Jealousy is NOT a measure of your love for someone!"
Jealousy has been called the green-eyed monster for a good reason. If you’ve ever felt raging jealousy you know it can feel like it’s devouring you from the inside of your miiiiiind!
Some people believe jealousy in a relationship is a sign of love and commitment – yeah, well, it's not. Using jealousy to justify controlling behaviour – like making baseless accusations, checking in on them excessively with repeated calls, texts and emails or telling them who they can and can't hang out with – is NOT a measure of love.
Jealousy robs you of your happiness and peace of mind, and poisons your relationships. It can spur on other feelings, like anger, resentment or sadness, but it can also be a signal to check some things out about yourself.
Here are some ideas to help you tame the green-eyed monster and even make it an ally:
1. Slow down – The situation can get ugly quickly if you jump to conclusions. You can easily say or do something you’ll regret if you act impulsively when you are emotionally charged. Take some time to check a few things before you act (see point 3 below).
2. Write it down – It helps to get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper or a screen. This makes them more manageable as they stop swirling around and building momentum in your head.
3. Ask yourself questions – Explore what’s going on and put your thoughts in perspective with questions like:
- Where is this feeling coming from?
- Is someone actually behaving badly here, or is this more about the way I’m feeling than their behaviour?
- Am I feeling jealous because of something that’s happened in my past? Or in my partner’s past?
- Is this about my self-confidence, or my confidence in this relationship? Am I being hyper-critical? Am I worrying too much about what others might be thinking?
- If there is nothing in this and I make an accusation, what's likely to happen? How would I feel if someone unfairly accused me of the same thing?
- Am I being too possessive or controlling?
- What do my friends or family think about what I'm feeling? What do their friends and family think?
- If the worst outcome is true, what will I do? How can I deal with this so that everyone is safe and I don’t become the ‘bad guy’?
4. Do something constructive – Those questions should help you plan some calm, sensible, constructive actions. You might need to respectfully gather more information and talk to others. You might decide you’re jumping to conclusions or need to be easier on yourself. You might reframe the situation (e.g. “It’s understandable that others flirt with him/her, but at the end of the day nothing happened and she/he has chosen me to be their partner”).
You might decide to sit down and have an honest conversation with your partner about how you’re feeling. This might be about something they did but keep it about your reaction to it. Make sure you ‘own your feelings’ and don’t accuse them of making you jealous. Your jealousy is your feeling. It’s important to focus on the behaviours that could change, whether they are theirs or yours.
5. Be prepared for next time - there are some easy things you can do if jealousy bites you often.
- Acknowledge that it’s okay if your partner has other friends or does other stuff. It doesn’t mean they’re up to something. And remember, you own your feelings – you don’t own your partner or anyone else.
- Learn about your own patterns. Have you jumped to conclusions? Are there certain people or situations that trigger your jealousy? What’s that about?
If you can learn to harness the green-eyed monster, it can give you some really important advantages. You’ll find it easier to sort out conflicts, reassure yourself that you’re okay or, if things get bad, respectfully end a relationship that would have hurt you over and over, and you can make space for better relationships in the future.