Maybe you’ve promised yourself that jealousy won’t be an issue with this date or this partner. In this new, potential relationship, you are bound and determined that you won’t allow your jealousy to ruin things…again.
But, then that good-looking man or woman walks by and you’re sure that your date noticed. You feel sick to your stomach or your fists clench and you are almost instantly back in the grips of jealousy. It can take over that fast.
The next thing you know, you make some comment or change your mood in a way that betrays how jealous you actually feel. Another date ends with distance and cold and you feeling embarrassed and miserable.
If you’ve ever felt jealous on a first date or with someone you’ve dated for awhile, you are definitely not alone. Scores of everyday people– just like you– experience jealousy in varying degrees.
Unfortunately, sometimes people are ashamed of feeling this way. It can seem like a silly, weak, or childish way to feel and so there may be an impulse to ignore jealousy when it arises… or at least try to. Not only does jealousy itself cause pain, mistrust and disconnection, when you try to ignore it, the damaging effects can be even worse!
The problem with ignoring any emotion is that it tends to come out anyway. And, it often comes out much bigger and more intense than before.
It’s the proverbial teapot in which the boiling water finally causes the pot to whistle shrilly and even spout out. You can pretend that you don’t “hear” the thoughts rumbling through your mind. You can push down the rising worry, fear or irritation. But, this will more than likely lead to a meltdown that everyone will see…especially your date.
Allow yourself to feel what you feel.
Everybody’s jealousy triggers are different. It could be something that your date (or partner if you’re already in a relationship) says that reminds you of a past painful experience. It might be the way that he or she looks at others or at you. It could be your own insecurity that gets bigger when you look in a mirror or believe that you said something “stupid.”
Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling without judging it right or wrong.
Take a moment to soothe yourself and give yourself permission to tap into the emotions that are coming up in the moment. You can just notice them as they arise. Take a few minutes to do this in the bathroom if necessary.
Ask yourself what you need– right now and also in a more long-term sense. Follow through on meeting the short-term needs you recognize.
After the date, when you can be alone, write down on a sheet of paper what you want for your life and in a relationship. Don’t limit yourself– write down whatever comes to your mind. Now, ask yourself which of these needs and desires are not being fulfilled. It is possible that you will find links between your unmet needs and your jealousy.
Choose one desire or need on your list and write down 2 or 3 actions that could help meet that need. If you have just begun to date this person, it might not be the right time for you to ask for the kind of commitment that you’d like in a relationship. You might not even know this person well enough to decide whether or not this is a match for you.
It can still be helpful to know what you want and what your needs are– long- and short-term.
Pay particular attention to your short-term needs. If you struggle with insecurity, change the way you criticize yourself, how you dress, act and speak and remind yourself to be more kind and loving with yourself.
If it’s clear that your date IS actually checking out other women (or men) while you two are out together, this is something to communicate about. Don’t accuse, but do let your date know how you feel when he or she says or does specific things. When you’re specific and you come from the place of how “I feel…” the conversation can remain open.
Jealousy isn’t an experience anyone has to feel embarrassed or ashamed of.
It is just a combination of feelings that you can choose to acknowledge, uncover its roots and then take steps to meet your needs. In the process of doing this, it’s easier to let jealousy go. Stay focused on uncovering and meeting your needs and watch as you move closer to the relationship you want and the life you’ve dreamed of.