Dr. Love,I recently caught my husband outrageously flirting with different women in a chat room. It really bothered me because he never flirts with me anymore. He says I have no reason to worry, that he is not doing anything wrong. However, I am still troubled by it. Do you feel I have reason to worry or should I just put it in the past and forget it?Worried Wife
I can’t help but wonder if your husband is, without realizing it, provoking his ex girlfriend’s jealousy. I say this because the phone call that he made to you, right in front of her, was very provocative.Since he knows that she is carrying a torch for him, why would he rub her face in the fact that he loves you? The only reason that I can come up with is that he is actually furious with her for dumping him, and so he is paying her back. Seeing her blow a gasket must give him some gratification. The only problem is, you are receiving the fallout.He needs to examine his behavior. He needs to honestly ask himself what reaction he wants to provoke in her (rage, jealousy, etc. ). He needs to also own what feelings are driving his own behavior (bitterness, resentment, anger, etc. ).I also would wonder if his ego was bruised when she ended the relationship. By behaving in ways that provoke her to chase after him, his unconscious mind may be attempting to boost his ego. After all, having a woman crazy for you is an ego boosting experience. Just a thought to examine, and discard, if it doesn’t fit.Once he examines the feelings that are motivating his behavior, he will have more conscious control over his actions. In other words, when a person is angry and doesn’t know it, the anger is more likely to ‘seep’ out in ways that he/she doesn’t realize. When he becomes clearer on his thoughts, feelings, and motivations, he will be able to make a conscious decision on how he wishes to behave.I think the decision will come down to the following question. Which does he want more: to get his rocks off or to create peace and harmony in his world? If he wants to continue driving his ex. up a wall, then he will continue behaving in provocative ways. If he is ready to stop sticking it to her, then he will become discreet when it comes to displaying feelings for you in her presence. That will surely help tone her down.At the same time, he must also examine what else he may be saying or doing to provoke her jealous fury. If and when he decides that he wants to stop igniting his ex’s fury, he will also need to examine how he encourages her ‘fits.One really good way to encourage another person’s behavior is to pay attention, respond, etc. If he wants to curtail her fits, then he needs to walk away, say nothing, and/or leave the room or the house whenever she goes nuts.A last idea for helping to tone her down. I know that he has tried to use logic (reminding her that she is the one who ended their relationship) in order to calm her down. Trying to talk another person out of his/her feelings never works.Has he ever tried to simply listen and understand how she feels? Often a person will keep singing the same tune, griping over and over again over the same issue, because he/she still doesn’t feel resolved. In many cases, feeling heard and understood is all that the person needs to resolve a particular issue.Remember, feelings aren’t wrong or right, and they are often downright irrational. If he decides to listen and understand her feelings, he shouldn’t try to talk her out of them, or reason them away from her.If she feels that he wronged her, she’s entitled to her distorted view of reality. If your husband is willing to temporarily view the world from her own distorted lens, she may feel sufficiently heard to get on with it.I hope that he has the strength to do the self-examination I propose, give up provocative behaviors, and listen and understand her pain. This plan should move you past this nightmare.