Beware of Jealous Men


Kobra Khanoom
by Kobra Khanoom

Some years ago I was told by a friend, who was going through a difficult time ending a relationship, that I was good at giving advice. It was not the first time someone had told me this. I decided, with the help of Jahanshah Javid, that it would be a good idea to start an advice column that gave guidance freely, openly and from the heart. When choosing a name for my ‘Iranian Dear Abbey’ I remembered my nanneh (nanny), Kobra Khanoom, in Iran who though illiterate was full of wisdom and goodwill and used to give everyone advice that was simple and confident.

There is a tradition in most cultures, certainly in our Iranian one, of wise women giving advice. It is the kind of counseling that is free of psychological and clinical training, unafraid of being sued and boldly free of any disclaimers. It is the kind of advice-giving that is as old as when people first started telling each other their problems. I have decided to revive Kobra Khanoom’s advice column because the older I get the more ups and downs I experience, the more like her I become.

So if you need a naneh to help you with a problem ask Kobra Khanoom and she will try her best to answer your question. It is, after all, up to you to listen. Email me at


Question: I have a Persian platonic guy friend. We have been friends for about 9 months now. He likes to talk about womanizing and how he signed up for an on line dating web site but I am not sure he has actually dated anyone since his divorce almost a year ago. I prefer not to get into that aspect of my friend's lives.

My problem is the following: every time he sees me talking to some guy, he has an allergic reaction and begins to treat me in a mean way. He always apologizes. He has acknowledged that he gets jealous. We have spoken about, "How we are not compatible for each other."

I am tired of all the drama. I am also tired of him using the excuse that it is because of what he suffered by the IRI and his ex-wife. I'm not the IRI nor his ex-wife! As a matter of fact, I am the total opposite of his ex-wife.

I have also suffered a great deal and have an ex-husband too. I don't go using it to justify harming someone.

I truly try to live my life by the following: "good words, good thoughts and good deeds".

Should, we continue to be friends or should we go our separate ways? He normally is very nice but...

Kobra Khanoom’s Answer: The guy’s interest in you is not platonic in the least. His jealousy is ample evidence of the fact that he is interested in you romantically. His talk about womanizing is part of his courtship ritual it is his form of chest puffing.

You can stay friends but know that he is not on the same page as you and be super careful. I would keep a very good distance because people who are emotional like this and suffer from jealous fits are also easily deluded into thinking that they have a chance when they don‘t. I would not even consider taking the relationship to a sexual and/or romantic level because if he gets this jealous now can you imagine what he will be like once you sleep with him. Life-long celibacy is better than a suffocatingly jealous partner!

A woman’s “no” is taken with different degrees of seriousness in different cultures. In our Iranian one, which is certainly more patriarchal than the American one, a woman’s “no” is not taken as seriously. I just followed the Zanjan University case of sexual harassment in which the girl who is the victim was charged for Efshagari which means revealing the crime! Remember the case of a poor woman gang raped in Saudi Arabia who herself was condemned for having gotten into the car with an unrelated man. I am not saying Iranians are all macho and narrow minded or that the Saudi regime or the IRI reflect what your friend feels but this level of patriarchal oppressiveness in Islamic culture does its damage in subtle ways even to those who think they oppose it. The jealousy you see in your friend is an extension of this mistrust for women that permeates most societies and some certainly more than others.

But somethings are not gender or culturally bound--I think it is universally true that when one is romantically interested in a person who considers him or herself ‘just a friend’ often one stays in the friendship hoping that it will evolve into something more. So if you are not interested in this guy you will do him a favor to be overly blunt about it and/or keep your distance from him. The burden is on you to control the situation because he being smitten is unable to do so.

I truly believe that obsessive jealousy especially one that is blamed on an ex-wife and an entire political regime is stupid, unbearable and suffocating. It is a sign of deep insecurity. People who believe they are great or good don't doubt their friends or partners. His wife probably left him because he was overly possessive. Be careful not to hurt the guy and keep your distance. Tell him to write to me maybe I can help him.

Kobra Khanoom


Recently by Kobra KhanoomCommentsDate
Love and The Married Woman
Jul 10, 2008
Why are Women Unhappier?
Jul 09, 2008
Go out there and start with getting laid!
Jul 04, 2008
more from Kobra Khanoom
Party Girl


by Party Girl on

I was watching a documentary on marriage on Iranian television about eight years ago.  The documentary showed jealous and obsessive behavior of men and women in marriages, following each other, snooping on each other's papers, searching pockets, checking each other's cell phone data, eavesdropping on phone conversations, etc.  After the documentary was finished, the program went back to the studio where a psychologist was commenting on the program.  What she said on IRIB was so surprising to me.  She said that in Iran as in several other countries, people have a notion that jealousy, which she called 'gheirat', is synonymous with ‘love,’ ‘caring,’ and ‘honor.’  She explained in plain and easy Farsi language, that ‘gheirat’ is nothing but violence.  It is a form of abuse, except it is not a physical abuse but a psychological one.   She said that as a nation, if we recognize jealousy as a form of abuse, we will be less inclined to dish it out to those we love and even less inclined to receive it as a gesture of love and caring.  I was happy to see that even among the garbage that seems to be flying on Iranian television, some important and timely information was disseminated.

My personal addition to this story is that whatever love and caring and positive attention mean to each of us, the net effect of those feelings on the other person must feel like velvet would feel on their skin, soft and comforting.  If an individual’s demonstrations of love and attention cause the other person to feel stress equivalent to feeling sandpaper on their skin, we aren’t looking at love.  It seems to me that this reader is experiencing too much stress from her gentleman friend even for a simple friendship, let alone a romantic relationship.  "Adios" seems to be the proper thing to say.

K Nassery

End that relationship ASAP

by K Nassery on

Men can go over the line.  Cost/benefits...  The cost is too painful.



Set yourself free

by Empowered (not verified) on

You sound like a smart, kind and very caring woman. I think it is time that you stop being so nice and let the friendship go. He will only continue to be mean to you. They never change.
Your not his don't owe him anything..Set yourself free.


Men are from Mars, Women are from another Universe!

by Male Viewpoint (not verified) on

Has this guy friend of yours called you lately? When was the last time he called? How many times has he seen you? When was the last time he saw you? How many times has he knocked on your door asking to go out with you? How many times has he had allergic reactions when he sees you talking to other guys?
What is wrong with apologizing when one behaves badly? Does that mean he is madly in love with you? When was the last time he acknowledged that he was jealous? When was the last time he send you gifts? What did he give you for Valentine’s Day? Was it a romantic gift or a platonic one? Did you have a birthday during the last nine months? What did he do for your birthday, if any, if you had any birthday? Has he crossed the ocean to meet you? Driven the long roads through vast deserts? Flown the dangerous skies? What was the result of your conversation when you spoke of not being compatible?

If you are tired of his behavior why drag the drama? If you are not IRI and his ex-wife, why not abdicate? If you have also suffered a great deal and have an ex-husband who has mistreated you, why stick with this platonic friend? “He is normally very nice but...”, the most common mistake: “I’ll get ‘em now and change ‘em later”. Big mistake, big mistake.

Empower yourself and get on with your life.