Is She Too Jealous?
Q: In all my past relationships I cheated, lied and deceived from the beginning to the end. When I met a man that I could be honest with from the very start, I married him. He knows the whole truth about my past and I know all about his. Neither of us has wronged the other, and we have been together two years and married for one. When we met we were both free-spirited and light-hearted individuals. Now we have a son and I am a stay-at-home mom. My entire life seems to revolve around my husband and son. I am jealous without reason. I expect full undivided attention when he is home, and I think I am turning into the nagging controlling wife I always swore I would never be. Is this all caused by my unfaithful past? Please help me with my co-dependence and possessiveness. -- Heather, 24
Dr. Susan: Sounds like your life has turned on a dime from one of total freedom to be selfish, to one of duty and routine and not much fun. First of all, it's to your credit that you gave up being a liar and deceiver to become a loving and faithful wife and mother. Did you expect such a switch to be totally easy and without side-effects? Staying at home with a young kid is often hard, even when you don't contrast your lifestyle to what you experienced before. There's nothing particularly wrong with allowing your life to revolve around your family, except when your own unmet needs become a burden to those you love.
I would say that your unfaithful past has had some long-term effects on your present-day quandary. You've lost all that excitement and, deep down, you're hoping for some payback for your sacrifices. You need to talk with your husband about your anxieties and your persistent suspicions. He's probably behaving himself -- at least you haven't mentioned any reason to doubt him -- so give him some freedom from being nagged. As for your own needs, find an interest in addition to baby care and husband-waiting. Once you find some healthy pursuit to get engaged in, whether jogging or painting or a new mom book group or being involved in some effort to change the world, your husband owes it to you to help you make time for it. And meanwhile, think about adding a date night to your routine, and perhaps a weekly meeting to talk about your feelings. Being a true wife doesn't have to mean killing your spirit.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.