Western Producer February 14, 2002
Q: I've been living with my boyfriend for 3 months now. He gets upset when I want to spend time with my friends, because he wants me to spend that time with him. But I include him in my plans when spending time with other people. He says, "we work all week, I'd like to spend time with you on the weekends". But where does that leave me time for other people?
He tells me I want the best of both worlds. I keep telling him that I need to keep in contact with my family and friends. I feel like he's treating me like a child. He tries to ground me. He calls me at work asking if I'm coming straight home. Iff I need to stop somewhere after work, he asks how long will it take. He kids around a lot about me being with someone else.
I have a lot of friends who want to spend time with me. There are times I need to be around girlfriends. I have some very good friends who want to get together and have a girls' night. I am hesitating telling him about this, because I know he won't approve. I also have been asked out for an evening by people I work with, for a few drinks, but I know he won't like the idea of me going to a bar. He thinks I will get hit on.
I know he's very insecure. He keeps telling me he doesn't want to lose me. But if he doesn't stop acting this way, he will lose me. I love him dearly. He's a very caring, passionate person, but I don't like the way he's controlling part of my life.
A: His jealousy is not only harmful to your relationship, but may lead him to use even more controlling behaviors with you in the future. A person does not own their partner. Everyone one deserves to have some life of their own, whether they are dating, living together or married.
When a person expects you to merge into their life and not have thoughts, feelings or social time of your own, he is being abusive
. You have to be firm with him that a relationship with you involves: his trusting you, his letting you have personal space and time with friends and family, his not expecting you to be responsible or take care of his insecurity, his recognizing and dealing with his unhealthy jealousy.
Love and passion can be a dangerous emotion. It can blind you with jealousy, which can easily end up in physical abuse or harm. The more he feels panicky about losing you, the greater the risk he will argue with you, try to manipulate you, perhaps stalk you, blow up at you, or, often without warning, even become physically aggressive with you. Jealousy and the fear of losing someone are very dangerous emotions.
You can't change or cure him of his insecurity. He has to realize and accept that his attitude and behavior are unhealthy and potentially dangerous. You can assure him you love him, but be firm about your need to love and take care of yourself as well.
You need to get more information about unhealthy jealousy in a relationship. In Saskatchewan, check the hotpeachpages in your phone book, or on the internet, go to http://www.hotpeachpages.org/
Patricia Evans has written several good books on dealing with verbal and emotionally abusive relationships. The book Asserting yourself: a practical guide for positive change by Bower and Bower teaches excellent ways to express yourself politely and firmly with controlling or aggressive people.