Girlfriend's jealousy could be a deal breaker
Dear Amy: My girlfriend and I recently moved in together. I am 39; she is 27. We fight way too much, much more than I am comfortable with.
Our fights usually stem from her insecurities. For instance, she got upset the other day because (she claims) I looked at another woman in the elevator. Three days later, we still aren't talking and she's sleeping in the other bedroom.
This type of thing happens quite a bit. When I suggest she should go to therapy to work out some of these issues, because I can't stand this level of conflict, she gets defensive and says "all couples fight." I love her very much, but I'm at the end of my rope with all this drama. I thought that moving in together would help ease these insecurities; instead they seem to be getting worse. Any suggestions?
-- Over It
Dear Over It: You have correctly identified your girlfriend's insecurities and jealousy as a relationship breach.
Yes, all couples fight. But when healthy couples fight, they don't part for three days of silence and sleeping separately. They fight, they talk, they apologize and forgive; and then they come back together. The ability to fight fair can actually strengthen your relationship.
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Your girlfriend does not own you. She has no right to monitor your eyeballs and interpret your behavior as being about her. Her way of accusing and then punishing you is abusive.
You should present couples therapy as a nonnegotiable. Yes, she needs therapy, but you should show support of her and of your relationship by being willing to attend with her, and by being very open to the process and by participating enthusiastically.
If you two are going to develop a successful partnership, you'll have to examine your own behavior, try to see the world through the other's eyes and determine to resolve your conflicts and love each other through them. If she is willing to admit to her own challenges, learn and grow alongside you, her life -- and your relationship -- will be transformed.
If she is dug in, blaming her pain on you, addicted to drama and unwilling to engage in a process that will help her come to terms with her own problems -- then your relationship doesn't stand much of a chance.