- While it’s normal to feel jealous, it can become unhealthy and wreak havoc on a relationship if not managed effectively.
- Fortunately, any couple can learn to address and work through jealousy issues and, in turn, cultivate a happy, healthy relationship.
- First, two partners should communicate their standards and expectations when it comes to the dynamic of their relationship.
- They should also work individually to let go of fear and anxiety and cultivate confidence, instead of reacting impulsively to feelings of envy.
- Furthermore, couples should make it a point to communicate effectively and consistently, so as to quickly resolve any issue that arises.
Jealousy is a natural emotion—we all feel that knot in our stomachs and the unpleasant feelings it brings. Science daily reveals that “when we fall in love, blood flow increases in this area, which is the same part of the brain implicated in obsessive-compulsive behaviors.” Jealousy can become very unhealthy and cause a person to lose sight of their worth. Excessive jealousy mostly results in a once loving relationship turning sour and toxic. Jealousy would result in a partner becoming controlling, aggressive, insecure, and fearful.
Learning how to manage jealousy will support the longevity of your relationship. In order to cultivate a happy relationship it’s important to understand why you are feeling jealous. So… what causes jealousy in a relationship? It can be something small like your significant other looking at another person for a second too long. It can stem from listening to your significant other speak positively about someone else. Jealousy is hardly simple and resolving issues requires the effort of both parties but there are actions you can take to keep it from wreaking lasting damage. Below will detail aligning expectations and assumptions, trusting your partner, being confident in yourself, and using proper communication.
Expressing Your Standards
Oftentimes, the green monster rears when your expectations for the dynamics of a relationship does not match that of your partner. It’s important to be certain that your significant other’s views and feelings toward you and the relationship are in line with yours. People grow up in different environments and are exposed to all kinds of different relationship dynamics. It is unfair to assume they view relationships the same as you do.
Different expectations may drive a wedge between the two of you. For instance, if your partner is being overly-friendly to others you might think that they are being disloyal, which causes you to feel hurt. You would likely assume that they don’t love you as much as you love them. However, in reality they may just enjoy friends of both sexes and not have any romantic interest in them.
Communicate your perspective on social interactions and behaviors with your partner. This way your partner knows what would hurt your feelings and what to expect. Some people are naturally very self-aware in relationships, but there are just as many that are not sure what is acceptable behavior while in a committed relationship with another. Communicate your needs to your partner and allow them room to meet these. Psychotherapist Debbie Lewis states: “The more conscious we are of ourselves, including our emotional needs and relational patterns and history, the more likely we are to have successful relationships.”
To help with this, practice increasing communication of your emotions and stating your conversation intentions. When having a conversation, do not go in with a specific expectation for your partner remaining open to new ideas and compromises. Avoid putting up walls and lashing out at your partner, since this will result in more conflict as opposed to finding a healthy resolution. You want to help your partner understand you so that they can be a better partner to you.
Letting Go of Fear and Anxiety
If you are an overly anxious person, it’s easy to find yourself consumed by jealousy. Having a habit of overthinking small details will rob you of your peace. It can cause the most faithful and dedicated person to seem disloyal and disinterested.
When you are feeling jealous take a moment to let the emotion wash over you, but don’t be quick to react. After acknowledging these feelings let them go by practicing affirmations such as, “This is natural and my jealousy does not mean I actually have a reason to be concerned.”
Allow yourself to be vulnerable and trust that your partner will not abuse your trust. Love is Respect states: “Each person in a relationship demonstrates their trustworthiness through consistency in their actions.” Once you establish a strong foundation it becomes easier to let jealous emotions pass. You will remain assured that your relationship is deeper and more meaningful than whatever negative thoughts you hold in your mind. Focus on letting go of harmful thoughts and increasing your love and appreciation.
Keeping Your Confidence
Many people grow jealous because they feel insecure about themselves. You’ve got to remember that your partner loves you because you impact their life for the better. Psych Central states: “Jealousy also stems from feelings of inadequacy, though they are usually more conscious than with envy.” When you don’t feel secure with yourself and what you have to offer, you are blinded to all that you are. Insecurity serves no purpose other than making you question why your partner chose you, so know your worth and appreciate what you have to offer.
When communicating your jealousy, there is a healthy way to resolve conflict. Make sure you find the right time to bring up an issue. Restrain from being passive, ask your partner to isolate a window of time so you can both be fully engaged in the conversation. You will want your partner’s undivided attention when bringing up feelings that make you uncomfortable. Do not be timid in fully and accurately expressing the action that is making you feeling jealous. Stay honest and withhold making any conclusions before you understand your partner fully. The only way your partner can understand you well is if you are candid.
A relationship is meant to heighten your love and joy while bringing out the best in each other. You must do your best to remain open and show gratitude for the person that chooses to share their life with you. Try to always give them the benefit of the doubt. However, be sure your partner is willing to give as much as he or she is taking. If you want more tips, consider seeking couples therapy as there are many methods to help you both better understand and love each other.
Getting Professional Help
Sometimes, we need a little additional help in navigating a tumultuous relationship. If this is the case for you and your partner, consider working with a couples counselor at Thriveworks. Our providers are skilled and experienced—not to mention, they truly care about your health and progress in life. Schedule an appointment today by first finding a location near you, or book an online counseling session.
*Brett Farmiloe is a contributing writer for Online Counseling Programs, an online resource for counseling degrees, mental health education and related professions. He is also a backyard chicken farmer who frequently contributes content to Forbes and Huffington Post.*