Jealousy in relationships is a completely human emotion and can creep into the best of partnerships. The key is to understand where it comes from and how to work with your partner so that jealousy does not come between you. Rabbi Alan Lew of Congregation Beth Sholom in San Francisco says “jealousy is at the root of all human conflict.”
Revealing our fears to the one we love can be scary because we don’t want to appear weak or needy. But everyone has fears, and those who pretend otherwise are lying to themselves. However, if you don’t deal with these fears they can come back to haunt you. Jealousy in relationships is one of the primary reasons why couples break up. But if you are willing to deal with the issue, it can actually bring the two of you closer together.
Find a time to talk when you are both relaxed and have no other pressing matters and let your partner know that you would like to discuss something that is important to you. Explain that you have been having feelings of jealousy in your relationship and why you think you are feeling this way. Try to avoid accusatory language that may make your partner feel defensive, such as “You need to stop…” or similar expressions. The main thing you want to get across is how you are feeling, so use a lot of “I” statements such as “I feel jealous when I see you laughing with Aviva because I feel like we don’t laugh that way together.”
If your partner has a difficult time simply listening without becoming defensive, you can ask him or her to repeat the basics of what you have said so that you know that you have been heard and understood. The main key to getting rid of jealousy in relationships is to communicate your fears in a way that does not denigrate your partner. When you have explained your feelings to your partner it is then important that you listen carefully to him or her as well. Then see if you can come up with some specific ideas as to what changes would help to ease your fears and insecurity.
Restricting who your partner can spend time with is not a good idea, as it will likely cause resentment. However, you can ask your partner to be honest about where they go and what they do with that other person. Jealousy in relationships often arises when we imagine that our partner is doing more with someone else than they actually are. It is also completely fair to ask that your partner spend quality time with you alone. You might do something like cook a meal together, take a walk or share some other activity you are both fond of.
Dealing with jealousy in relationships is not as difficult as it seems. Remember that your partner loves you and wants you to be happy, and therefore getting your feelings of jealousy out in the open will help you both to communicate better.