Relationship Expert talks about jealousy. Radio Podcast transcript.

In this radio discussion the guest, relationship expert David Kavanagh, talks to the show’s host Ciara about the thorny issue of having a jealous partner in a relationship.

Caira : I am joined now, as ever, by David Kavanagh, and this week we are talking about an email we got from a listener, who wants to remain anonymous, about jealousy.

It says, ‘Hi Caira, can I get your advice about something? I’ve been seeing a guy for 9 months and things have been going great generally, but we’re stuck on one argument and can’t resolve it. I think he’s too flirtatious. When we’re at a party and out together he always ends up talking to the girls. It came to a head last weekend on Friday. We went for dinner and were there with a group of old friends and some couples. He spent the whole of dinner talking to two particular girls, one of whom was there with her boyfriend. I was feeling isolated but I tried to get on with the evening and try to have a good time as I didn’t want to ruin it.

And after dinner we went for drinks and he continued to hang off these girls, dancing and talking with the two of them. I’m pretty certain the boyfriend of one of the girls he was talking to didn’t like it either, he looked tense.

I was so fed up so I just went home by myself, and eventually, he followed me, (so she followed him) and we had a blazing row, he defended himself saying the girls were old friends and there was nothing to worry about. Every time we have this argument he says I’m being petty, he likes the company of girls, and is an outgoing person and sees nothing wrong with a bit of harmless flirting. It’s true I knew he was outgoing and friendly when we started going out. But to me, how come it’s always girls, it seems pointed, and it’s gnawing away at my self-esteem, and I’m really starting to feel he doesn’t enjoy my company or isn’t even attracted to me. If it was the other way round, if my flirtatiousness was making him feel bad I would stop, so I don’t understand his behavior. Am I being unreasonable?’

David, is she being unreasonable?

David Kavanagh : I don’t think so Ciara, I think if she’s expressed her concerns to her boyfriend and he’s choosing to ignore them I think that’s disrespectful. I mean the question is, if you vox popped a hundred people out there, and said, if your boyfriend is going out with you on a night out now, and he’s going to be flirting with the good looking girls there, how are you going to be about that ? I think that’s kind of problematic.

Ciara: Okay, yea, so okay, do you know what I thought when I read it. I thought that they are fundamentally mismatched, and I’ll tell you why. I don’t think people should have to change their personalities, if he is this gregarious, outgoing, flirty chatterbox fella I don’t think he should have to reign that in because he has a girlfriend who is insecure. Equally, I think he’s making her miserable because she is insecure and she’s got a very gregarious boyfriend who doesn’t even get the issue. Is it possible that actually what he needs is somebody more confident and outgoing, and what she needs is somebody more sensitive? Cause it seems to me that you never really change anybody, and if I said to somebody I was going out with, ‘just behave differently when we’re going out,’ I mean if someone said that to me I wouldn’t take it well, let’s say, I wouldn’t, I just wouldn’t take it well at all. ((2.35 mins))

David : It’s a bit on the disrespectful side to expect somebody to change, and no one has the right to ask anybody to change really. That’s not to say there aren’t certain behaviours, values and attitudes that people can tweek a little bit, this can make life easier for their partner. You can be slovenly but choose to be different. There are certain characteristics that you can change, and it doesn’t make a huge amount of deal …

Ciara: I take your point, you can put your clothes in the laundry basket, or pick up your laundry or wash up your dishes, that’s sort of not an emotional behaviour or personality behaviour, that’s a habit.

David : Exactly.

Ciara: But if this guy goes out and he’s having these traits?

David : Yea, but to counterpoint that do you not think its equally the man or woman’s responsibility to make sure or at least be cognisant of the fact that their partner is feeling uncomfortable, and check in with them. Cause I see that a lot, that people, that’s its important if you’re out with your boyfriend or girlfriend, or your partner, that if they’re looking miserable you just go over and check it, are you alright, can i get you a drink, are you not in the right company.

David: Totally, but they’re out with their old friends, and maybe she looks miserable every time they go out.

Ciara: I don’t know I read this and I didn’t judge him or her, i went they’re not suited. Hes outgoing, he’s friendly, hes loving the crack, she’s a little bit more uptight, little bit more uncomfortable, little bit more watchful, she’s watching if the boyfriend feels the same as her she has that head on her, and she’s going to make him miserable, and to be honest, he’s going to make her miserable. Get out now. Find somebody more sensitive and more, maybe i don’t know, thoughtful and attentive to her, and he should find somebody more confident.

David : But doesn’t then security come from within really, when you think about it, like if somebody doesn’t feel secure that’s something they have to change themselves,

Ciara : Yes!

David : And have that self talk that makes them feel better.

Ciara : But this guy’s going to make her miserable for the rest of her days.

David : Absolutely. And if he doesn’t change, and it looks like he doesn’t intend to change then that’s not going to work

Ciara : But with respect, I don’t know how old they are, or how long they’ve been going out for, ah 9 months, they’re not going out forever, they’re not married, they don’t have kids, they don’t have property, why should he change? He went out with his mates and had a great old time, and she had been off having a great old time on the other side of the room , they could have gone home that night and not had any row at all.

David : Exactly, maybe she just needs to improve her social skills.

Ciara : Or maybe she needs to recognise that he’s, well i always think if somebody doesn’t want to be with us, with you, then they’re not right for you, I just think more people should break up than do! They should all just break up and find somebody else.

David : Just be single! Everyone just be single!

Ciara : I hope that helped, I doubt it did, but I hope that helped, I do think that there is something in it though, that not everybody suits everybody, and if your boyfriend is flirty and it makes you uncomfortable, you’re not going to change him babes, i think, get a different boyfriend. There is plenty more fish in the sea. I’m afraid we’re out of time, thank you for that David, we will talk more next week about relationships.

What did we learn? Relationships can be tricky to navigate, and often times we may be in a position where we don’t know what to do. The frank advice from this conversation is that sometimes in a relationship the best thing to do is to go your separate ways. If you find that your partner’s personality makes you feel uncomfortable, isolated and unhappy then the best thing to do might be to move on and look for someone who can support you better. This may seem like unusual advice, but we could describe it as tough love. Ciara, the presenter, is honest and to the point. This advice may be difficult for the person who emailed the podcast to hear, however it might be what’s best for her in the long run.

Can you stay with a jealous partner? Expert talks about jealousy.