* A clinical psychologist reveals ways to avoid becoming a jealous partner and the reasons why you suffer from the green-eyed monster in the first place.
* Jealousy is a normal human emotion that can be easily resolved, but a lack of self-esteem and poor self-image can increase its power over you.
People sometimes think jealousy is a way to show a partner that they are desired or cared for, but more often than not, jealousy is driven by poor self-image, a lack of trust or other underlying relationship problems.
First and foremost, we need to understand the underlying causes of jealousy in a relationship. According to clinical psychologist Dr Monica Borschel, jealousy could be a false or real alarm.
“A false alarm might look like low self-worth or attachment anxiety in the jealous partner. Attachment anxiety is a deep feeling that the person you love won’t be there for you when you need them.
“A real alarm for the jealous partner might be one of the following: your partner devalues you, isolates you, tries to control you, is cheating or has cheated on you. When a relationship doesn’t feel secure to both partners, jealousy can happen.”
Borschel explains that jealousy is a normal human emotion that we have evolved to protect or guard our mate. “Evolutionary psychologists have found that women are more likely to be hurt by emotional affairs because that might mean a loss of resources for their own child,” she says.
“In comparison, men might be more jealous of physical affairs because they do not want to raise another man’s child. Of course, this is an overgeneralisation and might vary. Natural jealousy can be spoken about and resolved with your partner. Even in healthy and secure relationships, it is reasonable to find other people attractive. It is one thing to note someone’s attraction and another to act on it.”
Borschel says jealousy could be indicative of other underlying issues. “Interdependent people tend to value and prioritise their relationships more than independent people. Interdependence is having your own hobbies, goals, and identity; a relationship where both partners can rely on each other for emotional and physical needs.”
“And when people are codependent, they may also become jealous if they feel that they are not receiving enough attention. Lying, flirting and cheating are more obvious reasons as to why people become jealous.”
On the other hand, if your partner is checking your phone, stalking you, isolating you or interrogating you, it might be a red flag of a problem beyond jealousy. These are signs that you might be headed towards an abusive relationship, Borschel warns.
“Extreme jealousy can also be a red flag that your partner needs control to feel safe. Be cautious of control tactics that use manipulation, isolation or intimidation to keep you in the relationship.”
Borschel offers some words of advice to the jealous partner and the other at the receiving end.
“If you are feeling jealous, it is crucial to address what the underlying issues are. Do you tend to be insecure in relationships in general? If so, is it related to a feeling of low self-worth, a need for control, your attachment style or are you genuinely being cheated on?”
And for the person who feels that their partner is too jealous, her advice is: “Ask yourself if they are trying to control you by isolating you. Or are they jealous because you have not been honest with them?”
Trust is the foundation of any relationship and it must be a mutual feeling for it to work. You also need to trust yourself before you can trust your partner because you can’t give what you don’t have. Once trust is established, you can work on making your partner feel secure.
How to stop jealousy from destroying your relationship
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Jealousy, one of 9 Deadly Sins, and How to Stop it from Ruining Your Relationship
Published: 19th July 2020.