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Case example of the month: January = Jealousy

January 15th, 2007

Dr Petra

Each month I’ll outline a sex or relationship problem commonly presented to counsellors, educators, agony aunts or healthcare staff. Each case will be created from a range of similar examples (so not based on any one person
or relationship). At the start of the week the case will be outlined, with feedback on the case given later in the week. You can also email me your thoughts on the cases if you’d like me to include them in this blog.

The case example – David struggles with jealousy

Ten years ago when he was 21 David was cheated on by his fiancé. He discovered she had been seeing a friend of his whilst David had been working away from home. David ended the relationship and embarked on a number of flings with women he either ended by cheating on them or through his fears they were cheating on him.

A year ago David met Joanne. She worked in the same office as him, shared a number of his interests, and David found her very attractive. He felt he wanted a more serious relationship with Joanne but although he could never find any proof she had been unfaithful he became increasingly convinced he couldn’t trust her.

David began to check Joanne’s emails and mobile phone records and to create a fuss if she went out with friends or family and didn’t take him along. He felt more comfortable when they were at home together and became anxious when he didn’t know where she was at work. When they did go out together David felt Joanne was deliberately attracting attention from other men that led to a number of arguments between the couple – as well as several arguments with men in pubs or bars.

Last week Joanne gave David an ultimatum. She was moving back to her parent’s home until he could sort himself out. David was devastated but also believed she was leaving him to cheat with a lover. He wants Joanne back but can’t convince himself she can be trusted.

If you were David what would you do?

If you were Joanne what would you do?

If you were a friend of David or Joanne what advice would you give them?

Do you think David is justified in the way he has treated Joanne?

Join me later in the week when I’ll outline some solutions for the couple, what science has to say about jealousy, and what help is available if you are in a similar situation.

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