If you are a consistently jealous person, or have persistent feelings of jealousy, here are some ways to effectively overcome jealousy.
How can I deal with my jealousy?
When jealousy strikes, people often compare themselves to their rival, they feel threatened, and they imagine the worse case scenario - that their partner or spouse might leave them for someone else. Not only is jealousy unpleasant to experience, but individuals, who are chronically jealous or suspicious, often misinterpret what is going on - taking what might be an innocent event and thinking about it in the worst way possible.
For example, if a boyfriend or girlfriend does not immediately return a phone call, a highly jealous individual will jump to a negative conclusion (my partner doesn't love me or my partner is cheating). Jumping to such conclusions can drive people crazy and it often fuels their suspicions (Pfeiffer and Wong, Salovey and Rodin).
Negative thoughts, doubts, and insecurities often lead to more negative thoughts, doubts, and insecurities.
Not only do highly jealous individuals drive themselves crazy, they often drive their partners crazy as well. Being around a suspicious person is difficult to deal with. No one likes to have everything that happens turned into a negative event. Moreover, being with a jealous person is difficult because highly suspicious partners can be overly controlling, needy, and invasive. As such, it is not uncommon for people who date highly suspicious individuals to pull away from their partners because of all the problems that it causes.
Learning how to deal with jealousy effectively is critical to maintaining a healthy relationship.
Talk About Your Feelings
Typically, the best way to deal with jealousy or suspicion is to talk to your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, about the issue. When people are suspicious or jealous, they often try to hide their true feelings from their partners, but ignoring our emotions hardly ever works. Our feelings get the best of us and influence our behavior whether we like it or not. So when people experience jealousy, if they do not talk about it, it comes out through sudden mood changes, acting overly controlling, being overly sensitive and needy, causing unnecessary arguments and fights, pointing out a romantic rival's every flaw, attacking a partner ("why did you do that?"), and so on.
In fact, jealousy sometimes leads people to flirt with others as a way of getting their partner's attention or showing them just how awful it can feel. On the other hand, a lot of research shows that talking to a partner about being jealous is the best way of dealing with it. As a general rule, when talking about jealousy, it helps to focus on your feelings and not necessarily your partner's behavior. In other words, do not blame or attack your spouse or partner because you feel jealous - rather explain how you feel ("Sometimes my jealousy gets the best of me, and I don't like feeling this way...").
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If you can talk directly to your spouse or partner about how you feel, you are less likely to act in ways that create more distance and distrust in your relationship or marriage. In fact, people often feel closer when they can talk to their partners about their problems in a constructive manner. Also, you are most likely to get the reassurance that you need from a partner when you discuss your jealousy in a calm, cool manner. And if your partner gives you reassurances when you are feeling jealous, your feelings will fade over time. However, you need to determine if talking about your problem is likely to be productive given your own relationship. Some people have a difficult time listening to their partners or spouses discuss their problems. Some people are just more uncomfortable with intimacy and closeness - so talking may not always work.
- Created: 16 November 2008
- Last Updated: 04 August 2014