Q: My girlfriend has become insanely jealous, almost overnight. The problem is how often she calls or texts me and how pissed off she gets when I don’t answer. Yesterday she called four times and sent 11 texts in two hours. I was at work and she knew that. When I called her back, she started screaming about not knowing if I was alive or dead! Nothing else in our relationship has changed. We’re at the six-month mark and I don’t know if it’s going to go much longer. Aside from that, she’s pretty much perfect, but I can’t live in fear of her wrath whenever I can’t answer my phone.
A: She’s not perfect — she’s got control issues. The honeymoon phase of your relationship is over and this raging green monster is your real girlfriend. Every time you apologize for not getting back to her right away or sit quietly while she throws a tantrum, you’re giving in to her controlling nature. Let her know your work schedule (jealous people love transparency in others) and tell her firmly that you can’t take personal calls at work. Let her know that jealousy is a huge turnoff. Your relationship was all positive vibes for the first six months, but now she’s injecting negativity whenever she has the opportunity. Why does she suddenly not trust you? Any bad experience she may have had with other partners at the six-month mark has nothing to do with you now.
Give your girlfriend a chance to curb her jealousy, but be firm and don’t backslide. If she slips up, then set yourself free. You gain nothing (except maybe a stalker) by sticking around to see how much worse her jealousy can get.
Q: My wife and I dated for five years and have been married more than 20. Neither of has ever strayed, post-marriage. She slept with an old boyfriend before we got married, and it pissed me off something fierce, as we were committed but not engaged. I know 100 percent that she’s only slept with this other dude and me. I love her with all my heart. I would never cheat on her. The problem is that before I met her I had many sexual relationships, and every now and then she will ask me how many. All I see coming out of this is a giant can of worms that should be left closed. I tell her whatever I did before I met her is in the past and all that really matters is that I’m head over heels in love with her. She was really pressing the other day. Why should I tell her? How do I answer her? Why does it matter?
A: Unless you’re delivering a load of bullcrap every time the subject of your marital devotion comes up, I doubt there’s any reason to be afraid of opening that can of worms. Whatever your number is — 20, 40, 200 — it’s totally irrelevant to your marriage, and your wife knows that. She’s not going to pack up the kids and stay at her sister’s for a while if it’s higher than she thought it might be. She’s not going to demand names and addresses (for ass-kicking purposes) of all those women you banged before you met her. She’s not going to shame you for sleeping around in your 20s. Most of us did that.
The question you should be asking her and not me is why your number matters. Maybe she wants to use this discussion as a springboard to a different topic, such as opening up your marriage. She might feel like she’s been missing out, having had only two sexual relationships in her whole life. You’ve avoided the question enough times that just getting that information out of you might have become a personal challenge to her. Find out why it’s so important that she knows your magic number, then tell it to her and see what happens. After 25 years of coupled bliss, I promise no worms.