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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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Lately, when my husband, who is a warm, outgoing person, pays

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Lately, when my husband, who is a warm, outgoing person, pays any attention to an attractive female, I become so jealous I fear for his safety, because I feel myself restraining the urge to haul off and slug him. This has only started to bother me fairly recently (in the past two or three years). I'm coping the best I can by doing what I know: reminding myself that men and women find each other attractive, being open to my husband about how I feel, and the fact that I don't understand it, and reminding myself that my husband is with me, not anyone else. I am 48 years old and my husband is 73. we've been married for over 25 years. He has never given me any indication that he's been unfaithful. I really don't know why this sends me into a panic and so I have no idea what to do about it. My husband is very caring towards me, and I see him trying to control his behavior, but that's not what I want, I love him the way he is. I feel fear, panic, and then rage. It's just awful! Thx.

Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. You are clearly in love with your husband and this is a beautiful thing. I want to introduce a possibility here you may not have considered. I don't know if it's truly the cause within yourself for this situation, but it will help you in thinking about this in new ways.

I wonder if your jealousy is so much caused by true jealousy or if it is perhaps subconscious fear and dread that is manifesting as jealousy. Let me explain.

Jealousy is a type of fear and dread: there is fear that your husband might be attracted to some other woman and you will be somehow "left behind", abandoned. There is dread that this might happen. You state that in 25 years there has been no reason for you to have such fear and dread. But now for the last couple of years or so you have developed this dread. If it was truly jealousy, it would seem unusual that it developed now as he hasn't become more outgoing from what you state.

However, he is now in his 70s. And while it is a sensitive subject, he is older and there very well may be the growing fear and dread in your subconscious of his growing older and something happening to him and you "being left behind" or abandoned, so to speak. It is really not uncommon for women to have fear about their husbands' health and longevity starting in the mid-late 60s. I deal with this in therapy in my private practice quite often with couples in this age group.

And it has emotional ramifications. Your emotions may not be ready to face this fear and dread and so you may be focusing that fear on jealousy as a way to express it without having to actually deal with it. Because it may be scary to deal with it.

I say this knowing that it may be a difficult discussion and I hope it will help you in deciding to go to counseling for yourself. Because you state that the marriage is a good and strong marriage and that in essence you trust your husband. It seems that in 25 years he has given you no reason to doubt him. Therefore, going to counseling for yourself may help you the most.

Again, I'm so glad your marriage is a strong one and that expanding your thinking about what might be happening may help you with this.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

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