Jealousy is a powerful and painful emotion. It is one of the most negative emotions and can end almost any relationship. If left untreated it can create a permanent wedge between you and your partner, while negatively affecting future relationships. Jealousy basically arises from insecurity within oneself and not trusting your partner.
Envy and jealousy are similar, but jealousy involves a sense of possessiveness and entitlement. A jealous person holds on tightly to what they already have- usually their romantic partner– to keep others from taking this person away. An envious person covets what another person possesses–their possessions, positions, privileges or who they are as a person (their looks). When envy and jealousy get out of control, it can be highly destructive.
Jealousy in a relationship can be healed. How a couple deals with jealousy and other conflicts is vital to their success.
Below are six key steps to control your jealous habits:
Share your feelings
Openly share your feelings about being insecure or uncertain in your relationship. Speak from your heart, without justifying your actions, but avoid being accusing or confrontational. It is OK to talk about your concerns, your doubts and your desires. View this time of tension as an opportunity for open communication and expansion of understanding for both partners.
Tame your imagination
It is amazing that something that starts off in our imagination can soon spark out of control and cause such devastating damage. Imagination grows jealousy–like seeds, fertilizer, sun and water grow your garden. Recognize the negative stories and constant self-talk. Don’t blow things out of proportion by going over them time and again in your mind. Just imagine instead, being able to do all of the things that make you happy instead of having all those negative thoughts and emotions running around inside your head. Imagine not having to obsess and worry over every little thing.
Do a reality check
Take a good luck at those things that trigger your jealousy and ask yourself how realistic the threat is. Carefully think through the circus-like situations you have imagined about your partner and what real evidence you have to validate them. Jealousy knows no rational thinking and it has no rhyme or reason. Do a reality check by assessing your obsessive thoughts with what you actually know or have seen. Cancel thoughts of conspiracy and replace them with real facts.
Work on self-improvement
Insecurity is a major factor why people get jealous of their partner. Sometime even a small disagreement can spark a massive fight just because of jealousy. If your own insecurity or low self-image makes you think badly of yourself, you often begin to wonder what your significant other sees in you. That is when you start to question your partner, interrogating every move he or she makes, and causing yourself to be frozen with fear that they will find someone better. It is imperative to work on improving your self as an individual in order to be a whole and equal partner in your relationship. Choose a stress-reducing lifestyle. Get involved in groups and activities that make you feel good about yourself. Focus on your strengths. And by all means, have more than one friend.
Let go of the past
Constantly going over negative events of the past robs you of the present and makes you feel bad. It is important to trust and have complete faith in your partner to prevent jealous feelings toward them. Letting go of the past is the first step. See your partner and each day as a fresh start and opportunity to grow together, as opposed to rehashing and reliving your past experiences of doubt and despair.
Realize jealousy is destructive
Jealousy is an emotion that can torment the one you care most about and can become somewhat of an addiction. The disregard that you put on that person through your jealous insecurities is as real to them as your feelings of being trapped in your own prison of doubt. Acknowledge that what you most fear–your partner leaving you–is exactly what you are perpetuating with your destructive and possessive patterns. Consider the consequences of your piercing insecurities. Realize jealousy is not only destructive, but a very lonely place to be.
How do I handle a jealous partner?
Having a jealous partner can be exhausting. If you are the “innocent” partner in the relationship, you know there is only so much possessiveness, control and questioning you can take. There are things you can do to encourage a healthier relationship. Here are a few tips:
- Listen to your partner with new ears to hear all of their concerns.
- If you know certain behaviors trigger your partner’s jealousy, change them if you can.
- Point out what you most appreciate about him or her, and offer reassurance that you are committed to the relationship.
- Tell your partner what you most want in your relationship. Don’t just say, “I want you to stop being jealous!”
Keep in mind it takes both people to make a great relationship but if your partner isn’t willing to change or get help, you can make changes in yourself that will greatly impact your life for the better. If you feel stuck in a relationship where jealousy rules and reigns, you can get help and support–contact Centerstone at (615) 460- HELP (4357).
If you or someone you love needs help, contact Centerstone at 888-291- HELP (4357) or visit http://www.centerstone.org.
If you are in crisis, call Centerstone’s 24-Hour Crisis Intervention Hotline at 800-681-7444