Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Jealousy, Insecurity, and Relationships

Last night I could tell that something was bothering my wife, but she wasn't going to come straight out and tell me. That is not the Filipina way. You have to listen to what she is saying, or not saying, and then interpret what it is she is telling you.

We were lying in bed. She had to lie down on her side to get comfortable, because her tummy is getting unwieldy. We had just finished watching her can't miss tv show, "America's Next Top Model". She started twisting around in bed. I knew it wasn't just because she was physically uncomfortable.

"Honey, last night when we were by the hawker stalls, why did you smile at the Chinese girl at the stall that sells the chicken chops? The one who wears the really short shorts and tight tops all the time?"

"I was only being friendly"

"Yes, but you gave her a nice smile. Then later on when she came back, she smiled at you, and you gave her another nice smile."

"So, that's all I did. I just smiled. "

"Yes, but you smiled at her twice, and she smiled at you. Whenever you see her, you always smile at her."

"Ok, if that bothers you, I will walk around with a permanent boo-boo face, and never smile at anyone again."

I made an exaggerated pout and she laughed, then hit me on the shoulder.

"Noooooooo, don't do that! I was just wondering how come you look at her."

"So you are feeling jealous? Look. baby, I have no intention of sleeping with her or anything else."

"Yes, but she dresses very sexy, and she smiles at you. And you also smile at the girl at the claypot chicken rice stall."

"Yes, but you also smile at the girl at the claypot chicken rice stall. You have said that she is very sweet and friendly."

"Yeah, but that is different. I'm a woman . . ."

"Yeah, I noticed that. Look, Baby, I married you. When I did, I said I would love you, honor you, and forsake all others, until death do us part. I intend to keep that promise. "

"But I see you look at women sometimes."

"And that's all I do. It's what all normal guys do. Hell, even gay guys look at women and make comments to each other. What's wrong? are you feeling jealous?"

"Well, I just notice you looking."

"So you feel insecure, and think I don't find you sexy anymore because you are pregnant?"

She didn't say anything. I knew that meant I had hit the bullseye.

"Look, has our sex life changed any? Don't we still make love as much as we normally do, and do the same things we always do? Except maybe, we have to change positions because of your pregnancy?"


"So don't you think that means I still find you sexy and attractive, despite the changes in your body? Do you think that because you are pregnant, I am going to go out and find another woman? Is that what your father did?"

She didn't say anything, but I could see the answer in her face.

"Look, Baby, I'm not your father. I'm not going to do the same things he's done. Is there anything I've done that makes you think I am going to act that way?"

"No. I know you are good."

"Ok, then don't worry. I love YOU. Sure, I might look at other women, but your the one I married, and love, and come home to. So why should you all of a sudden feel that suddenly I don't love you, find you sexy, or want that I want someone else?"

"I don't know. I guess I just feel unsure of myself. My body is fat and my face is breaking out, and I don't feel sexy anymore."

"Well, I think you are still sexy. Otherwise, would I keep making love to you the way I do?"

She pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows in that way unique to Filipinas when they are thinking things over.

"I know, it's just natural that women start feeling this way when they are pregnant. But tell you what, you are going to give birth to our daughter. What can be more beautiful than that? How could anything make you more beautiful to me than that?"

Her answer was a demure smile, and a little tear in the corner of her eye. "I'm sorry for feeling like this, Honey."

"Don't be, Baby. I'm proud of you for saying something. I'm really glad you did. I rather you say something, and get it out so we can talk, than keep it all in."


"Of course. To have a strong relationship we need to have good communication between the two of us. Don't try to keep harmony by not saying something, only to have things grow and become a major problem later. So please, if something is bothering you, don't hold it in- just let me know. I'm not a mind reader. Sometimes I can see something is wrong, but when I ask you about it, you don't say anything. Or you say you are ok, even if I know you are not. There's no way I can change things unless you tell me what is wrong. Then we can talk about it, and it won't become a problem."

"Yeah, you are right. I do that."

"I know, because of what you saw happen in your parents relationship. I saw the same thing happen in my family.That's not the type of relationship that I want to have, and I know you don't want the same thing either. Let's not do the same things we saw them do."

"You're right Honey. We aren't our parents. I shouldn't expect things to be the same as it was with them."

With that, she gave me a little kiss.

"Thanks for caring, Honey."

"No, thank you for being honest me me, Baby. Thanks for having the courage to say something. I really appreciate that."

She hugged me, and we stayed in each others arms and kissed for a while.

There was nothing I saw that day that was more beautiful than the smile I saw on her face just before we turned off the light and fell asleep.