A Couple’s Guide to Dealing with Jealousy

If you’re in a relationship long enough, at some point you may feel a twinge of jealousy. I’ll admit, I’ve experienced passing jealousy and I’m sure I’m not the only man or woman who will admit to that. When jealousy becomes a problem is when it’s persistent and unfounded.

So how do you deal with a jealous partner? How do you deal with your own Jealousy?

I want to approach this topic from both sides: The Partner who is Jealous and The Partner who is dealing with Jealousy.

My Partner is Jealous

Are they a jealous person by nature, or do they have some cause to be jealous(even if you don’t agree)? I’ve met and dated plenty of girls who will flat out tell you “I’m a jealous person” and I have to tell you, they’re never kidding when they tell you that. It’s for you to decide if you think that you can have a relationship with someone who is predisposed to jealousy. Someone who is inherently a jealous person will find a reason to be jealous over something eventually. There isn’t much to do that can fix these types of situations except talk about these issues, try to get to the root of the issues, and determine what changes you can make if any. Even then, it’s something you’ll have to continue to work on and deal with.

Now, what do you do about about a partner who isn’t naturally a jealous person, but is currently dealing with Jealousy?

This might sound too simple, or too crazy but...Talk about it.

How you approach it is simple. You need to bring it up in a way that avoids an accusatory tone and also does not discount their jealousy, even if you think they don’t have a cause to be jealous. You need to get to the heart of why your partner is jealous without sounding judgmental.

I’m going to make some pretty broad simplifications here and say that you can probably break down jealousy between partners into some simple categories

  • Time spent with others
  • Connections with others
  • Doubts around fidelity

If it’s a matter of time spent together vs. time spent with others, try to listen and keep an open mind. Perception is key, so even if you evenly split your time between your partner and others, if your partner FEELS that isn’t the case, then you need to listen to how they feel.

If it’s a matter of your connection with others, I’d suggest you bring up exactly why it’s an issue for your partner. If you’re friends with someone that is the same sex as your partner, maybe they have fears that you’d rather be with that person. Or maybe it’s simply that your partner wants as strong a connection as you have with a friend. Either way, the same advice stands, Talk about it.

Once you’ve addressed how they feel, you should ask them what you can do to alleviate any of their jealousy. When it comes to spending more time with them, or working on building your connection together by having more meaningful conversations, go for it.

When it comes to issues of doubts of fidelity, I’d suggest meeting most of their demands, within reason. That means, say YES to being more open about what you’re doing, but NO to eliminating a friend from your life. Anything you can do to make your partner less jealous, within reason and what you’re comfortable with, you should try to do. A simple thing that helps is when talking about people you hang out with, tell your partner their name and their relationship with you.

ex. Tonight I’ll be hanging out with Jane Doe, who is friends with John Doe who you met that one time.

That paints a pretty trustworthy scene. As opposed to “Me and some friends are gonna hang out”. The point is not to look shady after all. More than anything else, keep a dialogue about jealousy open so that if it does rear it’s head, you can address it early.

I’m Jealous

If you are jealous, you should address the why of your jealousy. Are you jealous because your partner is spending more time with someone else, is it based on their connection with someone else? Is it a matter of doubt or suspicion?

If it’s a matter of the amount of time spent with your partner,  you should address the issue with your partner. You may notice I use the term “partner” a lot more than boyfriend/girlfriend and the reason why is because I think relationships are partnerships.The time you dedicate to your working on your relationship can be directly tied to the strength of your connection. If you feel your partner is giving you say, 10% of their time, but giving their friends 50% of their time, you should address that issue with your partner.

Connections can be a bit tricky so it’s up to you to really evaluate the situation. Most people you meet have strong connections that predate the people that they’re currently dating. If you’re jealous that your partner has a friend who is truly connected to them, you should examine why this connection makes you feel jealous. Is it because they might be attracted to them, or are you simply jealous because you wish your connection was as strong as their connection?

Don’t be intimidated by your partner having healthy relationships. In fact, that’s a sign that they probably know how to maintain a healthy relationship with you. Now, if you feel that your partner isn’t working to develop your connection, that’s another story. It’s natural to want to have a strong connection with someone and to be a bit jealous of the connections they have, but if they’re working on your connection you can’t really hold their prior relationships against them.

If it’s a matter of doubt or suspicion, you need to examine why you have doubts. Is it a change in behavior or a growing distance? Do you have a reason to have suspicion? Maybe it’s a sudden desire to spend more time alone, or a sudden increase in suspicious behavior. Either way, you need to address these issues with your partner in a non-confrontational way. I can’t know for sure if your doubts are founded or unfounded, that’s for you to decide. I will say this, having doubts in the first place is never a good sign so if you do have doubts and they’re causing you to become jealous, address them early. If you’re not seeing a change in behavior, or your doubts and suspicions are growing, you need to decide for yourself whether or not you can be with someone who makes you jealous enough to even consider a break up.

Remember, Jealousy can be overcome with willingness to Talk About It.

Good Luck Out There

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