Jealousy in Relationships
First off, let’s acknowledge the awareness it takes to want to stop being jealous. Changing habits isn’t easy – especially overwhelming ones like jealousy, which can seem impossible to overcome.
What started eons ago as a smart instinct to assist us in our survival (making sure we had enough and that what we had was protected) has morphed into something far less productive in our first-world lives.
When it comes to our relationships, jealousy can straight up wreak havoc on our self-esteem, communication habits, and sense of safety and security. Whether it’s a warranted emotion for the circumstance or not,
Jealousy Stems From Anxiety
If you’ve ever experienced a visit from the green-eyed monster, you know that it can be crazy-making. Especially when you mix in sex, trust, and feelings of love and desire.
If your reactions can be disproportionately heightened compared to the reality of the situation at hand – then it’s time to stop being jealous and start addressing your underlying fears!
That’s one of the first steps in taking control of jealous instincts: understanding that perceived fears aren’t always founded on – or even based on – reality.
It’s common to let the idea of an anxiety-provoking situation (like cheating) rile us up to a state of discomfort.
If you’re feeling vulnerable and unchecked, those mental spirals can carry you a long way down – even without a shred of evidence justifying the impulsive thought that kicked it all off.
Luckily, it’s often the case that those situations never even come to be. In hindsight, it’s easy to look back on those moments and think, “What a lot of wasted energy.”
Jealousy Can Be Hard to Break Up With
Sometimes, tho, jealousy is warranted. Something has happened. Your partner has crossed a boundary or broken a vow or promise.
In these cases, jealousy can become an odd comfort, a way for you to constantly take stock of the situation, size up the alternatives, create a playbook, and attempt to regain control.
The problem is, we can’t do that over situations where we never had control. Jealousy played a significant role in our survival and societal practices centuries ago. But if left unregulated, it can do more harm than good.
Unless we learn to manage our jealous thoughts and actions, If we can take some bold steps toward exploring our feelings, fears, and knee-jerk reactions, we can take ownership of this instinct so that it can once again help us.
Use the nine steps below to set your mind (and fears) free of this attention-seeking emotion. When you do, you’ll find peace of mind and experience more freedom in your relationships!
How To Stop Being Jealous In Your Relationships
1. Recognize The Pattern
Are there certain triggers in your life that leave you feeling more jealous than secure? Keep an eye on them. Notice when they present themselves and if you have the power to prevent them from showing up at all. Keep a lookout for your physical response in a heightened situation.
Is your heart racing?
Are you restless?
These indicators can be helpful alerts to let you know when you’re triggered.
Lastly, when jealousy makes an appearance in your relationships, be mindful of the ways your partner(s) engages with it.
Do they shut down?
Urge you on?
Dismiss your feelings?
Understanding the pattern of your jealousy as a whole requires a lot of insight – but it’s worth the work.
2. Do Some Soul Searching
To get closer to your “why,” ask yourself questions that are less about the trigger and more about what you’re hoping to avoid. Like, “what would be the worst possible outcome of this potential incident occurring?”
For many, acting on jealousy helps them avoid talking about their real fear: losing someone they love. When you dig into the root cause of your reaction, you remove power from external stimuli (triggers) and can focus on healing yourself.
3. Rewrite The Script
Okay, you’ve done some work! You understand when and why jealousy takes a hold on you (warranted or not). Remember that jealousy is often an unproductive attempt to control a situation we have no control over. The next step of your work is to rewrite the script.
This requires a dedication to challenging yourself—even when growth feels impossibly difficult. By monitoring your warning signs (racing heart, flushed cheeks, etc.), you give yourself an opportunity to change your behavior template well before it kicks in.
Take awareness into those moments to turn instinctive reactions into well-thought-out, productive responses.
4. Take Accountability For Your Part
If you’re like many women, your jealousy has, at times, interfered with your relationship directly. It’s hard to keep all of those feelings inside! So we tend to take the easy way out and… unleash on those around us.
If your jealousy is impacting your relationship, it’s time to take some long-overdue accountability. Stepping up to own your behavior can be the olive branch you need to heal old wounds.
Use these accountability worksheets to jump-start the conversation with your partner. Owning up to the past will reinforce the commitment you’re making to change.
5. Express Your Fears
One of the best ways to stop being jealous in a relationship is to expose your fearful feelings early on. Having a direct conversation with your partner about your fears surrounding sex, love, and desire isn’t always easy.
It can actually be kind of awkward. It requires a lot of vulnerability, mutual willingness to participate, and a safe emotional space.
But there’s good news!
It pays off. Sharing the underlying fears you unearthed in the previous steps with your partner can be liberating.
Even better, vulnerability humanizes us (which is important if you’ve been operating from an anxious, less-productive place) and starts a conversation.
Instead of our anxious actions demanding attention, you connect with your partner and reestablish a team dynamic. Plus, you have the opportunity to support your partner thru their own fears and insecurities. (Hello, intimacy!)
6. Process New Information
This step is particularly useful if you’re experiencing jealousy in your relationship when it’s warranted and a boundary has been broken. New information can quickly ignite an already anxious mind.
Create a moment of space between receiving new info (a trigger) and reacting to it (old template) by taking some big, deep breaths. These few moments can be game-changing.
If something comes up in the middle of a conversation or disagreement with your partner, ask for a minute to process it. Be mindful of your internal dialog.
Are you thinking the worst?
Would additional information hurt or help you?
Through deep breathing, you have a better chance of identifying real ‘threats’ and discarding information that seems scary but holds no weight.
7. Have Patience With Yourself
Growth is hard. For real. It is exhausting, defeating at times, and downright humbling.
That doesn’t mean you have to beat yourself up, though. Take care to have extra patience with yourself as you rewrite old scripts and challenge unhelpful beliefs. To stop being jealous in your relationships, you’ll need to care for yourself.
Up your self-care and go in with the expectation that you’ll stumble a few times. Your partner is growing and learning too, so be patient with them as they navigate new heights with you.
8. Be Aware of Your Triggers
Protecting your sanity should be at the top of your priority list every single day. Unfortunately, our society as a whole is wired otherwise, so we must be our own advocates and have our best interests in mind.
When it comes to sex, self-worth, desire, love, and lust, the world we live in blurs a ton of boundaries. There are many opportunities for jealousy to appear in our relationships.
Be aware of potential triggers that seep into your life. Get vocal about making boundaries around situations you can control.
Use discretion, don’t go overboard, and don’t be tempted into trying to control your partner. Setting positive boundaries to protect your mental health ahead of time will help prevent jealousy from getting a solid grip on your world.
9. Embrace A New Phase Of Growth
Conquering jealousy in relationships is an ongoing process. What a relief, tho, that you can welcome new tools into your life!
You don’t have to rely on old templates, succumb to anxious thoughts, or continue to justify unproductive behavior.
We don’t have to suppress our fears or pretend we’re perfect to be deserving of love. Instead, own your baggage, look it in the eye, and choose to part ways with it. You’ll empower yourself when you do.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but your awareness is the first step to reclaiming agency over your feelings and actions, which will lead to a happier, healthier relationship with yourself and your partner.