Coping with jealousy in a relationship
Jealousy in a relationship is tough. How do you cope with jealousy? If you have read my blog, you know that in the early stages of my relationship, I cheated on my husband. He was my boyfriend at the time. We were early in our relationship and I cheated. I broke the trust boundary; therefore, it caused him to be extremely jealous back than. (Note: He's not that way anymore but it took a long time to get him over that hump).
What are the types of jealousy in a relationship that need to be talked about and need to be thought about? There are different styles of jealousy in a relationship. They are cingy, paranoid, manipulative and exhibitionistic. These styles are a combination of inner needs, ways of relating, and experiencing, and past experiences and how they were internalized. These different styles of jealousy in a relationship are very complex, and you may find that your partner does not clearly fit any of them, or that they fit some parts of them.
If your partner's jealousy is the clingy type, that means that they are very demanding that your time, attention and interest be given only to them. They are very attentive to you, does nurturing and caring things for you and takes good care of you. This may sound desirable, and these are some of the behaviors and attitudes that attracted you to them in the first place. However, they also go overboard with the attention. They can be smothering, overwhelming, touchy, hurt when you don't tell them your every thought, feeling and idea. This is what happened with my own husband. If you feel overprotected, as if you are suffocating from attention and you cannot be independent at well as interdependent, then you may have a partner with a clingy style. It took a lot of work on my part to get my husband out of this stage. He needed to realize that we have our life together but I also need my own space. This is what called to him as "my box". In order to put my all into my relationship, I needed my own air to breathe. I needed my box and he wasn't allowed into my box. I needed him to trust me. I would never break the trust again and I needed my own space. He either needed to trust me or leave me. I made that very clear to him.
The paranoid style of jealousy in a relationship is one in which your partner sends the double message: get closer but don't get too close. Your partner desires intimacy desperately but is also afraid of it. They let you in to a certain point; however, they emotionally disconnect from you in another. They simply don't trust completely. They fear being hurt and destroyed. They have had an extreme amount of disappointment in the past and they fear feeling that again. The paranoid style is a very uncomfortable one to live with. It creates a lot of tension and stress in the relationship. How do you know if your partner is paranoid when it comes to coping with jealousy in a relationship. Are they any of the following:
suspicious about people and their motives
always expecting to be disappointed and is seldom pleased
on the lookout for signs that you don't care for them or consistent worrying that you are losing interest.
You may wonder to yourself how you were ever attracted to someone like this. They are tense and edgy and always expect the worst all the time. They can't control and manage their inner fears. The very thought of losing you drives them crazy. You have to help them understand that not everyone is out to get them. You love them and that you are different but they need to learn to let go of past experiences to be able to relate to you as a different person.
The manipulative style is just what it sounds like sly, deceitful, cunning and persuasive. You don't recognize the charm of your partner at first. You excuse their behavior. You think that you misunderstood. You see them through rose colored glasses. Let me ask you a question-- Does your partner always find ways to get you to do what they want you to do? You do it but yet, you don't always understand why you couldn't resist your partner's manipulations.
Does your partner say any of the following to you? Just answer the questions in your head and think about your answers.
"You are not giving the attention that I want"
"Give me the admiration that I need"
"I don't need you"
"Aren't I wonderful? I never get any praise...
If your partner is any of the above, it is NOT emotionally healthy.
Everybody gets jealous at some point in their life. Not only in their relationship but in all aspects of life. For example, you may get jealous because a good friend has something that you really desire that you don't have or a coworker gets a promotion that you think you deserved etc. so I think we can all identify with the feelings of jealousy. It is just a lot more difficult to cope with jealousy in your relationship. It's important to understand the roots or causes of the jealousy. In my own situation, my husband has always had a bit of an insecure nature. He has a million wonderful qualites but does have insecurities (as we all do in some way or form) Growing up, my husband always felt inadequate to his brother. His parents babied his brother and everything his brother did or accomplished was always idolized by his parents. He didn't get the attention that his brother did and I honestly believe that this is where his insecurities stemmed from. My cheating didn't help matters either. Again, the cheating was 7 years ago now and we have moved well beyond it. He's older now and much more settled and secure in our relationship. Cheating doesn't have to be the death of a relationship. It was wrong in mine but in some ways, it made us much stronger.
Definitions of jealousy might include some of the following:
* fear of being replaced by a rival, especially in the regard to another's affection
* vindictiveness toward another because of an actual rivalry
* fear of losing someone's love or affection
* the suspicion of rivalry or unfaithfulness
Each of the above has either a direct or indirect expression of fear and personal insecurity.
Jealousy (if it is a normal sense of jealousy) is not something that can't be worked on and improved upon within a relationship. Again, I am talking "normal" amounts of jealousy (not abusive, controlling types).
Here are some ways to strengthen your relationship and to help you cope with your feelings aroused by your partner's jealousy.
*Examine and reflect on your own motives and behavior. Don't deliberately try to arouse your partner's jealousy because you are upset about something. If you already know that it is a weakness of theirs, don't use that as a weapon against them. You are supposed to love them, they are supposed to be your best friend. Remember, each of us have our strengths and each of us have our weaknesses. It is not fair to use your partner's weakness as a power play.
*Ignore your partners behavior when they start to show the jealous traits. If they realize that you are simply going to detach yourself from them and not play into it, than eventually they will realize that you are simply not going to accept these jealous tantrums from them and that you are not going to allow it to affect you.
*Stay detached while they are acting this way
*Remind yourself of your partner's irrational behavior during these jealous moments. Don't indulge in the conversation with them. Again, stay detached.
*Don't retaliate and don't condone it. Just walk away from it. After they calm down, you can talk to them about it and why you just aren't going to accept it (if it was an unjustified episode)
*Give up the fantasy that your partner is going to change. If your partner has thousand of other good qualities beyond this one bad quality. Work on ways to improve it without attacking them verbally.
*Do NOT get friends or relatives involved in the situation. This is a matter between you and your partner and it needs to be worked on between you two (or maybe with the help of an unbiased person such as a counselor)
*NEVER accept emotional or physical abuse
If you love your partner and you have accepted that you need to cope with a certain amount of jealousy in your relationship. You will need to make some reasonable changes. This is a way of working on improving the situation. Make some reasonable changes in your behavior if you find that you are unconsciously doing things that you would rather not do and that these behaviors may be contributing to your partner's jealous nature. Become aware of how much time you actually spend with a particular person or the number of times you quote someone; you can pay attention to ways in which you may be taking your partner for granted and now showing appreciation; you can compliment them more often for things they do positive.
You do not have to make drastic or major changes, just some thoughtful ones. Focus on positive changes, such as being more thoughtful and sensitive. You should never force yourself to make changes that you do not feel right, such as cutting a family member out of your life because of your partner's jealousy.
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