Jump to content
Whore*of*Mensa

Sexual jealousy; trying to understand

Recommended Posts

Whore*of*Mensa

I have an issue which seems ridiculously petty to me but was a huge issue to my ex...We’ve recently become friends but immediately fall out whenever this is mentioned:

Basically he accuses me of staring at/being fascinated by other men.    On several occasions he says I am smiling or staring at men that we pass, when I honestly have no recollection of doing this and can’t even remember seeing the person he describes. 

I noticed that these men often had characteristics he thinks I desire, and that he lacks. For example I once said I liked long hair on men - after that, he would always accuse me of fancying any long haired man in the vicinity!

He knows I don’t really feel attraction/would never act on it yet he still feels angry about this. 

A couple of times he has mentioned feeling ‘disrespected’.

IRL female friends always told me this is just red flag/scary/childish behaviour and I should get away..

I’m just wondering if there is another perspective? I genuinely don’t understand what is going on in his head about this, and would like to understand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

If he's not your partner then he can shut up really lol. He has a problem in his head and it's not healthy. I think in your shoes I'd tell him to either cut it out or else the friendship can't continue.

 

Btw, it's a sad world if people can't even smile at each other anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HonoraryJedi

Your friends are 100% right. Even if you were currently in a relationship and he was doing this, it would be a red flag and I would advice getting away. All of this is insecurities that he has in his head. I doubt there is anything you could possibly do, no arguments and no assurances, that will make him stop accusing you. And the things he is expecting are completely out of line. Even if you were attracted to men you pass, feeling 'disrespected' because your eyes passed over some random dude on the street? Ridiculous.

 

Add to this, this is apparently your EX! You are broken up. Even if you were actually fucking ever one of those men he though you fancied it would be none of his business. The fact that you did not even register them notwithstanding. He sounds controlling honestly.

 

ugh, ok. I will try to interpret this in the most charitable way I possibly can: He only did this while you were together, not as you have been reconnecting. And, he is so anxious and insecure he actually believed you were interested in those random people. He was still jealous and insecure, and took it out on you instead of dealing with it in any form of constructive way. Even if this insane angry jealousy is rooted in an anxiety problem and not him just being controlling, you still can't help him, and he still will have to handle it himself. Honestly, I'd keep away from someone like that.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AceMissBehaving

It’s his insecurities and not your behavior. He probably feels not attractive enough, and when he sees someone he thinks you might find attractive he probably  feels hurt from his own insecurities and lashes out at you. This is absolutely something he needs to work on and not something you’re doing 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anthracite_Impreza
59 minutes ago, Whore*of*Mensa said:

IRL female friends always told me this is just red flag/scary/childish behaviour and I should get away..

They are correct. It would be dodgy IN a relationship, but outside of one? REALLY fuckin' dodgy. He seems to believe he should have a say in your life even when you aren't together, and that's just blatantly controlling.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KiraS

Chiming in to say that being paranoid about you flirting when you're not really flirting (and I don't buy unconscious flirting as a concept) is a huge red flag.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whore*of*Mensa

Thanks all...He hasn’t actually done this since we’ve been friends but I had been hoping to discuss it. I thought he might have reflected on it and maybe decided he over reacted or whatever- but no. He acknowledges it as a big factor in us breaking up. He thinks it’s a problem I have but says he doesn’t mind it any more. And won’t discuss it any further.

 

It’s almost as if he can’t contemplate it because that might involve admitting there’s a problem in his own head? I guess I’ll have to let go of the idea that I can fix this. And probably the idea that we can be friends, sadly.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whore*of*Mensa

Just going to allow myself a 5-minute moan on here. I did try to be friends with him, and he started texting me every day, asking if I was OK, was I getting to work, was I not drinking too much...And it was nice, but it gave me severe anxiety and I started hyperventilating all the time. Which was strange..

 

I ended up going over to his house to have a chat. I wanted to talk about the jealousy thing, I really wanted to try to understand what was going on. But he just came out with such random stuff - one minute it was because I was embarrassing him, another minute it was disrespect, another minute it was obsession with particular men. And the more I tried to pick apart one example, the more he would refuse to discuss it and mention a new example. He kept going further back in his memory: 'Oh, and do you remember what you did in that Italian restaurant?' (stared into the waiter's eyes) and 'What you did at that festival?' (this was a memorable incident, when we'd momentarily lost our kids and were looking for them. I apparently  pretended to go and look for them in a stall JUST SO THAT I COULD SMILE AT THE MAN IN THERE. What's more, according to him I done the same thing the year before; I was obsessed with that long-haired man and had only wanted to go back to the festival for the second time because of him)

 

And he just went on and on, and I remembered all of these times I'd been feeling close to him and enjoying something, and he had suddenly become angry and accused me of something like this - and it felt like having a bucket of cold water poured over my head, each time. As it caused more and more problems, he would say in self-pitying fashion that he was afraid to tell me how he felt, because of my unsympathetic reaction. That was worse because he would brood upon it, and the atmosphere would darken and my anxiety would build until I would be begging him to tell me what was wrong.  And when he told me I would roll my eyes because the things he said were so INSANE. And then he'd smash up my things when I went to bed. Very few of my possessions survived that relationship. 

 

I tried to reason with him, like did he REALLY think that I was going to go off with some strange man I saw in public while I was with him? Why would he think that? And I swear while I was talking I could just SEE this little confused child in his eyes, this flicker of sense battling inside there - He looked like he didn't know what to say, like he knew he was wrong. And as soon as he got that feeling he changed the subject, with 

 

'And I remember when we were talking and a bus went by with a picture of Johnny Depp on the side and YOU JUST COULDN'T RESIST - your eyes went to him. You couldn't even focus on me when we were talking about breaking up.'

 

At this point, I just left because there is only so much of this I can listen to. 

 

Then, the next day he texted me to say Steve Backshall was on the TV and I might want to watch. Despite my apparent Asexuality (didn't take him long to get a dig in about that then...I came out as asexual to him in the hope it'd give him a new perspective)

 

(This comes from a running joke amongst mothers, that we liked to watch the wildlife programme on kid's TV because we liked Steve Backshall. And my husband obviously took exception to this and got angry with me).

 

I wish I could just dismiss it, but it gets under my skin. Ever since being with him, I worry about smiling at men, or about looking at them too long - I worry, do they think I want sex with them? Is it inappropriate for me to make eye contact? Am I making too much eye contact? 

 

And I feel so angry about it, and not just angry, I feel...Violated. Like I want to scrub myself clean from whatever horrible fantasies he's imposing onto me and the way I behave. The way I look at people, the way I smile. His assumptions have ruined everything and contaminated everything. 

 

How could I have forgotten about this stuff, how bad it was? All I remember was the good person that I know is in there, that's what makes it so hard, I just want to shake him until that loving person comes back. Anyway, I have to accept that's not happening. I don't think I can reason with him or change him, I don't know why I got back in touch with him, except I wanted to undo the damage somehow. Very, very stupid. I need to get all of this out of my head again as quickly as possible.  

 

Does anyone have any advice for me about how to make sense of it?

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
anisotrophic

Wow. This sounds like a classic case of He Has A Major Problem, not you – and between the two of you, an interaction pattern that spirals into really bad territory. Like, it starts to sound dangerous. I'm sorry it poisons any good memories you have of him. I hope you don't let this poison your interactions, it sounds like your behavior is completely normal. You should not be second-guessing yourself.

It sounds like it's better – and safer – for you to stay well away from it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brbdogsonfire
2 hours ago, More*of*Wenceslas said:

Just going to allow myself a 5-minute moan on here. I did try to be friends with him, and he started texting me every day, asking if I was OK, was I getting to work, was I not drinking too much...And it was nice, but it gave me severe anxiety and I started hyperventilating all the time. Which was strange..

 

I ended up going over to his house to have a chat. I wanted to talk about the jealousy thing, I really wanted to try to understand what was going on. But he just came out with such random stuff - one minute it was because I was embarrassing him, another minute it was disrespect, another minute it was obsession with particular men. And the more I tried to pick apart one example, the more he would refuse to discuss it and mention a new example. He kept going further back in his memory: 'Oh, and do you remember what you did in that Italian restaurant?' (stared into the waiter's eyes) and 'What you did at that festival?' (this was a memorable incident, when we'd momentarily lost our kids and were looking for them. I apparently  pretended to go and look for them in a stall JUST SO THAT I COULD SMILE AT THE MAN IN THERE. What's more, according to him I done the same thing the year before; I was obsessed with that long-haired man and had only wanted to go back to the festival for the second time because of him)

 

And he just went on and on, and I remembered all of these times I'd been feeling close to him and enjoying something, and he had suddenly become angry and accused me of something like this - and it felt like having a bucket of cold water poured over my head, each time. As it caused more and more problems, he would say in self-pitying fashion that he was afraid to tell me how he felt, because of my unsympathetic reaction. That was worse because he would brood upon it, and the atmosphere would darken and my anxiety would build until I would be begging him to tell me what was wrong.  And when he told me I would roll my eyes because the things he said were so INSANE. And then he'd smash up my things when I went to bed. Very few of my possessions survived that relationship. 

 

I tried to reason with him, like did he REALLY think that I was going to go off with some strange man I saw in public while I was with him? Why would he think that? And I swear while I was talking I could just SEE this little confused child in his eyes, this flicker of sense battling inside there - He looked like he didn't know what to say, like he knew he was wrong. And as soon as he got that feeling he changed the subject, with 

 

'And I remember when we were talking and a bus went by with a picture of Johnny Depp on the side and YOU JUST COULDN'T RESIST - your eyes went to him. You couldn't even focus on me when we were talking about breaking up.'

 

At this point, I just left because there is only so much of this I can listen to. 

 

Then, the next day he texted me to say Steve Backshall was on the TV and I might want to watch. Despite my apparent Asexuality (didn't take him long to get a dig in about that then...I came out as asexual to him in the hope it'd give him a new perspective)

 

(This comes from a running joke amongst mothers, that we liked to watch the wildlife programme on kid's TV because we liked Steve Backshall. And my husband obviously took exception to this and got angry with me).

 

I wish I could just dismiss it, but it gets under my skin. Ever since being with him, I worry about smiling at men, or about looking at them too long - I worry, do they think I want sex with them? Is it inappropriate for me to make eye contact? Am I making too much eye contact? 

 

And I feel so angry about it, and not just angry, I feel...Violated. Like I want to scrub myself clean from whatever horrible fantasies he's imposing onto me and the way I behave. The way I look at people, the way I smile. His assumptions have ruined everything and contaminated everything. 

 

How could I have forgotten about this stuff, how bad it was? All I remember was the good person that I know is in there, that's what makes it so hard, I just want to shake him until that loving person comes back. Anyway, I have to accept that's not happening. I don't think I can reason with him or change him, I don't know why I got back in touch with him, except I wanted to undo the damage somehow. Very, very stupid. I need to get all of this out of my head again as quickly as possible.  

 

Does anyone have any advice for me about how to make sense of it?

 

 

 

Inability to accept his own insecurities is what this sounds like. He is insecure and worried he is going to lose you (although he already has) so his defensive mechanism is to attack and deflect when pressured. 

 

It shows no amount of evidence or talking from your end will correct this as it's his insecurities that are causing it.

 

Staying friends with ex's is hard and there are boundaries that must not be ignored.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whore*of*Mensa
2 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

Wow. This sounds like a classic case of He Has A Major Problem, not you – and between the two of you, an interaction pattern that spirals into really bad territory. Like, it starts to sound dangerous. I'm sorry it poisons any good memories you have of him. I hope you don't let this poison your interactions, it sounds like your behavior is completely normal. You should not be second-guessing yourself.

It sounds like it's better – and safer – for you to stay well away from it.

 It's true, it did seem dangerous - I left for that reason. It's strange how even after 5 years the same pattern happened straight away. He says it doesn't happen with other people.

 

He had a very traumatic childhood. That's what makes it harder to walk away, because I can see why he has no trust in people; I just don't understand why he thinks I'M the one he can't trust, and I want to change that. Maybe I have a bit of a saviour complex, but I did/do love him. 

 

Thank you for the reassurance about my behaviour! I do sometimes wonder..

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chihiro
8 hours ago, More*of*Wenceslas said:

I just don't understand why he thinks I'M the one he can't trust, and I want to change that. Maybe I have a bit of a saviour complex, but I did/do love him.

People who can't accept their fault want someone to take that blame. Once they put this on that "someone" they won't ever change it.

 

My ex has made me a monster. The one before me did horrible things and never even gave him any chance to prove himself that he is worthy but even now she is an angel in his eyes. I gave me so many chances because I thought it was cruel to leave for one thing done wrong.... yet *I* am the monster in his eyes. He has gone on to do horrible things to others too but again won't accept his fault, but luckily they won't get called monsters because I have already taken that place in his mind.

 

Its pretty common psychological problem with people who have child-like mentality, they just need someone to take the place of a monster and someone to take the place of an angel and once that happens, it won't ever change. Even if I save the whole world right now, including himself, he won't ever thank me and will continue to treat me like a monster. And if the so-called angel, becomes a mass murderer, he will still continue to worship her. He is the biggest regret of my life now, I can't believe I ever cared for him.

 

PS- He cheated on me with multiple women and yet prevented me from socializing with friends publicly right in front of him. One time I said how a friend (from years ago before I met him) was really nice and supportive of me back then and that triggered him and he immediately talked shit about me with his friends behind my back.

 

PPS- Regarding the 'savior mentality', he uses that as a tool to manipulate people. "Oh I am worthless, broken blah blah"..... and all the women fall for him. Nothing but a tool to get more attention and affection and pity. Fuck my savior mentality. Even though I am done with him, I feel like saving all the naive women by telling them about his toxicity so they stay away from them. And he targets women who are truly broken and helpless... feel really sorry for them.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sithgroundhog

Sounds like an insecure man. Definitely lashing out because he's feeling defensive about something. Toxic as hell. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whore*of*Mensa

@Chihiro I’m sorry you had such a difficult time. It’s really hurtful to be portrayed as a monster when you know you haven’t done anything wrong. I think you’re right as well, once you’ve been made into that figure in someone’s mind there’s nothing you can do to change it.

 

I’m starting to realise I am never going to feel any better about this. It upsets me to think about it. So I have to just...not think about it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chihiro
1 hour ago, More*of*Wenceslas said:

I’m starting to realise I am never going to feel any better about this. It upsets me to think about it. So I have to just...not think about it...

I hope you can distract yourself with something positive and eventually forget this. Its not easy unfortunately.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whore*of*Mensa
4 hours ago, Chihiro said:

I hope you can distract yourself with something positive and eventually forget this. Its not easy unfortunately.

Thank you, and you too. I feel better for venting!

 

Its hard to talk to people IRL about this stuff because they would think I was stupid for being with him for so long. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whore*of*Mensa

@SithGrinch it is so defensive I sometimes wonder if he is judging me by his own standards - like, is he incapable of interacting with a woman or seeing a picture of an attractive woman without it being sexual and is that why he assumes I am the same??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Memento1

Well, you hit the nail on the head: he had a traumatic childhood and can't separate current triggers from the triggered memories.  In fact he's not even consciously AWARE of the triggered memories, so blames other things.  He will never be able to tell you the real issue when he's not even aware of it, and pushing him to find it will only backfire.  I absolutely feel for you, and I completely understand your deep compassion that wants to fix him.  The truth is, he can probably be helped, but not by you.  And not because you're a bad person; because you're now a trigger, through no fault of your own.  Anything that comes from you, even exactly the right words and attitudes, will not get through.  This doesn't mean you don't love him or are doing anything wrong.

 

I hope you can relieve yourself of the burden of having to fix him.  You can try to do that through distraction / focusing on self-care / doing things you enjoy.  If ignoring it doesn't work, and has never worked, it may be helpful to figure out where your own savior complex came from - did you have to be "the fixer" in your family growing up?  Did your parents or siblings lay their emotional problems at your feet?  I have a pretty deep savior complex myself (look at me here trying to help everyone on AVEN, LOL), and I recognize now it came from having to regulate my mom's mood, having to fix things when she was unhappy.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whore*of*Mensa

@Memento1 Wow, yes...a trigger. I never thought of it that way. It makes sense. I actually did, for years, think that one day I would come up with the right combination of words to fix his brain and then he would just drop all these accusations. I spent hours thinking of words that I could say! And none of them made the slightest bit of difference. 

 

I have thought about my saviour complex at various times. I think I was generally held responsible for my Dad's mood, which probably explains a lot! This isn't the first time I've tried to fix someone (and failed massively). Maybe I should try to channel it somewhere more useful, like you are? Thank you for giving me a new insight here. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Memento1
On 12/3/2019 at 5:02 PM, More*of*Wenceslas said:

I have thought about my saviour complex at various times.  Maybe I should try to channel it somewhere more useful, like you are?

Ha!  Actually, no.  I mean, channeling it into more productive avenues can be helpful, but I have to very consciously try to disconnect that (my feelings of helping/saving others) from my sense of self-worth.  At this point that simply means becoming aware of that internal desire, and reinforcing to myself that I'm worthy and have belonging even if I can't save them.  If I am unable to do that, it's better to walk away and focus on myself, as my own feelings of worthiness will get in the way of best helping them.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whore*of*Mensa

He is still messaging me. I hate it so much when people make you say 'no' a million times. I'm not good at 'no' at the best of times, after a while I get aggressive and that gives the opportunity for him to imply I'm hysterical/emotional. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lara Black
6 hours ago, More*of*Wenceslas said:

He is still messaging me. I hate it so much when people make you say 'no' a million times. I'm not good at 'no' at the best of times, after a while I get aggressive and that gives the opportunity for him to imply I'm hysterical/emotional. 

Why don’t you just block him? This whole thread is about him f*ing your brain without even the vaguest right for that – he isn’t your partner and you can not only smile at guys – you can bed whoever you want (should you choose to). So why do you let him mess with your mind?

If you have difficulties setting borders against him, therapy might help.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whore*of*Mensa

It's complicated...We were married, and my daughter sees him as a Dad. He still keeps in touch with her, and I don't want to piss him off too much in case he takes it out on her. 

 

This situation is my fault as I got back in touch with him, thinking we could be friends. It's brought up some old feelings for both of us which hopefully will die back down again. My mistake was to think he could see reason. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Serran

Erm. This guy really just sounds like a toxic jerk tbh. And if you think he would hurt your daughter because mad at you... yeah...

 

I would just send a message clearly saying "I will not reply anymore unless it is something about coparenting our daughter. I will still be civil for her sake, but I do not want contact with you besides as a parent." Or something along those lines. And stop replying to them. You dont owe him anything besides being civil for your daughter. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ryn2
3 hours ago, More*of*Wenceslas said:

This situation is my fault as I got back in touch with him, thinking we could be friends.

Noooooo, it’s not your fault he has issues!  You thought a friendship could work, now you know otherwise.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
anisotrophic
1 hour ago, Serran said:

just send a message clearly saying "I will not reply anymore unless it is something about coparenting our daughter. I will still be civil for her sake, but I do not want contact with you besides as a parent." Or something along those lines. And stop replying to them.

I think this is would be escalation, because it provokes attention & implicitly (if unintentionally) invites response. I think better to just be minimally responsive until he finds something else to be obsessive with.

 

And, what @ryn2 said.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whore*of*Mensa
23 minutes ago, anisotrophic said:

I think this is would be escalation, because it provokes attention & implicitly (if unintentionally) invites response. I think better to just be minimally responsive until he finds something else to be obsessive with.

 

And, what @ryn2 said.

I think this is probably the case..The thing is, he isn't actually my daughter's father, he stays in touch because they do have a bond. But he doesn't have to and he knows it would hurt me (because it would hurt her) if he stopped, or paused. I just don't want to risk it. I think I'm going to try just giving very neutral responses.

 

He's admitted before that he sometimes tries to provoke a reaction. He did it after we split up and admitted he just wanted to talk to me, even if it was negative..But that was much more intense, so this will calm down I'm sure. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whore*of*Mensa

Thank you all for the kind comments, this has helped me so much to stay calm.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
appleseedy

just wanted to reply, Trauma, especially childhood stuff is a probably the biggest single health cost to our society, why?

 

When we are children we cannot escape our abusers, we can't fight and we can't run. We can only freeze.

We are left with survival strategies that we keep on using even as adults when we can fight and we can run

our prisons and our institutions are filled with people who have had adverse childhood experiences (ACE if you google it, though i suggest putting ACE's into a TED talk search)

 

Your X has these issues, logic and reason simply won't work. it is human to care for those who have been hurt and i applaud your desire to show him care

In my life i have had reason to let some people go, to stop letting them hurt me and it yeah it hurts to let them go

 

My Ex wife, my brother, my mom, all of us had these ACE's. If someone asks for my help, if someone is in pain then i help them

if someone does not ask for my help then what can i do? other than be there and hope they find a way to ask someone else

 

Just wanted to say (here is a cake or a hug or whichever you need most)

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whore*of*Mensa

Thank you @appleseedy it’s true it does hurt to let go. I think I am only just coming to terms with the fact I can’t change this.  

 

But sometimes it feels like the more you care about someone the less you can actually do to help them! I read something today about how people (well this was about men but might not just be men) get angry and defensive when they feel vulnerable. So maybe when you’re the person they confide in you end up in the firing line.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...