Jealously is a negative emotion associated with insecurity, fear or anxiety over ending a relationship or losing something that reinforces your sense of self. The Discovery Channel’s quiz “Jealousy Test” from DiscoveryHealth.com reports that jealousy is a mixture of feelings that include hurt, fear, loneliness, paranoia, doubt and rage. In the 1994 article “A Devastating Difference” from Psychology Today, writer Hara Estroff Marano explains that when a person feels jealous, it’s likely she’s suspicious or angry about betrayal, sad and uncertain over a loss or distrustful and fearful that someone important to her will be attracted to another person.
When Your Partner is Jealous
- Identify the problem. Truth About Deception, a website founded by social science experts, explains that not talking about jealousy will manifest itself in mood changes, controlling behaviors, causing fights and arguments, being overly sensitive and needy. To avoid assigning blame, suggest that your partner identify her jealousy by beginning with this statement, “It makes me feel uncomfortable when you … “
- Ask how you can help. Saying “You have nothing to be jealous about” likely has not worked in the past. Take the information your partner gave you from Step 1 and ask her to tell you how her anxiety can be reduced. Note that you may not be able to change your behavior. For example, if your coming home late from work is one of her grievances, it might be out of your power to change your work schedule. But discussing the matter together can help lower her anxiety about the situation.
- Reassure your partner that you care about him. Remind him that you will be here for him, that you will help him work through is problems and that you love him. Keep in mind that a jealous partner will not change over night. This is a process that could take months.
When You’re Jealous
- Write down what makes you jealous. You can’t work through the problem until you know exactly what the problem is. If you’re not sure how to articulate what makes you jealous, consider the times when you become angry. If seeing your boyfriend talk to other women gets your pulse racing, you may be projecting that he’s flirting or non-committal.
- Talk about your feelings. Tell your partner how you feel. Avoid accusing and assigning blame. Life Coach Expert, a website that offers advice on life skills and and well being, recommends speaking slowly. If your partner interrupts, calmly ask him to allow you to finish. You need to allow him to respond once you’ve expressed your thoughts.
- Discuss one issue at a time. Don’t bring up several points at once. Rather, talk about one problem until you both feel confident that it can be resolved. Note that this process does not have to take place in one sitting. You can decide to work on one problem a week.
- Tell your partner what he or she can do to help. Ask her to give you more reassurance. Ask her not to dismiss your feelings. Staying calm and keeping the tone and volume of your voice down will be more effective than yelling and acting out.
- Talk with a therapist. Jealousy is often a reaction to your own lack of self-esteem. Also, don’t discount the possibility that you’re projecting your thoughts onto your partner. If you’ve ever considered kissing another person, it’s not unreasonable that you would think you’re partner had those thoughts as well. A therapist or social worker is qualified to deal with these emotional and behavioral issues.
Tips and Warnings for Dealing With Jealousy
Life coach David Bonham-Carter, of London, writes in “Talk About Your Feelings” on his website DavidBonham-Carter.com that using intoxicants including drugs and alcohol, can heighten feelings of jealousy and cause a person to act out in an inappropriate manner. Pointing out your partner’s mistakes will not get her to change. Rather, it can cause her to become defensive.
According to Sylvia Puente from the University of Illinois, jealousy is a major trigger for domestic violence. If your partner has ever hurt you, or threatened to hurt you, this is not a problem you can handle on your own. If the discussion turns heated or angry, take a break.