A common issue that gets in the way of having great relationships is jealousy.
We put the issue of jealousy into two camps: 1) Where one or both partners have broken past commitments and there is jealousy between them. And 2) Where one partner is jealous of their partner and there doesn’t seem to be a reason for the jealousy.
This 2nd scenario is the one we will be addressing in this article. One of the questions we are most frequently asked concerning jealousy goes something like this… “My partner is extremely jealous (especially of people at work) and there is no reason for him/her to feel this way… please help me to understand what is going on…”
When it comes to someone feeling jealous without apparent cause the number one reason is because of fear. The person that is jealous may not see it this way or be willing to admit it at first–but at the core of almost all jealousy is a fear that they may lose their partner and their needs for love, friendship and affection will no longer be met.
The second ingredient that is almost always present when someone is jealous in a relationship is a lack of trust. This can either be a lack of trust in their partner because of past actions or a lack of trust in their partner’s ability to make conscious choices and decisions about their conduct when they are with other people.
If your partner says “I trust you but I don’t trust the people you work with or other people you socialize with” then you can just translate that to mean “I don’t trust your ability to make conscious decisions about your conduct with other people when I’m not there.”
If jealousy is an issue that you want to heal in your relationships, the first thing you must do is have the willingness and courage to talk about the issue in a non-judgmental way with each other.
First of all you must define and make clear what your commitments and agreements are to each other. Talk with each other about ways that can allow the jealous partner to feel more secure.
Then create conscious agreements for how you will act in situations that could feel threatening to the one who is jealous.
Early in our relationship, one of the things that we agreed to do in social situations was to occasionally make eye contact with each other throughout the evening.
For us, creating and following through on this agreement built trust between us and helped dissolve the jealousy issue before it became a bigger problem.
Another thing that has been helpful when we are working with people on issues surrounding jealousy is to encourage them to become more conscious of the patterns from previous relationships that they may be repeating in their current relationship.
Sometimes a person in a relationship may be jealous of their partner and it may have nothing to do with the reality of their present relationship. If this is the case, healing can take place when they recognize that the feelings they have that are triggering jealousy are about previous relationships and not the present one.
No matter what the reason for the jealous feelings, fear is at the bottom of it. In dealing with your fears surrounding jealousy, it’s important to recognize where fear comes from.
Fear is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. If there’s no legitimate reason for the jealousy, we suggest that you and your partner spend some time and look at where the fears are coming from that have brought up the jealous feelings. Then create a strategy for how you will deal with these feelings in the future.