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We all know it, we’ve all experienced it: the green-eyed monster Jealousy.
It’s not an easy feeling to admit to, but it is normal. Yet, if left to get out of hand, it can eat away at your self-confidence and create a divide between you and your partner.
But does jealousy always have to the signal the beginning of the end for your relationship, or can it have the opposite effect?
Are there times when those dreaded pangs could actually help you on your way to a happier, healthier place with your partner?
We aren’t used to seeing jealousy as a good thing, but here are a few times when that little green-eyed monster might just be your best friend.
1. When it is the catalyst for true commitment.
It’s the oldest plotline in any teenage rom-com: protagonist A doesn’t like protagonist B until they start flirting with someone else. Then, before you know it, they both realize they’ve been in love with each other the whole time.
The epiphany happens (usually just before it’s too late), and, along with a couple of mistaken identities, an embarrassing reveal, and a heart to heart, you’ve got yourself a happy ending.
Though life doesn’t usually play out as predictably as a teenage movie, maybe it’s worth taking a few notes.
More often than not, we let our heads rule our hearts when starting out in a new relationship.
This can be for a whole host of reasons: maybe you’ve been hurt before and you’re scared of opening up to someone new; perhaps you’ve been independent for so long that you’re struggling to see how another person can fit in with your life.
Whatever the reason, it’s easy to stack up the cons against the pros and call it a day on a relationship before it’s even got started.
But consider how it would feel to lose that person to someone else. If you feel a pang of jealousy at the thought, this isn’t necessarily such a terrible thing.
Feeling jealous at the idea of the person you’re dating being with someone other than you speaks volumes for how you really feel toward them.
They say, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” and feeling a little jealous of anyone who gets what you could have if you just admitted to your feelings might be the best realization you’ve ever had.
It can work the other way too. Sometimes we try hard to make a relationship work because we think it should, rather than it being the right thing for us.
If you’re honest with yourself, and the thought of them with someone else doesn’t give you that emotional flutter, maybe that’s all the answer you needed.
2. When it prompts you to tackle your insecurities.
Jealousy often comes from a place of insecurity and the need for reassurance. If you’re feeling insecure, you might question your own self-worth, and once this happens, it’s easy to fall into a spiral of negative thoughts and feelings about both yourself and your partner.
Before entering that danger zone, what if you were to consciously recognize that you were feeling this way and take a step back to check in on your thoughts?
Take a breath and be kind to yourself. Try to identify what you are really feeling and why. Is it something your partner has done, or have they unknowingly triggered a reaction to a past trauma?
Needing reassurance can come from a variety of different experiences, anything from being hurt by a previous partner, to not feeling as if you had the attention you needed from a caregiver.
Ultimately, thinking about what the real issue is and taking time to work on it – maybe by talking it over with your partner, your friends, family, or even a therapist – could be the first step in a positive direction for both you and your relationship.
This applies to the both of you. If your partner seems to be getting jealous of you, before getting angry or upset at them, use the opportunity to talk it out and find the root of the issue.
Maybe they just need some reassurance and the support to take a look at where their own feelings are really coming from.
3. When it leads to honest communication.
Experiencing jealousy in your relationship can easily lead to heated arguments where there’s a whole lot of upset and not a lot of reconciliation.
Having an open conversation before getting to that point is one of the best ways to stop things going south, and could be an important lesson in communication for you as a couple.
Communication is key to a healthy relationship, and it’s easy to forget that just because you’re with someone, it doesn’t mean they’re a mind reader or that they approach situations in the same way as you.
This is where having the confidence and the ability to communicate with your partner without it turning into an argument can help you achieve a stronger and more honest relationship.
It’s hard to be open and vulnerable with each other. But remember that both of you deserve the chance to air your feelings and be heard, even if their feelings aren’t something you fully understand yet.
Being able to talk about why there could be jealousy in your relationship and how you can grow and move on from it could not only save the relationship at the time, but will strengthen it for the future.
4. When it shows you things you need to work on together.
Checking in with one another once in a while to take stock of how you are feeling in your relationship is a healthy and often necessary event.
If either of you experience jealousy at any point, talking through the issue can prevent it from becoming a bigger problem.
But a positive outcome will only happen if you are both willing to listen to each other, respect each other’s feelings, and put some work in to make the changes your relationship needs.
When we talk about ‘change,’ it doesn’t always have to mean ‘drastic.’ By working together, you might be able to find some practical ways of handling the situation before it turns sour.
It could be as simple as asking your partner to show more affection, or to come home early from work a couple of times a week.
Whatever it is, working on your relationship to combat jealousy is an opportunity to invest some time and energy into future-proofing it, and to better understand how to make each other happy.
5. When it motivates you to do something positive.
Jealousy doesn’t just exist in a relationship between a couple; it can exist in a relationship between friends, co-workers, or even family.
The key to making a positive change from feeling jealous is to find the root cause of why you feel that way.
Is it physical? Is someone getting more recognition than you at work? Or did they travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to go?
If you can find out the real cause of your feelings, then jealousy can be a fantastic motivator to help you achieve the things you always wanted.
Feeling a bit of jealousy could be a wake up call for you to start exercising more, book that trip, or even start that new business you’ve thought about launching.
By rethinking and channelling your emotions, you could gain the confidence to get out of the rut you’ve found yourself in and start investing in yourself.
Seeing someone else have something or do something we’re jealous of can be the reminder we needed that, with a little bit of work or a few lifestyle changes, we can have those things and more.
Just remember that focusing on your own happiness and mental well-being is the most important thing. You might think someone has the perfect life, but everyone has their own struggles, even if they don’t appear to.
Find the balance in allowing jealousy to help you become the best version of you, and remember that you don’t become the best version of you by trying to be someone else.
Internal happiness shines the brightest, and by finding happiness in your own life, you will be able to bring it back into your relationships.
And now onto the dark side of jealousy…
So, jealousy is normal, and it can fuel us to make a positive change in our life. But things become dangerous when jealousy is left to get out of hand. At this point it can easily break rather than make your relationship.
Here’s a reminder of when to get a hold of that little green-eyed monster and tell them to take a hike.
1. When you lose grip of reality.
We’ve talked about how jealousy can help you to be more open with your partner, but the good it does depends on how much both of you are prepared to listen and trust each other.
Relationships won’t work when jealousy becomes a recurring problem, and it can often stem from a lack of trust which makes it easy to jump to conclusions and let imaginations run wild.
Jealousy can suddenly take over and make it difficult to focus on the reality of the situation rather than your or your partner’s fears.
It’s important in these situations to try to stick to the facts and find a solution to the root cause of the issue before both of your mental well-beings begin to suffer.
2. When it turns toxic.
There’s a real difference between being in a relationship that makes you happy and needing a relationship to make you happy.
In a healthy relationship, it’s important for you to find how to be the best person you can be for yourself, so that you can be the best person for your partner.
Jealousy might be the catalyst for you making a positive change, but don’t let it consume you and take you into the unhealthy world of extremes.
Before you make any lifestyle changes, check in with yourself and make sure these changes are what you want, and not just because you think they will please your partner.
If you think you’d like to lose a little weight or get healthier, don’t start skipping meals and training so much that you start impacting your own health and relationship in a negative way.
There’s balance in everything, so always try to keep your health and happiness at the forefront of your mind.
3. When it takes over.
Jealousy can become all-consuming. You want to know where your partner is, what they’re doing, who they’re with. You start texting and trawling through social media. You convince yourself of the worst and sit there miserable until you’re reassured everything is fine and it was all in your head.
Think about how exhausted all of that worry made you feel and just imagine if you had channelled that time and energy into something that benefited you instead.
They say it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, and the same could be said about allowing jealousy to get the better of you.
Feeling unhappy about something drains your energy, so why not transfer that wasted energy into something that will help rather than harm you.
Be conscious of how much you’re focusing on other people and take a little more time to focus on yourself.
Some say jealousy has no place in a relationship, and for many couples it doesn’t. But if you find that it’s present in yours, don’t panic! See if you can actively transfer your feelings into something positive, and who knows, maybe it could be just what you and your relationship needed.
Feeling jealous in your relationship and not sure if it’s the healthy kind? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.
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