have my way.” Am I just being crazy, jealous and insecure? The nagging feeling won’t go away. — Nervous Newlywed
OK, so let’s look at the evidence: your husband wants to switch departments (to the one the new girl was recently transferred to), he’s suddenly interested in an event he was indifferent to for the last five years, and he wanted to eat lunch with friends on a day you had plans to eat lunch with just the two of you. I wouldn’t exactly call these pieces of evidence “incriminating.” It’s not terribly unusual for a 23-year-old guy to evolve and desire new challenges at work or to want to hang out with his friends. But I’m going to guess this new girl you’re so worried about is attractive, and that that’s really the most “incriminating” evidence of all. And if that’s the case, it’s pretty unfair to hold that against your husband.
But let’s give your gut feeling the benefit of the doubt here and say that maybe your husband does have a little work crush on this new girl, and you’re feeling threatened. It’s possible that a work crush is all it is, and that your husband of nine months, who has been nothing but trustworthy in the five years you’ve known him, has absolutely no interest or intention of doing anything unsavory or inappropriate with this woman. Maybe he just likes having a little eye-candy to help the boring workday go by a bit faster. Still, calling you a “bitch” and leaving you at home a “crying mess” — as melodramatic as that may have been on your part — is unnecessary at best and incredibly hurtful at worst. I’d have a talk with him about how you’re feeling threatened by this new pretty girl at work and him treating you like you’re “crazy” doesn’t help ease your anxiety. Pay attention to his response to you. If he’s reassuring and apologetic, you’ve probably been overreacting. But if he acts defensive and dismissive of your feelings, you may have reason to worry and I’d keep an eye out for any future red flags regarding this woman.
I’ve been in a relationship with a great guy for two years — my first serious relationship. We’ve had our ups and downs (mainly when he’s been afraid of commitment), but we have so much fun together: we laugh, we talk for hours, and we’re really attracted to each other. Now, he’s finally ready to take the next step. The problem is, something has changed for me. About three weeks ago, I stopped feeling the same excitement and as a result, started doubting my feelings for him. Maybe the honeymoon has finally ended, and this is how it feels to be a in a long term relationship. I’ve always been a person who worries and over-analyzes. The old feelings (“gaga” over him, butterflies in the stomach) have come back a few times over the last few weeks. My gut tells me not to end the relationship, but why have my feelings changed so suddenly? How can I stop focusing on my doubts and start focusing on the things I love about him? Is it normal to reach this point in a relationship? Should we stay together? — Suddenly Second Thoughts
Unlike a honeymoon, a honeymoon period doesn’t simply end overnight. It fades out over time. When feelings suddenly change so dramatically without warning, there’s usually an inciting incident, and in your case it was your boyfriend telling you he’s ready to take the next step. For the last two years there was safety in you having strong feelings for him because your future together was still just a fantasy; you didn’t have to deal with the reality of a true commitment. Now you do, and it’s scary.
If your gut is telling you not to end things with your boyfriend and you’re serious about working through your issues, try to pinpoint what it is about the idea of the “next step” — whatever that means for you guys — that scares you. Where are you worries stemming from? Maybe you’re afraid that having more of your boyfriend means having more to potentially lose. If that’s the case, try to find comfort in the two years you already have together under your belt. This isn’t an impetuous decision to rush your relationship. You’ve had lots of time to get to know each other — to tune in to each other’s frequencies, so to speak, and hopefully learn how to communicate well together. So take this opportunity to talk with your boyfriend about you fears. If you want to “start focusing on the things you love about him,” the best place to start is, duh, with him. Let him remind you why you’re good together and why you need to put your fears to rest.
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