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.
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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.
The function of jealousy is multi-faceted. You’ll have to reflect on what underpins your experience of jealousy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Acknowledge your emotional needs by:
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!