Health and Wellness Associates
10 Proven Ways to Overcome Jealousy.
Jealousy has struck all of us at some point in our lives. In fact, we might have been under the spell of jealousy even before our very first memories. Jealous behaviors can be observed in human beings as early as infancy, but it’s one of those things that we likely won’t outgrow. Jealousy can intensify with age because the only thing worse than jealousy is romantic jealousy.
Think you’re too old or too “experienced” in relationships to be swept away by romantic jealousy? That’s unlikely. It can happen to anyone at any age. Jealousy usually has an interesting way of afflicting even the most (self-proclaimed) super-confident, “non-jealous” types.
The funny thing about romantic jealousy is that a) It’s never funny to the afflicted person, and b) People act like admitting to being jealous is like confessing to a crime. This could occur for various reasons, but it’s likely that the jealous person is already humiliated enough to discover that they can’t hide their jealousy (resulting in someone noticing it and pointing it out), therefore admitting to being jealous is only intensifying those uneasy feelings.
Like most things in life, romantic jealousy is okay in moderation. But what if you’re romantic jealousy goes overboard or even becomes obsessive in nature? This can not only affect your relationship, but also rob you of your happiness (and your sanity).
Below are 10 ways that are more than just band-aid solutions for overcoming romantic jealousy. Jealous feelings flare up for a reason and it’s important to look at yourself a little deeper and think about why you’re having these feelings. Romantic jealousy might begin a process of self-discovery and allow you to make some positive changes to not only better your relationship, but increase your overall happiness and wellbeing.
1. Don’t compare yourself
This tip is number one for a reason because if there is one thing that jealous people have in common it’s comparing themselves to others. The point of comparison is typically the individual that we believe our romantic partner is interested in or “likes” better than us. The danger with engaging in this downward-spiral habit: It feeds into negative things like low self-esteem, bitterness, cynicism, envy…you name it.
2. Focus on your relationship
Romantic jealousy not only takes up a lot of your mental space, but also physical space between you and your partner. When your conversations with your partner are characterized by arguments related to jealousy, you’re taking up time and energy that you can be spending and enjoying together.
What to do: One of the mysteries behind romantic jealousy is that the core fear of the jealous person is losing their partner, but the very acts that accompany jealousy can make that possibility come true. In other words, your biggest fear is losing your partner, but by letting jealousy interfere with your relationship, you might be pushing your partner away from you. Give your relationship priority over your jealousy.
3. How do you see yourself?
Self-esteem issues are an important root cause of romantic jealousy. Working on increasing self-esteem can be a lifelong process for some, but you can start by thinking about how your jealousy is influenced by your beliefs about yourself. If you feel you are not “enough” for your partner (i.e., smart enough, good looking enough, funny enough, rich enough, etc.) then you are prone to suffering from romantic jealousy.
What to do: One of the most effective ways to work on increasing your self-esteem is by participating in one (or more) activities or hobbies that you enjoy that provides you with a sense of meaning and accomplishment. This is not as complicated as it sounds. This hobby or activity can be anything you enjoy (e.g., cooking, singing, drawing, swimming, dancing). The point is that you’re doing something that makes you feel good about yourself, something that reminds you that there is more to you than the list of “enough’s”. You have many positive qualities and abilities that make you a special person. Practice acknowledging and celebrating this fact.
4. Forgive and forget
Romantic jealousy is often ridden with not just jealousy about things going on in the present, but things in your partners past as well. These “things” can be anything from baggage from a past relationship to an ex that is still somehow in your partner’s life. Forgetting the past is not an easy task, but it is critical if you want to enjoy a positive and lasting relationship with your partner.
What to do: There is a prerequisite, though, in your quest to forget your partners past: You must accept your partner for who they are. Neither you nor your partner can change what happened in the past. If you are accepting to be in a relationship with your partner, you should also agree to accept and respect the “life baggage” that they carry.
5. It might be you, not them
Oftentimes, people who are jealous fail to accept their own role in the problem and feel that it’s their partner who is triggering the jealous feelings and actions. In your pursuit to overcome romantic jealousy, consider that these feelings might actually have nothing to do with your partner.
What to do: In many cases, jealousy is a personal, internal state of insecurity and self-doubt. You could be trying to ease the burden on yourself by blaming your partner for “making” you jealous. Taking responsibility is key in order to begin addressing the problem.
6. Talk to your partner
Discussions between couples about romantic jealousy often appear more like an interrogation than an actual dialogue. Your partner will likely become defensive, tune you out, label you “jealous,” and dismiss anything you have to say.
What to do: If after you have thoroughly thought about your role and responsibility for your jealous behaviors you continue to feel like your partner is partly to blame, then it’s time to talk about it. This conversation should occur at a “neutral” time (i.e., not during or shortly after an argument or disagreement) and should consist of the following:
- Express your feelings to your partner. This is not the time to pretend that you’re not jealous. Your partner already knows you are, so leave the pride aside.
- Be specific about what bothers you. Don’t make general or arbitrary statements that leave your partner guessing or confused.
- Try to arrive at a solution together. Talking about a problem without participating in offering a solution comes off like you’re just complaining. Tell your partner how you would like to resolve your concerns and let your partner come up with solutions too.
7. Who you surround yourself with
A couple went for marriage counseling for issues unrelated to jealousy. After a few months of counseling, the wife suddenly began to bring up issues related to romantic jealousy. It was later revealed that the couple had recently rekindled an old friendship with another couple. The wife in the other relationship was extremely jealous towards her husband and would vent all of her jealous suspicions to her friend.
What to do: We all know the importance of surrounding ourselves with positive people, but we really understand this when we notice someone else’s issues or negative qualities rubbing off on us. If you are struggling with romantic jealousy, having a group of friends who either egg you on or speak negatively about relationships in general will only bring you down. Strive to surround yourself with other people that you would like to emulate.
8. Stop stalking…
People struggling with romantic jealousy often spend hours trying to dig up information on their partner. They search emails, social media sites, personal belongings, cell phones, or even try to secretly follow their partner. Finding no evidence to substantiate their jealousy theories does not discourage them. It only seems to make them search longer and harder. Stalking feeds into the obsession aspect of romantic jealousy. It is time consuming and distressing for the jealous partner. When the other partner finds out about the stalking behaviors, they might feel angered at the mistrust and the violation of privacy.
What to do: Think about how you are investing your time, the way it makes you feel when you are stalking your partner, and what else you can be doing with your time instead. This can help put things in perspective. If you ask someone who has overcome romantic jealousy, they will likely tell you that they took a “let the chips fall where they may” approach to their relationship: If their partner is doing something wrong, sooner or later the truth will be revealed. They refuse, though, to let negative behaviors rob their happiness and well being.
9. …so you can stop and smell the roses
Imagine yourself enjoying your relationship without putting in all the energy that jealousy takes from you. Once you free yourself from some of the negative thoughts and behaviors that accompany romantic jealousy, you will be amazed to rediscover all of things you’ve been missing. You will also find that you are enjoying your partner and your relationship so much more.
What to do: Visualize what your ideal relationship with your partner would look like. Write your ideas down if needed. Once you set the intention to work on yourself you will be more likely to actively put effort towards your goals.
10. Confidence is key
When we want to make personal changes, sometimes there is an inevitable focus on the negative: Your issues, your problems, and your negative traits. Change can also successfully take place by focusing on and building upon something positive that will counter or outweigh the negative behavior that you want to change. Confidence is the direct opposite of jealousy. When you build self-confidence, feelings like jealousy, doubt, and insecurity don’t have room to grow. Those feelings will always be present to a certain extent because we’re human, but your confidence and belief in yourself will prevail.
What to do: Developing and increasing your self-confidence works in much the same way as the other tips on this article. You must acknowledge and accept your own uniqueness and dedicate your time to activities that make you feel good about yourself and give you a sense of purpose. If your self-confidence is based on what others think or say about you or what you think your partner expects from you, then your beliefs about yourself will likely be unstable and ever changing. When your self-confidence is based on what you feel and know about yourself, then you alone are in charge of your own happiness.
Health and Wellness Associates
Preventative and Restorative Medicine