Jealousy Can Destroy a Relationship
What makes you jealous? Discover what causes jealousy and then learn how to handle jealousy.
Anyone who has ever been in a serious relationship has probably felt the green-eyed monster creep into his or her thoughts at one time or another. Ah, jealousy. It can cause insecurity, detachment, and, often, just plain immaturity. No one wants to admit that they are a jealous person, and, admittedly, some people are better at curbing their jealousy than others. But, as much as we try to fight against it, sometime you just can't help but feel it. What's worse is that jealousy can often make you act out against your partner even if your partner is innocent and has no idea why you are angry or, worse yet, it can foster your own low self-esteem.
Whatever the reason, whether valid or not, jealousy can be a huge factor in disconnection between couples. Sometimes it is flattering when a relationship partner gets a little jealous, but a boost to the ego is a far cry from the fights and resentment that can come from real, hidden jealousy. This sort of jealousy is never a good thing for a relationship and communicating your own jealousy to your partner without sounding irrational can be tricky. The question remains: How can you learn to recognize jealousy and deal with it without jeopardizing your relationship?
Jealousy is Sparked from Insecurity
The closer you become with your partner, the more you have to lose by breaking up. If you are not aware of your own qualities or not confident in your own attractiveness as a relationship partner, insecurities can develop. If your insecurities are not addressed with your partner, they only fester and grow. It is true that there is a small percentage of jealousy that comes from a valid feeling, but, most of the time, jealousy comes from personal insecurities that have grown because of lack of communication.
If your own insecurity or low self-image makes you think badly of yourself, you often begin to wonder what your significant other sees in you. You will start to question why your partner would want to stay with you and fear that he or she will inevitably meet someone "better". The fear that your partner will wake up one day and realize there is someone better out there can lead to suspicion on your part.
When suspicious thoughts begin to enter the mind of an insecure person the green-eyed monster will begin to rear his ugly head. You may find yourself questioning your partner's actions or becoming too needy of your partner's time and attention. If you don't discuss your insecurities with your partner, questions may begin to fill your head. Why does he always come home later on Tuesday nights...who is he seeing? Why does she always talk so much about that new co-worker...does she like him?
Because these questions and the motives behind them (your own insecurities) are not brought to the forefront, you may start to see problems that aren't really there. If suppressed long enough, often a jealous person will "flip out" when, in reality, their partner has done nothing wrong. A friendly conversation can look like flirting or a hug may seem to go on a little too long even though it is innocent. And, unfairly to your partner, you will overreact in anger or heavy emotion.
How To Prevent and Let Go of Jealousy
So, how do you prevent these thoughts from flooding your mind or from even occurring at all? The first thing you need to do is open the lines of communication with your partner. Tell your loved one calmly and openly that you love him or her but, because they are so important to you, you are feeling anxiety or insecurity about the relationship. Chances are your partner will reaffirm how much he or she loves you and you both can discuss the reasons why you are with each other. Unless there is a bigger problem that requires legitimate worry (in which case it is a good thing you started talking!), admitting your fear of losing your partner will open up a door of communication that can actually bond the two of you closer together. If you sense jealousy from your partner, learn to offer reassurance about your relationship more often.
After you have communicated your feelings with your partner, you will better understand the reasons why your partner has chosen you and be far less likely to second-guess your partner's intentions. You will be reassured of the fact that your significant other is in a relationship with you because he or she loves you, not because they are waiting for someone better to come along. You love your partner, and, your partner loves you. It's that simple. When you stop wasting your time thinking of reasons why your partner will leave you, you can start to understand the many reasons why your relationship is stable and satisfying for the both of you. If you can admit that you are someone worth loving, you can focus on building and strengthening the love between you both.
Last Updated: 25 March 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD