Sex & Relationships
Psychologists Explain How To Be Less Jealous In Your Relationship
Where do your trust issues stem from?
You have no real reason to question your partner's loyalty, but you can't help the way you feel every time you see them chatting up one of your friends or texting their work best friend. Sure, a hint of jealousy here and there is OK. But what happens when it starts becoming a bigger problem in your relationship? If you’re someone who can't get past the emotion and are looking to make a change, relationship experts gave Bustle some tips for being less jealous in your relationship. So, let’s talk about how to stop being jealous and why jealousy is a problem.
"Healthy relationships are founded on trust and respect," Carolina Pataky, a relationship therapist and co-founder of the Love Discovery Institute, tells Bustle. "Jealousy can fracture and sometimes break the love that exists in a relationship and can display itself in negative behaviors such as possessiveness and dependence. It's not conducive to a healthy relationship and can grow old and exhausting over time."
According to Pataky, there are usually underlying issues that arise when jealousy comes into the picture, like insecurity, low self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy. So, it's important to find ways to deal with these before it becomes a bigger problem.
The major difficulty is that many times, people don’t know how to get over jealousy. But there are ways around the emotion, and it starts with being honest with yourself about why you’re feeling white-hot rage over an Instagram like.
1. Consider Your Own Insecurities
Beneath the feelings of jealousy lie our own insecurities, which can look like self-esteem issues or the doubts you feel when comparing yourself to others. As clinical psychologist Paul Greene, Ph.D. tells Bustle that jealousy is often based on a fear of rejection. So, if you're feeling jealous, try to confront that fear.
"Remember all the positive things you bring to the relationship and all the things your partner says they like about you," Greene says. Try to remember that your partner is choosing to be with you. If there’s a specific person in your SO’s life that you’re always feeling jealous of, consider blocking or muting their Instagram, so you have fewer opportunities to compare yourself to them. The ongoing comparisons are not only unnecessary, but they'll just make you feel worse.
2. Consider Where Your Trust Issues Stem From
According to Shannon Chavez, licensed psychologist and intimacy expert for K-Y, jealousy in a relationship can help bring underlying issues to the surface. For example, if you haven't fully worked through childhood insecurities or infidelity from a past relationship, it may show up in the way you behave in your current relationship. Before you have a conversation with your partner, identify where your feelings are coming from. "Be accountable for your behavior and make a commitment to addressing your insecurities or past issues that are leading to jealousy," Chavez says.
3. Develop More Realistic Expectations For Your Relationship
It's completely normal to find other people attractive from time to time. Unless your partner is being obnoxious about their attraction or openly flirting with others, it doesn't have to be an issue. According to Chavez, it's important to develop realistic expectations in the relationship and remember that you can't control someone else's behavior. "You can share your concerns with your partner, talk openly and honestly, and strive for a mutual understanding with the goal of empathy and compassion for each other," she says. "Just don't try to control what they do."
4. Use The Rubber Band Technique
Put a rubber band around your wrist, and each time you start feeling yourself slip into jealousy, snap the rubber band. As Danielle Maack, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Mississippi, tells Bustle, the rubber band technique is a beginner’s tool that's associated with learning how to better tolerate difficult emotions or thoughts. "This is usually considered a distress tolerance technique, one that helps you in the moment to have a chance to regroup. More specifically, individuals are asked to 'snap' themselves with the rubber band when experiencing overwhelming emotions as a reminder to stop, take a step back, and observe what’s happening."
5. Be Open & Honest With Your SO About Your Feelings
If you’ve been overcome with jealousy lately, it may be time to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about how you’re feeling and why you might be feeling this way. "Communicate, communicate, communicate!" Pataky says. "I know it may seem redundant, tired, and cliché, but it really is that important. In many cases, jealousy is an internal battle, so take steps to get to know and work on yourself. Then share those findings with your partner. Explain to them how you’re feeling, what makes you uncomfortable and create boundaries for yourself and your relationship."
6. Talk It Out With A Friend Or A Professional
While it's important to have a conversation with your partner about how you're feeling, talking out your jealousy issues with someone who can provide an outside perspective to what’s happening can be really helpful. If anything, your friend can be there to listen to you as you vent.
Getting support from a professional therapist can also help you work through and overcome the feelings that keep you stuck. "It takes strength and courage to delve into sensitive, vulnerable feelings, but it can be rewarding and allow for healing, change, and personal growth," psychotherapist Jessica Ortiz tells Bustle.
7. Practice Gratitude
Learning appreciation and gratitude for what you have will help you focus on the positives of your relationship. As John Kenny, transformational relationship coach, tells Bustle, think about what your partner does do for you rather than what they don't, or of all the times when they're there for you versus when they're not. If there's nothing positive you can find, then it may be time to move on.
8. Consider The Ways Jealous Is Negatively Affecting You
It's worth your time to think through how your jealousy is negatively affecting you as an individual. For example, being constantly on edge because your partner is talking to or texting someone isn't healthy for you or your relationship. By fully coming to terms with how the jealousy is changing you or making you behave and feel, you may be more apt to figure out how to get over jealousy and let it go.
Regardless of how you manage your feelings, it is important to remember that it isn't your partner's job to reassure you or "fix" the issues that elicit feelings of jealousy. According to Ortiz, "Your feelings are your responsibility and are about you, not your situation or partner."
9. Write It Out
A journal a great place to keep tabs of your insecurities and frustrations related to jealousy, as it’s ideal for venting. Certified relationship coach Nina Rubin, suggests reflecting on your relationship and ask yourself questions like, is your partner really the right person for you? Did they do something specific to cause the jealousy? "If so, maybe this is actually a dealbreaker," she says. "If not, ask yourself if you need to look at your ways of being in a relationship. Are you bringing your past into this new relationship? Are you self-sabotaging? It may be time to try something different to salvage your relationship!"
10. Focus On The Good Vs. The Bad
One way to get over your feelings of jealousy is to shift the focus. As licensed clinical psychologist Kim Chronister, PsyD, tells Bustle, "The most freeing thing one can do in a relationship is let go of worries about what all could possibly go wrong and focus on what is going right." Chronister suggests placing your focus on the things your partner does that you're grateful for, and reminding yourself daily that you are more than enough for your partner.
11. Stop Holding Onto Jealousy
Unless you’re certain your partner is cheating, your best bet is to try to let go of the jealousy that’s weighing you down. Chronister suggests practicing self-care techniques, like exercise and outings with friends, to boost self-esteem. "The better you feel about yourself, the more you can let go about what others do when you are not looking," she says.
Instead of letting yourself wallow in jealousy, you can opt to take strides to feel less of the dreaded emotion in your relationship. Next time you feel jealousy creeping up, try some of these tactics, and you might find that managing the feelings becomes a lot easier.
Carolina Pataky, relationship therapist and co-founder of the Love Discovery Institute, tells Bustle
Kim Chronister, PsyD, licensed clinical psychologist
Paul Greene, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and director of the Manhattan Center for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Jessica Ortiz, psychotherapist
Shannon Chavez, licensed psychologist and intimacy expert for K-Y
Danielle Maack, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the department of Psychology at the University of Mississippi
Nina Rubin, certified relationship coach
John Kenny, transformational relationship coach
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