Fulfillment at Any Age

How to remain productive and healthy into your later years

Are You Stuck in the Jealousy Trap?

In every close relationship, there’s at least some jealousy. However, jealousy that reaches pathological levels, called “morbid jealousy,” can ruin not only the relationship but also your mental health. New advances in treating such extreme jealousy provide ideas for ways to fix your own jealousy problems. Read More


What is you've already been lied to by an individual you're dating. Perhaps I'm trying to justify the situation because I'm in love with this person, but is this an excusable offense if I admit to having these morbidly jealous sypmtoms? Could my being overly jealous have caused him to maintain a lie for 2 years?





Jealousy and lies

Thanks for these tips. I suffer from generalized anxiety, and like 'Thanks' I have been lied to by my partner. Of course, both of these 'feed' jealousy. Although using CBT techniques help, sometimes the voices in my head are far louder than the CBT counter-arguments. So much so that I begin feeling like a rat in a maze. If only people who lie would realize how destructive lying is - not only to the person who's being lied to, but to their own credibility. And catching them in a lie seems only to provoke more lies to cover up the original lie. Perhaps you could write a follow-up article on why people lie.

What are you asking that receives a lie and what are your agreements?

So many people enter relationships assuming their new partner wants the same parameters to the relationship they desire. They do not broach the subject until the relationship is well down the path and honesty has become more complicated because the other assumed so much.
Relationships can be defined in as many ways as there are individuals. I have known happy couples who spent every day together for 30 years, working side-by-side and playing together, too. I have known other couples where one partner could not even describe the basics of what her mate did for a living (No, it was not espionage). Some couples want monogamy others want poly, some want an open relationship, some a closed. I have a friend who would see her husband as cheating if he had a business lunch meeting with a woman and it was just the two of them. My partner frequently has business meetings with a variety of women (and men) and I am not in the least concerned.
At the beginning of our relationship we defined what we both wanted. We both want a monogamous relationship. We went forward on that basis. It is the type of relationship I want at this stage of life and it is also what he wants. There is mutual trust and although both of us often travel solo and work with members of the opposite sex (we are hetero) neither of us exhibit any jealousy. I certainly do not feel any. I am confident he is in the relationship he wants to be in and that he understands the parameters and the consequences if the parameters are violated. I have no desire to enforce the rules. If I have to enforce the rules by being vigilant I am in the wrong relationship.
There is no reason for lies between us as what we want and what we have are in harmony. Now, let's assume one of us wanted an open relationship but we did not voice that desire because we assumed it would mean we'd loose this person we were interested in. So we enter the relationship with dishonesty at the beginning. Dishonesty will be required to maintain the fallacy we have entered into.
But...on many levels we know when we are being lied to. We lie to ourselves to cover it up...the person we assume wants a monogamous relationship...why didn't we ask? We did not ask because on some level we knew the answer was not as we wanted it to be but we were not willing to risk losing a budding relationship with the truth.
The key is to put it all out there before it matters too much.
There are perfect mates for all variety of relationship types. I have friends who are Polly, I have friends with open relationships, I have friends married to individuals of the same gender, I have friends who won't divorce no matter how miserable they are and others who won't marry no matter how much they love the person. For those who have made an honest agreement about what type of relationship they want...all these variations work well.
The lies come when the agreement is dishonest in the beginning. Also, if someone does not know their self well enough to know what they really want.

Recieving End

I am male and 56 years old. After trying to understand what is happening to my wife and indirectly to me I stumbled onto "Morbid Jealousy" on Wiki. I am honest to a fault, do not flirt and have never had an affair. Professionally I have never even had a cup of coffee with another woman.

In 2005 my wife began with "you have a girlfriend". It has become progressively worse since then. Numerous cell phone calls at work (60 plus a day)checking laundry, trying/spying to catch me, hidden voice recorders etc. About 5 years ago she decided she knew who it was. The anger over the perceived betrayal inflamed her even more. I could go on but I think the above sets the understanding.

I hang in there because I know I have been honest and loyal. I have done everything I can think of to minimize her fears to no avail. This includes not working for the past 3 years to be by her side. It didn't help. I knew it had to be something else. With the rarity of this condition no one could offer any insights. Most just said she was unhappy or broken and that I should leave her. The other mentality with extended family and friends is "why would she say/feel this way if there is nothing to it". Her condition is the epitome of "Morbid Jealousy". I feel for her and it breaks my heart to see her going through this and I can do nothing to help her.

As I've mentioned I have hung in there for 9 years with the last 5 being absolute hell. While I have previously tried to research this it was only 2 days ago that I discovered the Wiki page. To try to talk to her about this inflames her more. The response is "your saying this is all in my head you lowdown SOB" and down hill from there. When she eventually runs out of energy and burns herself out (days or weeks)she cries hard and then is okay for a while (a few days or maybe a couple of weeks). When she is not doing this she is a wonderful compassionate loving person.

My point is this. In this case it doesn't have anything to do with whether I'm faithful, telling the truth or facts at hand. She believes it to be true so therefor it is. Reason and rational have no bearing whatsoever.

This is a horrific condition for her, our grown children and myself. If anyone has any thoughts on how I might approach her to suggest treatment it would be of great help.

Thank you for reading this.

I can only empathise with

I can only empathise with your plight.

I have always been monogamous, but after 27 years of reasonably successful marriage, my husband decided that I had an affair, based on a dream he had. He has always drunk alcohol to excess and became increasingly passive-aggressive. Over a 12 week period he became incredibly anxious and frustrated because I refuted his bizarre allegation. He declined interventions offered by his Doctor, the nature of delusion being that he 'knows' he doesn't have a problem, ensuring he does not take responsibility and will receive no definitive diagnosis. I showed the Wiki page to the Doctor, who agreed that the symptoms he had witnessed match Morbid Jealousy/Othello Syndrome. My husband became so desperate to prove my "guilt", he began to believe our grown-up children were colluding with me and that I was having multiple affairs. He stole substantial amounts of cash from our joint savings & sexually assaulted me as a way of asserting his control. He stalked us, became increasingly aggressive and threatened to hospitalise my "boyfriend", which was reported to the Police. Injunctions are in place to keep him away, and I have had to file for divorce to stop his attempts to menace/controlling behaviour. Terrifying and isolating to be on the receiving end of this delusional behaviour, he is a stranger to our kids and me. His family believe his lies, rather than having a balanced approach or accept there is a mental health difficulty in the family. The prognosis is not good, with or without treatment. He is at increased risk of suicide. He is a danger to our children and me and we have been told that we cannot help him. His behaviour and beliefs have ended a relationship that spanned 3 decades. I loved him deeply and exclusively. In line with advice from Police, Domestic Abuse Unit & Doctor, our kids & I will have relocate.

Sorry I can't offer you a solution, only shared experience.

I am sort of in the same

I am sort of in the same situation.

I quit a great job because I was on a team with 3 guys and 1 woman (engineers). I could not get into a situation with no women on the team.

Now, since we have used up all our savings, she wants me to start working again. I have said that I refuse to get back into the same situation, because the last 2 years have been pretty fantastic.

Not only have I spent a lot of time with the kids, but working from home on my "own project" meant I do not meet any women.

So I have this great offer, being able to work as a consultant. Everything is great, but just before signing the paper, my wife wants to ensure that I never have any women around me at work, never travel (this is a >$200/hour job with pan-european teams, it is hard not to travel).

So I tell her that I am not going to take the job unless we write up a contract on what behavior is ok. I am hoping that getting this in writing will help, but I am probably delusional myself.

I wonder what I can tell her. Maybe get it in writing that we will seek counceling regarding morbid jealousy if this arises?

When young, my wife used amphetamine, and I know her mother is afraid and nervous of lots of things, so in a way I think this is a brain issue. I feel that there should be a medical solution to this, but I do not know how to proceed.

"sort of in the same"

Your looking at it rationally. There is nothing rational about this condition. This is a progressive condition that gradually gets worse. My advice is to get help now! while you can. Refer to it as "Othello Syndrome" and morbid jealousy. This is a rare condition and you need to inform your mental health professional. My belief is it is a treatable condition if you can get the person to realize it is happening to them.

They think, therefore it is. It is there reality and they believe it as much as you know its not true.

I have not been successful. It has been a very sad thing to watch my wife go through this and be unable to help her. Any suggestion of getting help only intensifies her delusions. She is now in a very fragile state mentally and emotionally. Short of an epiphany I don't know what would save her/us.

This condition does everything it can to protect itself. Talk to your family doctor, family members and make arrangements with a mental health professional. Bottom line, GET HELP NOW!!

Good luck. My prayers are with you.

Morbid Jealousy

I am a former sufferer, where this thing hit my like a rock! I just switched after bursting into tears following vivid images of my girlfriend and her ex partners. it was like watching a video of her with someone else in a sexual manner.
I realised it wasnt right when grilling my girlfriend about her past relationships, so i asked her to take me somewhere to get help as i was ready to commit suicide!
I walked into the A&E Dept. where they immediately gave me a cocktail of tablets, it brought it down a little but still wasnt great after about a month of suffering i decided to get myself sectioned! That alone made me stand up and realise. I had CBT which really helped, But my strength and my want to get better pulled me through. But the biggest help was my girlfrriend now my wife was with me every step of the way.
Basically what i am trying to say is you can get through it, its hard you dont see a way out but you have to stay positive.
Not sure this will help in any way, but i hope it does.

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Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her latest book is The Search for Fulfillment.


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