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Do you feel jealous when someone attractive is flirting with your partner?
Do you feel threatened by your partner’s ex and their dating history?
Are you constantly suspicious about the behaviors of your boyfriend or girlfriend and worried that they are cheating on you?
Every one of us feels a little jealous sometimes. We are afraid of losing our best friends to other people. We compare ourselves to our siblings and colleagues, and we feel jealous when they get more attention or recognition than us at home and at work.
But in a romantic relationship, it’s so much more important to keep our feelings of jealousy in check because it often results in irrational and toxic behaviors. It can also lead to feelings of resentment, anger, and even depression.
Excessive and unhealthy jealousy can ruin a love relationship quickly.
A healthy and secure relationship is based on love and trust. Without trust, a love relationship can’t survive. Even if you are dating the most trustworthy person in this world, they will soon be tired of reassuring you. In fact, someone who is insecure and doubtful will not attract someone who is loving and secure in the first place because their energy doesn’t match.
If you don’t manage or deal with your feelings of jealousy, you will keep attracting people that make you feel insecure. But before we get into that, let’s clear this misconception that people have about jealousy and love.
How Jealousy Makes Your Relationship Worse, Not Better
Many people have the false belief that jealousy is good for a relationship. They think that being jealous is a sign of love. But it’s not!
Jealousy doesn’t tell you how much you love someone or how much someone loves you. It just tells you how insecure you are in a relationship and how fearful you are to lose the person you love. Jealousy and love have very different vibrations, and they can’t co-exist.
For example, if you saw someone flirting with your partner and that makes you feel jealous, you are not feeling loving toward your partner at that moment, aren’t you? Instead, you are feeling threatened and insecure. Or when you are suspicious and you stalk your partner or check their messages, I’m sure you are not thinking about how great your partner is.
If you are feeling jealous, you can’t be feeling loving at the same time.
What’s worse is when we try to elicit a jealous reaction from someone we are dating or in a relationship with. We see this a lot in the movies and tv shows. Someone intentionally withholds their attention from their significant others or flirts with other people in front of them, hoping they will notice. But this is manipulation and not love.
Even if you receive the attention you desire from your significant others, what you get is someone’s fear of missing out. They only come to you because they are afraid of losing you, not because they love you. An insecure person attracts another insecure person.
Also, making someone jealous risks hurting the other party. If someone tries to make me feel jealous, my stand is to always walk away and leave this relationship. Why do I want someone in my life who deliberately make me feel bad or insecure? It makes no sense at all. I would rather date someone who is emotionally mature and honest enough to tell me when they are feeling insecure than date someone who uses an underhanded method to get what they want.
But like any other emotion, there’s nothing wrong with feeling jealous. It is just an indicator of how you are feeling right now. What’s important is to learn how to handle it properly.
How to Not Be Jealous in a Love Relationship
1. Be honest and clear about what you are feeling.
Jealousy is often mistaken for other emotions. In the previous section, we have already talked about how we mix up jealousy with love and care for another person. Most people are also unclear about the differences between envy and jealousy and often used them interchangeably.
When you are envious of a couple, you are longing for a partner of your own. You come from a place of wanting what other people have. But when you are jealous, you feel threatened and insecure. You come from a place of losing what you have. For the former, you don’t have what you want, while for the latter, you either have what you want or believe that you do.
Occasional jealousy is normal. We all have moments when we feel insecure.
The key is not to deny it.
I know sometimes it is embarrassing to admit to someone else that you are feeling jealous or you need more attention and assurance from them. However, when you don’t acknowledge your feeling, you don’t address the underlying issue too. You just end up blaming your partner or other people for making you jealous.
You don’t have to tell others what you are feeling if you are uncomfortable with it. But at the very least, be honest with yourself and be true to what you are feeling. Identify your unmet needs and satisfy these needs yourself instead of denying them or manipulating others to get what you want.
If you choose to be upfront with your partner, be sure to use a non-accusation or confrontational tone and expression. For example, instead of saying, You never spend time with me. You are always hanging out with your colleagues and friends. You can say something like, I would love to spend more time with you or When I see someone attractive flirting with you, I don’t feel good. In this way, you can be authentic in your relationship without creating unnecessary conflict.
2. Take responsibility for your feelings and address the underlying issue.
When you share your feelings with your partner, the purpose is not to get them to change. Sure, they can change their behaviors to make you feel less insecure. But in the long run, this doesn’t help the relationship. They will soon feel that you are restricting their freedom and realize you are too possessive.
Because in order for you to feel secure in the relationship, they have to limit their contact with other people. They cannot be friends with people that might threaten your security. They cannot look at and appreciate other attractive people. You want to know who they talk to and where they are all the time. It’s like dating a controlling parent!
If you are always waiting for someone to change before you feel better,
you are always depending on them.
It feels great that your partner takes your feelings into consideration. But there will be a point when you have to realize feeling good is your job, not your partner’s job. By constantly seeking reassurance from your partner, you are not growing as a person.
Whenever you feel jealous, look deeper and understand what your emotion is trying to tell you. Explore the underlying issues and understand what truly makes you feel insecure in your relationship, especially if you experience the same things in your previous relationships.
Why are you unable to trust someone else? Is it because you have low self-esteem and feel others are better than you? And therefore, you feel threatened by their presence. Or does your trust issue come from your childhood trauma? Or maybe you had a hurtful past relationship that you haven’t processed completely? You might also have an anxious attachment style and a fear of abandonment.
When you know the underlying issue, you can better address your chronic jealousy and work on yourself.
3. Know your triggers and limit them.
As you grow and resolve your underlying issue, you want to know what your triggers are and limit them too. This will give you time and room to grow and not keep you stuck in a constant state of low vibration.
For example, if browsing social media and your partner’s activities on these platforms is making you feel jealous all the time, get away from your phone. Find other interesting things to do. Or if comparing yourself to others makes you feel unworthy and inferior, then don’t pay so much attention to other people. Focus on yourself.
We can’t control everything.
But we can put ourselves in more favorable situations.
Of course, if someone beautiful were to talk to your partner, you can’t stop them. They are always people around who are attractive, and if your partner is the charming type, they are going to attract many people to them. You can’t keep your partner in a box and not let them interact with anybody else.
However, you can put yourself in situations that limit these triggers. For example, tell your partner that you prefer one-on-one time with them. If your partner wants to hang out with their friends or go to networking events, let them go on their own. You don’t have to tag along all the time. In this way, you will prevent yourself from seeing the interaction between your partner and others.
Or if hearing about how much fun your partner is having with his friends makes you feel jealous, then don’t ask too much about his night out. We believe the more we know, the better we feel. But that’s not always the case. Hearing snippets of our partner’s experiences can lead to wild imagination and unwarranted suspicions. Sometimes, it’s better not to know.
4. Recognize your reactive behaviors when you feel jealous.
When we are in a negative state, we are likely to do things or behave in ways that we later regret. We might become passive-aggressive, sarcastic, or rude to our partners and accuse them of things they didn’t do. We might take revenge on our partners and make them feel jealous too. This not only hurts our partners but also damages our relationship with them. So it’s important to recognize our reactive behaviors and not act them out.
Even if you are not hurting your partner, be careful of how you talk about their friends, the people they care for, or even random strangers they talk to. For example, if you feel threatened by someone and you badmouth and criticize them in front of your partner, you might not receive the support you think you will get. Your partner might think that your criticism is uncalled for.
Our reactive behaviors and our intention to control our partners don’t draw them closer to us. Instead, it pushes them away and our relationship becomes what we are afraid it to be in the first place.
Breathe and stop yourself from reacting to your triggers.
Notice your jealous thoughts and feelings but don’t act on them.
Be aware of your thoughts when you are alone. Do you have a tendency to over-imagine the situation? Are you worried that they will leave you for another and thinking of the worst-case scenario? Are you retroactive and ruminating about your partner’s past behaviors or their exes? Do you question your partner’s loyalty and suspect that they are having an affair?
What you tell yourself will intensify your emotions. If you want to stop feeling jealous in your relationship, you have to change the narrative in your head. You have to soothe the part of you that feels insecure. Tell your insecure inner child, “It’s okay. I’m here for you. You will be fine.” When you take a break and breathe, you can better respond to the situation, instead of reacting to the situation. Your partner will also be more open to listening to you when you are in a calm state.
5. Know your worth and don’t compare yourself with others.
Jealousy in a relationship is most often an indication of low self-esteem and usually a result of comparisons. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Other people have traits that are appealing but you also have traits that are appealing too. Rather than competing with others, know that you are a unique individual that can’t be compared to others.
Oftentimes, when we feel jealous and threatened, we are comparing our weakness with someone else’s strength. We are comparing apples with oranges. There will always be people who are prettier. more intelligent and successful than us. The unconscious purpose of such a comparison is merely to reinforce that we are unworthy and unlovable. It’s a means to validate and strengthen our beliefs that we aren’t good enough for others.
Sometimes, jealousy is not even a matter of whether you trust your partner or not. If your partner like apples and doesn’t appreciate oranges, then it’s their choice and preference. There are many others who love oranges. Instead of feeling jealous and begging someone to love you, know your own worth in a relationship and let them go. You shouldn’t need to keep proving your worth to your partner in order to maintain a relationship. They should have known what’s good about you.
Instead of focusing on how others are better than you,
focus on why people love you.
Know why people enjoy being around you. A lot of times, we focus so much on keeping our relationship intact and safe that we forget about ourselves. We forget that if someone has chosen to be in a relationship or marriage with us, there must be something great about us that they admire and are attracted to in the first place.
If you grow a plant, you don’t stand beside the plant all day guarding it against parasites and weeds. You attend to it at certain times of the day and trust that it will grow on its own. The same goes for your relationship. You don’t stand by your phone all day waiting for your partner to call you or message you. Give it some room to grow. Keep yourself busy with other things you love to do and you will find it easier to develop trust in your partner.
Featured Photo Credit: Keira Burton