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Independent medical expert answers on psychiatry and psychology

Problem with Jealousy of Past Relations

This page abstract: It is rather common that men are jealous of former lovers of their spouses. This answer discusses how to handle such cases.

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Independent medical expert answers on psychiatry and psychology

Problem with Jealousy of Past Relations

Intelligent natural language question-answering in the area of psychology and psychiatry. Ask a simple question  Local help Info

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Question(s): 
Written by: Gunborg Palme, certified psychologist and certified psychotherapist, teacher and tutor in psychotherapy.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 20 Aug 2008.

Hi!

Any suggestion welcome, because i sure am out of ideas.

My husband has always had a bit of a problem about my past, because I had guys before him. I always thought, well, what's the deal, it's not like you were a virgin. well, after 10 years I found out he actually was one. I am happy that he finally trusts me enough to admit it, even though i will never completly understand why he kept it a secret for so long. However, it does not change the fact that he gets sometimes jealous about my time before him.

We both know I can't change that and that he was aware of my past when we got together. Most of the time everything is all right, but sometimes it isn't, and then our life turns into an emotional hell. He will hurt my feelings with little snide remarks and then just ignore me. Unfortunately, when I am in emotional pain, my whole body hurts, so I can't even function properly then, and 3 kids don't help that either.

So, what could we try to get that weird jealosy under control?

Answer:

This is a much more common problem than you might believe. In very severe cases this might fulfill the diagnostic criteria of a psychiatric disorder such as a delusional disorder or pathological jealousy. We cannot make an online diagnosis but we do not think your problem is a distinct psychiatric disorder but more or less an adjustment problem. Nevertheless you and your husband deserve help.

Handling the relation with a jealous husband

If your husband feels insecure and is afraid that the other men were better than him: remind him that those relationships were in the past, and that you are with him NOW, in the present. He is being irrational; he needs to see the difference between past and present. A psychotherapist might be able to help him overcome this, if he will agree to going to psychotherapy. You might also try giving him so much appreciation and affection as you can, in order to make him more secure. Perhaps it can help you to see his vicious statements as his problem and not take them personally. He is being unreasonable.

Many men normally swing between being warm and loving and being cold and without feelings. If your husband ignores you, try to keep out of his way and do something on your own. Call a female friend, play with the kids, work, or do something else which interests you. When a husband is cold and withdrawn, he has nothing to give to his partner and is of no value to her. It is better, in such a case, to create distance and wait until he becomes warm and available again.

Thus let him be and let him do his tasks, until he begins to long for you and comes to you. That way, you will see his best sides. If you are strong and happy, you will be able to take his viciousness better than if you are emotionally vulnerable. Always go your way, when he is vicious. Say "I don't want to hear this". Flee to another room, or go out shopping, or anything else where your husband cannot reach you.

Treatment with medicine

If the problem gets severe, and pscyhotherapy does not help, you might consider medicines. Medicines such as Fontex, Prozac, and Fluoxetine (SSRI medicines) as well as anti-psychotic medicines are sometimes effective against irrational jealousy. Ask his doctor about this. Best is to discuss this with a psychiatrist, who knows more about these medicines than a family doctor (general practitioner). If normal dosage does not help, his doctor may prescribe a higher than normal dosage to get the desired effect.

If the chosen SSRI medicine has side effects, his doctor may try other such medications. In particular, many such medicines may reduce sexual desire and ability to have an ejaculation. Other medicines of similar type have this side effect to a different degree. His doctor may even start with another medicine.

Intelligent natural language question-answering in the area of psychology and psychiatry. Ask a simple question:
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