Jim Beam and jealousy

Joey Garcia

My fiancé and I broke up after he slept with one of my friends. I am still reeling, even though he didn’t treat me very well before he cheated. He talked down to me and I never felt good, but we were living together and it just seemed like it should work out. My family keeps asking when I’m going to get married (I’m 32). I don’t know what to say. I’ve dealt with all of this by staying drunk for a year. I’m so afraid I will always be alone.

Oh, sweetie! You’ve already discovered that staying drunk prolongs pain; it doesn’t help you hurdle it. As long as you deny those feelings, you are at their mercy. Buried feelings don’t dissipate; they emerge at inopportune times to level you, bleed out awkwardly in ordinary interactions with people and encourage you toward behaviors that create chaos in your life. Your healing begins when you stop drinking. You must be sober to successfully navigate out of this betrayal. After a year of staying drunk, it’s possible that you need Alcoholics Anonymous to be clear-headed enough to work through your past. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Although it might sound blasphemous now, you will be grateful someday that your fiancé and friend betrayed you. After all, you were about to marry a man you knew you should not marry. His disrespect was a ginormous red flag, but in the face of family pressure to marry and your fears of being alone, you clung to a relationship that kept you from maturing emotionally. That’s the main reason the betrayal hurts: You betrayed yourself (who you are, the depth of love that you are capable of giving and receiving) in order to remain engaged.

I have a beautiful, smart wife that I love. She recently proposed date nights, so I asked a buddy if his daughter could baby-sit. After my wife met the girl, she accused me of wanting to hire a teenage baby sitter so I could have sex with her. I didn’t even talk to the kid except to introduce her to my wife. My wife’s accusation was so outrageous that I could only respond in anger. We have not talked for weeks. My wife is always jealous, but is there any way to make her see that she is completely off-base?

Not until she’s ready. Jealousy is born of the belief that competition is necessary for survival. Your wife is not living in the present, content in your affections. She is engaged in the past—probably her childhood—and fearful of rejection. You can reassure her, but she will hear it all from behind the wall constructed of her fears of abandonment. Your choices are to wait it out or respond to her charges compassionately in a letter. I like the second option because when people have particularly strong filters, they benefit from being able to reread what you wrote rather than replay (in their head) what they think you said. I also suggest counseling. Your marriage and your children would benefit from the healing of this old wound.

Meditation of the week
In Elizabethan times, it was customary for women to gift their men with “love apples.” The seductress would keep a peeled apple in her armpit until it was saturated with her sweat, then give it to her sweetheart to inhale. How comfortable are you with your body’s natural state?

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