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How to Control Your Jealousy

author image Becky Swain
Becky Swain's first publication appeared in the "Journal of Personality Assessment" in 1984. Her articles have also appeared on various websites. She is an adjunct college instructor, licensed school psychologist and educational consultant. She holds a Master of Science in clinical psychology and a Doctor of Philosophy in educational psychology, both from Mississippi State University.
How to Control Your Jealousy
A suspicious woman using a smartphone outside. Photo Credit mheim3011/iStock/Getty Images

Jealous behavior can damage a relationship by making you and your partner miserable. Jealousy is rooted in possessive behavior that spirals out of control; as a result of your jealous feelings, you might be treating your partner like an object requiring constant surveillance, notes therapist Mark Tyrrell in “7 Tips for Overcoming Jealousy in Relationships.” A tug-of-war scenario may ensue as you attempt to monitor your partner’s every move and your partner increasingly resists by pulling away. Avoid this no-win situation. Don’t allow your jealousy to wreck the relationship.

Take a Look Inside

Feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem set the stage for jealous behavior, writes Hara Estroff Marano in the article “Jealousy: Love’s Destroyer.” When you don’t feel good about yourself, you might resent social interaction that redirects your partner’s attention away from you. You may respond to diminished attention by attempting to control your partner. Break this cycle by conducting a self-examination. Look inside to identify the source of your feelings of inadequacy.

Ask "What If..."

The jealous behavior you exhibit may be fueled by a fear of losing your partner. However, your partner is a person, not a possession. Allow yourself to imagine the worst of all possible outcomes. People and relationships may evolve to exclude you, suggests therapist Mike Tyrrell. Use your imagination to visualize yourself moving beyond the pain of loss to emerge as a resolute and resilient individual.

You Have Control over Your Feelings

Jealous behavior can damage your relationship but jealous thoughts do not, advises psychologist and author Robert L. Leahy in the Psychology Today article, “Jealousy Is a Killer: How to Break Free from Your Jealous Feelings.” When you experience jealous feelings, recognize the existence of those feelings and acknowledge that they may not be based on reality. You can choose how you respond to those feelings. Your response to feelings of jealousy determines whether or not the feelings will become problematic for your relationship.

A Little Goes a Long Way

Feeling possessive and jealous from time to time is natural when you are in a relationship. But recognize when jealous feelings cross the line and start to smother the relationship. An example of excessively jealous behavior is monitoring your partner’s daily activities. When jealous behavior hurts you, your partner or your relationship, consider counseling to help you address the causes of your jealousy and make modifications in your behavior.

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