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Jealously can be a tricky thing in a relationship. A little bit of it can spark your affection toward each other, but too much can push you apart.
We often associate it with a new relationship, but even when you’re married, jealousy doesn’t necessarily just disappear.
Jealousy is often linked with trust issues and is something that both of you will have to work on to get under control in order to have a strong and flourishing future.
When jealousy gets out of hand, it can not only cause some heated arguments, it can chip away at your self-confidence and affect your mental health.
Whether you’re finding it hard to handle a jealous spouse or it’s your own jealousy that gets the better of you, try to find some coping mechanisms together to take back control before the cracks start to widen in your relationship.
Read on for some tips on how to cope with jealousy in your marriage.
How To Deal With A Jealous Spouse
If it’s your husband or wife who is jealous, try to approach the situation using the following tips.
1. Listen to them.
If you’re feeling attacked by your spouse because they are jealous, it can be difficult not to react and become defensive. Even if their accusations are false, ignoring them won’t make the issue go away.
Jealousy comes from a place of fear and lack of self-worth, and by listening to your spouse and encouraging them to talk through their feelings, you are more likely to find the real heart of the issue.
Whether or not you agree with your partner’s feelings, their emotions are valid to a certain degree, and you should give each other the respect of being heard.
Show them that you do care and are taking their feelings seriously and want to work on this together.
Talking about what provoked their reaction and past experiences where these feelings of insecurity stem from will give you both a better understanding of the situation. With this knowledge you can better avoid triggers and prevent similar situation in the future.
2. Get to the root of it.
Jealousy can often be traced back to a hurtful experience in someone’s past and be a defense mechanism to try to prevent themselves from being in the same difficult position again.
Your spouse might have been cheated on in a past relationship, causing them to jump to the worst conclusion about where your loyalties lie.
When things are calm and friendly between you (i.e. not during a jealous outburst), take the opportunity to speak to your partner about whether jealousy has always been a theme in their relationships and see if it can be linked back to any one event.
By looking back to find the root of the problem, you might realize that your partner’s reactions are less to do with your relationship and more to do with a past hurt that they have never recovered from.
With this information, you and your partner will now have a starting point to work from when addressing their issues with jealousy. You’ll both now have a better understanding of what causes their jealousy and the ability to pre-empt situations where your partner could be triggered.
3. Don’t give them a reason to be jealous.
It sounds simple, but if you know your partner gets jealous easily, don’t make the situation worse.
You won’t get it right all the time, but making sure you put that extra effort into reassuring them of your commitment could make all the difference in how secure they feel with you.
Check in with them if you go out for the night without them, make sure they know it’s them that you can’t wait to see when you’re home. Small actions like this help to stop your spouse from overthinking and jumping to the worst conclusions when they haven’t heard from you.
It might seem like you’re reassuring them a lot at first, but the more comfortable they feel, the more trusting they will become of your sincerity, and the less need there will be to reassure them.
4. Don’t let things escalate.
Their accusations might be entirely unfair and you’ll feel attacked and defensive, but matching them in anger will only make the situation worse.
Defending yourself is not what your spouse wants to hear when they have got themselves into an emotional state thinking you’ve been unfaithful. If they are at the point of accusing you, anything you say to contradict them will only make it worse and they’ll see it as you defending your actions.
No one ever wins a fight, it’s always a lose-lose situation where the both of you get hurt.
If tensions are beginning to rise and get heated, take the opportunity to calmly tell them that you care about them and acknowledge their feelings.
If the situation is still tense and your spouse doesn’t want to listen, suggest you both take some time to calm down before coming back to talk about what made them so upset.
You don’t fight fire with fire, so make sure you cool down the situation before you work to resolve it.
5. Be patient.
Things aren’t going to change overnight. If your spouse is a naturally jealous person, this is ingrained behavior that will take time to change.
You will both still get things wrong and jealousy will continue to be present in your marriage even if you have agreed to work to overcome it. It’s how much of a problem you both let it become that matters.
Be patient with your partner and recognize if changes are being made, not how big those changes are.
Put productive steps in place to work on together, perhaps choosing to show more affection toward each other, spending more quality time together, or making the effort to be in more contact.
It’s a learning curve that both of you will have to go through and isn’t something that can be fixed immediately. So be patient, recognize the areas that are beginning to get better, and celebrate how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go.
6. Suggest therapy.
As much as you want to help your partner and try to find a solution between you, sometimes behavior such as severe jealousy is set too deep for either of you to manage on your own.
No one has an instruction manual for a marriage and we aren’t trained to deal with the problems that crop up; we can only do the best that we can.
If your partner is really struggling with getting their jealousy under control and you aren’t sure what to do about it, suggest they see a therapist, or that you go to couples counseling together (we recommend Relationship Hero for online counseling – click here to learn more).
Therapists are trained for situations like these. They know the right questions to ask and how to stop discussions escalating into an argument. They can provide you the guidance on how to handle difficult situations when jealousy is becoming an issue and stop it before it gets worse.
Seeking help doesn’t mean you can’t handle your own relationship; it shows a commitment to making things work and bettering yourselves. Don’t shy away from asking for help or let pride or embarrassment stand in the way of a happy future.
How To Not Be A Jealous Spouse
If it is your jealousy that is standing between you and the happy and healthy marriage you want, try to take some of this advice on board and work toward a less jealous mindset.
1. Admit you are jealous.
Acknowledging and admitting that you are feeling jealous is the first step to preventing a situation from escalating out of your control.
Self-denial suggests that you aren’t in touch with your feelings or being truly honest with yourself. If you can’t be honest with yourself about what the issue really is, you won’t be able to fully move on from it.
Try to avoid letting emotions get the better of you and coming out as verbal attacks at your partner. Instead, try to articulate how you really feel so you and your spouse can better understand and fix the problem.
Take ownership of your feelings. If you keep picking at your partner or try to put the blame on them for how you feel, you’ll both end up becoming defensive and nothing will get resolved. Refusing to acknowledge your part in the problem will only drive you further apart.
Understanding yourself and being open about your feelings is the first and most important step in ridding your relationship of distrust and negativity and moving toward a healthier and happier marriage.
2. Reflect on your jealousy and your behavior.
We’re quick to put the blame on others when we are upset, but if your jealousy is a recurring problem between you and your spouse, have you ever taken the time to reflect if it’s more of a ‘you’ issue than ‘them’?
We’re not saying that your spouse plays no part in it, and it might be the case that they aren’t giving you the respect you deserve and are provoking a reaction from you.
But if jealousy has been a permanent part of your relationships past and present, it could be that you’re sabotaging your marriage for the sake of your own internal fears.
Take the time to think about when your jealousy started – was it after someone cheated on you or let you down? Did your self-esteem take a hit and you’ve found it hard to trust people since?
Self-reflection will help you reconnect with your internal thoughts and feelings and understand your patterns of behavior more clearly.
Think about whether you automatically jump to the worst conclusions about your spouse, or create scenarios in your head without hearing from them first. You could be setting your partner up to fail without having any real proof that there is reason for you to be worried or jealous.
Speaking to a trusted family member or friend, or even a therapist, can help you shape and vocalize these thoughts and better understand yourself.
Learning to heal and love yourself again could be the positive change you need to fix your jealousy from the inside out.
3. Discuss your triggers.
Jealousy doesn’t just come out of nowhere, and people tend to respond to certain triggers more emotionally than others.
Working out what those triggers are, whether it be your partner not messaging you while on a night out, or not paying you enough attention when you’re with other people, can help you address your emotions before they escalate out of control.
Speaking to your partner about what your triggers are and where they stem from helps show them that you are committed to working on your relationship, and is a productive step in getting a handle on your jealousy at the cause.
When you feel as though you are being triggered, recognize it and use this self-awareness to decide how you are going to react. Give yourself time to think about whether the situation really is worth getting jealous over or if it is just a trigger getting the better of you.
You’ll soon start being able to differentiate an emotional trigger from a real problem in your marriage and be better prepared to manage your emotions going forward.
4. Respect your spouse’s boundaries.
As much as you are two people in a relationship together, you are still two individuals who are equally entitled to their own privacy.
There is a difference between secrecy and privacy, and respecting the latter is essential to allowing trust to grow between you.
This means that there has to be some boundaries to ensure you each give the other the level of privacy you deserve.
Checking phones, emails, or social media, especially without your spouse’s permission, is an invasion of their privacy. Once you cross that line you are breaking the trust between you which can sometimes be impossible to earn back.
If you suspect your partner of being unfaithful, speak to them. Don’t allow your feelings to get the better of you and give in to taking matters into your own hands. If you’re wrong, you could be throwing away your trust and relationship forever.
5. Short circuit your behavior.
Getting jealous more often than not leads to a confrontation or argument with your spouse. Arguments are not entirely a bad thing, but they can become ugly and hurtful if you let them.
The more toxic conflict becomes a part of your relationship, the more it damages it, until it becomes broken for good.
It’s easy to lose control of your emotions, especially when you’re feeling jealous. Before it reaches that point, try physically removing yourself from the situation.
By taking a moment for yourself to just breathe and calm your emotions, you’ll be able to think clearly again and approach the situation with a better mindset. You allow yourself the time to process your thoughts and not just react to your jealousy.
By giving yourself those few moments, you’ll be able to better articulate your feelings, helping you and your spouse understand each other more clearly and find a way to positively resolve the situation without a huge fight and hurtful words.
6. Learn to love yourself.
Jealousy can come from a lack of self-esteem and the fear that you’re not good enough in some way and that your partner will leave you for someone else.
By learning to love yourself, you’ll begin to trust that you are more than worthy of your partner’s love and attention and there is no reason for them to look elsewhere.
Start working self-love into your daily routine. Take a few minutes each day for some ‘you time,’ read your favorite book, take time over a skin care routine, indulge in a hobby.
Whatever makes you feel good, start doing more of it. Say positive affirmations each day to remind yourself of all your best qualities, and try not to compare yourself to others.
You are uniquely you and that is something that should be celebrated. Allow yourself to shine your brightest by being your own biggest fan and you’ll stop worrying about what everyone else thinks.
Once you feel comfortable in yourself, you’ll soon see how this positivity affects other areas of your life, including your marriage, and jealousy will become much less of a problem.
If left unresolved, jealously can seriously damage and even break up a marriage.
Living with the constant threat of a jealous outburst will put pressure on the both of you and make it hard to develop your trust and respect for each other.
Marriage is a commitment you make to each other for the rest of your lives and that’s a long time to live under the strain jealousy creates.
It’s something that needs to be addressed for the both of you to fully relax and enjoy your marriage together. Acknowledging if you or your spouse have difficulties with jealousy is the first step to overcoming it.
It’s not going to be down to just one of you to fix things; both of you will have to put in the time and effort to work on it. Coming together to work on your issues will reinforce your commitment to each other.
With each other’s support, you can overcome anything and create the happy, long-lasting relationship you both deserve.
Still not sure what to do to stop jealousy harming your marriage? 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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