Jealousy is a green-eyed monster that can lead to a relationship’s end if allowed to grow unchecked. It might be a sign of insecurity in a person, or even the manifestation of a fear of losing your partner. You might feel threatened that your significant other wants someone else more than they want you, and become jealous as a way to cope with this threat.
Jealousy in a relationship is a normal occurrence. It is natural to feel jealous when you care deeply for someone. But when you don’t know how to deal with it, it can lead to conflicts. It can become a problem when you become aggressive or cold as a result of it.
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Dealing with jealousy isn’t easy; we all know that. Whether you’re the jealous partner, or the one handling a jealous partner, it is a delicate situation that needs to be dealt with very carefully to ensure that the relationship doesn’t suffer.
No one ever chooses to be jealous — it’s not a very pleasant emotion. It’s easy to blame everything on your partner, but it is important to understand that overcoming jealousy in a relationship is the only way to be happy. You cannot truly be content and satisfied when you’re constantly on the lookout for something.
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There can be many different reasons for jealousy. Your boyfriend might have a beautiful new co-worker he’s spending a lot of time with. Your girlfriend might be staying out late very often and you don’t know why. He might be a little cross all the times. She might not be up for cuddling at nights. Maybe you and your partner haven’t had a proper conversation in a while. Maybe you feel that your partner doesn’t find you attractive anymore because you’ve gained a few pounds and don’t look anything like the models he thinks are hot. Maybe you’re scared that she’s getting bored of you.
We all have these thoughts sometimes, but obsessing over them and becoming increasingly anxious about these small things is a sign that something is wrong. If your relationship is important to you (I hope it is), you should take a few deep breaths and understand that there’s something that needs to be fixed. Being insecure and suspicious shouldn’t be the norm.
Here are a few ways to combat jealousy in relationships and come out stronger.
1. Be aware
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As mentioned earlier, the first step is to realize that there’s something wrong. Being self-aware is essential in any relationship. While you might think that your behavior is perfectly justified, you should still have guts to admit that your thoughts and actions might not belong in a healthy relationship, especially when they begin to consume you in every waking moment and creep into all aspects of your daily life. Do you start your day by checking your partner’s messages while they’re in the bathroom? That’s not good. When you have more clarity, it’s easier to ignore the horrible potential scenarios that play out in your mind.
Great! You’ve understood that a jealous nature is a big cause in the downfall of any relationship. Now you want to take steps to change. After awareness comes introspection. Jealousy is a complex emotion that might contain many others like fear, dissatisfaction, anger, humiliation, and inadequacy. These might manifest themselves as jealousy at first, especially since jealousy is a very noticeable emotion, but they have their own reasons.
Spend time analyzing your feelings. You have to know what’s causing all the negativity inside you. Is it that you’re insecure about your looks? It could be that you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, so you project that onto your partner. Is it because your partner is busy with work and doesn’t have much time for you? You might feel that they are ignoring you or distancing themselves from you. Or maybe you feel you’re not worthy enough, and that inferiority complex is acting up.
Whatever it is, you should know. Write it down, make a list if it helps. You have to get to the root of it. Only then can you begin to chip away at those underlying emotions.
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Now that you know what’s behind your jealousy, you should convey what you feel to your significant other. They deserve to know what’s brewing inside you, especially since they only see the outward result of the turmoil within you, and might be on the defensive. Any good relationship is built on honesty and trust, and if you’ve been hiding your true emotions, that’s lying by omission. Apologize to them and explain. You love them — they deserve the courtesy of an explanation. Although it might be hard to open up, especially since talking about one’s insecurities feels mortifying, you will feel liberated. Moreover, it will ensure that your partner remains in the loop and can help you.
Remember — they love you too. That’s why they’re with you, after all. And who knows? Talking about why you feel unloved might lead to a huge positive change in the dynamic of the relationship!
An easy way to understand what’s been causing dissatisfaction is to take the love language test with your partner. This theory says that there are five love languages, that is, five ways to express love emotionally: words of affirmation (spoken praise or appreciation), acts of service (some action you do for your partner), receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Every person prioritizes these languages differently.
For you, quality time might be the most important; to your partner, words of affirmation might be at the top. Most people express love in the language they want to receive love in. Continuing the example from above, you want your partner to spend a lot of time with you, so you take out time for them. Your partner wants spoken praise for you, so they give you praise. Therein lies the problem. See how that doesn’t work? Now, if that were flipped, both of you would be so much happier. Jealousy would have no place in your relationship because of good communication.
4. Assess your relationship (and yourself)
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You’ve understood what’s causing the problem, and you’ve talked to your partner about it. Now comes the final and perhaps the most important step. We’re back to deep thinking! You need to take a good look at your romantic relationship. Once you’re sure you’re in a 100% solid and secure relationship, you can move on to a few mind exercises.
No matter how much you communicate, if your mind has developed a habit of being jealous, that won’t change overnight. But there are certain things you can do to push it towards a healthier frame. Firstly, always choose to believe. You know your relationship is built on love, trust, and respect, and your partner’s actions more than reflect that – especially after the big emotional talk you had in step 3. So, give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t snoop.
Another thing that works is analysis. Emotions don’t hold up very well to being overanalyzed; they disintegrate after a while. Always probe deep (to the point where you are almost interrogating your brain) into any negative feeling you get. This will help you regain control over your mind.
Lastly, always know that you are not alone. Speak to your partner whenever it’s getting too hard to handle. You can even approach a trusted third party such as a close friend, and open up to them. Don’t be ashamed of feeling a certain way, and never be afraid to ask for help. It’s a sign of strength, not of weakness.
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Jealousy in a relationship is like a kindle, which can burst into flame with the right amount of fuel. In healthy doses, it is actually good, since it shows that a person cares deeply for you, but it should not be allowed to cross a limit. For a healthy and happy relationship, jealousy is something that needs to be controlled so that it doesn’t become overwhelming and suffocating. It’s not a beneficial way to deal with a tense situation!
By following this step by step guide, you can ensure that you permanently end your jealous reactions and keep both yourself (since you now have a healthier mindset) and your partner (who is no longer questioned at every turn) happy. Here’s to working towards a beautiful and loving partnership!
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