If you're losing friends because of your partner's jealousy, you have a serious problem on your hands. Occasional feelings of jealousy and insecurity are totally normal, but losing friendships at the hands of your partner's jealousy is not. According to psychologist Charles Emmrys, Ph.D., you cannot change your jealous partner, but you can learn to deal with him or her, or you can decide to move on.
Jealousy and Suspicion
When you meet somebody new that you really like, it's normal to spend a lot of time with that person at first. However, most people don't want to lose all their other social connections just because they have a new boyfriend or girlfriend. If your partner has asked you to stop hanging out with some of your friends because he's jealous or suspicious, you need to take immediate steps to address the problem before it gets worse. Set clear boundaries right away and insist that he respect them. If you go along with what he's asking you to do, don't expect it to stop there.
Process of Control
According to Emmrys, the jealous partner is often unusually committed and passionate very early in the relationship. This may seem appealing, but it's actually the first stage in a process of gaining control over his partner's life by cutting off her connections to friends and eventually even family members. These relationships often become verbally abusive and physically violent. If your partner doesn't respect your attempt to set boundaries, the only safe thing to do is to leave.
Emmrys suggests having a conversation about ground rules to ensure clear communication. If you haven't had this type of conversation yet but your partner is beginning to show signs of jealous or controlling behavior, have it right away. Both of you should agree that you each have the right to have friends of both sexes, that neither of you has the right to control each others' actions and that you are each responsible for your own behaviors and your own feelings.
Not everyone who displays jealous and controlling behaviors will go on to become an abuser. If you're still early in the relationship and this is only just beginning to be a problem, you can try to change course. According to psychologist Marie Hartwell-Walker on the PsychCentral website, you should confront your partner about the jealous behavior. Insist on your right to have your own friends and to be trusted, and base your decision on his reaction. If he recognizes that the problem is his own behavior, you might be able to work it out with him. If he insists on his right to control your friendships, end the relationship before it goes any further. If he has ever been physically abusive or threatening, seek professional help to end the relationship safely.
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