Dear Dr. brilliant Cliché,
I am not sure if this is a problem but it does worry me a lot. My boyfriend never gets jealous over me. Not even the tiniest bit. I have never cheated on him but I’ve purposely flirted with other men to get a rise out of him, and- nada. I finally asked him about it and he said he believes in free will. He said he would be sad if I left him or if I cheated but that it is my choice and I am free to go if that is what I want. I don’t know why but this drives me a bit nuts. Maybe because it is so damn unromantic? How can he possibly love me if he feels this way?
You aren’t asking for him to love you. You are asking for him to reassure you.
Isn’t someone who is stable enough to be content with themselves, and yet still chooses to be with you, exactly the kind of partner you would want? There is no agenda or ulterior motive here. Why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t feel whole unless they are with you and professing undying love to you? Here, the agenda or ulterior motive isn’t a relationship but an antidepressant.
Robin Williams in Patch Adams said it the best. “If you truly love someone you have to be able to let them go” What you want is just about you. You want him to reflect back your insecurities. That is a recipe for a dysfunctional roller coaster of a relationship. If I gave anyone any advice it is that he should rethink his relationship with you, as you are not at the level of having an equal and healthy relationship. You are going to cheat on him some day when someone starts telling you what you want to hear and you will mistakenly think that is real love.
I’ve heard people say you can’t choose love. It just hits you. There are many kinds of and many levels to love. This chemistry stuff is only level one and it is the most superficial and temporary form. Territorial and possessive love is also level one type, as these are all more about you than they are the other person.
Trust, endurance, communication, admiration, and respect are all parts of the longer lasting deeper kind of love. What differentiates them is that they are about the other person more than they are about yourself.
Perplexed you have a rocky road ahead of you. I hope this helps shorten your journey.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: Wow, do I have different take on this. I think that Perplexed has a rocky road ahead of her if she follows Dr. Brilliant’s advice. The negative assumptions he’s making about this poor girlfriend are waaaay off the charts. Me thinks there is some projection going on here.
I have had many boy friends over my lifetime and nearly all have been jealous, to varying degrees. It’s not a sign of neediness or dysfunction in most cases, it’s the same way they’d feel about anything that mattered to them- they know that men are predatory and their shackles go up if another male starts moving in on something they care about. Married men feel this way about their daughter’s suitors too.
The guy in my past who really stands out is the one who had an attitude EXACTLY like Perplexed’s boyfriend. I thought that he was so bloody evolved. I really thought it was a sign of emotional maturity. Ha! This guy turned out to be more neurotic and messed up than all of the other men combined. He actually liked the idea that other guys were turned on by me and saw it as elevating his status. Of course, he didn’t let me know that. He developed his little “I want you to be free” rap so he could appear enlightened. Turns out he was a closet gay and wasn’t possessive because I had no value to him other than as a means of living out his suppressed gay life while keeping a cover.
Listen, any red blooded male worth his salt is not going to like men ogling the woman he loves, or coming on to her. It’s not because the man ” don’t feel whole unless they are with her.” It’s because they know exactly what cads other men are. Rampant, needy jealousy is a sign of psychosis. But some jealousy is a healthy sign that a man values his partner and wants to protect her.
Any man who pukes up the bland crap that Perplexed’s boyfriend is spewing at her isn’t enlightened or mature. He just doesn’t give a crap.