I received this question about jealousy. Whether you’re dating, in a relationship or planning to be in one, unhooking the roots of your jealousy will ease suffering and allow for more closeness. It could even help you feel more confident approaching new woman.
After reading my response I suggest taking at least a few minutes to discern your own flavor of jealousy — what it’s about and where it comes from. If you need more help leave a comment or question here on the blog, or set up a 30 minute consultation with me here: https://www.timetrade.com/book/626Z1
Q: Shana, I get jealous of my girlfriend’s past. She’s slept with more guys than I have girls. Why do I continue to beat myself up about this? How can I let it go?
Hi Jealous of Past,
That sounds hard — feeling the jealousy itself and then beating yourself up on top of that! I imagine it’s hard to be connected, maybe even turned on, with your girlfriend when that happens. Which can create a cycle of doubt and push you farther away from her, perhaps confirming some of your worst fears about your desirability and sexual ability.
The root of your jealousy is fear. A story in Pema Chodron’s “When Things Fall Apart” speaks to me of your situation. Pema told the story of a friend who had nightmares about being chased by monsters. When Pema asked what the monsters looked like, her friend had no idea. The next time the friend had the nightmare she found the courage to turn and face the monsters. It was terrifying at first, but as she saw clearly what they looked like, the monsters weren’t as scary. They faded and the nightmares went away after that.
When you can turn and face your fears you’ll be able to relax more, and you’ll create deeper connection and more intimacy with your girlfriend.
What about her having more sex than me bothers me? What might you make it mean about you as a man?
One definition of jealous is:
1. Fearful or wary of being supplanted; apprehensive of losing affection or position
What fear is the jealousy masking? Are you afraid of being replaced, of not measuring up to the men in her past?
Share what you discover with your girlfriend. It may seem like the last thing you want to do. It can feel really vulnerable. But when you hide your fear and vulnerability you only become distant, which kills the spark and connection. After you share try asking her these questions:
What do you love about being sexual with me?
Is there anything you want more of with/from me? (If she says yes it’s not a personal failure on your part. There is always room to grow and explore.)
Then focus on what you want. Brainstorm together. Let it be playful. Creating an amazing sex life together is one of the fastest ways to erase jealousy of the past.
One last thing. The beauty of whatever sex a woman has before you is that it has undoubtedly helped her work through some fear, self-consciousness, clarity about what she likes, the discomfort of asking for what she wants, and so on. It’s likely that she comes to you more able to open and play than she was her past. A moment of gratitude for not having to be the one support all that growth isn’t a bad thing ;).