Jealousy is an umbrella term covering a range of powerful emotions. Allowing these emotions to run rampant can have a significant impact on any relationship, especially romantic ones. Whilst small amounts of jealousy are normal and can even be healthy, it can start to become problematic for the relationship and then can become toxic if it leads to extremely emotional, controlling or abusive behaviours.
In this blog post, we'll explore some ways that couples can work on their jealousy issues together, talk about it and stop it before it runs rampant and becomes destructive.
Firstly, what are some of the signs that jealousy is becoming problematic?
Controlling behaviour: If one partner's jealousy is causing them to be overly controlling, such as dictating who their partner can spend time with or where they can go
Isolation: If one partner's jealousy is causing them to isolate their partner from others, such as preventing them from spending time with friends or family.
Constant accusations: If one partner is constantly accusing the other of being unfaithful and lying, without any evidence to support the accusations
Extreme emotional reactions: If one partner's jealousy is causing extreme emotional reactions, such as crying, screaming, seeking revenge or physically lashing out
Obsessive thoughts: If one partner's jealousy is causing them to obsessively think about their partner's actions and whereabouts
Compulsive checking: If one partner's jealousy is causing them to compulsively check their partner's phone or social media account
Distrust: If one partner's jealousy is making them mistrust their partner, even when there is no evidence to support their suspicions
Gaining awareness of your triggers, sensitive emotional places and improving your communication is essential, whether jealousy is already causing destruction or as a prevention mechanism to ensure it does not become problematic.
Now, how can couples work on their jealousy issues together?
Acknowledge and validate each other's feelings
Jealousy can be a challenging situation to deal with, but it's crucial to remember that it's a valid feeling. Whether it's due to insecurity, past experiences, or something else, it's important to acknowledge and validate your partner's feelings of jealousy. This can help create a safe space for both partners to express themselves without fear of judgment.
Discuss the source of the jealousy
Jealousy can stem from various sources, including past experiences, insecurities, or a lack of trust. It's essential to identify the root of the problem to work towards resolving it. For example, if a partner is jealous of their significant other's close relationship with a co-worker, it may be due to a lack of trust in their partner. Identifying the source of the jealousy can help both partners understand each other's perspective and work towards a solution.
Set boundaries and expectations
Clear boundaries and expectations can help prevent situations that may trigger feelings of jealousy. For example, if someone is uncomfortable with their partner spending lots of time at work, away from them, it's essential to communicate that and express what they want, calmly and respectfully. Then talk about setting boundaries that work for both/all parties. This can minimize misunderstandings and prevent the situation from escalating into something more significant.
Communicate openly and honestly
Communication is key to any healthy relationship, and it's especially important when it comes to jealousy. Partners must be open and honest with each other about their feelings, even if they're uncomfortable or difficult to express. It's crucial to communicate without judgment and be willing to listen to each other's perspective to find a solution that works for both partners.
Practice empathy and understanding
It's essential to practice empathy and understanding when discussing jealousy in a relationship. Each partner may have their unique experiences and perspectives that influence their feelings. It's important to listen to each other's feelings and experiences and try to understand where they're coming from. Practicing empathy can help strengthen the bond between partners and create a more supportive and loving relationship.
Seek third party help
If you and your partner are struggling to deal with jealousy on your own or if you think it’s starting to become problematic, seeking outside help can be very beneficial. A relationship counsellor can provide you with strategies to manage feelings of jealousy in the relationship and work through any underlying issues that may be contributing to it.
Don’t forget jealousy is a complex umbrella that can threaten the stability of any relationship. You are not alone in this and by acknowledging and validating each other's feelings, discussing the source of the jealousy, setting clear boundaries, communicating openly and honestly, practicing empathy and understanding and seeking outside help couples can work together to overcome jealousy and create a more fulfilling and loving relationship.
Remember, a healthy relationship is built on communication, trust and understanding.