Dear Thelma: Struggling with my overly jealous and sensitive girlfriend


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Those contemplating suicide can reach out to the Mental Health Psychosocial Support Service (03-2935 9935/ 014-322 3392); Talian Kasih (15999/ 019-261 5999 on WhatsApp); Jakim’s family, social and community care centre (011-1959 8214 on WhatsApp); or Befrienders Kuala Lumpur (03-7627 2929/ email befrienders centres in malaysia).

Dear Thelma,

My girlfriend and I have been together for two years now. Both of us are divorced. In the beginning, we dated like a normal couple, but as our relationship became serious and we began discussing marriage, her extreme sensitivity started to surface.

We are both approaching 50, and I planned to settle down with her, even deciding to let her manage our finances. However, her excessive jealousy and sensitivity have slowly affected my personal life, causing me to doubt our relationship, and to fear that I might be heading for another failed marriage.

Here’s how her jealousy issues impact my career and personal life:

She is unhappy if I have attractive female colleagues.

She is unhappy if I have female suppliers or vendors.

She is unhappy if my office desk faces female colleagues. (She has even come to my office to check.)

She has asked me to avoid communicating with attractive female colleagues and not to hire young female candidates.

She forbids me from going out for lunch with female colleagues or suppliers.

If I’m alone during lunch, I must take photos to assure her.

She insists I report any daily work interactions with females.

She checks my phone for any communication with female coworkers or vendors, even if they are strictly work-related.

If I have to travel for work, she insists on accompanying me, fearing I might socialise with female colleagues at night.

Outside of work, even when we are in a shopping mall, she makes a fuss (after we get home) if there are attractive women around. She accuses me of ogling at them; the same thing happens when we are out for lunch or dinner. I have to avoid interactions with pretty salesgirls, even refraining from courtesy smiles.

She gets annoyed by movies, TV shows, or videos with attractive actresses or models and asks me to stop watching them. She also wants social media apps with pretty girls removed from my phone.

I used to hang out with my male friends at cafes, but now I avoid it because she bombards me with questions about attractive women in the cafe.

For the record, I am not a Casanova or womaniser. I don’t party or socialise with women, but her behaviour has created a phobia in me, making me feel guilty.

I’ve tried talking to her about trust in a relationship, but she doesn’t believe in trusting men, especially after her last marriage ended due to her ex’s cheating. I even proposed seeing a counsellor together, but she refused, saying it wouldn’t change her sensitivity.

Honestly, I’m lost and don’t know how to move forward.

Helpless Teddy

Did you read over this letter before you sent it? Because it’s very clear: You don’t have a girlfriend; you have a jailor.

Ask yourself what you would say if your daughter, niece, or junior female executive told you she’s dating a man who accuses her of cheating if she goes to work, shops or watches TV. Would you encourage her to stay in the relationship? Of course not!

The woman you have let into your life is abusive and controlling. In fact, it’s so far beyond the line, that part of me is hoping you’re making it up as a tease.

But if you’re not, please be careful. This is a serious situation, so much so that I’m concerned for your safety.

People who think it’s OK to brutally control and isolate others have no respect and no boundaries. You are experiencing emotional violence. I am concerned because too many emotional abusers think it is OK to add physical violence into the mix. So please be very careful.

I don’t say this often, but I urge you to exit as fast as you can.

Do not seek couples counselling!

Couples counselling is wonderful for two people who are rational and who want to resolve an issue. It’s perfect for open, authentic communication.

However, couples counselling is not recommended where one partner is abusive and controlling. Your partner has already told you why.

It is crystal clear she needs help. She’s refused because she has decided to treat men like enemies. It’s a clear signal she’s OK with being controlling.

If you go for couples counselling, she will simply hijack the process and try to use it to browbeat you into complete submission.

The safe way forward is to exit the relationship before you lose yourself completely.

Leave now and get help for yourself. Look for a mental health professional skilled at dealing with abuse. You need to figure out how you got involved in this and you may have some healing of your own to do.

Hopefully your leaving will shock some sense into her and have her evaluate her values and choices. But that is up to her.

You deserve happiness, so leave, heal, and find someone who is happy to respect others, irrespective of gender. Know I’m thinking of you.

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Relationships , conflict , abuse , jealousy


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