There was a man consumed by so much jealousy that he would sneak fatty foods into his wife’s daily diet regimen to keep her fat, “unattractive” and undesirable to other men and thus, hooked to him. It didn’t work so he killed her. Then there’s this wonderful lady who makes her fiancée take a lie detector test every time he leaves the house so that she can establish he wasn’t lustfully looking at other women. These are more extreme cases of jealousy but jealousy, even in its mildest form, can ruin many relationships.
Jealousy is a creepy human feeling; something we seemingly have no control over. It simply seems to sneak in and consume some of us whenever we are thrown in a situation where we feel inadequate, fear losing someone or fear losing face. Or in some cases, where we fear we are losing control of a relationship. That is why it can manifest itself most strongly in people who are also control freaks.
Mild jealousy might actually be a good thing within certain limits. It shows that you truly care about someone and fear losing them. That you are not indifferent. Then, there is the psychotic kind of jealousy. The kind where someone goes to certain extremes, including making their partner’s life miserable or even hurting them to gain “control” of the relationship. This kind of pathological jealousy is destructive and often ruins lives.
If you feel a little tinge of jealousy whenever your partner speaks to someone attractive or close to them or whenever they seem happier with a certain ex or a childhood girlfriend or boyfriend, it is pretty normal. You are just experiencing a normal human feeling and if you can talk to your partner and establish trust once you have received assurances that they still love and care about you in spite of the other relationships they have that make you feel a little insecure, you are on safe ground. Normal jealousy will actually trigger both partners into building a more trusting bond.
However, there are people who suffer from an extreme kind of jealousy that is more controlling. This is often characterised by obsessive and irrational thoughts on perceived sexual unfaithfulness (and in some cases emotional unfaithfulness) by lovers and ex-lovers as well as various other extreme actions. People like these are often driven to take extreme and irrational actions against their partners or real and imagined “rivals”.
There are many signs that you are overly jealous in your relationship. Do you find yourself keeping a closer eye on your partner than is necessary? Do you make excuses to look at their phone, emails or social media accounts? Or do you find yourself not believing whenever they tell you something, whether it be about what they were doing or how they feel about something? Even worse, are the jealous ones that lash out at their partners or others in a jealous rage – if someone dares look at your partner for too long or in a way that you do not approve of, you may find yourself saying something rude or simply lashing out. And does your poor partner get an earful regularly about things that may or may not have even happened? If this sounds like you, then you need to release your jealously demons before it is too late and you lose the one you love. Here are 6 methods to assist in overcoming jealousy in your relationship.
Do not let your imagination run away with you
Because an overly jealous person is always suspicious, even the slightest hint of betrayal or unfaithfulness is enough to drive them into a jealous rage. In most cases, their imagination will be getting the better of them. If something cannot be explained or verified, it will be assumed true. So you will always be throwing around charges of unfaithfulness based on your wild and irrational imagination. The allegations will be so outrageous that unless you have an understanding and patient partner, the relationship will go downhill pretty fast.
Just because your partner is home an hour later than they promised does not mean that they spent that hour at a fancy cocktail party with a billionaire playboy or socialite. They just might be late! If you let your imagination run away, you will find yourself believing what your mind tells you, and resenting your partner for things that honestly probably didn’t happen.
Remember that your current partner is not the same as your ex
Sometimes, a jealous person is simply acting out a past traumatic relationship. Perhaps you were in a relationship where you were abandoned, cheated on, hurt or humiliated. As a result, you judge every new partner based on the yardstick of the worst partner you have had in your life. In your estimation, they are just a “time-bomb” waiting to explode and cheat on you.
This is may be an understandable reason why you may be suspicious and jealous of your current partner. But you have to remember that not all people are cheaters and liars. Just because you were unlucky enough to pick a bad person previously does not mean that you are doomed to only pick cheaters. You need to have trust, and realize that people are very different from each other, and do not pin the actions and “sins” of past partners on your current partner just because they happen to share a gender.
Give them space
This may sound difficult if you are naturally suspicious and jealous, but it will help you build a more trusting relationship over the long term. If your unhealthy jealousy is making the life of your partner and you realize that, start by giving them more space to express themselves. Try to cut down on the temptation to keep them on a leash such as by following them, checking their social media accounts or constantly monitoring their phones. While this may not work with pathological jealousy, it will work for you if you are mildly jealous and you feel it is ruining your relationship.
Making your partner stay within your sight at all times is not going to make either of you feel comfortable and will strain the flow of communication between the two of you. And communication is a must for a healthy relationship. Try to keep yourself busy instead of making your partner’s life your daily business. Go out on a drink with friends, go to the gym or simply try to do something constructive. It will open your mind to new experiences so that you can get rid of those negative feelings of perceived infidelity and unfaithfulness on the part of your partner. This is not to say you should close your eyes to your partner’s unfaithfulness but if there is no reasonable cause to doubt your partner, then don’t manufacture a reason.
Communicate your feelings
Communication is the bedrock of relationships. The reason you are in a relationship with your partner in the first place is because the two of you were able to communicate to one another. So don’t “brood” or be passive-aggressive in case you suspect your partner is cheating on you or in case your partner is doing things that make you feel jealous. Talk it out and try to understand why they do those actions. When there is no communication between partners in a relationship, then imagination takes over. In the context of a person who is already struggling with jealous feelings, imagination, invariably, takes a negative turn. You will demonize your partner in your mind and imagine them cheating on you and laughing behind your back. If it is something you dwell on everyday without communicating your feelings, you begin to believe it. You will be cherry-picking certain actions, words or behaviour in your partner and using them as validation for your thoughts.
Communicating and “clearing the air” will make you feel better about things, and your partner may appreciate the fact that you care enough to be bothered. After all, the fact that you are jealous shows that there is some level of affection – otherwise you wouldn’t care what they did.
Don’t play games
One of the most important rules with relationships is not to play games. Having fun with your partner is one thing, but by messing with emotions and feelings, you are only going to end up hurt. An example of a dangerous game would be to try to make your partner jealous to see how they react. You may hope that they would realize how much they love you and change how they are (whatever it is about them that is causing you to be jealous), but in reality, it is likely to do is push them further away, or create a bigger gap. It will ruin trust and communication, and nobody likes being played – yourself included.
Stop comparing your relationship to others
Often, jealousy is caused by enormous insecurity and low self esteem. You look around and think that you probably didn’t deserve your partner. Maybe they are very beautiful or very handsome, successful, charming and all and somewhere deep in your subconscious, you feel you will get “unveiled” and abandoned. If your partner overlooked everybody in the world and chose you, it is because they saw something special in you. You are already adequate in their eyes so there is no reason to fret over your inadequacy in the eyes of your partner. She or he probably knows all you inadequacies and weaknesses and loves you anyway.
Often, people who are intensely jealous are driven to be possessive. They develop a deep attachment to their partners even when the love and intimacy has fizzled off. They want to hurt and lash out at people they once loved and make them miserable even if they no longer feel love for them. People do stupid stuff out of jealous rage and it is only after the act that they realize “I could have just let go and moved on with my life”. How about you learn this little wisdom while you are still in the relationship so that you can stop treating another human being as your personal property. It could help you release much of that jealous steam.