One universal reason for suffering that exists between couples is jealousy. Jealousy can be felt due to many things, such as someone attractive talking to one’s spouse, or a friend that is becoming “too close” with one’s spouse…. and all of a sudden some strange energy runs through our body… actually, it can be a very unpleasant energy. It’s something many describe as anger and a feeling of rejection or threat to the relationship.
When jealousy is a regularly present feeling in a relationship, it can hurt closeness and intimacy. In severe cases, jealousy is sometimes called the “Green-eyed monster;” as it’s impact can wreak havoc a relationship.
When jealousy is a regular topic of arguments in a relationships, it important to consider working on it as a team. For the person experiencing jealousy, feeling this strong attachment to someone can cause a lot of pain and anxiety when the relationship feels threatened. For the other partner, jealousy feels like he or she is untrustworthy. So let’s look at minimizing jealousy as a team effort!
Do you know if you are a jealousy person?
Although feeling jealous is normal, when it becomes a regular topic of arguments it can stress the relationship. Usually, they are frequent, intense, and require your attention. Here are some statements that if most are answered “yes,” can help determine if you have regular feelings of jealousy:
- You always want to know the whereabouts of your partner.
- You always want to know who your partner is with. - You constantly accuse him or her of flirting.
- You feel threatened by other women/men who approach your partner. - You feel that people abandon you easily.
- You think you don’t usually get what you are supposed to from your partner.
- You feel that other couples are doing better than you do.
"Jealousy is a universal human emotion, one of many that is part of the multilayered experience of love." - Esther Perel
What can you do to minimize being jealous?
To turn things around it is important to see the positives and value what we have in our partner and relationship. Here are some ideas for you:
- 1. Start writing a journal and keep track of all the events or circumstances that lead you to feel jealous. Write down your feelings like powerlessness, anger, rejection, resentment, fear… This exercise will help you recognize your patterns of behavior and thinking that lead to jealousy.
2. Make a list of your qualities and talents. Realize that you are a beautiful person. This exercise will empower you.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others. You are a unique person and people love you the way you are. This exercise will feed your self-esteem.
4. Make another different list about your partner. Number his/her qualities as a person and as a partner. Realize that those are the features you love about him/her.
5. If you are feeling jealous you may feel an urge to react. So try writing your partner a note about your feelings, while trying not to attack him or her. You may find that writing is very helpful because you can express your concerns.
Revisit this list from time to time.
What can you do if you are the subject of jealousy?
There are a few things that you can do to support your partner. Here are my suggestions:
- Something that usually goes a long way is showing your compassion towards your partner. He/she may be in a lot of pain because your partner loves you and he/she is afraid of losing you. Accepting that these emotions are hard to control is a good first step towards a better understanding between you and your partner.
- Note that there are some triggers that make your partner feel insecure that maybe you can identify and explore with your partner what he or she needs to feel better about you doing these activities. Things like: going out for drinks alone with some friends, late nights working at the office, business trips, etc.
- You may want to talk a lot with your partner. Be the first one to open your heart, tell him/her how much you love him/her and how grateful you are for being with him/her. Talk about love. You will notice that your significant other will feel more confident to open his/her heart, too. Try to turn these talks a habit! In this way, you are setting the foundation for good communication and trust in your relationship.
- Talk to your partner about what you are willing to do in order to make him/her feel more confident about your love. You can ask him/her what is that he/she can do for the relationship too so you can feel more understood and not pursued. Try to negotiate in a fair way… with no criticism and no blaming anyone.
Working through jealousy issues can enhance your relationship by increasing feelings of connection and intimacy.
To your relationship success,
Sofia M. Robirosa
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Relationships & Parenting Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationships. Her private practice is located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens, an evidenced based program. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She is a passionately committed therapist, who thoroughly takes pride and joy from her job. She enjoys working with a culturally diverse population and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an active volunteer of the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining.