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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Relationships Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I have been involved in a relationship with an extremely jealous and possessive male for the past seven months. No matter how much I give, it never seems to be enough. At times our relationship is beautiful. We enjoy the same activities, music, etc. He is very sensitive, loving, giving, the perfect sex mate, very attentive, etc. The downside is he is always extremely jealous of my friends, my parents, and my children, etc., and he is possessive. He always doubts my love for him. He has wanted me to marry him since the first month after we meet. He would not give our relationship the time that it needed to develop. We have broken up for a couple of weeks at a time after one of these episodes. But I always forgive him and give him another chance. But just as soon as I did, the doubt, jealously, and possessiveness would return.

He always blames me for our problems and says that I am unwilling to make a commitment. I have made a commitment to marry him. We have set several dates to marry. But, then he will get extremely mad about the smallest things and doubt my love for him. When he gets mad and upset it is always to the extreme to the point where there is no way I would honor my commitment. Will he ever be everything to me that he promises and believe in me and trust me? My friends and family do not approve of this relationship because of past damage done. I desperately need your advice.

Answer

The degree of jealousy and possessiveness you describe suggests that his desire to marry you has more to do with controlling you than loving you. Most relationships that progress according to your description end up in disaster. Once you are married, the demands increase and the attentiveness decreases. Your friend's insecurity is a major impediment to intimacy. The sentences that begin with, "If you love me then you would do." Or "If you love me you wouldn't do." are controlling statements, designed to have you do whatever is being requested. Accusing you of not loving him because you behave in a particular manner and then becoming angry is similar to a child having a temper tantrum and accusing mommy of not loving him. These are all signs of an immature personality and do not bode well for a healthy relationship. The statement that it would all change once you marry is probably true it will get worse.

You sound as though you are perceptive enough to recognize that something is seriously wrong with your relationship, yet you seem willing to take considerable abuse. Perhaps you can examine your own neediness. You have no evidence to suggest that your friend recognizes that something is wrong with his behavior. Until he does, there is no reason to suspect that he will change.

3/5/98

Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years. He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation, couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing Bookstore Catalog.

Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.

 

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