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What is Jealousy and How to manage it?

Relationships take plenty of hard work and communication in order to thrive, but they are not always easy. Sometimes there are obstacles and feelings present that might prevent relationships from growing. One of the obstacles that some couples might face is jealousy. Jealousy has many different meanings, but it is most commonly defined as a feeling of envy or suspicion towards relationships or possessions.

There is not one root cause for someone’s jealous behaviors or feelings, but there are a few reasons why someone might feel this way, including insecurity, past history, or fear of loss. Jealousy can be triggered by these and might create tensions within your relationships. Knowing what signs to look for and how to manage jealous behaviors are the first steps to working through those obstacles.“Jealous behaviors might differ depending upon each person, and it’s important to recognize the signs to promote healthy conversations in your relationships,” says Tracey Lickfelt, Director of Outpatient Services for Centerstone. Some of the various signs of jealousy might be accusations, suspicions, questioning your behavior or day-to-day activities, having negativity towards partner’s relationships, comparing themselves to others, and more.

Experiencing these negative behaviors in relationships might cause an increase in anxiety and depression symptoms, such as nervousness, irritability, and other physical symptoms. “An increase in symptoms and jealous behaviors might lead to ending the relationship or it will continue to be unhealthy,” says Lickfelt. There are things you can do to help yourself or your partner who is experiencing symptoms of jealousy:

  • Recognition. “It’s important to recognize your jealousy for what it is. Ask yourself, where is this coming from,” says Lickfelt. Take the time to acknowledge that these feelings of jealousy are present. Recognizing your feelings no matter how uncomfortable they might be is a key component to your processing and moving forward.
  • Reflection. Identify your motive for feeling this way. Consider your past experiences with relationships. Find ways to cope and redirect or alter your thinking towards your partner. “Instead of saying something like, ‘they must be cheating on me’ change it to ‘I am secure in my relationship’,” says Lickfelt.
  • Accountability. Take responsibility for the way you are feeling and know that only you have the power to change this. Your partner cannot change your feelings for you, only you can. Consider seeking help with therapy treatment or talking to a trusted individual.
  • Communication. The most essential part of processing your feelings is by talking to your partner. Use this time to tell them what you are feeling and why you are feeling it. Try to avoid using this conversation to control or manipulate situations, but rather use it for accountability.

Having healthy conversations with your partners about jealousy and where it stems from is one way to move past those obstacles. Identifying ways to help with self-image is an important journey, and reassure your partners that they are not alone in their processing.

If you or your partner are struggling with their mental health, Centerstone can help. Call 1-877-HOPE123 (1-877-467-3123) for more information.

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