How To: Overcome Jealousy
Posted by Girls Guide To on July 2, 2012 at 9:40 PM
When you feel jealous, it usually means you are insecure about something. Sorry to be so blunt about it, but that’s the way it goes. The thing about jealousy is that it doesn’t happen if you feel 100% confident, but no one, not even Beyonce, is 100% confident all the time. What I’m trying to say is that jealousy is almost inevitable. So huddle close, friends, and let me tell you how to handle it.
I’ve done a lot of crazy, jealousy-fueled things I am ashamed of. Things that make me cringe when I remember that, yes, that was in fact me and, no, I cannot take it back. I’d like to be able to blame it all on hormonal imbalances, but that would be a huge lie. All I have to blame are my insecurities and my lack of control over them.
When jealousy and suspicion strikes, we women often compare ourselves to our rival, we feel threatened, and we imagine the worse case scenario - that our partner or spouse might leave us for someone else.
Not only is jealousy unpleasant to experience, but women who are chronically jealous or suspicious often misinterpret what is going on - taking what might be an innocent event and thinking about it in the worst way possible.
For example, if your boyfriend does not immediately return a phone call, a highly jealous girl will jump to a negative conclusion (my guy doesn't love me or my husband is cheating).
Jumping to these conclusions will drive you crazy. And it often fuels your suspicion more.
And not only do highly jealous women drive themselves crazy, they often drive their partners crazy as well! Being around a suspicious person is difficult to deal with. No one likes to have everything that happens turned into a negative event! Moreover, being with a jealous person is difficult because highly suspicious partners can be overly controlling, needy, and invasive.
Jealousy is just insecurity wearing a super-ugly mask. Sometimes, it takes a lot of magic to remove the mask safely. So how do you get the mask off, even if it feels super-glued to your face?
1. Talk It Out
Ugh, I know. This is so hard, right? But typically, the best way to deal with jealousy or suspicion is to talk to your husband or boyfriend about the issue.
When we are suspicious or jealous, we often try to hide our true feelings from our guys, but bottling it all up and ignoring our emotions never works. Never. Our feelings always inevitable get the best of us and influence our behavior, whether we like it or not.
So when we experience jealousy and don’t talk about it, it comes out through sudden mood changes, acting overly controlling, being overly sensitive and needy, causing unnecessary arguments and fights, pointing out a romantic rival's every flaw, attacking a partner ("why did you do that?"), and so on. Sound familiar? I am pretty sure that any of those have described me more times that I’d like to remember.
Don’t be like me, just let it out. As a general rule, when talking about jealousy, it helps to focus on your feelings and not necessarily your partner's behavior. In other words, don’t blame or attack your spouse or partner because you feel jealous - rather explain how you feel ("Sometimes my jealousy gets the best of me, and I don't like feeling this way...").
If you can talk directly to your spouse or partner about how you feel, you are less likely to act in ways that create more distance and distrust in your relationship or marriage. In fact, people often feel closer when they can talk to their partners about their problems in a constructive manner. Also, you are most likely to get the reassurance that you need from a partner when you discuss your jealousy in a calm, cool manner. And if your partner gives you reassurances when you are feeling jealous, your feelings will fade over time.
2. Reframe the Situation
Another way of overcoming jealousy involves trying to think about events that make you suspicious differently.
Again, jealous women put the worst spin on everything that happens. And a lot of things that happen in a relationship or marriage are somewhat ambiguous – events and actions are almost always open to more than one interpretation.
Example: If your guy doesn’t answer the phone right away, there are many different possible explanations (he’s busy at work, batteries die, calls don’t go through, etc). Overly jealous individuals, however, jump to the worst-case scenario and dwell on it, which just leads to more problems in the long run. I call the worrying and the dwelling the “vortex of doom.” It’s not a fun place to be.
So, when events that trigger jealousy occur, channel Apple and “think different.” Rather than jump to the worst-case, why not try to think about the best-case scenario? (From my experience, it’s probably true anyway.)
Learning to interpret events positively, if done consistently, can help you overcome your jealousy. In fact, a romantic partner's ability to put a positive spin on things that happen is one of the key differences between relationships and marriages that succeed, and those that fail.
3. Get All the Information
Suspicion is often fueled by a lack of information. Being jealous involves imagining the worst, but not being sure if your feelings are correct. For some people, the most difficult part of being suspicious is not knowing what the truth might be.
So as a last resort, one way to deal with jealousy and suspicion involves trying to get to the bottom of things. In fact, some women (sheepishly raising my hand) have a very difficult time letting go of their suspicions until they have enough information to make up their mind or until they have the answers that they are looking for.
But, the problem with this approach is that the quest for information usually takes on a life of its own. People seek out information, but they do not know when to stop, and their search only fuels their suspicion even more.
With this in mind, remember these guidelines for trying to get to the bottom of things: To begin with, asking a lot of invasive questions is usually not a good way to go about discovering the truth. If your guy is trying to hide things from you, he is not likely to tell you about it simply because you ask. Duh.
Second, many people resort to snooping. But, snooping raises some, uh, moral issues. But, if you do snoop on your partner, try to set a time limit – a week, a month, or whatever, given the issue at hand. It is vital to set a strict time limit and keep to it. Otherwise, your search will just lead to a never-ending quest for more information, which only fuels suspicion even more. And, you know, if you get caught, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do.
If you do not discover anything within the time limit then try to let it go. If you are still suspicious, remind yourself that you tried to get the truth and discovered nothing - you gave it your best shot and came up empty-handed.
On the other hand, if you do discover something, at least now you can deal with a real problem rather than spend your time worrying about what might be. Which leads you back to step #1.)
How have you fought jealousy before? Can you ever really kill the “green-eyed monster?”