You’re not asking for anything unreasonable when you expect commitment and trust from your partner. And jealousy is a natural reaction, though it can get out of hand.
You just want what belongs to you. And you don’t want anyone else threatening to take the one you love. But it’s important that you understand how to get over jealousy before it negatively impacts your relationship.
You don’t want your beloved slipping through your grasp and disappearing. But if you shackle them in jealousy and wear down their energy so you never lose them, you could be destroying everything you’ve worked hard to build.
Left unchecked, your green-eyed monster will devour the very thing you love the most. Unless you commit to overcoming jealousy in your relationship, you won’t have a relationship to worry about.
What is it about jealousy that is so exhausting and unsustainable in a relationship?
Healthy relationships are grounded in trust. Trust is foundational to every aspect of intimacy and commitment. It is essential for creating and feeling emotional safety.
There are some common myths about jealousy in relationships, too.
It is the underlying assumption that makes vulnerability possible. And it’s the key attribute of a relationship that gives partners the freedom to have individual lives within the context of their relational life.
Jealousy undermines the foundation of trust in a relationship. And sooner or later a relationship riddled by unchecked jealousy will disintegrate.
One reason that overcoming jealousy in your relationship is so difficult is that it stems from your own insecurities as a jealous person.
Granted, you may be aware of circumstances that warrant concern for the stability of your relationship. But in those cases, the healthy choice is to confront the situation, not side-step it with jealousy.
If you’re on the receiving end of a partner’s jealousy, you know how exhausting it is. You are set up to fail before you even try to succeed.
You may find yourself defending and justifying yourself when no defense or justification is warranted. And you most likely find yourself reeling in your vulnerability and willingness to take risks in the relationship.
What, then, are some simple steps to overcoming jealousy in your relationship?
Here are 5 simple steps to overcoming jealousy in your relationship.
1. Don’t let your imagination run wild.
A vivid imagination is a powerful tool. It’s the source of bestseller books, ingenious works of art, and creative problem-solving.
It can also be a dangerous tool if you start writing Fatal Attraction thrillers in your head. Allowing your mind to plot faithless schemes on the part of your partner will send you quickly spiraling. Before you know it, you and your partner will be wondering what is truth and what is fiction.
When you find yourself ruminating and obsessing over scenarios that have no proof, stop yourself. If you’re going to give your imagination free reign, allow it to dream up possibilities that make you happy.
2. Confront your own insecurities.
Overcoming jealousy in your relationship is really about coming face-to-face with your own underlying insecurities.
Ask yourself, “What am I really afraid of? That he will leave me? That she will make more money than I do? That I’m really not good enough/pretty enough/successful enough?”
Once you’re able to pinpoint what’s really coming up for you, ask yourself whether or not the jealousy you feel is based in fact.
3. Search for the root of your insecurities.
You may have fears of being abandoned or not being good enough. But when and where did those fears originate? Are your jealousy-wielding insecurities rooted in unhealed childhood wounds?
Did someone important to you leave your life at some point? Did a parent tell you that you weren’t wanted or weren’t as smart/pretty/worthy as your siblings?
This is a good time to seek out the help of a therapist who can guide you safely into those questions that might be painful to confront.
Understanding the origin of your insecurities will give you the discernment to recognize what’s really about your partner…and what’s really about you.
4. Have an honest conversation with your partner.
One of the reasons an imagination can go wild is that there is nothing to keep it in check. No fact-finding. No second opinion. No back-and-forth discussion to keep emotions and concerns balanced.
There is something very disarming about a person who can share his/her heart in a calm, non-accusatory, non-confrontational way.
By staying in the “I” and owning your own role in the relationship, you open the door to reciprocity.
If you aren’t sure how to communicate with your spouse or partner, start from your heart. Be honest, vulnerable, and self-accountable. And tell your partner what you want most out of your relationship. You might be surprised by the compassion and understanding you receive in return.
In this way, jealousy can actually be an opportunity for open communication and a deepening of emotional intimacy.
5. Accentuate the positive.
Overcoming jealousy in your relationship is all but impossible if you are always obsessing about negative behaviors and possibilities.
Simply shifting your focus to what is good and right in your relationship can stop the flow of negative scripting in your mind. And, most importantly, it will condition you to think and speak from a place of appreciation, not doubt and distrust.
Jealousy may be rooted in only one partner in your relationship, but it affects both of you and your relationship. It puts conditions on your love and blocks the gifts that can be given only within the safety of trust. It also sets you both up to respond to fiction and not truth.
Overcoming jealousy starts with knowing and owning your own story.
But, like everything else in a relationship, overcoming jealousy is the responsibility of both partners. It relies on healthy communication, and that is always a two-way street.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.