© Dr. Dennis Neder
I recently got separated from my wife for the second time due to my jealousy. I know that women respect you less if you show jealousy and fear. How would I go about earning back that respect? She knows I have a jealousy streak and has used it against me in the past.
Jealousy is really personal insecurity. It says that the relationship is more important to you than it is to her, (in your eyes), even if this isn't true. Further, it says that you don't feel good enough about yourself to expect - and demand - that your partner stays true to you.
Let me offer another way to think.
In my personal relationships, I have never had a partner stray. Why not? Because here's my attitude, (which I don't hesitate to share with her), "Hey, if you want to go out and eat hamburger when you have steak at home, that's not my problem! My problem is that I misjudged you as being a person who knew the difference!"
The point of this is that I don't care what she does! I only care what I do, and how I react to things. She knows that I won't tolerate her seeing anyone else and I'll be gone (by my own actions) faster than she can say, "Wait a minute!"
You see, I have rules that I live by. One of them is that I will ONLY spend my limited time with people that can recognize my value, and who's value I can see as well. This is a very high way to live, but it affords me the luxury of not having to worry about what others do.
What about you? Do you see what I'm doing here with this attitude?
Effectively, I'm taking away control from other people and assuming it myself. In other words, nobody is responsible for my feelings but me. I rely on my direction to carry those people along with me that can recognize my worth. In return, I recognize theirs.
Your relationship can be like this too, but it takes a heightened level of responsibility on your part. In other words, you have the responsibility of saying, "I'm not stuck with any one person. Instead, I get to pick and choose whom I'm with based on how they fit in my life." This is something that you build as you build your own self-esteem.
So, what do you do now?
Once you get this idea firmly in your head, and commit with absolute resolve to live it through, you can return to your wife, and say, "Look, I've changed the way I'm living. I am no longer worried about you going outside our marriage. Instead, I'm going to give you responsibility for your own life, like I'm taking responsibility for mine. If we get back together, you know that I expect you to be faithful, and I'll give you the same courtesy. I also expect you to make that a priority in our relationship, and continue to express it, allowing me to trust you. If things change however, I'll be the one to change directions. Can you live with that?"
This is a new way to think, and I'm not expecting you to adopt it right away. Give it some thought and see how it integrates into your life. Remember, you can't just say the words without adopting the ideas they embody. For help with this, I strongly urge you to read, "Being a Man in a Woman's World" as it's going to give you some additional philosophy that you'll find invaluable in dealing with this now, and in the future.
Author of Being a Man in a Woman's World, Dr. Dennis Neder is dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of relationships. His mantra: start having the relationships you deserve! New articles are posted every Wednesday!
Do you have a love, dating, relationship, sex or man/woman question? Dr. Dennis Neder answers all email, so send him an email for answers. For more information about his books, "Being a Man in a Woman's World" (volumes I & II), and other products, please visit BeingAMan.com.