QUESTION: I’m in my mid-50s and I’ve been dating my girlfriend—she’s in her early 30s—for about eight months now. Our relationship is going really well, except for one thing. She always says I need to stop acting like a jealous boyfriend. I didn’t even realize I was doing it at first, but I’ve started to notice more and more that I really do get jealous over the littlest things. I don’t want to be that guy, but sometimes I can’t help it—she’s young and beautiful, and I’m scared I’ll lose her to some younger guy. I’m worried that if I don’t get my jealousy in check, I’ll lose her. Help!
CHELSEA SAYS: I’m afraid to have to be the one to tell you that if you’re dating a much younger woman, you’re probably going to have to deal with younger guys checking her out. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to leave you for one of them, and I think that’s where the problem lies for you. Even though your May-December relationship is going well, there’s obviously a bit of insecurity on your part.
I understand how the jealousy can creep in, but no relationship will work without trust. You need to be able to trust the woman you’re dating, regardless of how old she is. You might be thinking to yourself, “I trust her. It’s the guys out there I don’t trust.” I personally think that’s a cover-up. If you trust her and believe that she’s loyal, then it shouldn’t matter how persistent these other guys are because you should know that she’ll turn them down.
Remember, she’s with you because she wants to be with you. If she was interested in a younger man, she would be dating one. But she obviously sees something in you. I know it’s easier said than done, but like you said yourself, your jealousy will only drive her away, not keep her close. No woman wants to deal with a guy who doesn’t trust her, isn’t secure in the relationship, and is always on her case about things that aren’t even relevant.
Now, if there are certain things she does that encourage this jealousy, like flirt with other guys (even though there’s no intention to cheat), then that’s another issue. In this case, you should talk to her about it and let her know how it makes you feel. But if your jealousy in this relationship is more often than not illogical and unsubstantiated, then you really should try and work on those trust issues.
TRENT SAYS: I have yet to come across a couple that has never dealt with issues of jealousy. Regardless of the age difference, jealousy always seems to rear its head on some level.
My first question is: what makes you jealous? Or who makes you jealous? Is she flirty with the waiter when you’re out for dinner? Does she flirt with your friends when you get together? Do you get jealous because she’s more of a free spirit than you are? Or is it that she just attracts more attention because she’s younger and beautiful?
Interestingly, it’s quite possible that some of the things you are now jealous of are some of the things that attracted you to her in the first place.
It might be difficult, but you need to sit down and have a serious conversation with her—open up and be vulnerable. Explain to her what makes you feel jealous, and why it makes you feel that way. Talk about what she does that heightens your own insecurities about the relationship.
If the issues have to do with her being flirty, then hopefully her insecurities about needing attention from others can take a backseat and she won’t want to continue to hurt you in that way. On the other hand, if the issues are more along the lines of other people finding her interesting to talk to, then that issue rests solely on your shoulders and you need to work on those insecurities.