My Boyfriend Looks at Other Girls
Jealousy is a common element in many relationships, but it can also be one of the most damaging. Jealousy can tear apart a relationship which had no real problems—except in the minds of its participants. When is jealousy merited, and when is it out of line and unfair?
Ellen from Reno, NV writes:
“The guy I’m dating is really great for the most part, but he looks at other girls. I see him doing it, and it really grates on me. I don’t think he’s cheating on me or anything like that, but I keep wondering if he will cheat on me, or if I’m not good enough to satisfy him. Why does he look at other girls? I hate it and I tell him to stop but he gets really upset when I do and tells me I don’t trust him. Am I being unfair? Isn’t he being unfair to me?”
Jealousy is a common human emotion, and you’re going to feel it now and again. It’s also an emotion which is based on insecurity and distrust—not on anything of concrete value or real meaning. Jealousy can destroy a relationship or an individual even when there is no basis for it—and even when there is, it is far more likely to wreck the relationship than whatever caused the jealousy to begin with.
Why does your boyfriend look at other girls? It’s natural for you to wonder if maybe you’re not everything he needs—and here’s what no one wants to see—but you’re not. No matter how amazing or perfect or extraordinary you were, you will never be all another person needs. Some guys really don’t look at other girls—but they’re a rarity, and they aren’t any “better” than the guys that do. It’s totally natural for guys to look at other girls even after they’re in a committed relationship—and girls to check out other guys when they’re in a committed relationship, too. It doesn’t mean either of you is less committed to the other—it just means you’re human. You’ve probably heard the old concept of appreciating the painting but not feeling any desire to take it off the wall, right? There’s a big difference between appreciating the beauty in another person and wanting to actually act on that.
You did say you don’t think your boyfriend is cheating on you. Cheating is a problem mainly because it is a breach of trust between two people—it’s the lie more than the act which is being lied about which tends to destroy relationships. Jealousy is the flipside of that same coin, though. Jealousy is also a breach of trust. Even though you don’t believe your boyfriend is cheating on you, you behave as if he is by being upset with him—and he feels that mistrust and it feels like a violation of your relationship to him. That’s why he’s upset with you.
Perhaps it’s not that you do mistrust your boyfriend so much as lack confidence in yourself. Based on what you say, that’s probably the root of the issue. Your boyfriend sounds like he wants to be with you, but you don’t believe you can satisfy him and thus you project that uncertainty onto him. Try working on building up confidence in yourself instead of worrying so much about your boyfriend doing something normal and harmless—the root of your jealousy is you, not him. Your boyfriend wants to be with you, so try seeing yourself through his eyes for once—and perhaps you’ll see yourself, and him, in a better light.