Nobody enjoys feeling envious. Nonetheless, jealousy is an unavoidable emotion that almost all of us will experience. The jealousy issue is not that it arises from time to time, but what it does to us when we don’t control it. It can be frightening to witness what happens when we allow our jealousy to overwhelm us or shape our perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. That is why understanding where our jealous feelings come from and learning how to deal with jealousy in healthy, adaptive ways is so important in so many aspects of our lives, from interpersonal relationships to careers to personal goals.
How to Deal with Jealousy in Relationships
If you’re feeling jealous in your relationship, it may not be time to call it quits. Mild jealousy is a natural human emotion that, when addressed thoughtfully, can be beneficial. When one person feels threatened or concerned about losing their partner, these emotions can transform into fear, insecurity, and jealousy.
Here are ways to deal with jealousy in a relationship:
#1. Recognize and discuss jealousy openly
If you’re experiencing jealousy, it’s time to have an open and honest conversation with your partner. Communication is essential! Jealousy, in many cases, is an internal battle, as is some introspection. Then, discuss your findings with your partner. Be honest about how you’re feeling and what makes you uneasy. Set limits for yourself and the relationship.
#2. Investigate the root causes
Ongoing jealousy in a relationship causes distress, which can be a sign of anxiety or low self-esteem. For example, if you haven’t fully processed childhood issues or past infidelity, it may show up in how you engage in your current relationship. Determine the source of your feelings before speaking with your partner. Accept responsibility for your actions and commit to dealing with your insecurities.
#3. Determine your unspoken and unmet needs
This can be difficult because you will have to practice being vulnerable with yourself. When jealousy involves a third party, you should conduct a self-evaluation to help you sort through the emotional maze. You don’t want to act on assumptions or bring up past issues or experiences that you then project onto your current relationship.
#4. Express your concerns
If your partner’s actions (or someone else’s actions toward your partner) cause jealousy, bring it up as soon as possible with your partner. They could have been unaware of the behavior, or they could have been unaware of how you felt. Take advantage of this opportunity to discuss or revisit any relationship boundaries.
#5. Avoid making hasty decisions
Amid temporarily heightened emotions, the decisions you make can have long-term negative consequences. Jealousy that spirals out of control can manifest as anger, causing the relationship to fall apart. When you are emotionally charged by jealousy, it is strongly advised that you take a few minutes to self-soothe.
How to Deal with Jealousy in Friendship
James Thomas, a relationship expert at Condoms UK, shares his top tips on how to deal with jealousy and maintain friendships despite how jealousy and envy affect us.
#1. Maintain your integrity.
Fostering an open, honest friendship can help everyone better understand each other, even if their points of view differ. From the outside, our friends and even our own lives can appear ‘perfect,’ because we rarely share our struggles or bad days on social media.
#2. Stay away from conflict.
While you cannot control the behavior of others, you can do your best to control your own. Avoid starting a fight over jealousy, and if it does happen, try not to lash out. Maintain your cool and try to identify the source of any feelings of envy.
#3. Give it some time.
The underlying feelings that cause jealousy do not occur overnight, and neither do the solutions. Having a conversation with friends in which either of you is jealous is only the beginning. Take a step back, allow emotions to settle, and give everyone the space they need to truly acknowledge how they are feeling.
Related Article: Couples Counseling: What Common Relationship Problems Can It Solve?
How to Deal with Jealousy of Friends.
Learn how to deal with jealousy in friends, and this advice is extremely positive and helpful.
#1. Create space
If the tension has become too much to deal with, it may be prudent to take some time apart. Taking a break will allow both of you to put things into perspective and remind your friend of the foundation of your friendship. Friends can sometimes take their bonds for granted and fail to see the bigger picture of their actions.
#2. Don’t ignore the problem.
Ignoring the problem will only exacerbate the situation. Pretending your friend isn’t jealous will only exacerbate the situation and cause you to resent them in the long run. You know your friend better than anyone else, so take a deep breath when the time comes to confront the situation. Take the risk if your friendship is important to you.
#3. Look at their point of view
Jealousy will cause your friend to lash out, causing a schism between the two of you. Before you get upset, try to see things from their perspective. Determine your next move by viewing the situation through their eyes. You may discover that you are bragging without meaning to or that your friend has insecurities in that area of life.
#4. Pay attention to your friend.
Soothing a jealous person is similar to soothing a child; they require time, compliments, and attention. Reminding them of their positive characteristics and the nature of your friendship will help to dispel their long-held negativity. Jealousy stems from a lack of self-confidence, so if they can help you with that, you’re on the right track.
How to Deal with Jealousy in Siblings
Things become more difficult as your children grow in size or number, as you must deal with jealousy from all of them. What you can do to deal with sibling jealousy is as follows:
#1. Distribute responsibilities equally.
While one child may be acting as the bully and the other as the victim (though the roles will most likely be reversed next time), don’t blame just one child. Even if one of them “started it,” make it clear that the “victim” is not required to attend every spat to which she is invited.
#2. Downplay jealous feelings
Don’t overreact if one of your children is jealous of the other. Simply acknowledge their feelings—”It’s natural to feel jealous at times”—and then move on by saying, “You, too, do a lot of great things.” “Would you like to go for a walk in the park?”
#3. Avoid making comparisons.
One child will almost certainly outperform the other in math. The older child will almost certainly always be able to outrun the younger child (to a point). Avoid making comparisons of abilities or behaviors. Simply ask your child to compare himself to his previous abilities, such as whether he is improving his writing skills or scoring more goals in the game than last year.
#4. Negative nicknames should be avoided.
It may appear that calling your oldest child “shorty” and your youngest “klutzy” is all in good fun, but labeling your children can often lead to resentment and, eventually, jealousy between siblings.
#5. Make time for one-on-one conversations.
So much resentment stems from the belief that a parent prefers one child over another. Make time in your schedule for each child to spend time with just the two of you. It doesn’t have to be elaborate—you can curl up on the sofa together to read books while the younger one sleeps, or you can watch a movie with the preschooler while the older one is at school. Simply ensure that each child understands that he has a special place in your heart.
How to Deal with Jealousy in an Open Relationship
Jealousy is completely normal in open relationships. Here are some ways to deal with jealousy:
#1. Accept your feelings
Rather than becoming envious and then becoming angry at yourself for being envious, work on accepting your emotions. Emotions are neither good nor bad; they simply exist. You can’t change your feelings, but you can change your behavior. An unkind or vicious thought may cross your mind now and then, but in open relationships, your feelings are your responsibility, not your partner’s.
#2. Establish clear boundaries
Set clear, manageable boundaries in your relationship. For example, are you okay with your partner having one-night stands, but the prospect of them starting another relationship bothers you? Are you okay with them falling in love, but unprotected sex feels too dangerous? Open relationships require people to do some soul-searching to determine the specifics of their boundaries. Don’t over-promise or agree to a dynamic that doesn’t feel right.
#3. Examine your thoughts
When emotions are present, it is difficult for us to think logically. For example, I was convinced that my partner would leave me after his first hook-up. That made no logical sense because he was just getting to know the new person and we were already madly in love. However, your mind can deceive you. That is why it is beneficial to look for flaws in your reasoning. In my case, I should examine the evidence that suggests my partner might leave me.
#4. Take your time
You are not required to enter into an open relationship. You can take it slowly and explore at your own pace. For example, perhaps the first move is for one partner to dress up and go out to flirt. Even if nothing physical occurs, the other partner must work on how it feels to know that their partner is leaving.
There is no doubt that dealing with the various feelings associated with jealousy requires a certain level of emotional maturity. It takes courage to confront our critical inner voice and all of the insecurities it generates. Willpower is also required to take a step back and resist acting on our impulsive, jealous reactions. However, when we cultivate this power within ourselves, we realize we are far more powerful than we realize. We gain confidence in ourselves and our relationships by learning how to deal with jealousy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main reason for jealousy?
Jealousy can be motivated by low self-esteem or a negative self-image. It can be difficult to believe that your partner loves and values you if you don’t feel attractive and confident. Jealousy can also be caused by unrealistic expectations about the relationship.
Can you get rid of jealousy?
Practicing effective relationship behaviors is frequently a far superior alternative. Partners who accuse, demand, and punish each other may create a self-fulfilling prophecy. One way jealous partners can overcome their jealousy is to question their thoughts rather than act on them.
Is jealousy a mental illness?
Morbid jealousy is a syndrome that occurs in many psychiatric conditions rather than a disorder.
What are the four stages of jealousy?
What are the different stages of jealousy?
- Stage 1: identification. Jealousy is a three-part emotion that involves the patient as well as two other parties.
- Stage 2: confrontational.
- Stage 3: Redirecting.
- Stage 4: Medea