Have you ever wondered if your partner was lying to you about where they were going? Maybe Facebook crept your spouse’s ex? Or ruined a perfectly good evening by accusing your partner of something you’re pretty sure they didn’t even do?
If so, welcome to the jealousy club.
The bottom line is that there is nothing fun about jealousy. It ruins relationships, makes you feel crazy, and gives birth to a hurtful bulb of suspicion that lives inside your heart.
But trying to overcome jealousy can sometimes feel like you’re trying to control a tidal wave. You don’t mean to break the dam, but you can’t help your jealous water from gushing forth.
Nobody wants to be jealous. Jealousy can ruin an otherwise great relationship. It feeds mistrust, damages self-esteem, and rarely does any good. Yet, so many of us are powerless to stop it from overwhelming our thoughts, actions, and speech.
So, what can we do about it? How can you overcome jealousy?
Here are 8 tips for overcoming jealousy in your relationship.
1. Count to Ten
There is nothing fun about catching your partner sending a flirty winky text to someone else or listening to them crush over some hot celeb, but are these things really worth getting upset about?
Whenever your jealousy starts to make you feel angry, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and count to ten. After ten seconds is over, ask yourself if what you’re upset about is really worth ruining your day over.
If you must bring it up, do so calmly. Instead of yelling at your partner or belittling them, simply say, “It makes me a little uncomfortable when you do ___.”
2. Trust Your Instincts
The above tip was designed for people who are dealing with unnecessary jealousy, not for those who have legitimate reasons for being suspicious of their spouse (like partners openly flirting with others, having secret friendships, or lying to you).
How do you know if your partner is being faithful? The bottom line is this: trust your instincts.
Odds are you know if you are overreacting to something silly, but if your gut is telling you that something feels off in your relationship, you’re probably right!
Talk to your partner about how you feel in a way that is calm and respectful, and get to the bottom of what’s eating your relationship.
3. Work on Building Trust
Trust is an essential aspect of a healthy, happy, satisfying relationship. Overcoming jealousy involves having a healthy level of trust.
You build trust as a couple when you:
- Don’t lie to each other
- Are accountable for your actions
- Give the benefit of the doubt
- Express your feelings
- Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your spouse to do
- Show that you are reliable
By doing these things, you and your spouse will build healthy trust that will make you feel safe and loved in your relationship.
Just remember that nobody is perfect, and there will be times when you and your spouse unintentionally hurt each other – so it won’t hurt either of you to let some things slide every now and again.
4. Boost Self-Love
Jealousy often stems from self-esteem issues. You may not feel worthy of having someone’s unconditional affection or perhaps someone has betrayed your trust in the past and it has left you feeling uncomfortable giving your heart away.
Whatever the case, a healthy relationship stems from healthy levels of self-love. Boosting self-love also helps in overcoming jealousy. You can practice boosting the love and respect you have for yourself by spending time alone and learning to appreciate your own company, treating your body well, and working on self-expansion.
5. Communicate Your Feelings
What you and your partner deem appropriate relationship behavior may be completely different, which is why it’s so important to communicate your feelings openly.
Communicating your feelings well is an important step in overcoming jealousy. Being aware of what actions and behaviors will hurt your partner and vice versa will help you and your spouse build a healthy relationship based on respect.
6. Consider Counseling
Is your jealousy getting the better of your relationship?
Most times jealousy stems from something that happened to you in the past. Perhaps you had a traumatic childhood or someone you trusted emotionally, verbally, or physically hurt you. Whatever the case, therapy can help: What Is Marriage Counseling and How It Helps Relationships
Talking to a professional in-person, via Zoom/Skype, or in a chatroom can help you get to the root of what’s causing you to act out in jealousy.
A therapist can also give you coping mechanisms to deal with anger or jealousy in the future – or they may even validate your feelings and let you know that you may have a legitimate reason for being jealous.
If your partner has done something to make you suspicious of their motives, perhaps having been unfaithful in the past, it may be worth checking out some couples counseling or an online marriage course.
7. Adjust Your Relationship Expectations
One tip for overcoming jealousy is to readjust your expectations for your relationship. Find out here some unrealistic expectations people often have for relationships.
Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you’ve lost your ability to find someone else attractive. Noticing someone outside of your current romance doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your relationship or that you’re not committed to your partner.
So long as your partner is not acting on their attraction to someone else, this is nothing to worry about.
Note that adjusting your expectations does not mean lowering your standards. You should not be with someone who makes you feel bad about yourself.
8. Express Jealousy in a Healthy Way
It’s important to remember that, when expressed in the right away, jealousy doesn’t have to be a bad thing!
Jealousy can actually help couples to:
- Show more appreciation for one another / not take each other for granted
- Increase love and affection
- Promote self-improvement
- Work hard to make each other happy
- Act as a messenger when things don’t seem right
But again, how you express jealousy is going to be the determining factor in how well it helps in your life. If you lash out and yell at your partner, odds are this is not going to improve your relationship. But if you respectfully express your concerns, you and your partner can use jealousy as an opportunity to learn and grow as a couple.
Jealousy doesn’t always have to be a bad thing – but if it is, you need to reign it in! You can overcome jealousy in a relationship by working on self-love, communicating respectfully with your spouse, and adjusting your expectations. These will contribute to a happy, healthy relationship.
More Tips on Improving Relationships
- How to Deal with Insecurity and Jealousy in Relationships
- What You Really Need to Fix Insecurity in a Relationship Forever
- How To Stop Insecure Attachment from Wreaking Havoc on Your Love Life
Featured photo credit: Chermiti Mohamed via unsplash.com
|Psych Alive: How Jealousy Destroys Relationships
|Partner Abuse. 2015 Jul; 6(3): 298–319.: The Price of Distrust: Trust, Anxious Attachment, Jealousy, and Partner Abuse
|Marriage.com: What Is Really Behind Jealousy in a Relationship