Jealous partner could be ill
Posted Saturday, February 9 2013 at 02:00
- His obsessive concern about you is not love
After a year of frequenting my clinic complaining of headache for which I found no cause despite myriad tests, Mary walked into my office one morning and after exchanging greetings, blurted out:
“It is finished, doctor, it is.”
Before I could comprehend what she was trying to say, she broke down and started crying. This was definitely not the best of days for me. I had just arrived at the clinic and she was my first patient. I quickly tried to think of a way to bring the situation under control, even though I did not know what it was all about.
“Mrs Maneno,” I intervened, “I am really sorry for what you are going through. Please have courage and...”
“Doctor please, please do not call me that stupid man’s name again,” she interjected, “call me Mary.”
Mary had been married for three years and was a housewife. She had a degree in commerce but she and her husband had agreed that she stay at home and look after their daughter. Initially, she appeared happy but in the past few months, she had developed an unexplained non-resolving headache and appeared to be distant.
Every time I asked about her family, she would say little, only that they were fine, that her husband was okay and the baby giving her sleepless nights. So her reaction this day was strange. She looked devastated and for once, started talking negatively about her husband.
“I have persevered all this time,” she continued, “I am tired of being a slave. I want my freedom,” she concluded.
According to Mary, her husband persuaded her to stop working when they got married. He jokingly said Mary was too beautiful and men in the office would “disturb” her. Because of his insistence, Mary resigned from her job; if anything, she was expectant at the time and was tired and barely able to cope with work.
Her husband developed the habit of doing many things for her, including shopping, saying she needed to rest at home. Progressively, he started monitoring her, checking the messages and call log on her phone, sometimes calling back the numbers he found.
If it was a man’s number, there would be war in the house. She was not allowed to call any man because her husband believed that she was having a “secret affair”
Too sexy and seductive
Previously, Mary could take the child to the clinic on her own, but now her husband insisted on accompanying her just in case a “secret lover” met her on the way.
What worried Mary most was that her husband hired a firm not just to look after security around the house, but also to monitor her movements and arrest her “lover”, whom the man believed came to the house when he was away.
Further, her husband stopped her from making her hair and nails and confiscated some of her clothes because he claimed that they made her look “too sexy and seductive.”
Mary was upset. She had no secret lover and had no intention of being unfaithful. She believed that her headache was caused by stress. She wanted freedom. Initially, she had thought that her husband was behaving that way because of love, but it was becoming clear that there was a serious problem.
Mary’s husband’s problem is a common medical condition that most partners tolerate in their relationships. It is called pathological jealousy, obsessional jealousy, sexual jealousy, and other similar descriptive terms. It is a situation where a person has an intense but false feeling that their partner is cheating on them.