What would we call a man who is always suspecting, distrustful and worried about his wife being wooed by other men? He considers his wife naive and the world (other men) as predators in waiting.

It would definitely have negative meanings since the wife is just the opposite, i.e. she is unsuspecting.

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    You have "vulnerable"....
    – Misti
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 16:20
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    There is always "cuckold", for someone who has reason to be distrustful.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 17:48
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    Possessive, overbearing, irrational,narcistic...
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 19:37
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    Doesn't "married" cover it? ;)
    – Oli
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 12:33
  • @Mari-LouA, thank you for the "words"...I would vote for "possessive and insecure".
    – eve_niggle
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 12:46

5 Answers 5


"Insecure" is a pretty accurate word. Being insecure about your relationship can mean you are constantly worried and suspicious that your partner is attracted or involved with someone else. Bear in mind that insecurity has a wider application and can go beyond a mistrusting feeling in a relationship(see below).

Another accurate example would be "Jealous".

However, jealousy is a much more temporary condition/feeling often caused by insecurity, which is a long term (and more concerning) personality trait. All men can experience jealousy, but insecure men are affected more frequently and severely.

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    +1 for insecure. It also covers being distrustful in a broader sense.
    – ermanen
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 16:04
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    @GoodA.M. I think you are under the impression that my answer was in some way rejecting your answer. I can assure you this is not the case and there is no need to compete against different answers as each are equally valuable. Regarding the first part of your comment, psychologically, jealousy IS a temporary emotion but in some cases it can linger and lead to prolong effects such as an insecure personality. However, insecure people are more likely to have feelings of jealousy in a relationship(It's a "chicken and egg issue"). Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 19:47
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    Not feeling rejected at all :-); our answers complement one another. Your observation of the psychological connection between the words is legitimate, but I am suggesting a complex cause effect relationship or feedback loop between jealousy and insecurity (see logical fallacies: onegoodmove.org/fallacy/complex.htm) I use the coexistence of legitimate jealousy and security in my own answer as an instance where jealousy (the positive sense of fond ardent zeal) is not a temporary effect of insecurity.
    – Good A.M.
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 20:05
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    It's a pleasure to make the acquaintance of some real Neanderthal Men! The personality trait of jealousy is established by nurturing the emotion of jealousy over an extended period of time. Eventually that constant emotional experience becomes a defining element of his identity. An insecure man constantly experiences the emotion of insecurity inordinately, just like a jealous man constantly experiences the emotion of jealousy inordinately. Remind me not to hire either of you to be a psychotherapist :-) Insecure is a very good answer; you could feel more secure in it.
    – Good A.M.
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 23:11
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    Reminder(as requested): Don't hire either of us to be a psychotherapist! I believe the comments have reached a point were they are all stating the same fact but from different viewpoints. Therefore, I think they are all correct and this discussion has long surpassed the scope of this community :) Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 5:11

Protective might be a good word:

1.1 Having or showing a strong wish to protect someone or something:

From the Verb form protect:

Keep safe from harm or injury:

If you wish to stress the fact that his primary mistrust is toward men, who might use her unsuspecting naivete to harm her, this would be a good choice as the etymology implies placing himself in front of his wife, between her and those who would take advantage of her:

mid-15c., from Latin protectus, past participle of protegere "to protect, cover in front" (see protection). International economics sense from 1789. Related: Protected; protecting.

protection (n.) Look up protection at Dictionary.com mid-14c., "shelter, defense; keeping, guardianship;" late 14c. as "that which protects," from Old French proteccion "protection, shield" (12c.) and directly from Late Latin protectionem (nominative protectio) "a covering over," noun of action from past participle stem of protegere "protect, cover in front," from pro- "in front" + tegere "to cover"

Over-protective projects the negative emotion more forcefully.

Jealous seems like a good descriptor for the more general feeling toward his wife. The etymology shows that the connotations of the word may be broader than our common usage:

c.1200, gelus, later jelus (early 14c.), "possessive and suspicious," originally in the context of sexuality or romance; in general use late 14c.;

also in a more positive sense, "fond, amorous, ardent," from c.1300, from Old French jalos "keen, zealous; avaricious; jealous" (12c., Modern French jaloux),

from Late Latin zelosus, from zelus "zeal," from Greek zelos, sometimes "jealousy," but more often in a good sense ("emulation, rivalry, zeal"). See zeal.

In biblical language (early 13c.) "tolerating no unfaithfulness." Most of the words for 'envy' ... had from the outset a hostile force, based on 'look at' (with malice), 'not love,' etc. Conversely, most of those which became distinctive terms for 'jealousy' were originally used also in a good sense, 'zeal, emulation.' [Buck, pp.1138-9]

Among the ways to express this in other tongues are Swedish svartsjuka, literally "black-sick," from phrase bara svarta strumpor "wear black stockings," also "be jealous." Danish skinsyg "jealous," literally "skin-sick," is from skind "hide, skin" said to be explained by Swedish dialectal expression fa skinn "receive a refusal in courtship."

The construction He's jealous of ... would tend to put more stress on the suspicious rivalry he feels toward the seduction of other men. Using He's jealous for ... might put more stress on the fond amorous zeal he feels toward her.

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    To be blunt, protective seems too positive in connotation. The question explicitly requests something with a negative connotation. Consider making the negativity explicit by going with over-protective?
    – KRyan
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 21:41
  • The answer mentions that the negative emotion of mistrust is directed at the men, but thanks for the recommendation.
    – Good A.M.
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 22:48

This is a man who fears (not feels)and he is a paranoid (TFD) person who suffers from paranoia, the unreasonable fear or irrational belief that other people are plotting to harm him or her.

  • Paranoid is a good suggestion (I was going to add it myself if I didn’t see it listed), but this is a difficult answer to read. I think something may have gotten messed up when you copied this?
    – KRyan
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 21:40



  1. Uneasy and apprehensive about an uncertain event or matter; worried.
  2. Attended with, showing, or causing anxiety: spent an anxious night waiting for the test results.
  3. Usage Problem Eagerly or earnestly desirous.

This is the defining characteristic of Shakespeare's Othello (and his wife is also innocent and unsuspecting). If you said "an Othello type", in an appropriate context, it could convey what you need.

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