Most of us have experienced the “green eyed monster” at some point in our lives, but overcoming jealousy is important if we want to maintain healthy relationships, whether they be romantic or friendly. While we most often think of jealousy in the context of romantic relationships, it can also happen with close friendships.
When you’re jealous, you are also insecure, and often angry. This can be poisonous to relationships, and can cause them to end. Of course, if you DO have good reason to be jealous, such as if you have evidence your significant other is cheating on you or something equally dire, you should certainly take action. In many cases, though, jealousy is simply unfounded and toxic. If that’s your situation, you need to take steps in overcoming jealousy NOW so that you don’t ruin your relationship forever.
Although it’s probably true you’re never going to entirely eliminate jealous feelings, you can take control of them by simply realizing that they are YOUR problem, not your partner’s. In an otherwise healthy relationship, jealous feelings signify your insecurity, not your partner’s poor behavior. Therefore, take the steps in your quest for overcoming jealousy:
1. Ask yourself why you’re feeling jealous
When you experience jealous feelings, take a moment to ask yourself why you’re feeling jealous. If the reason is because of your own insecurity and not because of something your partner is doing, this is something you can fix.
2. Take responsibility
If the feeling of jealousy comes from your own insecurity and not because of something your partner is doing, realize that in this case, the real cure is that you need to learn new habits. The next time your partner wants to do something with his or her friends, for example, and doesn’t take you along, realize that healthy couples have separate interests as well as shared ones. Use these opportunities to challenge yourself and let your partner flourish without you, as well as with you.
3. Develop your own interests
If most of your social focus in life is devoted to your relationship or friendship, you’re setting yourself up for jealousy. Develop your own interests and some independence apart from your partner or best friend, for example, so that you have balance in your life.
4. Check in with yourself often
Check in with yourself often, whenever you feel jealous, to make sure your reasons for feeling jealous or all your own. Again, jealousy CAN certainly be a sign that something is going wrong in a relationship, such as if your significant other suddenly wants to spend a lot of time with an attractive new coworker.
The bottom line? Overcoming jealousy completely is probably not going to be possible, nor is it necessarily desirable; the ability to feel jealousy can in some cases be healthy, such as when it gives you a warning sign that something may be wrong in your relationship. However, if you feel jealousy in an otherwise healthy relationship, you’ll need to take responsibility for your feelings, and overcome that jealousy so that it doesn’t actually cause you relationship’s demise.