Jealousy

Published by Sarah Horrocks
Published on 3 November 2009

When your other half starts eyeing up a pretty girl in the street, you automatically feel an attack of the old green-eyed monster coming on. It this a normal reaction? How can you control often-embarrassing feelings of jealousy? Here’s how.

When your other half starts eyeing up a pretty girl in the street, you automatically feel an attack of the old green-eyed monster coming on. It this a normal reaction? How can you control often-embarrassing feelings of jealousy? Here’s how.

Jealousy: a sign of distress
According to the dictionary, jealousy in relationsips is a state of being resentful of someone regarded as a sexual rival. It's a mixture of fear and anger: fear of losing the one you love, and anger at seeing him show interest in other women. Behind jealousy there hides a real desire to possess and control your partner. There aren’t any scientific studies on the subject, but it seems that men and women experience jealousy in the same way, even if men tend to express it more than women do.

The origins of jealousy
According to Freud, it’s totally human and normal to be jealous. Jealousy has its roots in childhood: we all need to be loved, and from a very young age we want to be our parents’ favourite. When a little brother or sister comes along, a fear of abandonment in favour of the new arrival emerges. This is how jealousy develops between siblings. Later on in life, the same thing happens and the child-like emotion comes into play in relationships. We all get a bit jealous from time to time, but strong jealousy reveals a real lack of self-confidence. A jealous person not only doubts their partner’s faithfulness, but their own capabilities and attractiveness. They think they aren’t worthy of their partner's love.

How to overcome jealousy
Here are some simple tips that are easy to put into practice and will help you overcome jealousy in everyday situations.
- List the situations
This will help you put things in perspective: list the situations that trigger jealous thoughts, and look at them objectively. Reverse the roles, and ask yourself if he really has reason to be jealous every time you start talking to another man, or whether he's over-reacting.
- Communicate
Share your doubts, fears and thoughts with your partner (without scaring him too much!). If it pains you to see him looking down your best friend's top, tell him so that he’ll start being more sensitive to your feelings.
-Don’t stick to each other like glue
Set aside time for yourselves. Go out with your friends when he goes out with his, make the most of your time spent apart, and avoid grilling him about what he’s been doing when he gets home.
- Learn to value yourself
Either alone or with your partner, make a list of all your qualities, physical attributes and everything else he loves about you. Whenever you start to feel jealousy rising up, re-read your list to remind yourself that he loves you and that you’ve no cause to envy that blonde with the endless legs!

When it gets out of hand…
It’s normal to be a bit miffed when your partner is eyeing up another woman, but if someone starts spending all their time spying, checking phones, grilling their partner and imagining him or her with someone else, then their jealousy is bordering on obsession. Looking for clues he’s being unfaithful and imagining what your love rival is like, whether or not he’s even being unfaithful, isn’t healthy and shows your jealousy is out of hand. The answer is to go and see a therapist who will help you re-discover your confidence in yourself and your partner.

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