I am jealous and doubt his love

-- Question for John --

My boyfriend and I went to a club last Saturday. He told me about this girl that he had sex with less than two years ago. He saw her at the club we were at Saturday and was talking to her. I became extremely upset and jealous with him, so we left. He told me who she was and that upset me even more. The next day I felt really bad and apologized to him.

He said that it was okay. Last night he told me that he’s been reminiscing about his old buddies and would like to keep in touch with them. From what he told me about his old buddies is that they party and have many different girlfriends at one time.

Tonight he is going out with one of his friends to see his old friend play with his band at a club. I think my boyfriend has been a little distant lately. He says it’s a combination of the weather, post-holiday stress, and money.

I’m trying to let go because I know that the jealousy is my problem and I should not inflict it on him at all. I have been doubting his love for me lately. He tells me he loves at least once a day. He holds me often. I’m not very good at relationships and from this point on, I really don’t know what to do. Do I go with the flow and relax or do I continue to analyze until I go crazy? I feel like my heart is all twisted up.

-- Answer from John --

If you can relax more, that would be excellent. Problem is, the emotions may just keep coming up anyway, no matter what you “decide” you should do. They have a life of their own.

And analysis does not exactly fix the emotions, either, because it stays in the mind, kind of like a squirrel running around in a cage.

I agree that there is alot that is just “yours” there in the emotional realm to deal with. Much of it’s old baggage and old sensitivities and other things that you — like most of us — carry around in life until we finally get down to committing ourselves to heal them.

You are moving into a new level of relationship. And you say you aren’t good at relationships. But who is, exactly, at your age?

What you have in front of you is a challenge. And an opportunity. I would advise that you start looking at the opportunity side of the equation.

It works like this. Stuff comes up in a romantic relationship. Especially as the honeymoon period moves into the phase of challenges, insecurities, upsets, jealousies, power struggles, etc., etc.

Every relationship moves into this phase. Not all couples make it. As you know.

It’s the challenge phase. But why does this happen? Is it some kind of sick cosmic joke on us humans, who just really want to have love work out the way we dream it can? Are we given a honeymoon dream that always gets popped like a balloon, and then all we have is difficult emotions to deal with? What’s that about, anyway?

Many many people get lost at this phase of love. It is almost like entering a place where shadows appear as real. Only they are our own shadows, lurking in the dark of our deeper emotional selves, the place of old baggage, old wounds, old fears, old sensitivities.

We might hope that all this stuff would just clear out at the sight of true love. And it seems like that, in the honeymoon. But the reality is that our “stuff” is still in there.

And at some point, as the relationship grows on us, and we grow more and more attached to it, our fear levels do go up, and our “stuff” starts coming up more strongly.

If you are a pessimist or cynic, then you might say it’s a sign that the relationship is not the right one, or that love sucks.

If you are fearful, then you might pull away, run away, blame the other person, fall apart.

I do not recommend either course. I encourage you to summon up your courage (love is not for wimps) and see the positive side of what appears and feels so negative at time.

What positive side? It’s this:

Love brings up our “stuff” for healing. Relationships will rub on our rough spots, to give us the opportunity to polish ourselves. What you need to see is that what is coming up is not in the relationship at all — it is in you — and the very reason it is coming up right now — if you really tell the truth — is that you want to heal it, to become more whole inside, to emerge with greater inner strength and be able to keep moving forward to greater love.

Anyway, you can move in the direction of healing and wholeness if you dedicate yourself to doing it. And if you then seek out tools and new learnings that can assist you to do the work in the relationship and in yourself.

This is more or less where I see you are at. It’s like standing at a gateway. There are frightening monsters guarding the gate. You have to pass through the gate to get to the other side. Fear is natural for where you are right now.

Having these problems is actually just a sign you are at that gateway. On the other side is a deeper sense of solidity in yourself and in the relationship. But you have to face the monsters and move through the gate.

Ultimately, this is something you will have to do at some point in your life in order to succeed in relationship. Why not now?