Jealousy in relationships: taming the green-eyed monster
Jealousy can have a poisonous effect on relationships. It can manifest itself in many ways. As a counsellor, it is a recurrent theme with the clients with whom I work.
Clients often speak of feeling rational one minute and irrational the next. They feel insecure. They feel a need to control everything and everyone. They feel 'on their guard'. They feel they cannot trust their partner. They start to feel rejected and unloved and find themselves searching through their partner's phones for texts and images. They speak of looking for evidence to support their jealous feelings.
What strikes me about people who are jealous within their relationship is how their actions seem to become more and more controlling. Jealousy seems to be getting a hold and people can cease to recognise the person they have become.
The partner on the receiving end of the jealousy may feel stifled or controlled. This is likely to cause tension, resentment and anger. As a result, the person who feels jealous is now behaving in a needy and clingy way and becoming more isolated and more insecure.
By taking a step back it is possible to take a big step forward. We need to reflect and understand why we feel the way we do. It is the first step towards coming to terms with jealous feelings. In this way, we can address the underlying issues.
Developing awareness of feelings often helps us to start thinking why we feel the way we do. In therapy, we can ask: are these feelings to do with the current relationship? Or are they unresolved from previous relationships? Is the jealousy caused by what your partner is doing? Or are there issues concerning communication?
Talking to the other person can help. It is important to find the time and to pick the right time. We need to listen to each other. But sometimes couples stop communication a long time ago and have developed habits from which they do not know how to change.
Good therapy with an effective therapist provides a safe environment and helps to address jealous feelings. It can help regain trust in yourself and your partner and build better communicating skills towards a healthier and happier relationship.
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