What happens to you when you are jealous?
Do you get angry and your face turns beet red or do you freeze and withdraw into yourself? Maybe you feel something completely different than this. Chances are, a physical reaction that may range from uncomfortable to completely unbearable comes with your jealousy.
You probably want to say something to your partner about what you’re seeing or hearing or how you feel inside.
The problem is, you don’t want to make things worse. The last thing you want to do is to get yourself more stirred up and upset and you don’t want to push your partner away either. Jealousy usually occurs when there’s some disconnect in your relationship and you don’t want to risk moving even further away from your partner by saying the wrong thing.
If you try to keep your worries and fears pushed down with the hope that they’ll go away, they won’t. They’ll only get bigger and harder to ignore. Healthy communication can make a positive difference. When you talk with your partner honestly, openly and mindfully, you can work together to address whatever (past or present) situation has sparked your jealousy.
Here are few phrases to AVOID when you talk with your partner…
“If you didn’t____, I wouldn’t be jealous.”
“If you’d only _____, I would feel good about myself and our relationship.”
“You need to do something about ______ so I can feel better.”
All of these phrases put responsibility for your jealousy on your partner’s shoulders. When you make him or her the one to blame or the one who has to “fix” this for you, it’s unfair and it robs you of your power.
There possibly are some very real habits that your partner has that contribute to how you feel. It might be that your partner flirts, texts with an ex or watches porn and these behaviors feel like a slap in the face or a big rejection or maybe even a sign of infidelity.
It’s important for you to get clear about what’s going on and if your partner is breaking a relationship agreement, speak up and make a decision about what you will do.
But, when there is no break in trust and it’s your jealousy that causes you to see a threat to your relationship when there is none, it’s your job to soothe and support yourself. As you take ownership for how you feel– including your jealous feelings– then you empower yourself to make a significant improvement.
The opportunity here is for you to be responsible for your jealousy as you communicate about it with your partner.
These 5 phrases can help you communicate better about what you’re feeling…
#1: “When you _____, I feel _____.”
Be specific and identify which of your partner’s behaviors are triggering for you. This is valuable information that you both can use. He or she can be aware of how you feel and you can give yourself extra care during those sensitive times.
#2: “I love you and I would like you to ______.”
Starting out with a sincere statement of your love sets the stage for a connecting conversation. You can follow up with a request like, “I love you and I would like you to tell me the next time your ex texts or calls you.”
#3: “I notice that I get jealous when _____.”
Let your partner know that you’re doing the work to overcome jealousy and use a phrase like this to ask for the kind of support you need during those triggering times. “I notice that I get jealous when we’re with your friends from work and I feel like I’m not part of the group.”
#4: “Will you tell me more about_____?”
If you’re jealous, it’s possible that you’re telling yourself a story that might not be true. Get more information from your partner– in a non-blaming and non-accusing way– to get facts.
#5: “When I get jealous, ____ seems to help.”
Get your partner’s help with whatever strategies allow you to calm down after you get jealous. Remember, it’s not his or her job to “fix” your jealousy, but you can ask for assistance so that you know you’re not so alone in the struggle.
Make it clear to your partner that you are taking responsibility for your jealousy by getting help and also that you could use support. Be specific. For instance, “When I get jealous, eye contact or a hug from you seems to help.”