Dear Mary: 'I'm sick of my boyfriend eyeing up other women'
My boyfriend and I have been going out for nearly two years and for the most part the relationship is good.
I am a single mother and I feel he doesn't understand the strains of this. I am not the most confident person when it comes to my capabilities or looks. I doubt myself a lot and I think he is aware of this.
I feel like I'm waiting for him to find someone better than me.
He is constantly eyeing up other women and is very pass-remarkable in terms of other women in front of me calling them "rides" or saying very inappropriate things.
He also 'likes' different girls' photos on social media. I catch him out a lot checking out other women. I'm just so sick of it because it makes me feel so bad about myself!
To be honest, I'm a rather jealous person anyway, but I do think this is totally inappropriate behaviour.
I really want a future with him and do see myself marrying him but feel his behaviour is totally disrespectful.
I have confronted him several times on this subject but he takes no notice.
What would your view be on this?
Mary replies: My view is that I agree with you - it is disrespectful to you and indeed to the other women. I have to ask why you would envision yourself marrying somebody who makes you feel like this.
It is indeed stressful to be a single mother without the help of another person with whom you can share the worries and doubts that motherhood brings, particularly with the first child.
You don't say whether your boyfriend is the father of your child but I doubt it because you would not be feeling as stressed if he were the father.
The main problem you have with your boyfriend is that he is constantly checking out other women and letting you know that he finds them attractive.
When challenged he probably says that there is no harm in looking providing he doesn't do anything about it other than look.
Part of me wants to urge you to do the same to him - any time you see a good looking guy comment on how attractive you find him - because this would really let him see what it is like to be on the receiving end.
However, it may not affect him at all because of the type of personality he has, whereas it makes you even less self-confident than you are already.
It would be a good idea to start working on your own self-confidence to begin with.
It was fascinating on reading Michelle Obama's autobiography to discover that she struggled in her early years - in fact until she finished college and started to work - with feeling that she was not good enough.
She came from a very humble background and had to constantly remind herself that she was indeed good enough when comparing herself to other people.
But she kept working on it, and so should you.
Take some time to remind yourself of your good points, what people like about you and what you are good at.
So even when looking in the mirror instead of telling yourself that you don't like, say, your hair, concentrate on something that you do like about your appearance and enjoy that feeling. Make it a daily practice to remind yourself what it is you like about your personality and how you look, as it's important that we boost our confidence when we are feeling undermined and unappreciated by the people around us.
And that way when someone gives you a compliment, you'll be in a position to welcome it and accept it, and get the full benefit of it.
Jealousy is quite a normal emotion and it is natural to feel jealous from time to time - particularly when you see other people having what appears to be an absolutely fabulous life on Facebook and Instagram.
However, insecurity often underlies jealousy, and if a relationship is the cause of your insecurity it can therefore be the cause of your jealous feelings.
Also, you may have had earlier experiences, which you haven't mentioned in your letter, which resulted in your feeling jealous and these experiences could also be a contributing factor to your current jealousy.
Ask your boyfriend why he does something that hurts you so much. Tell him that even though he sees nothing wrong with it, it affects you deeply and makes you question his love for you.
If he continues to do it then it proves he is more concerned with his own gratification than showing you that he loves you.
What you do after that is up to you.
You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.
Sunday Indo Living