Welcome back to Motherlode’s once-a-month feature, “Inside His Head” which is written by an anonymous panel of husbands. If you’ve got a question for our outspoken guys, just send it to mamas@nwaMotherlode.com and it may be featured in an upcoming installment. Now on to this month’s question from an annoyed wife:
Q: My husband is really the “jealous type” and I’m tired of it. I’ve never given him any reason to think that I would cheat (and never have), but he still badgers me about where I’ve been and who I’ve been there with. Anything I can do to help make him feel more secure or is it a lost cause?
MAVERICK: You describe him as “the jealous type.” This means he’s jealous by nature or through a whole lot of learned behavior. It’s like saying “He’s a beer drinker” or “He loves football.” It’s a key part of his nature now, so you’re pretty much hosed.
Most guys who are really jealous types — not guys who on rare instances act jealous — have it ingrained in their personality. They’ve received positive reinforcement over the years from women who thought his wanting to beat up guys who looked at them was attractive and not creepy.
It’s been my experience a lot of women like it when their fellas act jealous during the courting period but then find the whole thing a bother once they’re married.
So, if you look hard, I bet your “jealous type” husband is, and has been all the time, a control freak who at his core is a little boy who fears some big bully is gonna take away his toys (in this case, you.)
And so we come to the main question, “is there something I can do to make him feel more secure?” I gotta say no. No matter what you do or say he’s still gonna be insecure. It’s who he is. He’s insecure. That’s why he thinks everybody wants to steal you from him. It’s not romantic. He’s weak, greedy and pathetic.
If you married this kind of guy I find it difficult to believe you didn’t know what he was like before you said “I do” so you knew what you were getting into. Can his nature be changed and his behavior re-programmed? Maybe. Is it likely? No. Good luck, you have a tough road ahead of you, jealousy is toxic to a marriage, and I don’t think there’s a reliable antidote.
GRAY: Jealousy is inherently about insecurity, and there are a number of things you can do to make him feel more secure, the most important being communication. While his questions might bug the heck out of you, the worst thing you could do is to quit answering them, as it’ll only feed his paranoia more. But try to go beyond simply answering questions, and figure out why he needs to ask them. Did a girl do wrong by him in high school? Do issues go back into his childhood? Finding the source of the insecurity may help you both figure out how to fight the jealous streak.
Include him in some outings so he’s familiar with the people you’re around when you’re not with him. Most likely, if he knows and trusts your friends, he’ll feel more secure about what’s going on when you’re out on the town with the girls or other guys. The way a lot of men seem to deal with jealousy is through control, and I’m not suggesting he picks who you can be friends with, but knowing some of them may make him feel a little less green eyed.
And it never hurts to assure him of your feelings for him. Though it may make you steamed to keep defending yourself from cheating accusations, saying something like “If you accuse me of cheating again, I’ll do it” will only make the situation worse than ever.
Instead, let him know you love him too much to ever consider cheating. The more you make him feel secure about your feelings, the less jealous he’ll be.
Don’t rule out professional help. As much as it might infuriate you, it’s more disruptive to him. Some cures for deep-seated insecurity are best left to the pros, especially if jealousy drives him to do things beyond badgering you with questions, such as calling you constantly, unexpectedly showing up at your place of work or, worse yet, following you around town.