5 Proven Methods To Stop Jealousy In Your Relationship

woman sitting on a black chair facing the windows
Image credit: Anthony Tran (via Unsplash)

Are you seeing red? 

It’s hard to think straight when your mind is clouded by jealousy. 

Still, it’s possible to learn how to handle your jealousy in a constructive way so you can have stronger, healthier romantic relationships. 

Just think about driving a car. Every time you sit in a vehicle that someone else is driving, you put your trust in that person. You know that at any given moment, they could steer the car into oncoming traffic, or crash. Nonetheless, you still trust them to make the right decisions and get you home safely.

Healthy relationships also require us to trust. Of course, trusting someone else involves an element of vulnerability, and it’s natural to fear getting hurt. That’s why, when jealousy rears its head, it often does so alongside other uncomfortable emotions like anxiety and insecurity.

But if you’re struggling with jealousy, you’re not alone. Everyone feels it from time to time. We want you to put you on a straight path to a healthier relationship, so let’s address your jealousy at its source. What do you say?

What Is Jealousy?

You’ve seen it, you’ve felt it, and you don’t like it. What is this complex emotion that gets people’s heads spinning? Do you feel like you're a jealous person?

Psychology Today defines jealousy as “an emotion that encompasses feelings ranging from suspicion to rage to fear to humiliation. It strikes people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations, and is most typically aroused when a person perceives a threat to a valued relationship from a third party. The threat may be real or imagined.”

 Do you hear that? “Real or imagined.” 

Jealousy is strongly tied to perception in the sense that it can distort completely innocent situations. It has a lot to do with your beliefs about yourself and how you interpret your partner’s actions, words or gestures. 

Nobody is immune from this negative emotion. It’s prevalent among our friends, our family, and it even exists in our workplaces. But did you know there is a difference between envy and jealousy? Envy is wanting something someone else has, such as material wealth or status, whereas jealousy also relates to suspicion and possessiveness within romantic relationships. 

The Three Main Causes of Jealousy in Relationships

Susan Heitler is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience. After counseling hundreds of individuals and jealous couples, she’s unearthed an underlying trend. Romantic jealousy, she’s found, has three causes:

  • Projection: anxiety stemming from one’s own temptation to cheat.
  • Protection: due to distrust of one’s partner.
  • Competition: wanting to earn the partner’s love, and keep it.

Interesting, isn’t it? Where do you think your feelings of jealousy originate from?

Normal vs. Unhealthy Jealousy

Too much of anything can make you sick. But in small quantities, jealousy is normal, and it’s not necessarily indicative of a deeper problem. 

Normal Jealousy

Here are 3 situations in which you might feel normal jealousy:

  1. Someone being overly flirtatious with your romantic partner. (or vice versa)

Perhaps a stranger crosses a line by making a suggestive remark to your significant other. You could introduce yourself into the conversation naturally, or calmly set a boundary one-to-one later.

  1. Your partner is thriving while you are in a bad place. 

Have you ever missed out on a promotion or a bonus? When your other half is awarded the opportunities you dreamed of, you might feel a tinge of jealousy creep in. Now, this does not mean you’re unhappy with their win. 

It just means you’re feeling discouraged and need to ask for help. Try saying to your partner: “Hey, I saw you got a bonus at work for efficiency. Could you teach me some tips?”

 They’re your partner; it’s likely they’d love to help you win too!  Couples share in successes.

  1. You feel left out of a plan, activity, or trip.

It’s healthy for two people in a relationship to have some of their own interests. In practice, this can help keep things fresh. 

Of course, this needs to be balanced with enough quality time as a couple, too. If you feel completely left out of your significant others’ plans and activities, speak up and ask if there is a way for you to be included. This could be an excellent opportunity to try a new hobby together.

Unhealthy Jealousy

Left unmanaged, unhealthy jealousy can escalate into potentially damaging behavior. Avoid bottling up your feelings, as they’ll only fester.

 Check out these 3 warning signs of unhealthy jealousy:

  1. Doubting the relationship all the time.

Your relationship should be a safe place. If you’re constantly panicking because you think your partner is about to leave you for someone else, you may need to work on managing your jealousy. Paradoxically, a fear of abandonment can sometimes lead us to behave in ways that push our partners away.  

  1. Constant surveillance or screening.

You are a partner, not a parent. If you’re keeping tabs on your significant other, or monitoring their phone without their permission, this is crossing a line. Other violations of privacy include: location tracking, repeatedly contacting other people to find out what your partner is doing, and/or secretly following them. 

  1. There are no personal boundaries.

You know you’re expressing your jealousy in an unhealthy way if you resort to trying to control your partner. You may feel tempted to tell them what to wear, who to talk to, and when to be home. However, attempting to control a loved one in this way has no place in a safe, respectful partnership. These behaviors mark the slippery slope towards an abusive relationship.

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Is Jealousy a Sign of Love?

“Jealousy is an inside job.” —Audrey Hope, relationship expert and trauma counselor

Image credit: Luis Galvez (via Unsplash)

 If your jealousy is driving you to extremes of unhealthy behavior, you may need to work on nurturing your self-esteem. 

As much as you may love your partner, acting out in jealousy is not an expression of love. In fact, it's the opposite

As Karen Doll, Psy.D., explains: “Jealousy can lead to people to become controlling, possessive and even potentially abusive…  If you are consumed with jealousy, it may feel like passion or love on the surface, but it is distinctly different. There is no room for genuine love when jealousy is dominating a relationship.”

5 Methods To Stop Being Jealous in Your Relationship

Finding what works for you takes time. It also involves trial and error. In order to combat irrational jealousy, you may need to try out multiple approaches.

Five methods we suggest at Together to help you stop being jealous in your relationship are:

1. Consider Where Your Trust Issues Stem From.

Every tree has roots. Every problem has an origin. Jealousy implies a lack of trust. Where do you think your trust issues began?

Common causes of trust issues are:

Depending on what is affecting your ability to trust, you may have a lot to unpack and process. It might help to reach out to a therapist for expert support and guidance.

2. Consider Your Own Insecurities.

If you feel insecure in your relationship, you may be in the majority. The National Survey of Women discovered that a staggering 82 percent of women surveyed felt insecure about their husband or partner’s love. Alas, insecurity can transform into overwhelming jealousy if you don’t address it at its source. 

Let us remind you that you are more than capable of creating a healthy, secure marriage or relationship. Whatever has you feeling insecure only has the power over you that you grant it.

Here are some tried and tested strategies to help you stand strong in spite of any insecurities you may experience:

  • Identify your triggers: Knowing what might set you off or change your mood is a good first step. 
  • Express your feelings: Using “I” statements, try to express your insecurities clearly and calmly to your partner.
  • Write it down: It can be very productive to journal when you feel upset about a situation. Not only does it give you time to cool down, but it also allows you to organize your thoughts. Who knows—maybe you’ll even find a solution in your journaling? 
  • Reach out for support: We can be our own worst enemies sometimes. If you’re feeling down on yourself, reach out to a friend, family member, or someone who’s a positive pillar in your life. Talking to them about what you’re going through may help you get a fresh perspective.  

3. Improve Your Self-esteem.

For a wide range of ideas, you can check out this list of 19 confidence boosters. Remember: we all have our own unique strengths and personalities. You likely have a special skill or a character trait that distinguishes you from the object of your jealousy. Why not list all the qualities you like about yourself, and remind yourself what makes you one-of-a-kind? 

4. Work On Your Emotional Intimacy.

“It is a risk to love. 

What if it doesn’t work out? 

Ah, but what if it does?” —Peter McWilliams

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Peter! 

Being emotionally vulnerable in an intimate relationship is challenging. It involves communicating your innermost worries and fears to your partner. As scary as that might sound, opening up about your jealousy could help bring you and your partner closer. 

Remember, this isn’t about attacking your loved one, or making them responsible for your feelings. It’s about honestly sharing your concerns so you can work through them from a place of mutual understanding. 

If you’re not sure where to start, the Together app has useful communication tools designed to support you when it comes to discussing important topics with your partner.

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Resolve your relationship pains with Together - a couple coaching app developed by leading therapists.

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5. Analyze Your Expectations.

Emotions like jealousy and disappointment can sometimes be the result of unmet expectations. It’s important to remember that people aren’t mind readers. You have to discuss your expectations with your partner, and explain what healthy relationships look like to you. 

 Just as every home needs a solid foundation, so does every relationship. Speaking about your expectations lets you know right away if your partner is willing to meet them. There may be areas where you’ll need to find some common ground to compromise.

How To Talk to Your Partner About Jealousy

Together has an engaging course library filled with interactive video sessions which you may benefit from if you’re struggling with feelings like jealousy. If you’d prefer to be guided by a professional in person, consider couples therapy.

women sitting close beside each other
Image credit: Shingi Rice (via Unsplash)

Find a good time to sit down and have an uninterrupted discussion about the source of your jealousy. Don’t bring up the topic suddenly when either of you are in a rush, about to go to bed, or heading to work. You’ll want time to smooth everything over. 

 Remember:

  • You’re not here to attack your partner.
  • Your goal is to express your feelings openly, and set healthy boundaries where appropriate.
  • You’re not trying to tell your partner what their experience is, or how they should feel.

Be Open And Honest About Your Feelings. 

Honest, healthy communication is always the best solution. 

Your partner is the person you choose to sail the seas of life with. You have to be able to communicate, be vulnerable, and find common ground. 

Ensure you don’t slip into any toxic communication patterns. This is about resolution and not about pointing fingers. 

Moving On From Jealousy to Security

You made it through the hardest part. You communicated!

Congratulations are in order. You not only stepped up by communicating clearly and effectively… You now know what it takes to discuss and resolve jealousy problems with your significant other.

Constructive communication is the cornerstone of any strong relationship. You just leveled up your emotional intimacy

Did you know that the word “intimacy” can be expressed poetically using the syllables: “into me you see?”

“If you and your partner can be honest about the deep fears that are causing jealousy, you open the door to understanding, empathy, and love.” —Elise Dorsett

Closing Thoughts From Together

Jealousy can be unexpected and confusing. In that sense, it’s much like rain on a sunny day. You don’t understand where it’s coming from unless there are clouds, and then you still need to find out which one is dumping rain. Once you do understand the source of your jealousy, however, you experience more clarity.  

We hope that the information above helped you find the solutions you needed. Jealousy is a tricky emotion to manage, but remember that it doesn’t have to control you. We wish you respectful communication, solid understanding, and happiness in love to come.

If you still need extra help with combating jealousy, check out Together’s marriage counseling app! Instead of traditional marriage counseling sessions, the app provides interactive, science-based tools to help you manage your difficult emotions. All of the app content is highly personalized to your problems to yield the best results for you and your partner.

Try Together - the couple coaching app

Resolve your relationship pains with Together - a couple coaching app developed by leading therapists.

Join the Waitlist

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