Dealing with obsessive partners
With every step you take
Every move you make
And every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
I'll be watching you.
- Every Move You Make, The Police
Your partner goes through your phone and searches your contact list. If it includes a member of the opposite sex, they take the time to call to know what business you have with them. Your conversation on the landline is monitored, and chances, are you will be grilled on who the caller was.
You feel like you are being stalked as your phone and your contacts remains an obsession.
Can a relationship survive this kind of insecurity?
Pastor Darren McKoy of the Church of God in Jamaica said that for him, the scenario paints a picture of a relationship that is not based on trust or loyalty.
He points out that once an individual sees the need to go through their partner's phone and intentionally search for messages from the opposite sex, that is an indication that there were problems even before the relationship started.
"It is also evident that the communication line and openness between both parties is non-existent. In any relationship, trust has to be one of the hallmarks of the union. If you have uncertainty about your partner to the extent where you have to search their phone, then maybe that person is not your partner," he notes.
McKoy said that no relationship can thrive in that kind of an atmosphere, especially if it's a new one.
He said that kind of obsession will lead to constant arguments and disputes, something that ultimately is not good for any relationship.
"As a matter of fact, actions like that can open the door to so many other things, including cheating. So, not only will the other party consider leaving, but depending on why they are in the relationship (it could be for financial support), they may very well stay, but have someone else on the side," he said.
Delving into the probable cause behind such actions from the significant other, Mckoy said it could be a carry-over from past relationship, which would see that person coming into the relationship with many insecurities.
This, he said, would see them wrestling with the issue of trust and therefore being unable to see that the person they are with loves them for who they are and has no intention to go elsewhere. Another reason, observed McKoy, could be from their own family environment, where they saw it play out in their homes and learned from an early age that relationships can't be trusted.
Noting that the stakes are high in dealing with this kind of situation in the relationship, McKoy said all is not lost because if there is genuine love, a way can be found to salvage the relationship.
"Nothing beats conversation. As a matter of fact, the reason these issues normally arise is a result of lack of communication. Therefore, if you truly love the person, you have to be willing to talk about, as well as talk through, your feelings," he said.
He emphasised that searching through phones or stalking partners on Facebook will only lead to frustration, so it's better to engage in meaningful discussion.
McKoy also has words for the party whose privacy is being invaded. He said instead of getting angry and saying hurtful things, they should try to be a little more understanding and address their significant other's insecurity.
Acknowledging that in situations like those, persons can get defensive and could either shut down or retaliate, McKoy said it would be unwise to fight fire with fire, but things would be better if patners try to "give a soft answer" in dealing with the issue.
He says that if after all the reassurances of love, support and fidelity your partner still has those unhealthy habits, one should still resist the urge in "pulling the plug" as that should be a last resort, especially if you are truly in love with the person.
"If the person refuses to change, even after conversations and reassurance, it could be that you both can't do it alone. Therefore, I would recommend counselling sessions. There may be things that you both overlooked, there may be deep-seated issues that honestly you are fearful to open up about, and so, that is the job of the counsellor," he suggested.
McKoy said that hopefully, will do the trick, but if not, maybe it is time to consider leaving before things get worse.
"Any relationship that you are in must never have to go through that type of obsession. That is why it is important for every couple to take time to know your partner. Never try to rush into it because you see something that you are aching for. And for those who are going to be married, take the time to do extensive pre-marital counselling from before. At least a year prior to the wedding, be open with each other, but more importantly, be open with yourself," said McKoy.