Healthy Ways to Handling Jealousy

Most human emotions have a purpose.  Love leads to caring, compassion, and biological reproduction.  Fear prepares you to handle an attack. But what about jealousy?  It seems to be a completely negative emotion that causes nothing but destruction to relationships and marriages.  However, it can be argued that jealousy might also have a positive side – if it occurs in moderation.

Jealousy is a feeling that occurs in a threesome – you, your partner, and someone that threatens to take your partner away.  In that sense, it is a sign of love and how much you value your partner.  Jealousy keeps you from taking your partner for granted, strengthens the sexual bond, and keeps you and your partner from indulging in sexual whims.

Unfortunately, not all cases of jealousy are this healthy. When it is felt in excess, jealousy sets the stage for a dramatic break-up or a divorce. How do you keep jealousy from tearing your relationship apart?

The hard part about handling a jealous partner is that unlike other emotions that affect relationships negatively, jealousy is a greedy monster that feeds on anything.  A man’s glance at a pretty girl on the street is enough to spark a jealous rage in his partner, but the same effort to not look at a beautiful girl might be taken the same way. His partner might think, “Funny how he avoided her gaze as if he was guilty of something! He slept with her, didn’t he?”

If there are no real events by which jealousy can feed on, the imagination becomes a rich source of fuel for suspicion.  Jealous people are often sensitive to “suspicious” looks, gestures, or tones of their partner.

They are prone to “accidentally finding” significant letters, receipts, or bills where they can find hidden “proof” of infidelity. When jealousy becomes an obsession, the relationship won’t last for very long, but there are ways for you to handle it to a manageable level.

First, admit to your jealousy. Talk to your partner and point out the times when you feel most vulnerable, or which actions spark that feeling of jealousy.  If it’s your partner who feels jealous, ask him or her if any specific behaviours trigger jealous emotions.

Don’t tell your partner that he or she shouldn’t be jealous, instead, accept your partner’s feelings, and try to figure out a way to make behavioural adjustments to avoid triggering this behaviour.

However, do not keep yourself from doing the things you love if this causes your partner’s jealousy. While everyone should make small sacrifices to keep a relationship alive, it shouldn’t be at the expense of hobbies or interests that will lead to your personal growth.

Just remember–a little jealousy can be a good thing, but too much of it can feel suffocating.  Handling jealousy is about putting things into perspective, finding a middle ground with your partner.  And when you do, then jealousy will no longer be a threat to your relationship.