Irish Daily Mail


- By Lucy Cavendish

I HAVE always prided myself on not being jealous. I thought jealousy was such an unattracti­ve emotion. If someone is going to cheat, you have two choices — accept it (it’s more about them than you) or walk away. But then I found out a long-term partner had become close to a female work colleague and it almost drove me crazy.

It was his change in attitude I noticed first. He went from arriving late at work and not really caring about his appearance to being suited, booted and up with the lark.

Then he began taking his phone to the loo with him — and every time I pretended I needed his phone to check something on Google, he would refuse to let me have it.

Eventually, inevitably, he left his phone on the table and an overfriend­ly text from his work colleague flashed up. When challenged, he told me he was close to this woman. But he swore it wasn’t sexual.

From then on, though, there was surreptiti­ous texting, even though he promised he had stopped talking to her. When I found out he was lying to me, I was devastated — and then I became obsessed. I turned into someone I barely recognised, a woman I couldn’t like or understand.

Full of fury, I constantly checked his phone. Any sign that he was in touch with her set me off ranting and raving. I even hacked into his email.

I considered hiring a private investigat­or. Instead, I followed his car after work, went through every piece of paperwork, compulsive­ly logged into his satnav to see where he had been. I became deranged — partner-turned-PI. The low point? That was when I began hanging about outside his office.

Over time, I realised it was the emotional connection that really hurt. He kept telling me he was seeing her to talk about our relationsh­ip and that made everything worse. It felt like a deep betrayal, that somehow she knew the inner workings of his mind and soul in a way I didn’t.

I realised years later that at the bottom of it was my own deep sense of insecurity. His emotional infidelity with another woman cut into me in a way that maybe a sexual infidelity might not have.

From my experience as a counsellor, I do think women are far more jealous of emotional intimacy than of sexual intimacy — men are the other way around.

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