Everyone gets jealous from time to time, especially in relationships. We often get jealous of our partner’s ex or a friend who gets to spend more time with them than we do.
It’s normal to feel jealous.
But if you feel like your jealousy is getting out of hand, or if your partner has expressed concerns for the way you act whenever they are away from you, it might be time to start working on the steps to overcome jealousy.
Jealously can be a major problem for a relationship. A survey of marital therapists reported that jealousy was a big problem for a third of their clients.
It’s not always easy to move away from a jealous state of being, but it’s worth it if you want to save your relationship.
If you’re having trouble with friends and jealousy, you can also apply these same steps to save that kind of relationship too.
Whatever it is you are dealing with, there’s no need to blame the other person for why you aren’t happy.
Once you know that and believe that you are responsible for your own thoughts and feelings, the rest is easy. Here’s how you can stop being jealous with three simple steps.
1) Think about how jealousy shows up in your life.
The first step is to pay attention to how jealousy is blowing up in your life. If you are always worried about what your partner is doing and it’s stressing you out, it’s time for an intervention.
Your first thought might be to try to change your partner’s actions, but what really needs to happen is that you need to change the way you think about your partner’s actions.
It’s very difficult at first to look at yourself as the source of trouble in your life, especially since you might be inclined to think that this person is trying to make you jealous.
What’s really going on though is that you are having thoughts about their behavior based on how you think they should be acting.
Relationship expert Mara Opperman told Bustle that “it’s imperative to figure out the underlying reasons for your jealousy and what’s causing it.”
“Sometimes we are affected by childhood experiences or past intimate relationships. For example, if you were betrayed in a previous relationship you may now think that your current relationship will be a replay of this. Knowing where your trust issues derive from can help you grow.”
If you want to get rid of your jealous thoughts, you need to figure out where it’s coming from so you can get over it.
2) Decide to think a new thought that serves you at the moment.
Of course, thinking new thoughts can help you feel better in the moment, but it still takes practice to start to believe those new thoughts.
It’s very frustrating for people to have to take responsibility for who they think and feel about a certain situation or person, but once you do, you will feel so much better and realize that people are going to act whatever way they want – there’s nothing you can do about it.
You might feel like you deserve to be treated differently, but unless you do something about it, you won’t get a different result.
Deciding to change your thoughts means that you are taking responsibility for the way you feel. That’s a key step in overcoming jealousy in your world.
Whether you are tired of how a friend leaves you behind on a Friday night or your boyfriend calls his ex-girlfriend every chance he gets, all of your drama stems from the thoughts you have about those situations, not the people themselves.
In the end, you need to accept that love comes with complex emotions.
Marriage and relationship therapist Moshe Ratson offer some great advice in the Huffington Post:
“What you need to do is to open your heart to your partner, trust whatever comes and keep calm.”
3) Work on yourself.
The last thing you can do is to refocus your energy on yourself, instead of thinking up new and exciting ways for other people to show up in your life.
You might be inclined to tell your partner how they should act, but that will only work for a little while.
People are designed to do things that benefit them, so if your partner isn’t living up to your expectations, it’s not because they don’t love you or want to do right by you – it’s because they are wired to think about themselves.
Instead of making them jump through hoops to show you that they love you, think about how you can show up differently for them, or for yourself even.
We are so quick to judge other people’s behavior, but we rarely look at our own as the source of our dismay.
Taking responsibility for your thoughts and feelings means that you need to recognize that all of this jealousy might be in your head and that there really is nothing to worry about.
It’s not a fun thought, but if you acknowledge it, and are willing to explore it, you might find that you are more open to others and their behaviors, thus, reducing your jealousy.
In the Telegraph, relationship expert Sarah Abell says that you need to stop “indulging your insecurities“.
This means that you shouldn’t feed the beast by scrolling a particular person’s Instagram page.
Put a halt to these activities because you’ll make the problem bigger than it has to be.
Feeling secure in your own life means you have nothing to worry about. Relying on others to make you happy is when the jealousy comes up and causes you trouble.
There’s no right or wrong way to go about dealing with jealousy, but one thing is for sure: if you don’t at least try to get your jealous thoughts under control, you will be struggling in your relationship until your partner decides enough is enough.
4) Stop projecting your own insecurities onto your partner.
The first thing you need to know is that your jealousy has nothing to do with the other person. In fact, most people project their own insecurities onto their partner as a way of dealing with their fears.
Whether or not you actually feel worried that your partner may cheat on you, somewhere in your mind, you might worry that you’ll actually cheat on your partner.
Our brains are tricky things. You might want to look at why you are putting your fears out there in a way that makes you doubt your partner.
If you are being honest with yourself, you might come to find that you are more worried about yourself slipping up than your partner.
5) Talk about your feelings and worries openly with your partner.
If you really worry about your partner cheating on you or you worry that they are going to do something to hurt you, it might be a good idea to talk to them about your feelings and work through those fears together.
While it is crucial to communicate your feelings, you also want to do it in the right way as well.
Gwendolyn Seidman Ph.D. offers some good advice in Psychology Today:
“If you express anger or sarcasm, or hurl accusations at your partner, that’s not going to help. You must be direct, but not hostile. Calmly explain your feelings and discuss how to find a solution. This will enable you to be more satisfied.”
Nobody said you had to figure this stuff out on your own.
It’s not easy to be honest about your feelings, but if you do the work to own the doubts and fears and talk about it from a place of fear for the future, your partner will understand and be able to help you see that you have nothing to worry about.
6) Look at how being jealous is holding you back from enjoying life.
If jealousy is coming up for you in your relationship, you’ll want to examine how it is holding you back from enjoying your relationship.
You can’t trust one another if you aren’t being honest and if you are not making room for trust in that relationship because of built-up emotions or fears, the problem will persist forever.
Be real about what you think is going to happen and examine the likelihood that those fears will come to fruition. You’ll probably find that there is no real evidence that those things will happen.
Jealously tend to occur because of self-esteem issues. So whenever it comes up, Marriage and relationship therapist Moshe Ratson offer some great advice in the Huffington Post:
“The next time you feel jealous, remember that your partner is with you because they want to be with you because of your positive qualities.”
7) Examine your reasons for being jealous.
If you are jealous of your partner, you need to take some time to consider why that is. If they have hurt you in the past, your fears may be well-founded.
If they are nothing but wonderful to you, you might be sabotaging the relationship for another reason.
Consider why you might not want the relationship to work out. What happens if you aren’t with this person?
What happens if you stay with them? Is that what you really want? Answering these questions will help you get some clarity around why you are acting this way.
8) Journal about your thoughts and see them for what they are.
Sometimes it’s really hard to manage our thoughts when they are trapped in our head. Get your thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper.
This makes it easier for you to be objective about what you are thinking and you can see the thoughts for what they are.
This is also a really helpful exercise because you can look at the thoughts as if they belong to someone else and make objective decisions about whether or not you want to keep thinking those thoughts or not.
If you’re struggling to figure out what to write, Sarah Abell in the Telegraph says to “try writing down all your irrational thoughts in one column and next to them write the exact opposite…Then in the third column, write down any evidence to support the statement in the second column.”
9) Decide to think something different about your partner.
When you make time to look at your thoughts and how they are serving you in your relationship, you’ll have the chance to change those thoughts so that you aren’t walking around worried about your relationship all the time.
It can take time to decide to think new thoughts, but the more you work on it, the better your relationship will be.
Jealousy can tear a perfectly good relationship apart. It can rear its ugly head and make even the most secure of partners feel like they are losing their minds.
Often, jealousy is deeply rooted in beliefs about the way men or women act, and if you’ve been hurt before by someone else, it’s likely that you are allowing old wounds to hold this relationship back. You might not even realize it’s happening.
Jealousy doesn’t serve anyone and if you have any hope of having a wonderful, loving relationship, you need to learn to let it go.