Many of us hate the fact that we are prone to jealousy and distrust but why do we feel jealous? And what can we do about it?
If jealousy is a problem in your life, here are some constructive strategies for handling 7 different situations that may cause you to be jealous:
1. You worry that he/she will leave you for someone else
Very few of us feel 100% confident about ourselves. We are never 100% sure if we attractive enough, sexy enough, intelligent enough, interesting enough, show enough love, have what he/she is looking for etc). Jealous makes you assume the worst. The reality is that there is always someone more attractive, more intelligent and more interesting out there. And if the person you are with wants to leave you for someone else there is nothing you can do about it – normal healthy people make their own choices.
Take care of your body, mind, heart, & spirit. If you are good to yourself, the pangs of jealousy will disappear or not bite as deeply.
2. He/she has a history of infidelity
May be he/she was unfaithful in some way or cheated on you and you are having a hard time trusting and respecting him/her again. You have the right to feel the way you feel but if you want to continue to be with him/her you have to find away to move past your hurt and resentfulness.
Sit down and together consider the pros and cons of several alternatives. If it means working with a professional, so be it. What is important is that your relationship moves past hurt and resentfulness and forward to love and rebuilding trust.
3. He/she is still in contact with an ex or frequently talks about him/her with obvious affection
There is a sense of being betrayed when someone else takes the love, admiration etc. that we feel rightfully belongs to us. This includes friends, family, children from previous marriage and everything else and in between. In some cases, the feeling of betrayal is perfectly justified. But jealousy unlike other emotions is not a “stand alone” emotion. It is an emotion that is based on other emotions. That is something happens that causes you to feel threatened or to feel insecure or to feel something negative about yourself, and then that fear, insecurity or possessiveness makes you feel jealous. Telling him/her “no more contacting an ex” or stop talking about him/her is not going to make the jealousy go away. The underlying emotion is still there only waiting for something else to trigger it.
The best way is to deal with the underlying insecurity or fear of loss or fear of being replaced.
4. He/she goes out and you don’t know what he/she is doing
Despite the fact that he/she has done nothing that deserves your jealous actions, you can’t help feeling he/she is someday going to cheat on you. Going around snooping or unexpectedly showing up in unexpected place if it does not slowly and surely drive you to the mad house will create a wedge between the two of you. The unintended consequences of constantly accusing, blaming and prohibiting a person from doing the things he/she loves doing is that you hurt that person and one of the predictable consequences of doing things which hurt your partner is you damage your relationship. Your fear (and/or possessiveness) comes from your experience of loss of love or having been abandoned or cheated on in the past, it has nothing to do with the person you are with now.
Dig deep and deal with issues related to you fear of loss of love and give him/her breathing room and space to blossom into the unique and wonderful person he/she is.
5. He/she lies about small things
He/she may be lying because he/she’s done something you disapprove of or because he/she thinks telling the truth will just get you going nuts. Although lying is inexcusable, going nuts about it will only make it harder for you to get to the truth. Make it clear to him/her that his/her lying creates distrust. Explain to him/her that you are open to listening without blaming or getting upset and make some agreements about how if he/she starts lying you’ll handle the situation.
Encourage him/her to come to you and have an open discussion about some of the things that he/she enjoys doing but thinks you disapprove. And don’t be too hard, too demanding and impossible to please. Relax the rules a little and allow in some flexibility, spontaneity and freedom for each you to enjoy some time away from the other.
6. He/she puts him/herself in situations that test your ability to trust him/her
This includes things like staying up late. You want to be able to trust him/her but he/she makes it hard to. May be you even called him/her 10 times and he/she didn’t answer his/her cell phone. Crying your heart out when the other person is out having fun only makes you feel like crap and become moody and passive-aggressive. He/she may or may not have a valid reason for not answering the phone but until he/she answers the phone or comes home find ways to de-stress when you start feeling jealous.
Take the dog for a walk, spend time with friends, do a little house cleaning etc- anything that calms you down. Calmness and communication are your best allies when he/she comes home. Expressing your feelings while staying calm will help you get your point across and actually be heard.
7. He/she has friends or family who are bad influences (may encourage infidelity or other undesirable behavior)
If he/she has friends who influence him/her to do things that hurt your relationship, you cannot ignore it and hope it will go away. Often this calls for “tough love”. But before you take any drastic actions, make sure this is not about your “issues” (Do you approve of anyone he/she hangs out with? Are you always criticizing his/her friends or family? Are you constantly trying to separate him/her from social connections? Do you try to manipulate him/her into believing that his/her friends and family are bad influence?).
If you don’t like any (or most) of his/her friends or family then there is some possessiveness and controlling behaviour going on – this needs to be dealt with. But if even his/her family and friends agree that some of the people he/she hangs out with are bad influence then you need to have that talk. He/she needs to understand how his/her actions are affecting the relationship. But don’t just stop at that, ask for suggestions of how the two of you can make this work for both of you. Ask for suggestions not demand action or give ultimatums.
Maybe it’s just in your head, or maybe it’s not, jealousy if you keep it up, may, eventually, has the effect of driving him/her away, and create exactly the thing that you fear most.
It is possible (for those who truly want) to have a life and relationship free of the kind of drama jealousy creates. It just takes courage, commitment and learning some new skills.