Does Jealousy Mean He Cares?
Q: I am in a relationship with a guy who works overseas and is gone for a month and home for a month. The problem is I do not know how he feels about me. I think he really cares but he is not one to tell you. From the beginning of the relationship he told me he was a quiet type. We go out, he holds my hand, he puts his arm around me and shows me he cares that way, but no words. We both agreed before he left for work this time not to see anyone else. I tell him how I feel all the time and send him sexy e-mails, but his replies are just a message with no feelings expressed. Am I asking too much to want more? The other night we were out with friends and I made a comment about this guy from six years ago being the love of my life at the time. He got mad and made me leave. We argued till the next day. Does that mean he really cares? -- Sally, 48
Dr. Susan: Having a major fit of jealousy over a six-years-in-the-past relationship and "making" you leave says nothing about "caring." It means your guy's a bully. Be on the lookout for additional signs and run far far away if he tries that again. On the other hand, I can see where someone who DOES care for you a lot, and with whom you now have an exclusive relationship, would have his feelings hurt by your referring to the older relationship as the love of your life. Where would that leave room for HIM? It's insensitive of you to talk about another man that way in front of your current boyfriend.
Also, what you see (and hear) is what you get. If a guy tells you he's the quiet type, believe him. He's not so young that he's going to become a different type. You may always feel frustrated that he isn't responding in kind to your sexy e-mails and so on, but get used to it. He MAY be capable of learning to express a few of his feelings when encouraged to, but it will not be a natural easy thing for him as it is for you. Now's the time to decide whether you can be happy with his level of sharing. Of course, he has no trouble expressing anger, so consider carefully whether you can be happy with him.
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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.