Think

/

Explore

/

A Therapist on How to Manage Jealousy in Your Relationship

Explore

A Therapist on How to Manage Jealousy in Your Relationship

Chances are you’ve experienced the green-eyed monster, jealousy. Sex and Relationship Therapist Aleksandra Trkulja shares wisdom on acknowledging and overcoming this very common emotion.

Aleksandra Trkulja

+ Follow

0 minute read

Why does jealousy occur? 



Jealousy is a normal emotion, but it’s had a bad wrap. A lot of us will perceive jealousy as uncomfortable, shameful, or inappropriate to feel. 


This attitude toward jealousy means many people don’t feel safe enough to process it openly. 


Instead, they let it bubble away inside, and it can manifest in some unappealing behaviours. 


In romantic relationships, jealousy is often experienced about a partner, or other people’s relationships. You might be jealous of how close other people are, or who your partner spends time with. 

So why do we get jealous of these things? 



The function of jealousy is multi-faceted. You’ll have to reflect on what underpins your experience of jealousy. 



  • + Jealousy reminds you of unmet needs- you haven’t established emotional safety in your relationship.


  • + It reflects something that you value and want more of- jealousy of another relationship’s closeness. 


  • + It reflects unresolved emotional hurt/unmet needs from past relationships- a past partner was avoidant or ambiguous about the relationship and this left you feeling emotionally unsafe. 


  • + It reflects insecurities that you carry, and project upon your partner- you worry you’re not good enough for the relationship, your self-confidence is low, or you make unhelpful comparisons to other relationships. 




When jealousy is problematic


Jealousy is problematic when we let it run amok. It can trigger a bunch of rumination and negative thinking. 


I’m going to help you identify unhelpful thinking styles, and then we’ll look at strategies to manage jealousy.  


Again, notice which ones apply to you... it might be all of them. 

1

Mind reading

This is assuming we know what another person thinks and feels. 


“He’s not happy in this relationship because he has more fun with other people, and probably wants the break up with me.”


I hate to break it to you, but no one can read minds.

2

Catastrophising

This is a form of future-tripping, or making a mountain out of a mole hill. 


“If he goes out with his friends, he’ll end up cheating on me, we’ll have a big fight and break up.”


Unfortunately, you’re also not a Seer, so you can’t actually predict the future. 

3

Black and White thinking

When we only see the extremes of a situation. 


“If she’s not spending time with me, she’s out trying to meet someone else.”


This is a limited perception of a situation, and a person. 

4

Emotional reasoning

 When we use our emotional states to inform a situation, opposed to the facts of a situation. 


“I’m jealous over her talking to that guy which means there’s something to worry about. She must be cheating.”


Remember, feelings aren’t facts!

How to manage jealousy

Strategy 1: Check the facts

Try checking the facts of the situation that has triggered jealousy. Where is the evidence of these predictions? 


If there is evidence of secrecy, lying, infidelity, or emotional ambiguity; these are also facts.


Jealousy might be reminding of you of a lack of emotional safety. 

Strategy 2: Trust

Come back to evidence of trust.


Consider the times you and your partner have agreed upon the conditions of your relationship, and the ways they have upheld this. 

Strategy 3: Process the emotion


Acknowledge your emotional needs by:



  • + Recognising: I’m feeling unsettled, upset, agitated. I’m ruminating over what they’re doing.


  • + Labelling: It’s jealousy!


  • + Identifying: Where do you feel the emotion in your body? Can you describe it?


  • + Breathing: Breathe into the place you feel the emotion. On every exhale, allow the sensation to soften and dissipate. 


  • + Sitting with it: What thoughts come up? If your mind is moving a million miles an hour try Journalling or writing it out. 


  • + Acknowledging the underlying need: You might be craving more quality time with your partner, feeling insecure and needing reassurance, you might even be triggered from past negative experiences and requiring support. 


  • + Actioning it: What needs to happen to complete the process of this emotion? Do you need to communicate to your partner you’ve been triggered? If it’s unclear, can you unpack it with a friend or therapist? Do you need to tell yourself words of support?

Strategy 4: Build your own life

Sometimes jealousy is prompted more when we’re becoming dependent on our partners to fulfil all of our needs. 


If jealousy is an unjustified projection, or insecurity; meaning, your partner is behaving securely and is trustworthy, start to build a life outside of the relationship. 


Connect with friends and family, engage in hobbies, and focus on what builds confidence. 

Jealousy can be an incredibly difficult emotion to experience, if we repress it. 


But, if you can safely process jealousy by getting familiar with your experience of unhelpful thinking, and emotion processing; you’ll likely be able to move through it much faster. 


Remember: jealousy is normal, it is just our societies approach to it that is skewed!

Shop Article

In this article

Noteworthy Reads

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. By clicking, you agree to our Privacy Policy.