My relationship began as a booty call. After we began dating, she accused me of ongoing alliances with past girlfriends. Her accusations intensified whenever we planned our future. She hacked my emails, texts and social media, sending wild, harassing accusations to my exes, female neighbors and business associates. She even attacked my adult children for their relationships with my former girlfriends. She also behaved this way during her marriage. Apparently, her father was a philanderer. My friends say her issue is deep and not likely to change. I’m hung up on her and can’t move on. Maybe I’m in love or addicted to her?
Romanticizing dysfunctional behavior works beautifully in novels, films, theatre and poetry, because our immersion into experiencing the crazy is limited. We can put the book down for a while. The theatre performance will end in 90 minutes or so. Film credits will roll in two hours. We can tolerate any emotional discomfort that might arise because there’s an implicit trust in the limited time frame.
In daily life, tolerating unbalanced behavior normalizes and sustains it. So while a film character might try to prove her interest by eliminating her sweetheart’s previous loves, viewers can tell that that the character needs serious psychological counseling. We twist in our seats hoping the male character has enough sense to escape despite their passionate sex scenes. We know she is dangerous and can’t figure out why he’s blind to her abuse.
He—ahem, you—need to redefine what true love is. Let’s drop a pin on your life map so you can find a way back to your common sense. Begin here: You don’t love your girlfriend. You’re not addicted to her, either. What’s left? Attachment. Sex bonds us to each other. You’ve confused that connection with love. Relationships that begin with sex can thrive if the couple also develops emotional intimacy, affection and trust. Your girlfriend didn’t exhibit the depth necessary for your relationship to mature into love.
What’s odd is this: Why haven’t you protected yourself? If a male associate hacked into your email and social media and sent harassing messages to your fam and friends, would you shrug it off? If not, why haven’t you protected them from her? How can you imagine a future with a woman who doesn’t trust you and who you cannot possibly trust? Real love begins with attraction and honest conversation. Over time, those convos allow trust to grow until a commitment is possible. Please stop trying to justify your girlfriend’s paranoia by telling yourself her father had affairs and that’s why she spied on her ex-husband and doesn’t trust you. Redirect your energy to figure out why you pursued a woman with whom you cannot build a stable, loving, committed relationship. Boom. That’s right, this is about you, not her. Sharing an incredible sexual connection with someone does not mean that you are meant for one another. Some people enjoy the thrill of sex with a partner who will abandon them, emotionally and otherwise. So, yeah, let’s talk about your childhood. And if you’re making a holiday gift list, be sure to add psychotherapy or personal coaching for yourself.