Are you a jealous person? Or are you with one? That’s not necessarily a bad thing until it becomes the excuse someone uses to control someone else’s behavior.
Jealousy is at its core a fear of loss, and temporary fear of loss is a normal part of becoming more emotionally devoted to someone. The more emotions you have invested in a person the scarier it can be to think about losing them. Jealousy is, essentially, a symptom of that fear.
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But checking phones and directing what can or can’t be worn or who someone can hang out with all cross the line into destructive behaviors, and are serious red flags. These are indicators of uncontrolled emotions and need to be dealt with head-on.
And constantly accusing someone of unfaithful behaviours can backfire, making them question your own. They can wonder if your pre-occupation stems from your own cheating heart, which will sow even more seeds of distrust in the relationship.
Letting jealousy get out of hand drives a wedge between couples because it erodes a sense of trust. And without trust relationships just won’t survive in a functional manner. Soon, uncontrolled jealousy leads to hopelessness in your partner’s heart, till they ultimately ask themselves “If I’m going to be constantly accused of being unfaithful, what’s the point of actually being devoted?” This is where we end up creating what we fear most.
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Constantly questioning a devoted partner will eventually have them looking for a relationship where their qualities are recognized and appreciated. I’m always telling couples to be complimentary of each other’s characteristics because people often love rising to the favorable opinions we have of them. When you negate your partner’s character you’re creating the opposite effect, driving them to meet the low expectation.
But we face triggers that can sometimes seem overwhelming. Feeling like your partner is giving more positive attention to someone else can lead to feelings of deep jealousy. Fundamentally we want to feel like we’re our partners #1 priority.
This is a throwback to our Caveman days when a partner was an important factor towards survival, a source of food and protection that trickled down to the babies we created together. And feeling like their efforts was too divided and not focussed on us meant less protection and provisions. Scary stuff when we were sometimes eaten for dinner instead of being served.
People with low self-esteem are more likely to feel jealous, because even when someone is devoted and loving they’ll emotionally reject the notion that they can be loved. It’s hard for us to accept being loved if we don’t love ourselves, and when someone’s self-esteem isn’t healthy they can’t fathom someone loving them deeply enough to be devoted.
Jealousy is sort of like a Math problem, dying to be solved. Misperceptions plus low self-esteem, combined with a runaway imagination is always an equation for disaster. If you’re already insecure your imagination can create big things out of small scenarios, and take you down paths that seriously darken your perceptions.
But here’s a question to consider: Can you know how jealous someone will be before getting into a relationship with them?
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It’s not as hard as you think. Let me lay out a clear set of defining standards to help illustrate different relationship personality types. Guys or Girls, who I define as selfish short term thinkers, are more likely to show jealous tendencies because they’re usually in a less mature phase of their lives.
This means they’re more likely to be focused on their needs and wants at the expense of someone else’s, and if they don’t feel things are going their way they may try to use control tactics to achieve what they want.
Men and Women are generous, long term thinkers, and are more ready to make compromises and deal with their emotions head on. They seek more functionality in their relationships because their goal is staying together for the long term. That means they’re less likely to blame their feelings on their partners and are more likely to seek therapy or help if they feel their emotions running away on them.
Jealousy is an equal opportunity emotion. When it comes to genders I’ve seen both get out of control and display overly-jealous behaviors, because what most influences someone’s jealous tendencies is their level of personal emotional security.
The more someone trusts themselves the more they trust their decision-making process when choosing a partner, and in turn, the more they’ll trust that partner’s devotion. Maturity is another factor since it comes hand in hand with a deeper commitment to personal development. Heightened maturity means people recognize their own behaviors, taking that insight and seeking help when their negative emotions spill outside their comfort zones.
Make sure the one you’re choosing for a relationship is the right one.
So how do you deal with feelings of jealousy? Here are some tips to help you get through this damaging emotion before it tears your relationship apart.
Since at its root jealousy is a fear of loss, meditation is by far the easiest way to combat these feelings. Meditation physically shrinks the size of your amygdala, your brains fight or flight mechanism, which reduces your capacity to feel negative emotions like fear, insecurity, and anxiety. Seriously, you want to start meditating anyway, just because it makes every part of your life feel better!
Be sure to recognize when your imagination is creating scenarios, and pull your brain back into the present moment with the question, “What is my reality?” Look for how your partner shows their love and appreciation and lean into that.
Take responsibility for your emotional spikes and deal with them internally by releasing negative emotions instead of suppressing them. Doing so privately while you’re meditating is ideal, so you’re not constantly vomiting those feelings on your partner. I like to use a method I call a Controlled Demolition. In essence, focussing on releasing negative emotions without giving them a story, and doing so while in a meditative state so they’re not piling up and then exploding out on loved ones.
Increase your sense of self-worth and emotional security by doing an “I Am” exercise. Write out 50 positive I Am _______ statements. By aiming for this high number you’re forced to dig deep and face what’s worthy and loveable about yourself. This will create better clarity about how deserving you are of love.
But if you find yourself in a relationship with a partner in the throes of jealousy feelings, here’s some advice for you.
Recognize that not all jealousy stems purely from a want to control others. It could be your partner’s feelings come from a history where the betrayal they fear actually happened. If they’re working at controlling themselves through mediation and/or therapy then patience is key. Loving someone means giving them room to grow.
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But if someone isn’t looking inside themselves to deal with their feelings, and because of that are creating dysfunction through controlling behavior, it’s best to leave this relationship behind. Anyone not willing to fix their problems, instead choosing to only look outward and blame their emotional discomfort on others don’t make ideal long term partners. Make it clear that reconciliation is possible only after they’ve undergone treatment for whatever problem is leading to controlling behavior.
Be aware of the fact that as a species we’re not monogamous by nature. Allowing for moments where your partner may have momentary attractions for someone else without letting that shake your world will create the highly attractive confidence that keeps their attention turning back towards you because you offer the safe space every human being needs to grow from.
Everyone wants to feel accepted for who they are, trusted for their values, and appreciated for their qualities. If allowance for humanity and appreciation for goodness is the foundation of your relationship you’re setting the kind of tone that will keep you loving each other for many years to come.
Chantal Heide is an Author and Motivational Speaker, focusing on dating and relationship building. Her books Dating 101, Comeback Queen, Fake Love Need Not Apply, No More Assholes, After The First Kiss, Fix That Shit, Say Yes To Goodness, and Custom Made (available on this website, Amazon, and your favorite online book retailer) help her readers attract the love they're looking for, regardless of their starting point . View her BOOKS page for more information. Be sure to check out more free advice on Facebook, YouTube, and Itunes, as well as fun tidbits about her life on Instagram and Twitter.