Your boyfriend goes out with his buddies to watch a ballgame. You call him five times over the course of the night to see what he’s doing. When he gets home, you accuse him of hooking up with other girls. This is paranoia. This is weird.
Your boyfriend tries to go out with his buddies to watch a ballgame. You tell him he shouldn’t go, or he can’t go, you don’t like when he goes out without you. You start crying and tell him you know he’s been sleeping around, although you really don’t know that at all. You argue for two hours, then finally go to sleep. But you can’t sleep…you take his cell phone out of his jeans, then scour his text messages and missed calls for the slightest hint of any female in his life. You finally find the proof you were looking for…a text from some bitch named Becky. “miss u call me!” You wake up your boyfriend, and tell him you’re going to stab Becky to death. He reminds you that Becky is his sister. This is obsession. This is scary.
Oh, you paranoid, controlling weirdos! How many relationships have you ruined with your overbearing ways? More than one, most likely. Well don’t worry. I’m gonna Dr. Phil this shit right now.
First let me say: I understand. Paranoia is a natural defense against getting cheated on. You inherited it from your ancestors tens of thousands of years ago. Back then, just like today, getting cheated on could have some serious repercussions. And those repercussions are different for each gender.
Guys, if your woman cheated on you 30,000 years ago, even just once, it was a really big deal. That’s because it only takes a few minutes for some dashing young caveman to knock up your wife behind a tree, and you’d never know it happened. And if she gets pregnant, guess who’s accidentally raising that guy’s kid? You. So men are most threatened by physical infidelity, like nearby horny males…accounting for the large number of fistfights at bars. Thus, male paranoia tends to take the form of controlling behavior. He wants to keep your vagina tied up, in the basement, forever.
Ladies, if your man cheated on you once with some cave slut 30,000 years ago, it wasn’t necessarily that troubling…knocking up some slag didn’t really affect you. In fact, in many European cultures today, women allow men their physical dalliances, if that’s all it is. But if your man decided to leave you permanently, you would be without the food and protection that his hunter status afforded you. For this reason women are most threatened by emotional infidelity…say, one of their boyfriend’s exes posting something on his Facebook wall. An ex is worse than some bimbo—it’s a girl he had feelings for, someone he may go back to. Thus, female paranoia tends to take the form of prying behavior. She wants to find that kernel of proof her man has feelings for someone else, find out who it is, and kill her.
So how did cave dudes and cave babes prevent their mates from cheating? It’s not hard to imagine. They could be clingy, never letting their partner out of their sight. They could be aggressive and protective, scaring away any other suitors that might have designs on their mate. To be honest, in a tribe of 100 people who hung around each other all day, these behaviors probably worked. Let’s say I notice my rival, Zorgath, getting a little flirty with my lady. I could realistically keep tabs on both of them most of the day. And if Zorgath was getting a little too flirty, I could go Neanderthal on him, clubbing him a few times so he knew to never get cozy with my woman again. That would not only deter Zorgath from future attempts, but everybody else too. Possessive, over-protective, over-aggressive behavior…these are the hallmarks of paranoia, and 30,000 years ago, probably helped your ancestors keep adultery to a minimum.
But the problem is our cave brains haven’t caught up to modern realities. You can’t keep casual tabs on your mate the way your ancestors did, because we don’t live in tribes of 100 anymore, we live in cities of 10,000,000. So you try to make up for it by calling and texting them ten thousand times a day. Which is pointless, of course…your boyfriend could literally text you back while getting blown in a strip club and you wouldn’t know the difference. You can get angry and fight every guy who flirts with your girlfriend…but to what end? You only had to kick Zorgath’s ass once, and after that the whole tribe got the message to stay away. But even if you could kick the shit out of every guy in the bar, that still leaves about ten thousand other bars full of guys ready to seduce your lady.
So, in 2013, none of your paranoid caveman behaviors will help you prevent cheating. What those behaviors will do is make you appear insecure. Like clinginess, displaying paranoia is broadcasting that you are terrified of losing your lover. What do you think happens when you send that message? It makes your partner question your value and wonder if they can do better. Ultimately, they will leave you…or if they’re too cowardly to actually end the relationship, they might just start screwing around instead. Gah! Your paranoia has made you a cuckold! The very thing it was supposed to prevent!
Look, I know you’ve had life experiences that magnified your paranoia. Usually, it’s getting cheated on in the past, sometimes more than once. Or it could be that you’re insecure in general and can’t help showing it. Maybe you don’t have any friends or family or hobbies, and clinging to your partner like a starving orphan is the only thing you have to do with your time.
If that sounds like you, I wouldn’t be surprised if your partner was the exact same way. The only people who put up with this kind of insecure bullshit are other people who are, themselves, full of insecure bullshit. In fact you two might even enjoy exchanging paranoid barbs, accusing each other of various petty offenses, then making up, only to do it all over again next week. Attention and emotion, even the negative kind, feels good to insecure people…for a while.
So, why not try something new: trusting your lady or man. Usually, your secure and confident personality will reaffirm your value, and they will stay faithful and true. At worst, they cheat on you—which your paranoia wasn’t preventing anyway—and you’ll dump them, because you’re a person of character and you’re confident you deserve the same. When you learn to love and believe in yourself, it’s a lot easier to love and believe in your partner.
Kay, I gotta cut this short and grab my club. I just saw Zorgath offering my girl some strawberries.
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