In romantic relationships it is quite natural for partners to be mildly possessive about each other and jealous of other objects of attention. In fact, taken in small doses jealousy helps partners to appreciate each other and not to take the other person for granted. However, when jealous reactions get out of proportion, the relationship may come under great strain. So if you feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells in order to avoid an outburst from your partner, here are a few ways to cope with jealousy in your relationship.
Dealing with a jealous partner becomes easier when you can identify the root cause. Even though people and situations differ, there are certain common themes of jealousy and understanding these can help one to cope with a jealous partner.
If your partner has had an unpleasant experience in the past, it is likely that he or she will be more jealous than usual where you are concerned. Or if your partner does not feel that his/her needs are being addressed, it can lead to emotional attacks and jealous outbursts.
If your partner feels that he/she does not measure up to you or your admirers in some way, it can lead to feelings of jealousy. The sense of inadequacy may be intellectual, physical, sexual, financial or related to any other yardstick by which men and women make comparisons and judgments.
Sometimes when a person may be too emotionally dependent on a relationship, he or she tends to think of the partner as their “property”. So if they perceive their partners getting near to others, they take it as a violation of their rights to their partners and become insanely jealous. After you have identified or at least guessed the root cause of your partner’s jealous feelings, you will be more prepared to deal with his or her reactions. If you believe that the situation is fast getting out of control and you need to talk to your partner, go through the following steps.
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Select the right time and place
Set aside adequate time to talk with your partner about his/her feelings and make sure that you will be undisturbed during this time. Also choose a neutral space like the living room where neither of you will feel under pressure of being in someone else’s territory.
Communicate with each other
Bring up the issue of your partner’s jealousy and the way it is affecting your relationship. Address the causes or actions which may have led your partner to feel jealous. While your partner speaks, listen carefully since this will give you important clues to what makes him or her jealous. You may find that your partner is simply asking you to pay more attention to him or her. Also talk about what you expect from each other and from the relationship in general. Remember that to sort this out, you need to be aware of each other’s needs and work towards fulfilling them together.
Reassure your partner in small ways
If your partner’s jealousy springs from insecurity, look for ways that will make you both feel more secure in the relationship. These can be small symbolic gestures like wearing a ring given by your boyfriend on your birthday or making it a point to call your wife every time you leave town on work. Don’t feel as though you are giving in to your partner’s whims since in reality a relationship is secure only as long as the partners feel secure in it.
Build your partner’s confidence
Take every opportunity to tell your partner how much you love him or her and why you wouldn’t want to be with anyone else. This is particularly helpful when your partner’s jealousy arises from feelings of real or perceived inadequacy. Be sure to give lots of compliments to your partner and talk about the great future you are looking forward to share with each other.
Address your partner’s possessiveness
If you find that your partner’s jealous reactions rise from possessiveness, first check your own actions. Do you think you have done something – perhaps unknowingly – to make your partner want to exert his/her “right” over you? It is easier to understand this type of jealousy if you put yourself in your partner’s shoes and view your own actions from his/her perspective. If your partner’s reactions are even remotely understandable, then maybe you can avoid those actions in future. However if your partner’s possessiveness borders on the extreme to the extent that you are not expected to have a life of your own, it may be time to tell someone to grow up.
Avoid trigger factors
Again if you can predict what triggers off your partner’s bouts of jealousy, avoid them as far as practical. For instance if your partner gets bugged by co-workers calling you at home, make clear to them that they should contact you in your leisure time only in urgent matters. However make only those adjustments in your behavior which you know you can keep, like always being reachable by cell phone. If you happen to break promises agreed between the two of you, your partner may get more jealous.
Seek professional help
Sometimes a partner’s jealousy can go to extreme lengths and be a source of perpetual anxiety. If you find yourself living in dread of your partner’s next jealous outburst, it is time to look for professional help. If talking to your partner has not yielded any result, go for counseling sessions as a couple and encourage your partner to do likewise in person.
Jealousy in relationships is natural since partners want to protect what they share with each other from external distractions. Some amount of jealousy may even help to spice up a relationship. But when it become intense or irrational, it is time to find out why it is so and how it can be dealt with so that both partners feels loved and comfortable in the relationship.