Feeling jealous is totally normal. Jealousy is not necessarily a sign of an insecure person, low self-esteem, or lack of trust in our partner. My perspective is that jealousy, like anger, happiness, and trust, are normal experiences and feelings that no matter what we do are going to come up and be there. The difference, as with all other emotions, comes from what we do when those experiences arise. The goal is not how to stop being jealous, but what we can do when we feel jealous and how to realize if it is transforming into something that is not healthy.
Some signs of unhealthy jealousy are: When they transform into control, paranoia, asking our partner to change things that we did not ask of them at the beginning, etc. Let’s explore a scenario: You see your partner at a bar and someone approaches them to flirt, in that case, it is natural to feel jealous. It’s our partner, who we love, we like, and someone was showing them attention. However, it is very different for you to allow yourself to feel that emotion versus you standing up and walking away from the group or proceeding to flirt with someone else. Other unhealthy attitudes would be to show up to your partner and say “What’s going on here?! What is happening?!” in front of the people around them.
All of this is assuming that our partner respected the boundaries of the relationship. Because if our partner flirted with the other person, then our jealousy is a response to some limit that our partner is not handling properly. However, if there was respect, then it is important to remember that our partners are people who move in the world and who will attract attention. The truth is, we will like other people who are not our partners and we will attract people who are not our partners. It is part of our humanity, and as long as there is respect and communication, it is something that can be managed within a healthy relationship.
You do not have to give the cell phone key, or our computers, or bank accounts, or any other to any person. Every person has the right to his or her belongings and privacy. Sharing keys is not necessarily a sign of love or honesty, it is often a sign of control. The important thing to work with our partner is to establish measures of how we are going to handle that trust, what is considered a betrayal of trust, and how this will be handled. Demanding or demanding that your partner share your cell phone key, creating guilt because your partner wants to maintain their privacy, among other behaviors, are signs of unhealthy jealousy and control. Likewise with requiring your partner to keep an eye on the cell phone, answering you, or reporting each step when they go out without you. These are not signs of love or worry, but of control.
These are three strategies that could be helpful to be able to handle the issue of jealousy It is important that throughout this process you extend self-compassion and patience while maintaining your commitment to making changes in your life. Finally, you can make your partner part of this process. You can tell them about your insecurities and process them together. However, it’s important that you don’t enter this conversation with the expectation that things are going to change radically or your partner will agree with your perspective. Changes may occur and new boundaries may be set. At the same time, some behaviors may not have to change because they are not harmful and the job you should do is to manage your reaction to your partner’s independence.
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