Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: I've been married to my husband for close to two years, and we are happy for the most part, although we have our ups and downs just like other couples. When we were dating and engaged, he had a little problem with jealousy, and I thought it would tone down after we were married. Now, almost two years in, his jealousy seems to have gotten worse. He keeps tabs on my whereabouts and social media, and he ignores me if I talk to another man. He has to be in constant contact when I'm out with my girlfriends. I've never cheated, or even given him the idea that I was interested in another man. I don't want to leave him and I do love him, I just wish I knew what I could do to help him feel more secure about our relationship. Is it time to bring up the idea of a trial separation to spend some time apart while he works on this?

Discouraged Wife

DEAR DISCOURAGED: If your husband is growing more possessive and jealous as time goes on, it does not bode well for the health of your relationship long term.

Some spouses and partners gaslight their significant others into believing that jealousy and surveillance are signs of love and deep attachment. They aren't. In fact, they convey the opposite of love. This behavior is pathological. It says everything about your husband's insecurities and the lengths to which he will go to tamp down his anxiety.

I don't believe your husband's behavior will improve without concentrated professional help. He should understand that your marriage is on the line -- and yes, a separation while you both seek counseling sounds like a good idea.

DEAR AMY: "Bart" and I dated in high school. After graduation we went our separate ways. We each married and had children. Eventually we both got divorced and started to date each other again. A couple of years later we lost contact because we moved to different states. He got married again and it did not work out so he divorced. We did not see each other for two more years. A couple of months ago we searched for each other and finally met up again. We are both 54 years old. I am still single but he is seeing a girl on and off. He said she was there for him when he was going through his nasty divorce. This other girl is separated from her husband (but not divorced). It is now three times that he and I lost contact and were able to find each other again. Now we are back in each other's arms. I told him I want someone who is not seeing anyone else. He said he is not going to marry this girl or even live with her, but he can't just walk away. Now he is seeing both of us. I want to call it a day and walk away but he said we are destined to be together. I can't get him off my mind. Please tell me what to do!


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DEAR HELPLESS: After declaring that you don't want to see "Bart" if he is seeing someone else, you proceeded to ignore your own bottom line.

You might think that finding each other three times means you two are magically destined for each other. This could be true, but another perspective is that you are locked into a lifelong relationship pattern that drafts along on the drama of loss and rediscovery. You use each other as stand-ins until someone else comes along.

If this works for you then definitely keep at it. But don't expect Bart to behave differently. He is doing what works for him.

DEAR AMY: "Frustrated" was a military mom with friends who frequently flaked out on her at the last minute. I hope she takes your advice to establish a network of friends with kids, because then when one flakes out there will be others to step in.

Been There

DEAR BEEN THERE: Military parents, especially, should pull together. Deployments and transfers take a toll on families.