Jealousy can throw us off balance completely if we let it. It's one of those irritating emotions that feels terrible, but is a normal reaction to being alive. We just have to make sure we understand where our jealousy is coming from, and we have to learn how to manage it.
But, what do you do if the jealous feelings in your relationship aren't coming from you, but from your partner?
An important note: when we talk about a jealous partner, we're talking about someone who feels insecure, maybe territorial. We're talking about someone who's trying hard to understand their feelings and curb any behaviour that's hurtful or unfair. We're not talking about someone who's cruel or controlling, and we're definitely not talking about someone who is in any way abusive. If your partner's jealousy is making your relationship feel unhealthy, listen to your instincts and keep yourself safe.
If your partner is kind to you, but they're overwhelmed or perplexed by their own emotions, here's what you can try.
Talk about it
"You definitely should share your thoughts and feelings of jealousy with your partner," clinical psychologist Dr. Mariyam Ahmed told HuffPost Canada. "Use that conversation as a way to share your needs and also to further build on the relationship."
WATCH: Dr. Ahmed is featured in the first episode of our new series Navigating, where host Kait Howell shows you how to deal with jealous feelings. Story continues after video.
Hearing your partner's fears might help you understand what they're going through. Maybe they were cheated on in the past, and they're sure you're talking to another guy when you're on your phone all the time. Maybe they're nervous that you two don't have enough in common, and that's why they got quiet at the party when they saw you talking old-school hip-hop with another girl.
Once you've heard their concerns, don't try to minimize, negate or "fix" those fears, according to Dr. Danielle Grossman at PsychCentral. "By trying to run the fear out of town, this technique to try to avoid a difficult conversation will backfire and leave you with a bigger mess," she wrote. Hear them out, and try to understand and empathize.
"When an insecure person is forced to fill in the blanks, his or her assumptions are likely to be dominated by worry and doubt," eHarmony advised their readers in a blog post about dealing with an insecure partner. "Do your best to preempt that reflex."
If your partner is afraid their affections aren't reciprocated, they'll appreciate you being vocal and demonstrative. Tell them you love them, or touch them more, or plan a date night. Sometimes a simple show of love is all someone needs.
Psychology Today recommends dealing with jealousy by figuring out a set of rules that you can both live with. Maybe you let your partner know what you're doing when you're on your phone, or they introduce you to the person they're talking with at the party — and if you're willing to do those things, they're not allowed to look at your texts or assume the work when you talk to a new person. If your partner feels they have some level of control, but you still have some freedom, you've hit the sweet spot.
Trust your instincts
Getting over insecurity isn't easy, especially for someone with betrayal in their past. Remember that you're not going to solve this right away, and importantly, that your partner's jealousy ultimately isn't up to you to solve. Of course you want to help them, but they have to be working hard at the relationship, too. If you don't feel like they're trying to change, or if their jealousy verges into unsafe territory, trust your instincts. You know better than anyone else if you're in a relationship you want to stay in.
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