Jealousy can be toxic to a marriage, it can be the cause of doubt, mistrust, and a loss of respect.
Though it can sometimes be healthy, it more often causes problems when left unchecked.
Are you struggling with an overly jealous spouse or partner? Here’s some things to try in order to deal with them effectively.
Reflect on your own actions
Ask yourself if you’re doing anything to provoke them. If you find that the answer is yes, make a conscious decision to stop doing or placing yourself in situations that trigger their jealousy.
Strive to be more demonstrative
Next, make more of an effort to show your spouse you love and care for them. Talk to them. A lot can be achieved by simply opening the lines of communication.
Listen and provide a judgement-free space
Listen to them when they try to explain their feelings. Though unfounded, let them know that their feelings are valid. Don’t brush them off or make them feel as if they’re overreacting, even if you believe they are. Instead, work towards a deeper conversation wherein your partner feels heard and not judged.
In this way, you two can work to find a solution—together.
If you are the jealous spouse, how can you keep your feelings in check?
Ask for help
Feeling jealous can be overwhelming, so don’t be afraid to reach out to those you trust. As they say, friends (and close family) can be our greatest mirrors. Be open to their feedback. There will be times when you can’t see past your strong emotions to effectively evaluate why you feel the way that you do.
Be honest with others and yourself
It’s important to strive for honesty when opening up to your partner, as well as when reflecting on your motivations. Don’t be overly paranoid and try to see your spouse in a more positive light.
Don’t allow doubt to seep into your daily life as a couple because it can paralyse you from moving forward.
Trace your motivations
According to Psychology Today, breaking free from jealousy requires first recognising the nature of it. Most of the time, jealousy stems from our own worry and insecurity. We worry that our partner will find someone better and decide to leave us, for instance.
Cultivating a negative habit such as chronic jealousy causes us to grow more frustrated and unhappy.
Channel jealousy into positivity
It’s also important to know that jealousy is an “adaptive emotion.” It’s a universal feeling that we can harness in a healthy way. Make sure that mild jealousy is motivated by a need to protect and preserve what you love.
Jealousy can be a sign of self-esteem
It’s not simply a reflection of insecurity, but it can even reflect high self-esteem. Because you know you deserve better. It can also be a sign of good values because you place priority on commitment, honesty, and faithfulness.
Feeling and acting on it are two different things
Feeling jealous is different from acting jealous, which involves hurling accusations and vocalizing your mistrust frequently, even in the form of joking.
Acknowledge jealous feelings, but know that you don’t have to act on them. No relationship is certain and embracing the uncertainty frees you from the anxiety that comes from worrying that something wrong is just beyond the horizon.
Shift your focus
A good way to deal with jealousy is to shift the focus on more positive ways to relate to your partner. Praise them more often, for example, instead of simply criticizing them. Plan fun activities together and share responsibilities. Make them feel needed and valued by seeking their help and advice.
In this way, you are allowing more positive experiences to take place while building a strong bond with one another.
sources: Psychology Today, The Spruce, Focus on the Family
READ: Healthy and unhealthy jealousy in marriage: What’s the difference?