My boyfriend is jealous of a co-researcher on my team. I have no interest in him romantically because he’s unattractive and married. We also have nothing in common outside of work. We’ve been messaging a lot because about the project and because of a problem we had with a coworker. But all our messages are work related. Instead of telling me directly that this flurry of messaging was making him (my BF) uncomfortable, my BF was making snide remarks. It was hard for me to tell if he was joking and letting off steam or he was seriously upset. My boyfriend is lovely in all respects, but sometimes gets jealous and accuses me of things. It's always over small misunderstandings, mistakes, or misinterpretations.

For example, I overslept one morning when I was supposed to wake him up early so we could have sex before a postcoital test (PCT) at the gyno He accused me of doing that on purpose, rather than accepting that is was an accident. I just slept through my alarm! It happens! I’ve had cold sores since I was a kid in the winter and he got one and it turned out it was herpes. He’s accused me of keeping that from him and giving it to him in order to tie him to me. But I swear to God and my mother and all I hold holy that I had no idea they were anything other than cold sores and I had no such intentions at all!

He’s pretty suspicious, but I can’t say that in that herpes/cold sore case, it isn’t without reason. In all other regards, he's a wonderful partner—smart, kind, patient, funny, socially conscious, health-conscious, decent in bed, someone I can open up to and talk with about anything with. I’m crazy about him.

Do you think I’m ignoring a problem that's going to get bigger? It hasn’t become more frequent or more severe. Is this just a side-effect of him being so smart—he puts things together, he remembers details, and comes to conclusions. But his deduction skills are being put to a bad use where my loyalty is concerned. Am I overreacting? I've been with jealous men in the past and I might be sensitive to these baseless and illogical accusations. Is there a better way to deal with them? I tend to be very direct. I tell him his interpretation of events is off and tell him my version. But he doesn’t believe me and then he and I get annoyed with each other. Nothing is really resolved. He still accuses me of random shit, which makes me feel like he doesn’t trust me, and then makes me question what I am doing with someone who doesn’t trust me and makes me wonder if I want to have children with someone like this at all. He has straight up told me he doesn’t trust me, that he doesn’t trust anyone, and anybody who trusts other people is stupid or lying. Dan, we’re trying to start a family and moving to another country together. Am I being like an ostrich here? Or is this like a “price of admission”?

I really value your input, because you’re outside of this situation and have always given so many people such great advice.

Distrusted And Mulling Nervously

The strangest thing happened when I was reading your letter, DAMN. I began having these incredibly traumatic flashbacks...

I'm not saying your lovely boyfriend—your smart, kind, patient, funny boyfriend—is anything like Donald J. Trump. All I'm saying is... you know... Trump was projecting during that debate. He knew he was Putin's puppet when he accused Clinton of being the puppet. And as I read and then reread your letter, DAMN, I started flashing back on "You're the puppet!" Because I thought it possible that your lovely, smart, kind, funny, jealous, irrational, suspicious boyfriend might be engaged in a little projection himself. In other words, DAMN, your boyfriend accuses you of being untrustworthy because he knows—consciously or subconsciously—that he's the one who can't be trusted.

It's something you should explore! In couples counseling! Right after you get back on the pill! Which you should do immediately! Because irrational jealousy and baseless accusations are something you wanna get to the bottom of before you move away with someone, DAMN, and before scrambling your DNA together with that person.

I'm not saying your lovely, smart, kind, funny, jealous, irrational, suspicious boyfriend is an abuser... but irrational jealousy and baseless accusations are bright red flags. Irrational jealousy (and the baseless accusations that accompany it) is something that gets worse over time; most abusers don't reveal themselves in all their awfulness until their victims are dependent on them (isolated in a foreign country) or can never fully be free from them (because they've scrambled their DNA together).

Again, I'm not saying your boyfriend—your lovely, irrational, kind, jealous, funny boyfriend—is definitely an abuser. But I am saying you should wanna make damn sure he isn't before you move away or make a baby with him.

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