Working Through Jealousy: Techniques for Improving Your Relationship
Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy likes girl… a lot. Boy worries that he will lose the girl to another boy. Boy is jealous.
While jealousy seems like a cut and dry emotion it tends to stem from past feelings related to rejection, being used or lied to, and being betrayed by someone that you loved and cared for. Due to the complex nature of jealousy it can be rather difficult to control and might feel like an instinctual response when one believes their relationship is at-risk of being invaded by another. While the origins of jealousy come from hurt inflicted by a past relationship, it can quickly become something that then begins to punish and damage the new partnership; it is a vicious cycle. Before we discuss steps for working through jealousy we must first identify the behaviors related to this. Reason being is that awareness of our actions during times of jealousy helps to minimize our reactivity and allows us to be accountable for our behaviors.
Signs and Behaviors of Jealousy:
Controlling your partner-approving who they talk to or what they do with their time.
Acting possessive-not giving your partner the space they need to be autonomous, an individual with their own interests and friendships.
Distrust-questioning your partner and not feeling satisfied with any answer they give you.
Insecurity-this says “I don't think I possess what you desire or need in a partner, I don’t trust my ability to give you what you deserve”
Making threats-this could be threats to end the relationship, threats of harm (including self-harm), or withdrawing something that you are currently giving.
Making hurtful comments-pointing out flaws or issues with your partner that are not changeable (physical appearance, for example), hitting below the belt.
Fear of abandonment-“I am worried that you will leave me, I feel like I am unlovable”.
If you have demonstrated any of these signs and behaviors then the next part is for you. Jealousy does not have to control your life and you can learn to be responsive to it as opposed to being reactive. Here are a few things you might try:
Ask yourself which of the above signs and behaviors are you demonstrating and what the cause is in this specific situation. Jealousy tends to thrive off of past negative history, in fact, it feeds off of it.
Accountability can be important when you believe your instincts are not completely in-tact. Find someone who offers a perspective that you respect and who will be a reasonable sounding board for you.
Communicate with your partner after you have processed your response as opposed to immediately reacting and becoming accusatory. Be sure to describe where the jealousy was coming from and how they can be supportive of you while you both continue to build trust in the relationship.
Jealousy can be a slippery slope that leads into habitually dysfunctional relationships. After all, jealousy is oftentimes just fear of rejection, abandonment, or of losing someone you deeply care for. Remember, we repeat what we do not repair and you deserve to engage in healthy relationships and to have peace within yourself.
At Mind Works Counseling Services in Lubbock, TX we specialize in helping individuals with relationships and relationship issues. Don’t let something like jealousy keep you from the relationship you want.
Learn more about the Relationship Therapy we offer.
Contact us to schedule an appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.