Jealousy is like poison to any relationship and to your soul. Feelings of jealousy and envy will leave you paranoid, distracted, angry, hurt and heartbroken. When expressed in a romantic relationship, jealousy will make your partner feel trapped and controlled. Over a considerable period of time, it will wear away at everything that was great about the relationship and leave you with distrust and disconnection.
Still, jealousy is a very real emotion. Very real and very painful. So what are we to do about something that is so easy to get caught up in and so destructive at the same time? The truth is, you don't have to be jealous. In fact, once you understand and come to terms with whatever is causing you to feel jealous, you will most likely never struggle with it again.
If you know you have a jealous streak and are tired of it hurting your relationships, then read on. We're going to tell you exactly what you should do about it.
There are only a couple of causes of jealousy and they all stem from one thing: lack of trust. Lack of trust always boils down to a lack of self-esteem. It's easy to say, "just trust your partner and you won't feel jealous anymore", but if the underlying causes that are creating the jealousy aren't healed, it will be very difficult to trust them. If you're feeling jealous, then clearly you don't trust them, and you can't just turn that off.
So where do you start?
First, identify why you don't trust them. It will likely be one of the following two reasons or a combination of both:
A. They do and say things and/or behave in ways that hurt your trust.
B. You are attempting to control them to avoid getting hurt.
Ask yourself honestly:
Have they said or done something that has shaken your trust in them?
If so, what did they do?
Can you be very specific about it?
It is extremely important to distinguish the facts here in order to determine if they are behaving or doing things in a way that is hindering your ability to trust them. We've worked with people that were very certain that their partner was not trustworthy, only to discover as they considered these questions more deeply that they couldn't provide any clear evidence to support their suspicions.
Determining whether your partner is doing something to generate your suspicion or if your suspicion is coming from yourself is vitally important in figuring out what to do about it.
Maybe it was something obvious like you caught them cheating on you and you haven't been able to move past it, but it may also be something more subtle. Perhaps they behave in ways that may lead you to believe that they are hiding something. Maybe there are elements in their stories that don't quite add up. Maybe it's the way that they treat you; you don't feel that they truly respect you, and that makes you doubt their faithfulness. Perhaps they conduct themselves around the opposite sex in a way that feels like there is an opening with them, and that makes you feel insecure.
If you can identify something specific they do or say that is leading you to this feeling then ask yourself, "If this thing were corrected would my feelings be different?" Answering this question honestly can be very helpful in determining where the jealousy is coming from.
When you can say for certain that they are doing something that is causing these feelings of jealousy for you, the next thing to do is to talk to them about it.
Nothing beneficial ever comes from avoiding important relationship issues. In fact, it will likely destroy the relationship.
So many relationships might have been saved if the partners had learned to come together and resolve issues like this as a team. Avoiding them drives couples further apart and leaves them feeling isolated and alone.
Talk to your partner, and in a kind and understanding way, tell them your thoughts about the situation. Tell them what makes you feel insecure about it. Openly ask them for their help in making you feel safe in the relationship. This is not an accusation; it's a conversation.
If there is an incongruent story or something doesn't make sense to you, honestly say to them, "This doesn't add up for me. Can you please explain it better?" Not in an accusatory way, but simply in wanting to uncover what inconsistency may or may not be there. You might find that there was an inconsistency, but it wasn't what you thought at all. This then brings up something else for you to talk through that will ultimately bring you closer together.
If it's the way your partner behaves around the opposite sex that makes you feel insecure, gently bring that up to them: "Honey, when you do or say [...] with other men/women, I don't feel very good about it. Can we talk about that?"
Be intentionally gentle when you bring up these topics. Your goal is not to put your partner on the defensive. Your goal is to have an open conversation that leads to a better understanding of each other and a deeper level of trust between you.
How they respond will tell you everything you need to know. If they care about making the relationship safe for you, they will respond in a way that shows you that.
And if they have something to hide, they will likely get defensive and argumentative.
An important note: Jealousy always has to do with your own insecurity, whether your partner is hiding something or not. If you happen to find that your partner or potential partner is lying, manipulative, cheating, etc., the solution is not to become jealous; the solution is to either resolve the issue or end the relationship.
For example, if your partner cheats on you, you either discover how the two of you can move on from this and how they can assure you that it will not happen again so you can start to rebuild your trust, or you decide that you'll never be able to trust them and end the relationship. Jealousy doesn't support in either case.
Jealousy is like putting a band-aid over a gaping wound. It does nothing to resolve the real underlying issues, and in fact, the problems continue to get worse.
Jealousy is a misguided attempt to control your partner to protect yourself from pain.
But it's really very simple:
There is never anything to protect yourself from. A person that you have to be jealous about is not someone you want to be with in the first place.
This is why you must determine if they are trustworthy or not. If they are you must choose to not be jealous. Period. If there is something to be addressed with them, address it and determine if you can be satisfied with their response or not. Once you determine that they are trustworthy and the jealousy still persists, you then turn the attention toward yourself.
So what is going on for you? Why do you behave and react with jealousy?
This is not an accusation, but an honest inquiry.
Is it because you've been hurt or cheated on before? Is it because of something that happened when you were young? Were you let down by a parent or a friend? Is it due to an abusive relationship you had at some point in your Life? Many of us have had very challenging or traumatic past experiences that cause us to be distrustful in our current relationships.
The truth is you can't find the kind of Love you want without trusting. If you have to try to control the person you're with, you will never be happy in your Life together and you will always feel unfulfilled.
You must be secure enough in yourself to be willing to be alone before you're willing to settle. When you are that secure in yourself, you free yourself and the other person to be authentic in the relationship.
Secure men and women are not jealous with each other and this frees them up to choose to be with the person they Love. Because they are choosing to be there in the relationship, you don't have to control them. They want to be there and there is nothing to be jealous about.
If you find that you are overly jealous, or that jealousy issues are a common challenge in your relationship, on some level, you must believe that you're not worthy of being Loved like this. Otherwise, you would have no reason to feel jealous.
You are just as deserving of an amazing Love as anyone, but creating it requires certain skills. Being able to fully trust is one of them. Once you own your worthiness in this regard, trust is natural and jealousy is gone.
We've worked with many incredible men and women that struggled with jealousy that had nothing to do with their partners. In most cases, their partners were good people that truly loved them and they loved each other very much. Due to the fears and insecurities they brought to the relationship, trust was very difficult and it hurt their partner and themselves immensely.
If you find that your jealousy has nothing to do with what your partner has done, you have to be willing to work on it; otherwise, it will ruin the relationship. Even when it is because of something they've done, you have to find a way to put the pieces back together or there is no point in remaining together.
Learn to know your worth and value and you will never struggle with jealousy again. Only entertain relationships in which that person sees your worth and value and you will never have any cause to be jealous.
Maybe you are with someone that you know you shouldn't be with and you're using jealousy to avoid facing up to that. Perhaps there are some underlying issues that need to be worked through with your partner and jealousy is preventing that from happening. Maybe there are some personal insecurities that need to be addressed and your jealous emotions are masking what's really going on for you deep down.
Whatever the case, there is no justification for jealousy. It is only hurtful. It is hurtful to you and to your partner. If there are children involved, it is hurtful to them as well.
The presence of jealousy in a relationship is always pointing to a much deeper issue. Don't avoid these issues--it will only cause more pain in the long run. Jealous feelings are simply showing you that there is work to do in your relationship. Do the work, and you'll create depth, understanding, healing, and ultimately happiness for yourself and your partner. Avoiding it will only continue to grow the issues that are really there.
The truth is simple, and though not easy, the Love that you create when you do the work is well worth the effort.
Thanks for reading <3.
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