“Who’s that guy she’s talking to?”
“Is he checking her out?”
“Is there something going on between those two?”
“Why didn’t they ask me if I wanted to go?”
Ahhh, the jealous mind in action. We’ve all been there. I know you have because why else would you be reading this article?
You see, jealousy is a very common thought/feeling combo…
…but it’s not very healthy.
It can prevent us from immersing ourselves into relationships, be they intimate or purely platonic.
The more distrust, jealousy, and insecurity in your relationship, the more trouble it’ll cause – for you and the other person.
But don’t beat yourself up about it. That’s step one right there. Nothing good ever comes from punishing yourself.
You see, we’re not entirely in control of our emotional reactions to any given situation. While we may be able to rationalize our feelings and choose to deal with them in a certain way, we can’t always control when and how they arise.
I can’t; you can’t; the person across the street can’t.
You think you’re alone in feeling this way?
Now doesn’t that make you feel just a little bit better already?
With this in mind, how can you best cope with the jealous feelings that rise up within?
We’ve got a few suggestions for how to keep that green-eyed monster in check…
Understand The Root Of Jealousy
What is jealousy, exactly?
It’s either the fear of losing something you already have, or it’s the fear of not attaining something you long for and that others have (some may call this second feeling envy, but it’s all based in fear one way or another).
Jealousy is the way your ego reacts to a threat – perceived or real.
It is part evolutionary. Hidden somewhere within our genetic code is the primal instruction to survive and pass on our genes to the next generation.
It just so happens that other people can be seen as a potential threat to this instinct.
But more than this, your jealousy comes from your past experiences. That is why some people experience more intense jealousy than others. They’ve had different pasts.
You are continually being shaped by the events in your life. At some point in time, something happened that caused you pain and this pain now makes you fear that same thing happening again.
Your jealousy might even have multiple roots, branching out through your past like tree roots do in soil.
Maybe you’ve been hurt multiple times, in more than one way, by people you loved and who claim to have cared about you.
So step two (remember, step one was to not beat yourself up), is to really examine where your jealousy comes from.
What is the most common trigger for your jealousy? Is it a particular person, an object, a place, or a recurring event that gives you those horrible pangs of emotion?
Looking back into your past, how did those things become triggers in the first place? What hurt did you experience that relates to them?
Really think about it. Write it down if it helps you to get a clearer picture. Maybe even consider a few sessions with a professional counselor.
This step is important because by understanding your jealousy’s roots in the past, you can better deal with it in the present.
Talk About It (The Right Way)
You may think that the best thing to do as soon as you feel jealous is to talk to the other party, be that your partner or friend or family member.
You won’t be able to think straight when your emotions are running high, nor will you be able to communicate how you truly feel.
But it will help to get these feelings out somehow.
Instead, take a step back and chat to a close friend or loved one that you really trust.
Be as honest as you feel you can be. Try to get everything out and give the person the context they need to understand how you’re feeling.
You can have throwaway vent sessions with someone, but for the other person to be able to help you, they’ll need to know what’s actually going on.
Start with how you’re feeling and talk about why.
Are you jealous of a specific person in someone else’s life or just the thought of someone betraying you in some way?
You need to be open and as detailed as you can be – communication is a huge part of how we process our own emotions.
Often, the very act of speaking out loud to someone is enough to allow you to organize your thoughts. They will likely ask probing questions to clarify what you’re saying and this will make you think more carefully about the specific feelings you have.
This helps you to build on the thoughts you put down on paper in the previous step.
You may also like (article continues below):
- How To Identify And Deal With Relationship Anxiety
- What Does Loyalty In Relationships Really Mean?
- 7 Ways To Safely Show Emotional Vulnerability In A Relationship
- Is It True Love Or Is It An Unhealthy Attachment?
- Why Are Relationships Such Hard Work?
- How To Overcome Your Fear Of Abandonment Once And For All
Is The Source Real?
It might be that you’re jealous of something worthy, or it might be that your feelings are very real, but are about something that you have invented in your mind.
If it’s the latter, don’t blame yourself – we all create issues in our minds.
The resulting feelings might not be based on your present reality, but because they are likely based on your past experiences (as discussed above), they are still valid.
So… I feel it necessary to remind you of step one – don’t beat yourself up.
Don’t tell yourself that you’re stupid for feeling jealous. Don’t blame yourself.
You can work out ways to deal with this jealousy that don’t involve self-ridicule.
Of course, sometimes your feelings are based on genuine concerns…
It’s Not Me, It’s You
Part of assessing your own actions is working out where the issue lies.
It might be that the problem does actually sit with someone else and they need to be there to help you through it.
You might be jealous of how close your partner is to one of their (opposite sex) friends. This might be you creating drama in your head, or you could actually have a list of occasions where they’ve behaved in ways that are slightly inappropriate.
If it’s the latter, you need to find a way to sit down with the person involved and resolve this issue.
Maybe they need to monitor their own behavior and avoid things that might upset you, no matter how innocent they think or say it is.
The best approach is to talk candidly with one another, but with as much love and compassion as possible. Try to put your emotions to one side just for a second and see them for the human being they are.
You need to be open-minded with this kind of thing, as you can’t just ask your partner to stop spending time with one of their friends.
What you can do is find a middle-ground that makes you feel better without demanding that they change their behaviors entirely.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
Of course, we all need to accept that, sometimes, it is us.
Sometimes our friends or partners do nothing to make us jealous. It all comes from within our minds.
You might find yourself resenting a close friend for no reason other than your own insecurities. It’s easy to do, but it can be very toxic for you both.
You might find yourself disliking your friend, even though you love them, because they represent the things that you want in your own life.
This is natural, and most of us are drawn to people who we see as aspirational. Being slightly envious of your friend’s figure or skills or job is quite normal, but not if it starts taking over and causing issues between you.
Confronting your feelings is something that is two-fold, and covers everything we’ve spoken about so far.
Work out what’s going on, work out who needs to change what, and then make it happen.
This might mean sitting down with your partner and planning out a way to make sure you feel secure.
It might even be realizing that the relationship isn’t right for you at this moment in time if you’re this insecure and untrusting.
Remember that this stage is hard….
…really, really hard.
You’ll need loved ones around you for support – acknowledging your feelings is hard enough, let alone confronting them.
But you can do it, and you will. And however impossible it seems, you will feel better.
It can be really difficult to see the positive in these kinds of situations, but it’s in there somewhere!
You feel jealous of how close your partner is to someone else because you love them so much and want them all to yourself.
This is unrealistic, of course, but you can still think of the positives – they are with you and they want to be with you.
Any adult is capable of ending a relationship if they no longer want it, and you have to trust that your partner would do that.
The fact that you’re in a relationship with someone you care about so much – and who loves you so much that they’re helping you through the jealousy and insecurities – is a huge thing.
Dealing with feelings of jealousy can be very upsetting, which is why being honest with yourself early on is so important.
The sooner you can acknowledge these feelings, the sooner you can confront them and move on.
Remember that these feelings often arise because you care about someone, which you can turn around to be a positive.
By speaking about these issues, your partner, friend, or colleague will respect you and be more open to finding ways to help.
Telling someone six months down the line that you’ve resented something about them the whole time?
Doesn’t go down as well!
Be honest, open your heart and be ready to put in some hard work. You’ll feel so much better.