What is jealousy?Jealousy is a natural feeling that all people experience to a greater or lesser degree during life, but which unfortunately can create great challenges in relationships and dating. Jealousy can be associated with a lot of shame and taboo because many people experience losing control, and some even go so far as to carry out punishment and revenge on those to whom the jealousy is directed.
Jealousy is an umbrella term for a feeling that covers a number of other emotions. Typically, it is the feeling of not being good enough or the fear of losing one's partner that activates jealousy. If you suffer from low self-esteem, jealousy can worsen because you live with a basic doubt about your value and abilities, which is reinforced in relation to others. The degree of jealousy can vary from relationship to relationship because the dynamics of a relationship can help trigger the feeling of jealousy. One typically distinguishes between healthy and unhealthy jealousy.
Healthy jealousyHealthy jealousy is associated with actual events in the present which may give rise to concern. It can e.g. be that you and your partner have challenges in your relationship and that you see your partner flirting with others while out, which can trigger jealousy that your partner has good chemistry with others than you.
Unhealthy jealousy is rooted in past bad experiences or worries about what could happen - and therefore not what is at stake in the relationship right now. That kind of jealousy is associated with perceptions and fantasies that can appear enormously real to the one who experiences it. Social media has created better conditions for this type of jealousy because it allows us to keep a closer eye on current and former partners, look back at their history, and compare us to others online.
Here's what you can do, when you experience jealousy
Be curious: ask yourself what the jealousy is about. Is there really something at stake, or is it the fear of losing your partner, the feeling of not being good enough or previous experiences of failure that triggers you?
Find your need: figure out what you need in your relationship. Is it clearer agreements between you and your partner, more presence and attention from your partner or maybe more flirting and more dates?
Admit it: there is nothing wrong with being jealous. Open up and talk to your partner about it - it cannot be ignored away, and the further you go with it, the more it accumulates in you.
Make appointments: do not go into control mode, but talk about where your boundaries go and what makes you confident in the relationship.
Here's what you can do, when your partner experiences jealous
Be honest and trustworthy: do not let your partner get jealous. Speak the truth and do not try to spare your partner - you're just making it worse.
Share your frustrations: Tell how your partner's jealousy affects you. Don't focus on blame and guilt, but instead share your concerns about your relationship.
Believe in the relationship: Jealousy is not a permanent feeling, and if you both take your share of the responsibility and work with the jealousy, it can help bring you closer.
Joy is the antidote to jealousyIn non-monogamy and polyamory, one uses the term compersion, which translates to compassion, and means to rejoice on behalf of one's partner. Joy helps to dissolve the negative emotions associated with jealousy, and is therefore its antidote.
If you experience jealousy, try to focus on your partner's joy, and feel how your partner's other relationships, positive attention, and success contribute to your shared joy.Read our guide to partner massage here!Read our guide to partner massage here!