How to Control Jealousy in a Relationship
Although jealousy may be a common feeling among people, it often triggers great pain for both partners in a relationship. There are several ways of dealing with it and, incidentally, it can serve as an opportunity to improve both personally and as a couple.
5-Minute Crafts compiled 10 tips to help you manage this emotion and prevent it from eventually damaging your relationship.
1. Learn how to recognize jealousy and acknowledge its consequences.
It is very difficult for you to solve a problem if you don’t even admit that you have one in the first place. That’s why the very first step is to be honest with yourself and admit something might be wrong. Then you’ll be able to identify feeling jealous as something that could potentially have a major impact in your life because it could jeopardize your relationship. Although this can be a complicated thing to deal with, keep in mind that it is the first step to having a healthier emotional bond with yourself and others as well.
2. Pay attention to what your jealousy actually means for you, not for others.
While solving the problem is the ultimate goal, it is recommended that before attempting to actually get rid of your jealousy once and for all, you try to understand what your jealousy is trying to tell you in the first place. Doing that is important because then you can approach the problem as an opportunity to solve the real issue that caused it in the first place.
One way of doing that is by asking yourself the following question: “What problem is my jealousy trying to solve?”. If it stems from your boyfriend or girlfriend damaging your trust, then that needs to be improved. If, on the other hand, you project your insecurities onto your partner, then you need to work more on your self-esteem, for example.
3. Express your feelings at the right time.
Another way to deal with jealousy is to talk to your partner about how you feel and why. Your jealousy may go unnoticed or your boyfriend or girlfriend may not really be aware of how you feel about certain situations, but the fact is that even if that’s the case, they still need to be solved at some point in the relationship.
It is often recommended that, when discussing this topic, you do not show that you’re nervous or anxious, if you’re experiencing these emotions at all. Try to find the right time to have a down-to-earth conversation. Pick a moment when you both have time and are not in a stressful situation, as this could make things worse.
4. Focus on your skills and positive traits.
Forgetting your flaws and focusing on your positive traits can help improve your self-esteem. Doing that would, in turn, help prevent you from projecting your insecurities onto your partner, which could make things worse. Sit down and take the time to think of a situation or experience when you were proud of how you solved an issue, how you reacted, or simply when you felt good. Then think about the talents or skills that helped you achieve this success.
Sometimes jealousy can lead you to compare yourself to others and make you feel that nothing you are or have is enough to impress others or even yourself. This is, of course, not the case, so it’s important to focus on your own value and on what you do well. Once that’s done, take the time to do things that you enjoy and that you do well.
5. Let go of the past and focus on the present.
It is likely that bad experiences can cause jealousy in your new relationship and even lead you to think that, metaphorically speaking, history will repeat itself and you’ll end up hurt. However, this does not necessarily have to be the case, so it’s important to let those bad experiences go.
To let go of the past, you can always try to analyze the experiences that still bother you in the present and replace those aspects that make you feel weak with new interpretations that empower you. This will allow you to let go of past mistakes so that you can ultimately move forward in your relationships in a more peaceful way.
Remember that giving people around you the benefit of the doubt can make you feel happier, which can translate into a healthier, stress-free relationship.
6. Think twice before you act.
It is very common that, when people start feeling jealous about something or someone, their inner voice prompts them to take action to solve the issue. This often translates into impulsive actions that aren’t really going to solve anything. For example, some people stop talking to their partner or they find any excuse to get into a fight. This can cause you to fall into an unhealthy dynamic in your relationship, such as hurting your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s feelings and arousing distrust and fear in them.
These types of impulsive reactions can also cause your partner to become more closed off about his or her thoughts and feelings, which can create a vicious cycle by worsening your state of distrust and jealousy, which will, in turn, make your partner close off even more.
Whenever these situations arise, remember that jealousy is nothing but an emotion and not really a call to action. Because of that, you can always analyze the causes behind the feeling and what is really going on around you before taking any action.
7. Learn to discuss problems in a healthy way so you don’t make things worse.
Jealousy can be especially difficult to handle if you’re a person that tends to communicate in an unhealthy way. This is why it’s so important to pay attention to your physical, emotional, and mental health in these cases. Of course, ideally, you want to work on your communication issues and learn how to talk to others. Also, keep in mind that if your partner is not giving you real reasons to feel jealous, maybe the cause of this feeling is that you are just used to being jealous.
Adopting and working on certain coping mechanisms can help you decrease some of the negative thoughts that brought on the problem in the first place. This includes jealousy as well, of course.
8. Talk to a friend that you trust about your situation.
Whenever you’re feeling down or stressed about your problem, try to remember that jealousy is a common feeling among most people. You’re not alone in that, many people can probably relate to what you’re going through. Because jealousy can distort our sense of reality, talking about your concerns with a third person can help you see the issue differently, and face the problem with less fear and anxiety, and with greater objectivity.
9. Keep your imagination in check.
You probably already know that our imaginations have a tendency to take us to some wild, unexpected states of mind. If you’re feeling upset or jealous, your imagination can fuel these feelings even more by putting thoughts in your head that differ from reality. It might even end up blowing certain problems out of proportion that are actually not even worth thinking about.
Think carefully about all the bad things you have imagined about your partner and the evidence you have for believing that these theories are actually true. Maybe this could help you avoid obsessive thoughts and replace them with facts.
10. Learn how to enjoy activities without your partner.
Even though being in a relationship is great and it can make you feel very happy, it’s not healthy to have your entire sense of fulfillment come from only a romantic relationship.
You should always try to avoid being dependent on your boyfriend or girlfriend, emotionally speaking. The freer you both are, the less time you’ll spend worrying too much about how he or she spends his or her free time. Have your own space for activities you enjoy, surround yourself with supportive people, and try to work on your own interests outside of the relationship. Remember that your partner is not responsible for your happiness. You are the only person responsible for yourself, your happiness, and your success.
If you can manage to feel happy with yourself, you will probably also feel more comfortable with what your girlfriend or boyfriend does individually.