Feeling attached and protective about a loved person is normal, but there is a thin line that separates this attitude from jealous behaviour and crossing it could destroy your relationship.
It’s very common for couples to harbour some suspicions regarding the loyalty of the other party. After all, we are all attracted by eye candy, and imagining that your romantic partner is secretly dreaming about someone prettier is understandable. However, separating truth from fiction is the cornerstone of any rational decision, and this principle must be used to differentiate between legitimate concerns and pathological fears. If you allow jealousy to seep into your relationship, it might poison your mind to the point where completely innocent actions by a partner are interpreted as proof of visiting bondage dating sites or keeping numerous secret lovers.
To avoid this kind of predicament, it’s recommended to try and keep your jealous streak in check. Here are some steps you can take if you start losing faith in your current relationship.
1. Recognize your jealousy
Before you can do anything about a problem, you need to realize you have it. Noticing your own jealousy can be tricky and requires an impartial and cool-headed approach. Try to think about your reactions from the perspective of a neutral bystander, and examine whether you had better alternatives at your disposal. If you manage to be completely honest, you will be able to see whether you overreacted to minor things that should have been ignored. This introspective process will help you understand your actions better without raising any alarms with the partner.
2. Analyze the underlying causes
Jealousy is usually a product of internal insecurity, which needs to be addressed to solve the problem. Perhaps you endured a previous relationship in which the partner was cheating, or you might have issues from your childhood that are only now coming to the surface. Whatever the cause may be, dealing with it directly is much preferable to allowing your romantic life to deteriorate because of it. Once you discover what is driving your outbursts of jealousy, you will be much better equipped to prevent them or at least keep them from boiling over into open arguments.
3. Talk to your partner about it
There are several reasons why talking openly with your partner could help you reduce jealousy and become a more balanced person. First, you can ask for explanations of confusing behaviours that stoked your possessiveness and clarify any lingering suspicious. You can also ask for your partner’s support to face your issues, and by working together, you can build a stronger relationship. Finally, by preparing the partner for the possibility of intense reactions, you might soften the blow when the outburst does happen and reduce the amount of lasting damage.
4. Visit a therapist
Persistent or obsessive cases of jealousy might require professional assistance, and you shouldn’t hesitate to seek it if you think you are losing the battle. Professional relationship therapists and psychologists have a lot of experience with similar issues, and their advice can be instrumental for overcoming this emotional difficulty. If nothing else, having a person to confide to can be a huge relief, and by externalizing your irrational fears, you can perceive them more objectively. Even a short stint in therapy can do wonders for your self-confidence and relationships with others.
5. Learn to trust yourself and your partner
Eventually, you will either have to break off the relationship or gain full confidence in your partner. If there are no real instances of unfaithful behaviour, you will hopefully choose the latter. Living in constant fear is unbearable, and being constantly suspected and monitored isn’t a lot of fun either. Trust is the backbone of every healthy relationship, and it is acquired over time. When a person has been by your side in all kind of situations, good and bad, you have no reason to expect a sudden betrayal. That’s why it’s much easier to be fully at ease with a longtime partner than with someone you just met.
Jealousy is an enemy of love and needs to be dealt with
Ignoring occasional episodes of irrational jealousy can lead to worsening of the issue, so it’s best to take action as soon as possible. Simply becoming aware of this tendency is often enough to change the attitude and avoid slipping down this slope of self-doubt and paranoia. If you truly care about a person and wish to have a successful relationship, you need to eliminate this mechanism from your life, no matter how hard it may seem at first. With assistance from your friends, partner, or a professional therapist, you should be able to conquer this weakness and become a trusting person once again.
Linda Raley is a Psychology Faculty student, a freelance writer on sex and relationships, and a relationship beginner psychologist-consultant.