Retroactive Jealousy?

posted 1 month ago in Relationships
Post # 17
541 posts
Busy bee

“He’s protective, attentive and very affectionate in public” 

What exactly is he protecting you from? While someone attentive and affectionate in reasonable doses can make you feel appreciated and loved, carried to extremes this comes off as clingy and insecure. Some people are just affectionate types and like to hold hands and give hugs and kisses, but over the top PDA can be a sign he’s making sure everyone around you knows you’re taken. If he’s over-doing the PDA to the point where he’s practically peeing on your leg to mark his territory, this is more about jealousy and insecurity than a natural show of affection. Ask yourself these questions: 

1. Have his PDA ever seemed inappropriate or excessive? 

2. Does his PDA escalate in the presence of other men? 

3. Has he ever accused you of not reciprocating enough? 

4. Has he ever gotten upset if you haven’t felt up to reciprocating (ie he keeps distracting you when you’re trying to concentrate on something,  when you’re trying to engage in a conversation with someone else, not feeling well etc)

His constant interrogation of you is disturbing- because it’s crossed the line from normal curiousity in getting to know you into somewhat of an obsession. He badgers you into giving answers that he knows will hurt him and gets even more upset when you ‘withhold’ this endless supply of information he seeks to torture himself with. 

And +1000 to bearinabeecostume : for her insightful post. She articulated exactly what my concern for you is in this relationship, that this unhealthy ‘curiousity’ will eventually turn into disdain, then judgment, then escalated jealousy and control. 

He says he knows he’s being irrational and yet he’s allowing himself to continue grilling you instead of getting therapy. Do you know for certain (other than from him) that his ex cheated on him- maybe he started out endlessly grilling her to and then moved on to accusing her without basis. But even if he was cheated on, even if his father was an abusive asshole, this does not mean he should be coddled with his jealous and irrational tendencies- it means he needs to get himself into therapy. No matter how many questions you answer or don’t answer, no matter how loved you make him feel, this will never be enough to make him feel secure because this is based on his own irrational insecurity and he has to deal with this or he’ll end up making both of you miserable. 

Post # 18
10429 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

softdrink77 :  

I agree with indigobee.  It’s a red flag.

He’s already pushing your boundaries and limits.  You want to drop it.  He won’t drop it.  Not ok.  If he’s so insecure that he can’t drop it, he has to get himself into therapy. Those would be my terms.

It’s still very early. I would be hyper vigilant for any signs of possessiveness as you get closer.

When you say he’s protective in public, what do you mean?  Protecting you from . . . .?

Post # 19
10429 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

crustyoldbee :  

Yeah, this the ex cheated on him thing is getting tiresome.  I’m sure that sometimes it’s true.

I also think it’s used a bs excuse for controlling behavior. And, at times, the product of a cobtroller’s imagination.

We need to be very cautious when evaluating the veracity of trash talk about exes.

Always ask what kind of total bullshit lies the ex would tell about him.

That’ll save you hours of direct questions.  I haven’t seen it fail yet.



Post # 20
1444 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

softdrink77 :  All I’m thinking is “Actions speak louder than words”.  So he sounds agreeable but until action is taken to address unhealthy behaviors/experiences all he’s doing is telling you what you want to hear to shut you up. So we’re begging you to be wary and pay attention.  He self diagnosed himself with having ptsd and then proceeded NOT to get any help.  Based on your post his behaviors reflect an inability to cope with experiences in a healthy manner. 

Crustyoldbee pretty much stated what I was thinking.  Its very true that you know this guy better than we do but you’re also in the honeymoon stage and can’t see things as clearly.  So we want you to look at your situation with a more critical eye and pay closer attention to what your own gut is telling you.  We make mistakes when we dismiss that voice in our heads that tell us something isn’t right.  I’m pointing this out to you bee in the hopes that you will pay attention and take action in your best interests.  Good luck.

Post # 21
8723 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

softdrink77 :  My first question was, why is he asking these questions, and then you answered it: “… he says he knows they shouldn’t matter, but admits that he has a sort of weird and painful jealousy of my exes and wishes I were never with any of them.” So he acknowledges that this is not normal or healthy. That’s a good first step, but he has to take the next step which is to stop asking them. I would use “The Script” to ask him for exactly that. The Script is a fill-in-the-blank template that can be helpful in all kinds of situations. Its power is in the fact that it’s not attacking or accusing anyone, it just explains how their behavior affects you, and directly asks if they are willing to change their behavior. Here’s how it might go for you:

  • When you    ask about my exes    ,
  • I feel    backed into a corner   
  • because    whether I answer the question or not neither of us is going to feel good about it. These relationships are in the past, they have nothing to do with us, and there is no reason to talk about them.   
  • [The “because” part is optional. If it’s relevent, use it. If not, skip it.]
  • [Pause here to give him a chance to respond. He might, he might not, either is ok. If he does respond, don’t respond to his response. Listen to it and tuck it away, then continue.]
  • I would like you to    stop asking questions about my past relationships.   
  • Is this something you are willing to do?

If he agrees, then next time he brings it up, just remind him: “You agreed not to ask these questions anymore. Did you forget, or has something changed?” Hopefully he’ll say yes, he forgot, and he’ll drop the subject. And hopefully that will only happen a couple times before it sinks in and he stops asking the questions. If he continues to bring it up, or says “No, actually, I did change my mind and want to know these things” then you’ve got a bigger problem.

Post # 22
778 posts
Busy bee

“He occasionally gets a little jealous of other guys” 

keep an eye on this, bee. Chances are he’s not just jealous of your exes, but any guy who interacts with you. 

It’s obly been a year so you’re still seeing his best version of himself. Be aware that he could let the mask slip and eventually become outright possessive of you.

It is none of his business to know the intimate details about your exes and you are right to make him aware of that as a boundary. He knows the basics that you have dated others and he doesn’t need to know more than that. 

It is also hypocritical because he has an ex wife lmao. 

Anyway, keep monitoring his behavior and maintain your boundaries. And at the first sign of controlling behavior, he’s out.

Post # 26
541 posts
Busy bee

softdrink77 :  You don’t have to divulge anything you’re not comfortable sharing with us, these were more questions for you to think about- but if the affection he shows in public veers into ‘TMI’ it’s probably too much for public. 

And I didn’t think it was constant, I’m sure he can go days or even a few weeks or more without questioning you (out loud at least, it’s likely on his mind even more than he shares)- yet he still keeps circling back to it. This isn’t pleasant for him either, he’s feeling jealous and insecure and irrational and disliking that he’s feeling this way and yet he still gives in to these feelings and badgers you for more answers, more details. And you’re placed in the uncomfortable position of either giving him lies or answers that upset him or else he gets upset that you won’t answer these questions- even though you’ve told him you don’t like this. He is knowingly making you uncomfortable to feed this unhealthy need of his. 

Post # 27
541 posts
Busy bee

sassy411 :  “We need to be very cautious when evaluating the veracity of trash talk about exes.

Always ask what kind of total bullshit lies the ex would tell about him.

That’ll save you hours of direct questions.  I haven’t seen it fail yet.”

Great advice, I wish I could go back in time and share this with my younger self. 

On a lighter note- when I was much younger and less crusty, I had a boyfriend who used to praise me for being nothing like his exes.

He marveled that even though I was smart and had a decent career, I was still a good cook and homemaker. You see this poor guy *cue violins* had never had a girlfriend look after him before, he’d never been with anyone who was such a good cook, such a lovely homemaker. It was a novelty for him to have me make him a home cooked meal after only being with women who would microwave frozen dinners or have him get fast food. He was in awe that I still maintained such a clean apartment, even my laundry, my clothes, everything just smelled so fresh. How different from his exes who were careless and messy and just drank wine with their girlfirneds. 

Well, you can see where this is going. Naive me basked in his praise at the expense of these legendarily messy, lazy exes who couldn’t put together a decent  meal. I went out of my way to make special meals for this poor neglected guy, I went out of my way to make sure my apartment was super clean and lovely, even adding addtional throw pillows and scented candles and making sure the sheets were fresh smelling when he slept over- I did everything but leave a mint on his fucking pillow lol. And of course we’d go to my place instead of his so I could show all this off, of course I’d make dinner instead of him taking me to a restaurant so I could showcase my culinary skills. I ran myself ragged out Martha Stewart-ing Martha Stewart. When he mentioned how fresh smelling my towels always were I even offered to do his laundry for him (glossing over the fact that I worked just as many hours as he did, his apartment that we never went to anymore was always messy and he never cooked for me, rarely took me to a restaurant)

Anyway, to wrap this up, I ran into one of his exes in the supermarket, I wasn’t close to her but she was still part of the same large circle of college friends and so we knew each other a little and she saw my cart filled with ingredients that would put Gordon Ramsey to shame and she laughed and said “So he’s got you being his personal chef has he, did he tell you no-one else has ever cooked for him before?” 

“Of course it was a line!” – Joey Tribbiani


I’m not saying this is the same situation in OP’s case, in fact I think he’s sincere in at least thinking his ex cheated on him. And maybe she did or maybe his jealousy led to unfounded suspicions (either way this doesn’t give him the right to grill OP). But we see all too often how exes are portrayed as the root cause/ excuse for behaviours and actions brought into current relationships and as unacceptable as this is, on so many cases it’s not even true. 

Post # 28
10429 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

softdrink77 :  

Nobody handles PTSD well. He needs specialized treatment from a trauma recovery therapist.

The concern that the Bees have is that he will ultimately weaponize your sexual past.

Being jealous of your exes is one thing. Childish, but, not necessarily alarming.  Digging into details about your prior sexual encounter is a complete, absolute no-go.  Normal men don’t want the gory details.  They block that stuff out of their minds.

It’s concerning that the red lights still haven’t started blinking for you, Bee.

Post # 29
3586 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

My Fiance was like this at the beginning of our relationship. I dated much more than he did (not for his lack of trying, which was his main point of contention) and that bothered him, not because I had lots of experiences but because he felt inexperienced in comparison. Which we both think is ridiculous, but feelings are feelings! He would often ask questions he didn’t want to know the answer to, and I could see in his face he didn’t really want to know, he just couldn’t stop himself from going there. So I had to be the one to stop it. I would say “I don’t want to answer that. What happened in the past is in the past and it wont serve any positive purpose to dig it up now.” You do have full right to not disclose any of your past relationship details if you don’t want to, you don’t owe him any of that. He also needs to respect your boundary on this. 

As our relationship progressed, Fiance became more confident in our relationship and our past became more prevalent than my past before him. One thing to note, Fiance never asked Too Much Information questions about sexual encounters. Those kinds of questions would make me incredibly uncomfortable and I would not be open to discussing that. 

It sounds like he’s open to working on it, which is great. My advice is for you to set a boundary that you’re comfortable with and tell him what it is. If he pushes it, stand firm and tell him you discussed this boundary and he needs to respect it. If he doesnt respect it, yo have a serious problem on your hands. If he does, problem solved!

Post # 30
6670 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

softdrink77 :  I’m going to be honest and I guarantee you’re not going to like it. A lot of what you’ve said in your follow-up responses (especially your reply to crustyoldbee above) are raising some alarm bells with me. This is really really REALLY reminding me of my boyfriend from sophmore year of college. He was the most charming, caring guy I had ever dated. He was so kind and attentive. I had never met anyone like him. But he was also a bit…jealous. In the same way you’re describing. He asked questions about my past. It started very slowly. He said (read: lied) at first that my honest answers didn’t bother him. But he kept asking more and more. And then he started making snide comments. And judging me. And holding my past against me. And calling me names. And it all snowballed from there. It was horrible. Mind you, it’s not like this all happened overnight. This took well over a year for it to become an actual emotionally abusive relationship. I didn’t even realize it. And then he shoved me against a wall for the first time while calling me a whore. 

I’m not saying this guy is going to become emotionally or physically abusive. I’m not saying you’re for sure headed down my same path. But I am saying be careful. I am saying that, to me, these are red flags. I am saying that your bf telling you he knows what he’s doing is wrong and yet he KEEPS DOING IT is a hard pass. Be careful. 

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