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December 6, 2013
by Casey Truffo, LMFT

Is Jealousy Hurting Your Relationship?

December 6, 2013 04:55 by Casey Truffo, LMFT  [About the Author]

Jealousy is a negative emotion that goes hand in hand with feeling insecure, scared, or anxious about losing something you value.  Jealousy relates to a personal connection you have with someone and can be based on many things - fear of losing that person, perception of betrayal, low self-esteem, sadness, loneliness, and distrust.  There is the type of jealousy that is triggered when one partner displays a sexual interest in a person outside the relationship called sexual jealousy.  There are forms of jealousy in every relationship, such as friend jealousy, family jealousy, intimacy jealousy, and power jealousy.  People express jealousy in different ways, but most often, jealousy is shown by aggression, violence, fear, grief, or anger.

When you express jealousy in public, it shows others that you are insecure, you don't trust your partner, and you have low self-esteem.  It can also show that you don't have an own identity of your own, outside your relationship.  Jealousy shows that you cannot tolerate being separated from the one you love and that you are frustrated because you struggle to accept that you do not possess your partner and that the two of you are two separate people.

Some argue that jealousy shows your deep commitment to your partner; however, others feel jealousy is a reflection of your need to define yourself only as a partner in a relationship instead of realizing you are also your own person.  As an example, you may be father, husband, son, and businessman, or mother, wife, daughter, and administrator, but the question is, who would you be if all of those things were taken from you? 

If jealousy is ruining your relationship, you need to make a change, and quickly, if you want your relationship to remain intact.  As an example, maybe you think your partner is always flirting.  Before you react by accusing your partner of flirting, ask yourself what is really going on.  What are you feeling or thinking about yourself?  Most likely, you probably think you are inferior to your partner or something is wrong with you causing you not to be good enough.  Also, consider whether you have a legitimate reason to feel jealous.  Has your partner been unfaithful in your relationship?  If the answer is yes and you're still jealous, you still have unresolved issues.  If your partner has never been unfaithfulbut you are still jealous, you need to take some time and take a deeper look inward.  If you struggle to work through your insecurities, seeking the professional help of a trained counselor can help you work through your issues much more quickly than you can work through them on your own.

A professional is likely to ask you about experiences in your childhood.  Experience has shown that the adults involved in your child rearing showed love to you and taught you how to show love to others, by watching their examples.  The people who raised you will have taught you most aspects of relationships, positive and negative.  What you learned or observed while growing up typically sets your expectations and instills the fundamentals you apply in your own romantic relationships.

One technique used to treat jealousy issues is referred to as desensitization.  You will be asked to list things that cause you to be jealous and to rank them according to how much jealousy each action triggers in you.  You will then be taught how to relax different parts of your body while thinking about the things on your list.  This will help you to learn to confront triggers and remain calm.  Another treatment that is widely used is for you to go back to the situation that caused you the most jealousy in your relationship.  Think about how you responded to the incident.  How could you have handled it differently?  Is there a way you could have had more control of yourself? 

Everyone has heard the phrase, "We teach others how to treat us."  Think about that.  Do you allow your partner to treat you badly or to disrespect you, either alone or in public?  You need to figure out how to gauge your own self-worth and what you will absolutely not tolerate.  Your partner should be aware of exactly how you feel as you cannot expect your partner to treat you differently than in the past if you haven't indicated what you will and will not tolerate.  So, back to the basics.  Communication.  Having good communication with your partner, in this instance and all instances in your life, is paramount.

On a final note, there should never be assumptions in your relationships.  Don't assume your partner knows that it makes your blood boil when he runs into someone in the mall and stops to talk with them for several minutes, while never introducing you.  Tell your partner if it makes you feel unimportant.  Tell your partner you want to be introduced to people he chats with that you don't already know.  Whatever it is you need, ask for it.  This alone can increase your emotional security.

Although many people think jealousy is normal and shows how much you love your partner, it can be extremely damaging to any relationship.  If you are struggling with issues of jealousy or low self-esteem and it is affecting your relationship, please get in touch with Orange County Relationship Center and speak to one of our professional counselors.  Call today at 949-220-3211, or schedule your appointment via our online calendar. It may be the best call you ever made.

About the Author

OC Relationship Center OC Relationship Center, LMFT

We started OC Relationship Center because we believe that relationships are the place where everyone should feel the safest and experience the most joy. And that is what our entire mission is based upon. That relationship may be with someone you love, live with, work with or even yourself. Our caring, professional and licensed clinicians want to help you with the skills to get what you want in your relationships - whether you are single, dating, living together, married, divorced or widowed.

Office Location:
1400 Bristol Street North, Suite 245B
Newport Beach, California
United States
Phone: (949) 220-3211
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