How To Stop Being Jealous
I have never counseled nor known of a woman or a man that has not experienced jealousy at least once or a few times in a relationship. It can start as children wanting the toys of others, in high school being jealous of a girl’s clothes or hair and then as adults, coveting your co-worker’s new car or a neighbors new swimming pool.
We all want more for ourselves and it is inescapable to not experience jealousy at least a few times in your life. Jealousy in relationships are the worst and hardest to identify, regardless if it is all you or it is justified. Either way, you are the one not being kind to yourself as jealousy is an awful emotion to feel. Leaving you feeling less than, confused and not thinking clearly.
What does jealousy in a relationship mean? At the root of jealousy lies fear of loss. Like many jealous partners, they fear the loss of their relationship, loss of self-respect, even loss of ‘face’ fearing how their friends would see them if they were to be ‘made a fool of’. Fear makes for feelings of insecurity. When the fear lessens, so does jealousy. More than feelings of fear, jealousy also leads to a smorgasbord of other emotions such as anger, hate of love ‘rivals’, disgust (sometimes self-disgust), and hopelessness.
So how can we start to break the jealousy cycle, reclaim self-control and stop driving our partners and ourselves crazy? After doing a little research, here is some basic guidelines to help you see more clearly where the fear starts and the jealousy takes over and how to stop the cycle.
- Try trusting your partner. No kidding, it may sound just too simple and ridiculous but how about you believe your partner? Yes, take them at their word. If they do lie to you, then they are not making a fool out of anyone but themselves – remember that. Trust is the cornerstone of any relationship. It’s very insulting for your partner to have you always doubting their word or being honorable in their behavior.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. We don’t know why exactly someone loves us. There are better looking, richer, funnier, smarter, younger people around than just about all of us, but these are qualities of a ‘product’. If he or she loves you, it will be because of an extra, indefinable quality you have that they couldn’t even explain – some deep part of your humanity they connected to which transcends looks, youth, wealth, and so forth.
- Not all jealousy is driven by low self-esteem. People with high self-esteem can also experience intense jealousy if they tend to feel they must always be the center of things. People like this tend to look at their partners as material property. And maybe they just don’t want to share that ‘property’, even as far as letting their partner innocently smile or socialize with another person. Perhaps as a kid they were spoiled.
- Don’t ever play games to bring about jealousy in a partner. Jealousy is excruciatingly uncomfortable. People sometimes try to make themselves feel better by trying to get their partner jealous. Don’t do this. Flirting with other men or women in front of your partner; constantly saying how attractive, fun, and witty someone you work with is; and going out of your way to talk about past lovers just demeans you and won’t make either of you feel better in the long run. If you have a partner who does this, make them own up to it.
- Stop confusing make-believe with reality. Jealousy, like many psychological problems (from hypochondria to paranoia), is driven by the destructive use of the imagination. The imagination is great thing if you use it for your own benefit but not if it messes with your mind. Stop trusting your imagination so much. Use your imagination to make yourself feel better about yourself not worse.
- Lengthen the leash. Start relaxing with lengthening the ‘leash’. If your partner wants to spend the weekend with his or her friends, let them. Keeping them ‘imprisoned’ will only build their desire to escape your possessiveness. Let them have their freedom (and no, this is not the same as letting them walk all over you).
Susan Z’s Verdict
Jealousy is more about self-love than real love for another person. Jealousy makes us focus more on our own feelings than the feelings of the other person. Overcoming jealousy isn’t about making your partner act in a certain way to make you feel secure; it has to be about you managing your own emotions. On the downside of jealousy, if you have a real issue that brings on jealousy such as cheating, then it is not about the jealousy but your own definition of what you think you deserve. Change it for the better!
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