Some jealousy in a relationship is normal, but when it becomes excessive, it’s time to learn how to stop being jealous in a relationship.
Jealous feelings can range anywhere from a mild feeling of jealousy to total rage and humiliation. There is no limit to how old you can be to experience jealousy, and men and women are both susceptible.
Most of the time, we feel jealous when a relationship is threatened, and that can mean friendships as well as romantic relationships and relationships with our families.
The threat can be real but is sometimes just our imagination and anxiety running amok. Before I provide you with tips on how to stop being jealous in a relationship, let’s uncover why you feel jealous.
Why do You Feel Jealous?
Jealousy is an emotion that you probably wish would just go away, but it’s an emotion that we can work with, and it’s also a signal of underlying problems.
Who Gets More Jealous? Men or Women?
Some believe men get jealous more easily, but both sexes are capable of feeling jealousy at the same level, although men and women are jealous in different ways.
Men fear that their romantic partner will have an affair, so they’re more dialed into jealousy over sexual infidelity.
For women, the fear is of emotional infidelity. They fear their guy will fall in love with someone else.
Traits Behind Jealousy
Many of the reasons behind jealousy have nothing to do with your partner, even though I get that it would be nice to blame this on him.
Your jealous feelings come from one or more of these places:
- Low self-esteem
- Anxiety or emotional instability
- Feeling insecure and possessive
- Being too dependent on your partner
- Feeling that you aren’t good enough for him
- A fear that your partner will leave you or won’t love you enough
These factors are all about your insecurity, not something he is doing.
How to Stop Being Jealous in a Relationship
Understand that Some Jealousy is Normal
This isn’t to say that how you react to feeling jealousy is normal, but that the feeling itself is a normal human emotion.
You have the ability to control how you react to your jealous feelings, but how well you respond depends on why you feel jealous and how extreme those feelings are.
How to Stop Being Jealous in a Relationship: Recognize the Anxiety
Many times, jealousy stems from imagining your partner’s future without you in it. You see him smile at a waitress and all of a sudden, your imagination stirs visuals of the two of them together.
Oh my gosh! He loves her?!?!?!?
Anxiety is our mind running ahead of life, creating scenarios for which we have no proof, then convincing you that it’s true.
We get anxious over all sorts of things. One of my favorite examples is from when I was younger. It was the first time I was called for jury duty and I was driving to the courthouse to report. My mind was racing – what if I’m late? What if I’m picked to sit for a terrible crime? What if…what if…what if…
Finally, I realized I was having some anxiety and wasn’t focusing very well on driving, so I stopped my thoughts and began taking deep breaths.
When you’re anxious, your heart rate picks up and your blood pressure increases because your fight or flight mechanism has kicked in. To mitigate the chemicals released during fight or flight, slow your breathing. This is an instant signal to your brain that everything is okay.
Since I was driving, that was about the only tool available to me, other than to tell myself that I was just feeling anxious, and that it was time to stop.
If you recognize that your mind is just running away with you, stop what you’re thinking and bring yourself back to reality. Realize that the truth isn’t what you were just thinking.
Dip Into a Mindful Moment
Mindfulness is about becoming present in the current moment. This is a follow-on to the anxiety tool you just read.
Bring yourself back to the here and now. Don’t ignore the jealous feelings but imagine them as leaves floating down a stream. They float up to you, they hang out for a second or two, then they float away. While you don’t always realize it, feelings do this anyway, but we can hold onto them too long if we fixate on them.
Stuffing them down and not acknowledging them doesn’t work either because they just keep growing, like a balloon you’re blowing up – eventually, something will pop.
Challenge Your Own Negativity
People often believe feelings or emotions just appear out of nowhere, blindsiding you, but this isn’t usually the case.
The things we feel and the emotions we have are more often a result of ongoing thoughts, which usually are based on how we feel about ourselves.
For example, if you don’t believe yourself to be physically attractive, you will feel anxious over any women he comes in contact with and perceive to be prettier than you.
If you don’t believe you’re enough to keep your guy long-term, any woman who approaches might feel threatening.
Instead of believing these thoughts, fact-check them. Has he told you he thinks you’re ugly? I’m going to guess he has not because if he didn’t find you to be attractive, he wouldn’t be with you now. This is your own insecurity, not something he’s told you.
Many of our beliefs are what is called self-limiting. We believe many wrong things about ourselves, but those thoughts can almost always be proven wrong.
How to Stop Being Jealous in a Relationship: Get Real
Sometimes, expectations are too high to be met, ever.
There is no such thing as a perfect person or a perfect relationship. Naturally, your eye wanders when you see a handsome man, just like your boyfriend or husband’s eye may wander.
A wandering eye when you’re out together isn’t a sign that he wants to have an affair, or that he’s having one. Someone simply caught his attention. He didn’t run off to meet her or get her number, he’s holding your hand, enjoying time with you.
This also applies to any past relationships he had that make you feel jealous. That relationship is over. He’s with you now. If he wanted to still be with her, he would be.
None of us are perfect, and everyone requires forgiveness from time to time. It’s important not to hold your guy or your relationship to a standard that can never be met.
Resist Acting on Your Initial Jealous Feelings
In today’s society, we do everything immediately. We never stop to think something through. Someone pulls out in front of us and we honk the horn and start flipping them the bird.
This is reactionary behavior, and it’s not healthy, and yet, many of us behave in this way without realizing it.
Reactionary people often start sentences with he made me. It’s a blame game. Whatever someone else does that causes you to react was their fault, not yours.
The problem with this line of thinking is that you actually have control over your reactions, you just don’t realize it.
Instead of flying off the handle when something happens, use the old count to ten rule- take a breather and count to ten. This allows you enough time to think, instead of just react.
The same is true of jealous feelings. Instead of reacting immediately when the feeling comes along, take some time to consider the truth of the evidence in front of you, if there is any.
If you don’t believe me, put yourself in this situation.
Tomorrow, you have a job interview for the dream job of your life, but your boyfriend just dumped you, out of the blue, and you feel devastated.
How are you going to go into that interview? Crying and sobbing?
Of course not, you’re going to pull yourself together and put both of your good feet forward.
This shows you that you do have control over your emotions when you want to.
The other reason to use restraint is that your negative reaction could do damage to an otherwise healthy relationship.
Work on Your Confidence and Self-Esteem
Many of the problems behind jealousy relate to low confidence and low self-esteem, so the best defense is a great offense.
Actually, most problems in relationships can be linked back to low confidence and self-esteem. If you don’t feel worthy of your partner, or you feel inferior in some way, you’ll always be afraid he’s looking for someone better.
Unfortunately, many people suffer from low confidence and there is not a lot of readily available information on how to build it, but I have an entire area of this website devoted to it, since it’s a relationship site and it’s so important to healthy relationships. You can find it here:
How to Stop Being Jealous in a Relationship: Don’t be Afraid to Talk About It
A great relationship is grounded in excellent communication. Being afraid to talk to your partner about something is a low-confidence play. Be sure to pay attention to how you should bring this up and discuss it.
It’s possible he doesn’t even realize that he’s doing something that concerns you. If he loves you, he doesn’t want to hurt you in that way. What you’re perceiving as a threat to your relationship might be perceived by him as no big deal.
Approach the subject when the two of you are in a good place. It’s never to begin a difficult conversation in the middle of an argument or when one or both of you are tired.
Also, use “I” language:
- I feel a little threatened when you flirt with Felicia from work
- I feel as if you’re paying a lot of attention to the new girl in your office
When you state something this way, you’re taking ownership of your feelings and you’re disarming any argument he may have. While he may disagree with your assessment of those situations, it’s hard to disagree with how someone is telling you they feel.
Finally, spend as much time listening as you do talking. A conversation, especially one about a difficult topic, should be equal and fair. If you’re the only one talking, you aren’t allowing him any time to say his piece.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
This is another low-confidence/low-self-worth move. Recently, I was out with a friend and a very well-dressed woman caught my eye, not because she was pretty, but because her outfit was entirely too much for where we were.
She was dressed for a funeral and we were at a flea market. So I took another glance from behind and realized that this person was bald. My buddy had seen him too and said, “dude had a beard and mustache.”
So it was a guy dressed in women’s clothing. My immediate thought was good for you pal. Be who you are!
Be you. Your guy fell for you, not some altered version of you, unless you completely misrepresented yourself to him.
If you want to wear tie-dye skirts and Birkenstocks, go for it. If you’re comfy in jeans and t-shirts, wear that. If you want to become a painter, become one. If you want to be a CEO, shoot for the stars.
Just be yourself. Don’t worry about who other people are or what they look like. It isn’t important how much money your sister makes and what size her home is. Just be you.
You’ll find a tremendous level of peace in deciding that the opinions of others don’t matter to you anymore, and you’ll find more time since you’ll spend less time on social media trying to prove yourself.
How to Stop Being Jealous in a Relationship: Use a Journal
Journaling is an excellent tool for uncovering what’s really going on in your mind. If you sit down in a quiet place and let the words flow without judgment and fear, you will discover all kinds of stuff.
I read a story once about a woman who would journal every day. On Sundays, she would go back through her journal and look for recurring themes. Was she sad, depressed, happy? What was going on during those times?
It’s very enlightening and very therapeutic.
Through journaling, you may discover the true source of your jealous feelings.
Stay Off of Social Media
I just eluded to this, but let’s talk a little more about it. When people feel the need to post about their nice new expensive car or home, what makes them think anyone else cares?
We all go along and hit the like button, doing our due diligence, but why should I care, really? I’m sorry to tell you that I don’t care what you ate for dinner or where you got it. I don’t need to see your big new house or your bright shiny new car.
If you’re my friend, I will give you a pat on the back the next time I see you to congratulate you. Sharing that stuff on social media is a way of doing a couple of things:
- Proving that you became something
- Feeling better about yourself because you think you became something or did something great
If I’m following you on social media, chances are I’m more interested in where you hiked last weekend so I can check it out. Truth be told, I rarely use social media personally. Professionally, of course, I have accounts, but that’s information I share for you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Professional Help
Some of the roots of jealousy are buried deep and the best thing you can do for yourself and your relationship is to seek professional help.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s something more people should try. It might even be beneficial at some point to seek couple’s counseling so you can learn how to communicate effectively with one another and support one another.
How to Stop Being Jealous in a Relationship – Wrap Up
Healthy jealousy is normal, but when it threatens your relationship or sanity, it’s time to address it. Dig into the roots of your feelings and work on overcoming low confidence and low self-esteem issues.
Don’t be afraid to own what’s going on because that’s the best way to address it.
Be willing to talk to your partner about your feelings and to seek therapy if you feel like you can’t overcome this on your own.
Most of all, know that you’re a beautiful person, and comparing yourself to other women will never amount to anything good.
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