Do you or your spouse get jealous? How often? A little jealousy might be flattering, but when it becomes obsessive, it can ruin a relationship.
I often receive emails from fans, requesting my advice on matters related to their love lives. Truly, I’m flattered—who wouldn’t be? But we all know that I’m not Dr. Ruth, or Dr. Phil, I’m not even a PhD—just an RN and an author. Seriously, my degrees are not in counseling.
Yet I’ll admit, the reality of romance and relationships nourishes my heart and challenges my brain.
So here I go,
The Reasons Behind Jealous Behavior
There are a number of reasons why people may exhibit feelings of jealousy, but the two most common are: a perceived threat by the presence of another man or woman, or a lack of trust in one's partner. Yet at the core of jealousy are more serious issues including poor self-esteem and a fear of abandonment. Although jealousy may be triggered by something your partner does, it really stems from your own deeply rooted issues. The partner’s behavior is merely a trigger.
How to Deal with Jealousy
We are creatures of habit and we form relationships because we learn early on in life the benefit of it: survive and thrive. However, our early experiences in life can impact the quality of the relationships we build in later years.
Being aware of what triggers jealousy provides the opportunity to correct destructive behavior. Jealous behavior can be modified by the same kind of conditioning by which it was created.
The key to behavior modification is establishing strong communication skills to help eliminate feelings of jealousy. Discussing what each person wants from the relationship provides an understanding of how to meet each other’s needs. An honest account of what makes you feel jealous can solve problems before they begin.
Communication is huge in any relationship because none of us are mind readers. Your partner can't correct his or her own behavior until he or she knows how it makes you feel. If your partner does something that makes you feel terrible, that's the perfect opportunity to communicate how you feel. You might say, “I get really jealous when I see you talking with John, especially when he makes you laugh.”
At the same time, it's important for the object of jealousy to reassure the partner. Remember, you partner’s behavior stems from fear of the perceived threat. So, follow-up with a secure and positive message to alleviate any fears. For example, you could say, "John is just a friend. You are my boyfriend and he is respectful of that. I love you and want to be only with you, so there's no need to feel jealous of John."
Maintaining a healthy and balanced relationship is a daily commitment. You have to strive not only to communicate, but to develop more confidence in yourself, to avoid controlling behavior, and to nurture trust in your partner—don’t let assumptions run wild.
Remember that while jealousy can, at low levels of intensity, stimulate communication, revive passion, and bring two partners closer together, in higher doses, it can destroy relationships and self esteem. It is always best to work on your issues from childhood relationships, to avoid repeating negative behavior patterns with future romantic partners.
I will be happy to hear from you how I did on matters clearly outside of my field.