Suspicious minds

May 26, 2000

Psychologist David Buss says "individuals diagnosed as 'pathologically jealous' often turn out to have partners who have strayed in the past, are straying or are contemplating straying" ("I love you to death", THES, April 21).

That is a shocking way of justifying pathological behaviour. Any sample of the population would reveal a high percentage of partners who have strayed, are straying or are contemplating straying. If you restrict your survey to those suffering severe stress in the partnership, clearly one would come up with a majority who are or have been in straying mode.

While pathology is, of course, a severe and deformed manifestation of a condition that in its standard form is rational, his statement seems to justify pathology, and that will not do. He must know all the damage that can be caused by extreme jealousy and should be more careful in describing its causes.

Alexandra Draxler Paris, France

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