How to Deal With Jealousy in Your Marriage (Without Flying Off the Handle)
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Jealousy is a perfectly natural human emotion that we all experience from time to time. It’s understandable to feel a combination of fear and anxiety when you perceive a possible threat to your romantic bliss. But when jealousy goes unchecked, it can often lead to bitterness, suspicion and resentment; none of which have a place in a happy and healthy marriage. If the green-eyed monster is ruining your relationship with your partner, here are some ways you can learn to better cope with it.
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Examine Your Relationship
You’ve heard a thousand times before that a good relationship is built on trust. Ask yourself, do you feel that your spouse is trustworthy? Are they honest with you? If your partner has never given you reason to doubt them, are your feelings of jealousy justified?
If your husband or wife has given you no reason to believe they’d be unfaithful, don’t let your mind be clouded or your marriage be poisoned by unfounded thoughts. Many people try to defend their jealous urges and appease their other half by saying, “I trust you but I don’t trust ____,” implying that your spouse would be too weak-willed to extricate themselves from the unwanted advances of your imaginary rival. Give them a little more credit than that, especially if they’ve done nothing to make you doubt them.
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If your partner has given you no reason not to trust them, perhaps the jealousy isn’t stemming from their actions, but rather from your own insecurities. Have you been cheated on in the past? Perhaps so, but you can’t hold a past lover’s mistake against your husband or wife. Does your low self-esteem have you thinking that your partner must be in search of something better? Try to stop comparing yourself to others and build up your own self-confidence to stave off those feelings.
You know that wonderful, amazing person you chose to marry who you’re terrified to lose? Remember that they chose you too. They married you, nobody else; which means you’re probably pretty amazing yourself.
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It hurts to feel jealous, but it probably hurts just as much to find out that your spouse doesn’t trust you or is misinterpreting your interactions with others. Try to put yourself in their position; if they accused you of having feelings for an old friend or criticised you for attracting harmless but flirtatious attention, how would it make you feel? Chances are you would probably feel they were being unfair and needlessly paranoid. You may even feel angry or hurt that they don’t trust you.
When you find yourself plagued by thoughts of jealousy, imagine how you would feel if the shoe were on the other foot. Your thoughts and feelings won’t be as strong once you realize how unjust you are being to your partner.
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Don’t Act, Reflect
It’s one thing to have jealous feelings, but it’s when you act on them that it becomes problematic in a relationship. Resist the urge to snoop through your partner’s phone, delete their Facebook friends or remind their coworkers that he or she is taken. It will only upset your spouse and make you come off as controlling and immature.
When jealous feelings arise, reflect on them, analyze them, and figure out what triggers them, but don’t immediately voice them or act on them without first stopping to reflect. Like many conflicts, things don’t look so bad when you go back to them later. Don’t wallow in jealous feelings though, as that can make things worse. Think about your feelings constructively in an attempt to diminish them.
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Talk To Your Partner About It
Sometimes you may have reason to be suspicious of your partner and you are allowed to ask questions. Don’t interrogate, pick a fight or throw out accusations; stick to the facts and approach your husband or wife at an appropriate time when you are both calm and talk with them about the feelings you are experiencing. Acknowledge that they may be unfair or unfounded and be open to finding a solution for them. Together you may be able to banish some of those negative feelings and establish boundaries that will help to minimize your jealousy while respecting both your needs. The only thing as important as trust to a relationship is open and honest communication. It’s never too late to talk to your partner and start rebuilding the foundation of trust that will support you both as you move forward together.