How to stop being jealous: expert advice for a healthier relationship
By Julian Lewis • February 21, 2023
Mild jealousy is a natural human emotion experienced by many people in romantic relationships. While it is natural to feel possessive or protective of a loved one, unchecked jealousy can lead to toxic behaviors and can ultimately damage the relationship.
In our latest blog post, we will explore the topic of jealousy in relationships and provide expert advice on how to overcome it for a healthier and more fulfilling partnership. We will delve into the three main causes of jealousy and the negative effects it can have on relationships. Most importantly, we will outline four effective methods to help you stop being jealous and build a stronger, more trusting bond with your partner.
Whether you're struggling with romantic jealousy yourself or seeking to support a jealous partner, this post will offer valuable insights and practical strategies for a more positive and fulfilling relationship.
Is feeling jealous healthy in romantic relationships?
Jealousy is an emotional response to a perceived threat or loss of something that one values, often in the context of a relationship. It is characterized by feelings of anxiety, fear, insecurity, and possessiveness, and may arise when one perceives a romantic partner to be interested in or involved with someone else.
While some levels of this complex emotion can be normal and even healthy in a strong relationship, it is important to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy jealousy.
Normal vs. unhealthy jealousy
Normal jealousy in a relationship typically stems from a genuine concern for the relationship and a desire to protect it. For example, feeling a twinge of jealousy when your partner receives a lot of attention from someone of the opposite sex at a party may be a normal reaction. It is an indication that you care about your partner and value the relationship.
Unhealthy jealousy, on the other hand, is characterized by possessiveness, mistrust, and irrational thoughts or behaviors. It can stem from deep-seated insecurities, past traumas, or a lack of trust in the relationship. For example, constantly checking your partner's phone, restricting their social interactions, or accusing them of infidelity without any evidence can all be signs of unhealthy jealousy.
The three main causes of jealousy in relationships
Jealousy in relationships can have many underlying causes, some of which may be rooted in past experiences, while others may stem from current relationship dynamics or personal issues. Some of the common factors that can cause jealousy in relationships include
Insecurity is a common cause of jealousy in relationships. When an individual feels insecure about themselves or the relationship, they may feel threatened by their partner's interactions with others.
For example, if an individual is insecure about their physical appearance, they may become jealous when their partner interacts with someone they perceive to be more attractive. Addressing the root causes of insecurity through self-reflection and self-care can help individuals overcome jealousy caused by insecurity.
The threat of loss:
The fear of losing one's partner can also be a cause of jealousy. This can be especially true in relationships where one partner has been hurt or betrayed in the past. The fear of being hurt again can lead to jealousy and a desire to control the relationship. In these situations, communication and building trust can help alleviate the fear of loss and reduce feelings of jealousy.
Past relationship experiences can also be a cause of jealousy in relationships. If an individual has been hurt or betrayed in a previous relationship, they may carry that baggage into new relationships. This can cause them to be hyper-vigilant and sensitive to potential signs of betrayal, leading to feelings of jealousy. Addressing past experiences through therapy or self-reflection can help individuals move past their past trauma and build healthier relationships.
Effects of jealousy on relationships
Jealousy can have a number of negative effects on relationships, both for the individual experiencing the jealousy and their partner. Here are some ways jealousy can impact relationships:
When one partner becomes jealous, it can signal to the other partner that they are not trusted, which can damage the foundation of the relationship. Over time, jealousy can erode trust, leading to further jealousy and potentially even the end of the relationship.
Jealousy leads to increased conflict between partners in most cases. When one partner becomes jealous, they may become more accusatory or controlling, leading to arguments and conflict. In some cases, jealousy can lead to emotional or even physical abuse.
Jealous thoughts can also negatively impact intimacy between partners. When one partner is constantly jealous, it can make the other partner feel less comfortable and less connected to them. This can lead to a decrease in physical intimacy.
Additionally, unhealthy jealous feelings can cause emotional distancing between partners, leading to a loss of intimacy and connection. If one partner feels like they are being accused and interrogated, they may begin to withdraw from the relationship in order to protect their own emotional well-being.
Increased self-esteem issues
Jealousy can also have a negative impact on an individual's self-esteem. When an individual becomes jealous, they may begin to compare themselves to others and feel like they are not good enough. For example, if a person becomes jealous of their partner's attractive coworker, they may begin to feel insecure about their own appearance, intelligence, or other qualities. This can cause a person to doubt their own worth and value, leading to feelings of low self-esteem and self-doubt.
When a person's self-esteem is impacted by jealousy, it can make it difficult for them to feel confident and secure in their relationship. This can create a cycle of jealousy and insecurity, where the individual becomes increasingly worried about losing their partner's affection and attention. In turn, this may cause them to become more controlling or possessive in their behavior, which can further damage the relationship.
Additionally, when a person's self-esteem is low, they may seek constant reassurance from their partner. This can put a strain on the relationship, as their partner may feel burdened by the responsibility of constantly reassuring them. It can also lead to an unhealthy dynamic where the person with low self-esteem becomes overly reliant on their partner for validation and self-worth.
4 methods to stop being jealous in your relationship
It is very important for individuals to address jealous thoughts and feelings in relationships in order to prevent these negative effects from occurring. This can be a difficult journey, but with the right guidance, you can learn to manage your jealousy and build healthier relationships.
When you find yourself struggling with the internal battle these difficult emotions can create, try one of the following methods to stop being jealous:
1. Consider your own insecurities
Often, feelings of jealousy stem from our own insecurities. It can be helpful to take a step back and examine what is causing these insecurities. Are you feeling insecure about your own abilities, physical appearance, or the stability of the relationship?
Once you identify the root cause, you can work on addressing those insecurities. If the insecurity is something that you can easily change, take action. For example, if you are feeling insecure about your physical appearance or abilities, try to make some changes or learn new skills. This will not only boost your confidence but also make you less likely to feel jealous in the future.
Addressing low self-esteem can also involve things like practicing self-care, working on your self-talk, or even seeking therapy. Over time, improving self-confidence can help a jealous person feel more secure in their own feelings and rely less on their partner's actions for reassurance.
2. Be open and honest about your feelings
Communication is key in any relationship, and this is especially true when it comes to jealousy. If you are feeling jealous, it is important to be open and honest with your partner about how you are feeling. It is important to do so in a non-accusatory manner and to make it clear that you are not blaming them. This can help your partner understand where you are coming from and make changes to help alleviate jealousy in a relationship.
Start the conversation by expressing your feelings calmly and without judgment. Explain to your partner why you feel jealous and ask them questions about their emotions on the matter. Doing this can help you both understand each other's perspective better and can be a starting point for creating strategies that work for both of you.
When talking about jealousy, it is important to focus on being understanding, patient, and compassionate with your partner. Ask questions to get to the root of what is causing your jealousy and give your partner a safe space for them to express their feelings. This can help both of you grow closer and make it easier to discuss challenging topics like jealousy in the future.
3. Work on your emotional intimacy
Jealousy can stem from a lack of emotional intimacy in a relationship. It can be helpful to work on strengthening the emotional connection between you and your partner. This can involve things like engaging in deep conversations, sharing your thoughts and feelings with each other, or even engaging in couples therapy to work on your emotional connection.
To increase emotional intimacy in day-to-day life, consider doing things together like taking walks, trying new activities, or even watching a movie. Doing things together can help strengthen your emotional connection and make it easier to communicate openly with each other. Additionally, it can be useful to practice active listening - taking the time to really listen to your partner and understand their feelings.
Finally, try to focus on being honest with each other and expressing gratitude for each other often. Showing appreciation and love for one another is a great way to build a strong emotional foundation in any relationship. Working on your emotional connection can help you and your partner address any jealousy issues that are present. With care and attention, it is possible to build a stronger bond with your partner and manage jealousy.
4. Seek out guidance and support
Last but not least, it can be helpful to seek out guidance and support from a professional therapist or counselor. A therapist can help you identify where your jealousy stems from and develop healthy coping mechanisms to address it. They can also provide an objective perspective and help you work through any underlying issues that may be contributing to your jealous behavior.
If your own jealousy is affecting your relationships, it could also be helpful to seek out the assistance of a life coach. A life coach can work with you to understand your emotions, recognize patterns in your behavior, and provide you with effective strategies to help you cope with jealousy.
In situations where someone else's actions are bringing up distressing feelings, a relationship expert may be of help. They can assist in providing insight and advice on how to navigate those difficult emotions, as well as how to appropriately communicate and resolve conflict without succumbing to jealousy or envy.
In addition to professional support, it’s important to reach out to friends and family members who can lend an ear and offer encouragement. Talking through your feelings with those closest to you can be incredibly helpful in overcoming envy or jealousy. Gaining an understanding of why you feel the way you do and having a strong support system are important parts of managing your emotions and learning to overcome jealousy.
Recap: combatting jealous feelings with healthy coping skills
It's important to remember that combating the green-eyed monster is not a one-size-fits-all approach and may require a combination of strategies such as self-reflection, open communication, emotional connection, self-esteem work, and guidance from a professional or family member. The key is to be patient with yourself and your partner and to keep the lines of communication open.
By actively working on these methods, individuals can overcome jealousy and build healthier, more fulfilling relationships. For more information on a variety of personal growth topics such as how to manage negative feelings, curb problematic behaviors, invest in healthy relationships, and improve mental health, check out our personal coaching blog.
Read more about: Healthy Relationships, Life Coaching
About Julian Lewis
Julian Lewis is a driven and accomplished professional with a passion for driving positive change in the business world. As the co-founder and COO at Zella Life, a coaching on-demand platform, he is working to bridge the diversity gap between diverse talent and internal team leaders. His own experience as a professional of color in a Fortune 500 company led him to discover the limitations for advancement that many professionals like himself face. Determined to reach his full potential, Julian became an established business coach and entrepreneur, committed to supporting others who have been culturally conditioned to remain silent in their pursuit of personal and professional growth.
Today, Julian is a recognized corporate trainer, coach, and leader, known for his ability to leverage real-life experiences and evidence-based methodologies to affect positive change within individuals and organizations. As the leader of Zella Life's coaching division, he is dedicated to empowering individuals and businesses to achieve their full potential. Julian's unique perspective and passion for coaching make him a valuable asset to any organization.