Jealous means he loves? How to cope with jealousy: tips from a psychologist
“Beware of jealousy, sir. That – a beast with green eyes, mocking its prey,” – advised the hero of Shakespeare’s “Othello” his friend Iago. Wikipedia does not deny the classic, calling jealousy a negatively colored emotion and “one of the most difficult and unpleasant experiences of the spectrum of human emotion.”
In interpersonal relationships, this phenomenon of psychological nature has been evident since childhood – we are jealous of mom and dad for other people, best friends for their friends, and we want the one we first fall in love with to devote all his time to us. Later, this feeling moves almost entirely into the realm of love relationships, although adults are capable of friendly jealousy as well.
And if mild jealousy adds spice to the relationship, the green-eyed monster that Shakespeare wrote about literally eats away at the soul, provoking a couple of quarrels, misunderstandings and complete discord. It’s okay to feel a sting of jealousy from time to time, but when the uncertainty in the partner interferes with being together and enjoying life, the “beast” must be curbed.
Why we are jealous
The main reason for jealousy – the fear of losing something dear that you have (respect, love, friendship). The root of this fear is doubt. “The cause of doubts in some cases lies in the self-esteem, damaged by the trauma received in childhood or experienced relationships. For example, the betrayal of a loved one or treason, – explains clinical psychologist and hypnotherapist Olga Golosova. – “Traumas of this kind make you feel that you do not deserve love and affection, and therefore you are anxious when your partner pays attention to someone else.
“Sometimes jealousy is a feeling that arises from a lack of attention from a loved one, when you feel like someone else is getting it instead of you,” the expert continues. – If you are tormented by jealousy, you are emotionally dissatisfied with the existing relationship and expect more from it, although perhaps your demands are unreasonably high. Wanting to get more attention, you become suspicious, aggressive, resort to psychological manipulation, only to pull favorite that actually only worsens the situation.
Signs of jealousy in a relationship
Carefully read the psychologist’s list of signs. If you recognize among them a few that fit your behavior, then your jealousy is time to take control.
You want to spend with your partner 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Bored – ok, but do not allow him to set a step without you? This behavior indicates selfishness and morbid dependence, not love.
You’re constantly checking up on him when you’re not together. Oh, this eternal question, “Where are you?” If you ask it ten to a hundred times a day, surely there will come a point where your partner gets tired of it. And quite a scarecrow, sorry, if you ask him to send a photo surrounded by those with whom he spends time.
His casual interactions with the opposite sex invariably irritate you.
You don’t like him spending time with his friends because you don’t want him to have a good time without you and you’re not sure he has as much fun with you.
You follow him on social media, either overtly or covertly, noting his reactions to other people’s posts and checking search terms, which predictably fills your mind with suspicion.
You regularly rebuke him for cheating, feeding your own mistrust.
How to stop being jealous
To curb the doubts and mistrust your partner, you must first honestly admit that these feelings bother you. Then – identify their cause, alone or with the help of a psychologist. If there is no real reason for jealousy, if your partner does not manipulate you, treats you with respect and love, the next step – gradually change the attitude toward yourself, because perhaps in this case, the breeding ground for jealousy – low self-esteem. It’s a long process, but it’s worth working on the result.
1. Share feelings.
Instead of insults, ultimatums, bans and other manipulations, just talk and listen to each other. Be sincere and respectful of your partner and remain calm to avoid fighting or jumping to conclusions.
3. seek compromise.
Try to discuss painful issues and find a compromise to calm, not fuel, feelings of jealousy. Agree on what is acceptable and what is not in your couple and make sure you come to mutual agreement.
4. Build trust.
Love suffocates in a relationship that lacks trust. Even in a close relationship, each partner remains entitled to personal boundaries, to personal time. Trust and freedom are the key to a strong and lasting relationship.
5. Fewer fantasies.
Stop mixing your imagination with reality and perceive everything in black and white. Believe that all is well in your relationship, and distract yourself from doubts with pleasant and useful activities, whether it’s work, movies, a walk or sports.
6. Appreciate yourself
Chase away doubts along the lines of “What if I don’t deserve him, he’s too good for me. All people are special and unique. And you are worthy of true love.
7. Ask your friends.
If you think you’re overreacting to jealousy, ask your friends for their opinion. Share how you feel and ask what they think about it. Sometimes it’s helpful to get a different perspective to see what you’re missing out on.
8. Don’t retaliate.
In the heat of jealousy, you run the risk of defecting to the “dark side” and doing things you’ll regret out of spite or resentment. Do not avenge your feelings, trying to arouse reciprocal jealousy – this will only make things worse. If something is bothering you, say it straight, don’t play hard to get and don’t manipulate.
9. Forget about the Past
If you’ve had unfortunate experiences with your partner’s cheating in the past, don’t let past traumas ruin what you have now. Your new partner is not connected to what came before and is not responsible for the mistakes of others. It’s not fair to put him or her on the same level as the people who once hurt you. Focus on your current relationship.
10. Just love.
Instead of looking for reasons to be suspicious, just feel free to show your love. Say words of support and love to your partner, surprise and delight each other, be honest, don’t manipulate. This is what strengthens the bond.
How to get rid of jealousy – 10 ways
Today I will tell you how to get rid of jealousy toward your husband, wife, parents, children or friends. So why are people jealous of their husbands for their girlfriends? Their wives to men they don’t know? Their parents to other children? Where does jealousy come from?
- First, jealousy comes from fear. Fear of losing what you love.
- Secondly, it grows out of insecurity in yourself, in your relationship with your partner (friend, child, whatever). The insecurity that your partner loves you and will not prefer you to another person who will be better than you.
- Third, jealousy is a consequence of a possessive attitude toward your partner. The desire to have a monopoly on his personal life, to interfere in all his affairs.
- Fourthly, this quality can grow out of any other complexes and fears.
What have we not seen in the list of reasons for jealousy? Love! Jealousy does not arise from love, its basis is fear. Constant outbursts of jealousy only interfere with love and turn the relationship into a series of misery and mistrust.
How to overcome jealousy? How to eliminate the causes of this feeling?
Get rid of everything that does not serve your love.
During jealousy attacks, many people play spy games. They constantly check the outgoing calls on the phone spouse, trying to catch the smell of perfume from his jacket, calling him every hour to make sure that he met with his friends, and not sitting in the guest mistress, forbid him to communicate with members of the opposite sex, etc. In short, they keep their partner on a short leash. At the same time, they don’t even think about where this feeling leads them.
Subconsciously people may think that they are solving some problem, which serves the interests of a healthy relationship. After all, spouses should love each other, should not cheat with other women and men, they think. And so they need to be constantly confident in their partner’s fidelity and do everything they can to nurture that confidence, even if it causes a wave of mistrust, negative emotions, and quarrels over idle occasions. In this way, jealousy gets the green light.
People are used to the fact that love and jealousy go hand in hand, and many have learned to put up with the fact that jealousy has become a full participant in their relationship.
But in fact, the paranoia that arises out of jealousy does not serve the purpose of love and harmonious life together at all, but only poisons love. Jealousy, and actions caused by jealousy, do not solve problems, but create them.
Think about what your endless outbursts of jealousy will lead to? You are so afraid of lying, but you are wrapping your relationship in an atmosphere of mistrust. You are so afraid of losing your partner, but at the same time, you try to control his every move, accuse him, create bans, scolding, yelling, suspecting …
Does this set the stage for a close, trusting, healthy and long-lasting relationship? The irony of jealousy (and many other feelings based on fear in general) is that your fear only brings closer what you are so afraid of! Mistrust and paranoia ultimately make the relationship more fragile and alienate you from your partner.
The next time you have a jealous rage and feel like yelling at your husband or checking his phone, ask yourself, how can these actions help your relationship? How will it help your love? How will it prevent those things (losing your partner, breaking up the relationship) that you fear so much?
If your answer to all three questions is “None,” or “It will only hinder,” then give your jealousy a red flag.
That alone won’t help you get rid of that feeling completely, of course. But, the first step in getting rid of negative emotions is to realize that you don’t need these emotions, that they only disturb you.
Free your relationship from that which does not serve the interests of love!
2. Eliminate your fears.
The things we fear, we naturally don’t want to think about. For example: “What if I lose my job? I don’t even want to think about that!” As strange as it may sound, our fears have power over us precisely because we don’t want to think about what will happen when the fear comes true.
Of course, you would disagree with me and say, “I don’t think so! I think about what I’m afraid of all the time. I imagine how bad it will be for me when my beloved leaves me, and what terrible feelings I will feel.
But you don’t think about what will happen next. You’re only thinking about the negative emotions at the moment your fear is realized. Try to mentally go beyond that limit, even if you yourself don’t want to think about the future.
Think about, “What will happen in a year after we break up? What will happen in five years. The first few months must be hard for me. But then I’ll start to come around, little by little. After a while, I’ll have a new relationship, and maybe it will be even better than this one.
(This is by no means a good scenario! Maybe your relationship will live on even after you cheat! I’ll talk about that in the last paragraph of this article.)
It’s not as scary as you thought in the beginning, is it? Be realistic! Try to run through these pictures in your mind. Think about how you will get out of this situation, how you will get on with your life, not about how bad you will feel the moment your fear is fulfilled!
I believe that if you try to analyze your other fears in this way, you will realize that they too are empty. Behind almost every one of your fears there is an emptiness. The boundary at which human fear rests is nothingness. There is no need to fear this nothingness. (I will elaborate on this in my next articles.)
You shouldn’t get very attached to what you have. At this point, it may seem to you that a relationship with this person is the most important thing you have in your life. But, this is partly an illusion and a deception. People find it hard to think in terms of their whole life, and they sometimes greatly overestimate the role of what they have now.
This thought may be counter-intuitive. You may ask me, “how is it not worth getting very attached to something? I am attached to what I love: my children, my family, my work, my purpose. This forms the basis of my existence! Are you suggesting that I become indifferent to the things I love?”
No, I am only suggesting that you stop experiencing a painful attachment that brings nothing but misery and fear.
If you love your husband dearly, but constantly live in fear that your relationship might end, are you happy? Do you get satisfaction from such a relationship? I don’t think so. The fear of losing that relationship in the future makes you unhappy. But just because you have them in the present doesn’t make you happy, because you are constantly afraid and only think about the future!
Strong attachments give rise to fear of loss. And fear of loss prevents you from enjoying the present moment.
Not experiencing strong attachments does not mean not loving. Not to be strongly attached means to be more comfortable with the fact that nothing lasts forever, to be realistic. To be ready for anything. And being able to enjoy what you have now.
3. Stop comparing.
“What if he finds a more worthy woman than me, more intelligent, more beautiful!
“There are so many men around her who are more handsome and successful than me, there is no chance that our relationship can endure.”
These disturbing thoughts are familiar to many people. You begin to compare yourself to other members of your own sex, and a fear of competition grips you. But men and women are not commodities in the love market!
Relationships between people are not always like commodity-money relationships, within which preferences are formed solely on the basis of the properties of the “goods”: attractiveness, success, intelligence, etc. Rather, it is more akin to the attitude of the owner of capital to capital itself. That’s not the best analogy either, but it’s closer.
My point is that your relationship now is not the same as it was when it first began. Maybe when you first met your partner, you were bound by mutual attraction alone.
But, as the relationship progresses, a kind of “capital” is formed, something more than just attraction and passion, enhanced by external appeal and success. This capital is built up over the years, as the two subjects of the relationship understand each other more and more deeply, as they find solutions to their problems and draw conclusions from their mistakes together, as they overcome the next difficulty that comes their way…
And this capital is too precious a thing. It cannot be so easily exchanged for anything else. In short, your partner loves you not just for your qualities, but for all the things you have had together. Or maybe he loves you for something else that you do not realize. And that is what allows him to prefer you to more successful and attractive people.
“Okay,” you say. “But what if our relationship isn’t like ‘building up shared moral capital.’ They’re just falling apart. I don’t feel like we both have anything else in common.”
Then move on to the next point.
4. Improve your relationship.
Spend more time with your partner. Get to know his desires. Show him care and trust. Try to work together to solve family problems. Talk about your difficulties. Become more attractive to each other. Introduce variety. And develop your relationship without stopping there!
I’m not going to give detailed instructions on how to improve a relationship here. That would be the subject of a separate article. What I want to say here is that the faithfulness of spouses to each other is not a derivative of surveillance, suspicion, and mistrust. It is the result of a strong, reliable, satisfying relationship.
If you discover no evidence of infidelity in the course of your surveillance of your husband, it will not help to eliminate your jealousy; after a while it will flare up again. But when you become more confident in your relationship, when you and your partner surround each other with trust, only then you will have less reason to be jealous.
In order to eliminate the feeling of jealousy itself, as well as the reasons for it (cheating), you should strive to develop the relationship, not turn it into a spy novel and soap opera at the same time!
Recently I have been pondering why total state control tends to be present in underdeveloped countries. The reason, it seems to me, is that countries with big economic problems have only one way of fostering patriotism and keeping their residents inside the country. That way is to lie, organize surveillance, and create bans, including a ban on leaving the country. The love and loyalty of the residents of this country to the state is based on fear and deception.
But states with a good economy and social conditions do not need to resort to dictatorship. A man will not flee this country if given the opportunity. Because he loves his state, for giving its residents good living conditions and taking care of them. No one is forcing him to “love.” Therefore, this feeling arises sincerely.
You can easily apply this analogy to your relationship. You need to create an atmosphere of love and trust in your family, build up a joint “love capital” and thereby reduce the risk of your spouse “emigrating” to another family. This is better than achieving it through prohibition and surveillance.
5. Curb your fantasy.
Your husband is delayed at work. And now you are beginning to think of pictures in which he has fun with other women. But do not be in a hurry to let your imagination. If you keep imagining it, you’ll have a hard time getting out of these thoughts and listening to reasonable arguments when they come into your head.
These fantasies deprive you of the ability to soberly assess the situation. So if you have noticed for yourself bouts of paranoia on the basis of your partner’s infidelity, then take for a rule: “the first thought – wrong idea, until it proves otherwise.
This, you might say, is a presumption of guilt for impulsive thoughts. This principle helps me a lot to cope with many emotions and to see the situation as it is, not as my momentary feelings are trying to present it.
So get those fantasies out of your head for a while. You will pay attention to them later. For starters, calm your mind. All the same, while you are seized by anxiety and worry, nothing good will come to your mind.
So shift your attention to something else. Don’t let it “bind” in these fantasies. Only start thinking about the problem when you have realized that you have calmed down and your anxiety is not drawing all your thoughts to their “negative pole. Then you’ll be able to assess the situation soberly. Maybe you will realize that your fears were in vain. But maybe they will be confirmed. But before you think about it, you should calmly analyze the situation in reality, not get carried away with your fantasies.
6. Stop living only in your partner’s life.
Often the cause for jealousy is the fixation of one partner in the life of the other. This can happen because one partner has no personal interests and his personal life. He has no choice but to live the life of the other.
This refers not only to jealousy, but also to excessive control by parents (usually mothers) over their children. Understand that your control, your anxiety, your endless meddling in someone else’s life will not make you or the person in whose life you are meddling happier!
To avoid this, add some variety to your life. Find your hobbies and your passion. This should by no means be an excuse for you to ignore your partner or child because of your new hobbies. Not at all! Let it be a reason for you to realize that there is more to life than your husband or your children.
In the meantime, allow your partner (or son, daughter) to live a life other than the family life. Leave room for him or her to socialize with friends, co-workers, and even people of the opposite sex from him or her! Show your partner that you trust him, give him some freedom, don’t try to explore every inch of his life and don’t squeeze it in a vise of control.
This will also help you become less attached to your relationship as you will have something else! Consequently, you will fear loss less and suffer less!
7. Do the opposite of what you are doing
Do the opposite of what jealousy pushes you to do. If you see your wife talking to a man you don’t know at a party, instead of squinting angrily at the man and then giving your wife a scandal, go over and politely introduce yourself to the man! Maybe you will find out that this is just a work colleague that your wife met and that she just couldn’t pass by for tactful reasons. And you will realize how absurd your jealousy was.
8. Be frank! Don’t play games.
Drop all the spy games and hidden doubts! If something is bothering you, ask your partner directly! Just do not do it in the form of a scandal! Calmly tell all your suspicions and see what he answers.
But before you talk to your partner about it, it wouldn’t hurt you to assess for yourself how your suspicions are justified.
After all, many people are “hidden game” and act stealthy just because they subconsciously know that all their doubts are absurd and ridiculous, and it would be absurd to tell the other about his paranoia.
So preparing for such a conversation will not only help you to be straightforward about your fears and reach a new level of trust (if you understand that the conversation should take place), but also to check whether your fears are real or are just the result of an unbridled fantasy.
9. Trust your partner.
I’ve already talked about trust a couple of times in this article, but I think it’s a pretty important question, so I’m putting it in a separate paragraph. Trust is a prerequisite for a healthy and strong relationship. Think about it, do you have a reason not to trust your partner?
I am not saying that no one has such a reason. But what often happens is that we become suspicious of our partner, not because he has not lived up to our trust, but only because we ourselves feel fear and insecurity. Jealousy, in such a case, does not rest on anything in reality, but stems only from our personal feelings.
Why not try to trust your partner then? Stop seeing his every word as deception and put aside your endless suspicions. Of course, suspicions won’t always turn out to be unfounded. But try to trust your other half and not suspect him of anything wrong with him for at least a month, no matter how he behaves or what he does.
If your fears remain with you, then something probably needs to change in your relationship. But it is quite possible that you will realize how ridiculous your fears were and see how trusting your partner transforms your relationship and makes you happier. And you’ll want to stay with that trust forever…
10.Be willing to forgive
I don’t want people to take some of my advice as a way to come to terms with obvious problems in the family and get rid of jealousy, for which there is a reason. Maybe things really aren’t going well for you and your partner is systematically cheating on you. And it’s not your paranoia and fear that’s telling you this, but the established facts. (It’s hard to deny it when your husband is constantly disappearing somewhere, comes home late at night and he smells of perfume.)
In that case, it’s better not to deny the obvious things, not to suppress your jealousy attacks, and try to do something about your relationship. I’ve always been a proponent of trying to fix what happened, forgiving the person and starting over before taking drastic action. That’s what I advise you to do as well.
Cheating is not always an indicator of your spouse’s lack of love for you. Sometimes people cheat, simply because they are not sexually restrained, but they continue to love you. Sometimes they do it because, their ego craves new victories on the love front, but they continue to love you. Sometimes it is because the person succumbs to affect, but continues to love you. Sometimes it is the result of a moment of weakness, his mistake, for which he can be forgiven.
Infidelity is not as terrible as your imagination and your feelings paint it. But if it has happened, be prepared to get over it together, and move on with your life. It’s not the end of life.
If you know that you are able to forgive the person. That you are capable of trusting him again, after all his actions. That cheating will not be the end of your relationship. That you can together change and improve your life together, not allowing such cases to happen again in the future. Then you won’t be so afraid of it. Then you will have much less reason to be jealous!
But this will require the trust of both spouses. And their desire to develop a relationship!