The Green Monster

Jealousy can literally shred relationships

By Barbara Pierce

jealousy“I’m can’t stop thinking that my boyfriend is cheating on me,” wrote Emily, asking me for my opinion. “I can’t stop myself — but I think I’m pushing him away because of it.”

Yes, Emily, you are pushing him away by your obsession. And I know just what you’re talking about; I’ve been there myself. And it’s an ugly place to be.

The best thing about being in a committed, long-term relationship is not going through the agony of beginnings. That’s one thing I’ve learned.

I’ve gone through it — more than once. I was very unsure of myself, and worried that he might leave me, and I think sometimes that is what caused him to leave me.

Because when we’re jealous, it shows how insecure we are. And that’s not a good quality to have. It’s a really bad quality. Men like women who are confident and are generally secure in themselves. If you show signs of jealousy (such as freaking out if he wants a boys’ night out or he looks at another woman too long), men pick up on this incredibly quickly.

And, if you accuse him of being attracted to another woman, or cheating on you with someone, you might just be putting the idea in his head. Or, he could think: “She thinks I’m cheating on her, so I might as well do it.”

You get what you think about, whether you want it or not. You draw to yourself the essence of what you think about. If you think about things you want, they will come to you.

In the same way, if you think about the things you don’t want, they will come to you.

A hot, sexy friend of mine fell madly in love with a man much younger. Though the age difference concerned her, she married him anyway. They were happy together, except for one thing. She was terrified that he would leave her for a younger woman. She worried about this every day. She’d say “Oh … he works with all these beautiful young girls. I’m sure he will fall for one of them and leave me.”

You can probably guess what happened. He came home one day to tell her he was leaving for someone his age. I don’t think he would have left her if that had not already been her reality — if she hadn’t sent those thoughts out to him and to the universe.

Powerful stuff

What I’ve learned over the years is that, as a woman, we have all the power over the man. You have to believe that.

You must have the attitude that you don’t care; you don’t care if he leaves you; you don’t care if he cheats on you — because you’ll be just fine without him. That is having power.

That attitude gives you all the power. He’ll want you more if he thinks you may not want him.

Human beings are hard wired to want what they can’t have. If he thinks he can’t have you, or he thinks you don’t care if you break up with him, he will want you more.

“We pursue that which retreats from us,” someone said, and I believe that. The man wants the girl who is hard to get, not the girl who is so desperate to keep him. I learned this the hard way.

I recommend that you talk yourself into this way of thinking. Say to yourself, every day, “I deserve his love. He’s lucky to have me. He won’t cheat on me because I am the only one he wants.”

Keep saying that to yourself even if you don’t believe it.

There’s a big difference between pursuing a man and showing you’re interested. When you start pursuing him, he instinctively stops pursuing you. And if he stops pursuing you, he won’t feel like he’s invested in the relationship; if he doesn’t feel invested in your relationship, he will never commit to you.

Instead, learn how to show him you’re interested and give him some space to come in and pursue you. This makes him feel like he’s an important part of the relationship. This is what he needs to continue feeling attracted to you and eventually commit.

• Barbara Pierce is a retired licensed clinical social worker with many years of experience helping people. If you would like to purchase a copy of her book, “When you Come to the Edge: Aging” or if you have questions for her, contact her at