While jealousy is a natural human emotion and, in mild instances, can be healthy, constantly feeling jealous in a relationship is definitely not the goal.
If jealousy comes up in your relationship, though, it does not mean that the relationship is over. As long as the source of the feeling is addressed, your relationship can continue to thrive and may even be stronger moving forward.
Talk About What Is Going On
As much as you may wish it were true, your partner is not a mind-reader — well, unless you’re dating a superhero that can read minds. For most of us, though, if we want our partners to understand what we are thinking, we need to tell them.
Your partner may have no idea that you were even feeling jealous about something. On the flip side, you may have no idea that you have done something that has caused your partner to feel jealous. The first step in addressing and overcoming jealousy in a relationship is to talk about it.
Avoid Pointing Fingers
The blame game is really never a good solution. All it does is make people feel attacked, which makes them get defensive. You’re not going to have a productive conversation or relationship when one (or both of you) are constantly on the defensive side.
Rather than using “you” in your conversation (referring to your partner), try to make it about yourself. Instead of saying, “you did this” or “you did that,” try shifting the focus to your feelings. You can say something like, “I am feeling confused or hurt right now,” or “when this happens, I feel like this.”
Address the Underlying Issues
Typically, jealousy comes around when we have a mix of the following problems in our relationships: low self-esteem, insecurity, and unmet needs. Now, these problems could be one-sided or affect both members of the relationship. Jealousy pops up when we are not comfortable with ourselves and the relationship. It happens when we feel insecure, or our needs in the relationship are not being met.
To address jealousy effectively, you need to determine what underlying issue is causing it. As mentioned earlier, this could be one thing, or it could be a mixture of things. Finding out what is the underlying cause can help you work together with your partner to fix the problem.
Think Calmly Before Making Decisions
We’ve all heard the phrase “look before leaping.” When it comes to addressing sensitive feelings (such as insecurities and jealousy), it is critical to think about your decisions before making them. This is not the time to blow up over a little argument, get defensive, or end a relationship without trying to fix the problem at hand.
Avoid Invading Your Partner’s Privacy
If you are worried about your relationship, you may feel tempted to take things into your own hands and check up on your partner. This is not a good idea. Let’s rephrase. This is never a good idea. Invading your partner’s privacy — whether that means checking through their phone without asking, asking their friends or family where they were, or things about their friends — just demonstrates to them that you don’t trust them.
Instead of snooping through their belongings (or relationships), talk to them about what is bothering you. Maybe you could work together to have more in-depth conversations or check-ins when one (or both) of you are feeling uncomfortable or upset.
Practice Good Self-Care
The biggest cause of jealousy in a relationship is insecurity or self-doubt. When we feel like we “aren’t good enough“ or our partner has “settled” to be in a relationship with us, we tend to feel like it is only a matter of time before they move on to someone else. This is, one, incredibly harmful to our minds and, two, unfair to our partners.
Rather than allowing these feelings to run freely in our minds, we need to find our own self-worth. One easy way to do this is to take more time for yourself. Do things that make you feel happy, and take this time to reflect on yourself. Spend time with your friends outside of social events with your partner. Practice mindfulness or meditation. Pick up an old hobby that you love — like cooking, art, or reading books. When we value ourselves, we are much less likely to get jealous of what we think is going on with our partner’s life outside of the relationship.
Embrace Healthy Coping Mechanisms
Maybe for you, this means keeping a journal, practicing meditation or breathing exercises, or otherwise taking time to fully consider your feelings before making decisions about the future of your relationship. Everyone is going to have different preferences for these coping strategies — and one of the best ways to find yours is to try out a few.
Talk to a Therapist
Maybe you’re really struggling to manage your jealous feelings — or your insecurity or unmet needs in your relationship. This is not uncommon, as jealousy can be incredibly challenging to address, especially if you are trying to handle it alone. In this case, it may be beneficial to consider seeing a professional therapist. You could opt for individual therapy if you are more concerned with addressing your self-esteem or other more individual causes that can result in jealous thoughts.
If, however, you want to address the jealousy issue as a couple, couples therapy can be an excellent option as well. This allows you and your partner to work towards a solution together rather than relying on one partner to make changes on their own. If you are struggling with jealousy in your relationship and having trouble addressing it on your own, please do not hesitate to reach out to us today at Love Heal Grow to speak with an individual or couples therapist.