Jealousy – getting a leash on the green-eyed monster

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'Jealousy is NOT a measure of your love for someone!'

Jealousy – it’s called the green-eyed monster for a good reason. If you’ve ever felt jealousy you know it can feel like it’s both eating you up from the inside and rubbing up against the people you care about in a bad way.

Does jealousy = love?

Some people think jealousy in a relationship is a sign of love and commitment – yeah, well, it ain’t.

Jealousy should never be used to justify controlling behaviour in your relationship. Making accusations, checking up on what people are doing or telling them who they can and can't hang out with NONE of these are ways of showing love – in fact, if these things are done repeatedly or done in a way that harms someone or makes them feel unsafe, they are emotional abuse.

Jealousy robs you of your happiness and peace of mind. It can poison your relationship and spur on other feelings like anger, resentment or sadness. And it can also be a signal to check some things out about yourself.

Finding yourself in an ongoing battle with the green-eyed monster and not sure if you can beat it? Here’s some tips to see you through it…

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 without thinking when you’re crazy jealous or angry. Take some time to check a few things before you act (see point 3 below).

Hold Up Reaction GIF By Brett Eldredge
Brett Eldredge via Giphy

2. Write it down

It helps to get your thoughts out of your head and written down. This makes them more manageable and can stop all those thoughts swirling around and building up in your head. If you're not into keeping a journal, try writing your thoughts down in an email or a text message to yourself (this can be a really useful way of sorting out how you feel about something).

GIF with Jimmy Fallon writing on a card.

3. Ask yourself questions

Explore what’s going on and put your thoughts into 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?
  • Am I feeling jealous because I’m scared they might leave me?
  • Am I uptight about rejection because I was treated badly as a kid, or in another relationship?
  • Is this about my self-confidence, or my confidence in this relationship? Do I need to feel in charge just to feel good about myself?
  • How would I feel if someone unfairly accused me of the same thing?
  • What effect is me being possessive or controlling going to have on me and on them?
  • If the worst outcome is true, and they don’t prefer me, what will I do? How can I deal with this so that everyone is safe?
GIF of Kelly from the Office saying Yeah, I have a lot of questions.

4. Do something constructive

    Those questions should help you plan some calm, sensible, constructive actions. You might need to respectfully ask some questions, or talk to others about how you’re feeling. You might decide you’re jumping to conclusions or need to be easier on yourself.

    You might reframe the situation (for example, ‘It’s understandable that people flirt, but at the end of the day nothing happened and they’ve 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. 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 theirs or yours.

    GIF of Geordi La Forge fromStarTrek with the caption that shit sounds like it's your problem.

    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’.
    • 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, and how can you better manage it?

    Why manage jealousy?

    If you let the green-eyed monster control you, it will wreck your relationships. If you take control of 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.

    If you need to talk to someone about issues you’re having in your relationship contact 1800RESPECT .

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