What’s one of the fastest ways to sabotage your relationship? Consistently giving into jealous thoughts and emotions. While feelings of jealousy are normal, acting on them isn’t going to get you anywhere – especially if they’re unjustified. Jealousy is a unique form of suffering, as it leads to emotions ranging from mild annoyance to anxiety and outright rage.
Whether you regularly experience jealous twinges, or the feeling cripples the happiness in your relationships, it’s time to turn the focus on yourself. This means understanding that you’re responsible for your thoughts, which determine your emotions. For example, in a situation where a hot girl is clearly hitting on your guy, you can choose to think:
I wish she’d get away from my man. He probably thinks she’s prettier than me.
Awww. Look at him getting hit on. My man’s so hot.
Guess which thought leads to negative emotions and reactions, and which one acknowledges a pang of jealousy, without buying into it? Providing your partner is simply responding in a friendly way and not being disrespectful to you, there’s no reason to engage in jealousy-driven thinking at all – and it’s always your choice not to. Always remember that unjustified jealousy is a relationship killer.
Here are five things to help you combat that jealousy.
1. Ask Your Partner For Help
It’s just a fact of life that all of us are going to feel jealous from time to time. If you’ve let the emotion have free reign over your relationships in the past, for you it’s probably most of the time. While it’s your responsibility to deal with unjustified jealousy, your partner can certainly help. Chat to him about it, without making him responsible for your emotions or for changing them.
To start, ask for his help by letting him know you want to learn how to handle your jealousy. One way to do this, is by asking him to tell you things that would normally make you feel jealous. In being exposed to it like this, the secrecy fades away, communication improves and trust in your relationship strengthens. When he shares a situation with you, reward him for it with a kiss and a thank you.
That way, he’ll be more likely to keep telling you about scenarios, meaning there’s nothing to hide and no reason to feel jealous. The more you’re exposed to it, the less jealous you’ll feel. On the flip side, practice being honest with him, by sharing stories of men hitting on you. Though he might feel pissed off, he’ll also appreciate the honesty.
And your relationship will thrive because of it.
2. Learn to Value Uncertainty
A small amount of uncertainty in a relationship adds to the buzz and the attraction, for both men and women. This isn’t about deliberately making each other feel jealous or insecure. It’s about the fact that you want your partner to be attractive, right? When you get a reminder of how attractive he is, because women flirt with him, it gives you a bit of a thrill along with the jealous twinge, whether you acknowledge it or not.
If your man makes you a little jealous just because of the way he is, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, feel grateful that you experience the intense passion that leads to the feeling. Start actively embracing the benefits of uncertainty and healthy jealousy. You’ll find that your reactions to situations switch from insecurity to a boost in attraction for him instead.
That being said, it’s important to ensure your man isn’t doing things to make you deliberately jealous. Guys with insecurity issues might do this to boost their egos or even to decrease your confidence. There’s a big difference between being friendly in response to another woman, and actively hitting on women in front of you.
When you’re observing your thoughts and recognising unjustified jealousy within yourself, this behaviour is easy to spot for what it is. Emotionally immature men aren’t worth your time, until they’ve learnt to deal with their own insecurities. If you’re with a man who intentionally tries to damage your trust in him to inflate his own ego, combat that jealousy by moving on to someone else.
3. De-Catastrophize Potential Loss
If you live in fear of a guy leaving you, jealousy could very well take over your whole relationship. This perceived catastrophe is in part due to your brain’s evolutionary wiring, which was built during times when a breakup was a life or death scenario. For our ancestors, establishing a connection and losing it wasn’t really an option, because they weren’t likely to meet someone else, in small tribes.
Now, there are so many ‘fish in the sea’ that losing a guy really isn’t a catastrophe at all, except in your mind. If the worst was to happen and you follow the trail of your unnecessarily jealous thoughts, it would definitely suck. Relationship breakups, especially due to someone cheating or being disrespectful, are never fun to deal with.
However, you wouldn’t die. You’d work on yourself, he’d lose a fantastic woman, and another man would come along who was more worthy of you. The loss that you’re absolutely terrified of would simply change your life circumstances. Like all changes in life, you’d learn, grow and adapt to it. We all do. If he was dumb enough to cheat, you could walk away with your head held high, in the knowledge that he’s not deserving of being with a high value woman like you.
4. Ask Your Partner to Explain How Your Jealousy Makes Him Feel
In order to truly face your own issues, you need to look at them head on. Asking your partner to explain how your jealousy makes him feel, gives you something concrete to work with. It takes all those thoughts out of your head and into reality, where they could be fostering relationship damage. When you’re faced with this damage, you’ll think twice before reacting out of jealousy next time it comes up.
“In order to truly face your own issues, you need to look at them head on.”
Jealousy is instinctively a selfish emotion. It’s designed for self-protection and self-preservation. When you’re empathising with your partner about how your unjustified jealousy makes him feel, you take the focus off you and realise the consequences of your jealousy on your partner from his perspective.
First up, ask him if he’s noticed any unjustified jealousy from you. If he says yes, reward and show him you appreciate his honesty. Then, ask him how it makes him feel. He might say something like he hates feeling like you don’t trust him or having to walk on eggshells with you to avoid jealous reactions. Again, make sure you let him know that you appreciate his answer. Within yourself, reflect on what he says and let it truly sink in, so you’re not so quick to succumb to jealous thoughts again.
5. Understand What Kind of Relationship You Want to Build
Finally, this is the ultimate mindset for letting go of unjustified jealousy. Ask yourself:
What kind of relationship do I really want to build?
Do you want to build one that, for the next 40 or so years, you have to monitor or cage your partner? Do you want a relationship that you can’t just relax with and trust in? Are you interested in building one based on restrictions and holding your partner back, rather than growing together and challenging each other to be better? Do you want to keep feeling jealous and anxious, day in, day out, for the rest of your life?
Of course not.
Instead, you can simply let go. You can do this by understanding that no relationship is ever fully secure, and that’s OK. In fact, it’s part of what makes them so enjoyable. Whichever way it goes, you’ll handle it. In the meantime, stop stressing about what he may or may not do. Focus on being the best partner you can possibly be, and know that as long as you’re doing that, you can let go of the outcome.
Know that giving up jealousy isn’t granting permission to be hurt or making you more susceptible to pain. It’s eradicating an unhelpful relationship habit to give your relationship the best chance of working in the long term. You might as well let the chips fall where they may, because you don’t have control over them anyway. Fighting the unknowns of the future does nothing but contribute to unhappiness in the present moment.
In the end, if your partner cares as much as you, the relationship will work out. If it doesn’t, your high-value qualities will ensure that you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, learn, grow and move forward to the next romantic adventure.