All of us have been in a relationship and it is not always filled with happy moments and excitement. Every relationship has its own challenges, with different emotions being felt such as getting angry, anxiousness, and even jealousy.
Feeling jealous is a normal emotion. It usually arises when there is a feeling of insecurity about the relationship – whether romantic relations, friendship, parents, or siblings. We all experience getting jealous at one point in our lives.
However, the problem happens when jealousy becomes too much and it is becoming destructive for the people involved. Excessive and irrational jealousy can eventually break any relationship which of course, many of us don’t want to happen.
The difference between normal and unhealthy jealousy
Jealousy as mentioned earlier is just normal. Being jealous occasionally is a way for couples to remind themselves that they should not take each other for granted. It helps in motivating couples to work on their relationship if something is lacking about it and to appreciate one another.
In a healthy relationship, jealousy can sometimes become a way of protecting each other. If one sees another person or persons as a potential threat to their relationship, this is how jealousy takes place. It is also a way to communicate and express with your partner how you feel. Because at times, couples tend to forget each other which makes them less open and don’t talk to each other anymore.
Hence, if there are problems, talking about them before it becomes worse is essential to make sure that there won’t be any misunderstandings. Because jealousy that is communicated openly can help in the growth of your relationship and help in resolving insecurities while dealing with it.
On the other hand, unhealthy jealousy is when you or your partner starts to become irrational or excessive to the point that it becomes toxic and dangerous for your relationship. Traits such as insecurity, emotional dependency, low self-esteem, or feelings of inadequacy can be signs of excessive jealousy. It is a warning sign that there may already be abuse in the relationship.
What are the causes of excessive jealousy?
There are many reasons why people get jealous. And here are some signs:
- Feeling of betrayal or abandonment
- Poor self-esteem or being insecure
- Having unrealistic expectations of your partner
- Possessiveness or the desire to control your partner
- Reliving past experiences such as being abandoned or getting hurt
- Being worried a lot that you will lose your partner
Hence, excessive jealousy can create tension, and sometimes it can lead to the end of your relationship. When you allow these feelings to overcome you, it clouds your judgment. Even if your partner is not doing anything wrong, you feel that something is going on which makes it hard for you to discern between the truth from just suspicions.
How to deal with excessive jealousy?
If you are experiencing jealousy or your partner is displaying such emotion, it is best to address it right away before it becomes destructive in your relationship. You and your partner can learn how to deal with it in these healthy ways:
Know the root cause of jealousy
When one of you is experiencing too much jealousy, it is vital to know why it is happening. For example, is your partner jealous because you are not spending enough time together? Does your partner have trust issues?
Ask questions and understand why or where is the jealousy coming from so both of you will know what can be done.
On the other hand, if you are having jealousy because of some troubled past, get the support you need and identify how to heal the wounds of your past. Having the right help will help you overcome jealousy, understand it, and build a stronger relationship with your partner.
Recognize that a little bit of jealousy is normal
In a relationship, there may be situations where you may feel threatened. This may be due to a flirtatious colleague or the job requires you to spend a lot of time away from home. Thus, experiencing a bit of jealousy can be expected.
But before it gets out of hand, make sure that you talk it out with your partner and agree on some boundaries that will not only protect your relationship but your feelings as well.
For example, when a flirty colleague texts your partner a lot, tell your partner right away. Ask if he/she can limit the conversation so you won’t get the wrong idea. The key is to make sure that you both discuss the issue calmly and plan some solutions together.
Be honest and spend time together
Sometimes the cause of jealousy is not talking to each other or not spending time together. In most cases, jealousy happens because of miscommunication or lack of communication. Find time to talk and be sure to have “alone-time” together, no distractions, no other people with you.
Go out on a vacation, have dinner, or simply keep yourselves away from “too much technology”. Leave work at your workplace and avoid using your cell phone when you are at home. If you are already feeling insecure or having trust issues, be honest about it and talk with your partner.
Hold back harsh words or actions
At the height of jealousy, you may feel anger, anxiety, or fear which may lead to an unpleasant confrontation with your partner. Acting without thinking or saying harsh words during those moments may lead to negative consequences.
Make sure to hold back such emotions and take a few minutes to calm yourself. Do some deep breathing exercises, relax your muscles, and cool yourself. Consciously turning yourself away from triggered jealousy will keep you from acting or talking harshly which may harm your relationship.
If you find that you are in a relationship with a jealous partner or dealing with jealousy yourself, you must seek help from a professional that will help you navigate such emotions and situations safely. Talk to your family or friends that can help you with what you are going through.
Having a support group can also help you overcome such challenges without being judged. Remember when jealousy starts to become unhealthy, it can end relationships and create negative effects not only on your relationship but with you as well.