Jealousy can ruin a good relationship because it subjects one partner to unreasonable suspicion by the other. A jealous person generally interprets innocent acts as threats to her relationship. For example, she might get upset when her partner talks to another female or spends time with friends. This causes her to act out in destructive ways, like arguing or making false accusations, which drives a wedge into the relationship. Fortunately there are ways to overcome jealousy before it destroys a good thing.
Ask your partner to list the behaviors caused by your jealousy that are causing problems. For example, it may be causing you to ignore him, pick fights, accuse him of cheating or invade his privacy by checking his wallet or cell phone.
Identify the real source of your jealousy. Monica A. Frank, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who runs the Excel At Life website, explains that jealousy is usually caused by underlying self-esteem problems, feeling vulnerable or fearing abandonment. Make a list of the real triggers for your feelings. The Pathway to Happiness self-help website says that irrational jealousy gets in the way of a realistic point of view, so you must make an effort to find it.
Stop negative, jealousy-related behaviors with a mental signal. This is a cognitive behavioral technique called thought stopping. Visualize a stop sign, red light or other symbol, therapist Mike Miller, Ph.D., advises. Remind yourself that your feelings are being caused by your own fears rather than your partner’s actions.
Work on your personal issues every day. You may be able to use self-help techniques like reading books, journaling and online forums, or you may need to see a counselor. Your jealous feelings and urges to act out will diminish as you fix the underlying cause.
Tips and Warnings
• Learn to be more emotionally intimate with your partner and share difficult feelings, the Pathway to Happiness site advises. Jealousy often indicates a lack of trust, and sharing your feelings can help build the trust. Your partner can also give reassurances that will help invalidate the irrational jealous feelings.
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