The two of you are seated in a restaurant. She is looking like her usual sexy self and you marvel at the fact that you’re with the hottest woman in the room. Everything is going great until a male model wannabe makes his way through the crow and stops at your table. Your lady looks up and is smitten to see her former flame. As she introduces you to him, you try to maintain a smile while shaking hands. They continue to exchange friendly words and you sit idly by while your blood boils to levels that may or may not result in his body being flung over to the dessert cart. In short, his presence is making you lose it. Sound familiar?
This scenario is one of millions that depicts jealousy: a human emotion we instinctively
experience at some point or another. It causes someone to be doubtful of their partner and feel threatened by their interaction with certain people, the clothes they wear or the places they go.
For some, jealousy is a real issue and, if left untreated, can create a permanent wedge between you and your partner, while negatively affecting future relationships. Luckily, overcoming jealousy in relationships is possible.
Just like with aggression and paranoia, jealousy can take on varying degrees of severity, they are:
Jealousy does not necessarily merit its negative connotation; after all, it’s normal for men to be suspicious of their women (and vice versa). Having reservations about her going to a strip bar with friends or not enjoying the sight of her drooling over some guy in a magazine are innocent examples of how some jealousy can be harmless, and a perfectly normal reaction.
Likewise, a man who voices his concern over having his girlfriend go out with a bunch of guys or seeing another man flirting with her is also part of a healthy relationship. Often, a man is just looking out for his girlfriend’s well-being and women usually respect that. They may even be insulted if you don’t say anything.
The problem arises when aggression and/or violence accompanies the jealousy. Once you’ve reached this stage, you obsessively begin questioning her loyalty to you, and that sends you into a rage, maybe even causing you to use physical force. You inherit an extremely low tolerance level and, before long, she is unable to even look at another guy or leave your side when you’re both out. You demand to know where she is at all times and the mere mention of another guy’s name sends you off the deep end.
Where does this jealousy stem from?
You may have acquired this behaviour through past experiences with girlfriends. If you have already been cheated on, this may cause you to be more possessive and controlling of her for fear of repetition. Even if she’s never given you any reason to doubt her, you become increasingly desperate to hold on to the relationship and want to avoid potentially hazardous situations at all costs.
Similarly, you may be the one who’s been unfaithful in the past, and, in a shameful attempt to not have the tables turn on you, you want to ensure that you are the sole object of her desire.
But, for the most part, jealousy is a byproduct of one’s own issues with self-confidence and self-esteem. You may feel that you’re not good enough for her and that you’re together by
fluke. Most other guys seem better looking to you and you feel threatened by that. Watching her interact with other men leaves
you feeling worried that she may be “stolen” from you. If you’ve only been with her a short time, you may even be bothered by the close bond she has with her male friends, whom
she’s known all of her life.
Why is jealousy dangerous?
Jealousy, for those who can’t control it, is detrimental to a relationship because it eats away at the one thing that holds it together: trust. To tell your girlfriend or wife that she
cannot have lunch with a male coworker is to tell her that you don’t trust her (unless she has really given you reason not to). If you have to impose so many restrictions, should you two even be together?
Jealousy also takes away from your quality time together as it would undoubtedly lead to numerous fights whereby you only focus on each others’ negative qualities.
Furthermore, you end up spending the bulk of your day foolishly thinking up scenarios in which she may cheat on you. Before you know it, the greater part of your relationship will be spent on what could be happening rather than what is happening.
Jealousy will be harder to control as the relationship progresses, so if yours is reaching dangerously high levels, it’s time to get help as soon as possible.
Here are five ways to get a grip on your jealousy before you lose control and do something you may later regret:
1- Learn from past experiences
Look at how your behaviour affected past relationships and use that to help you behave better. You may soon discover that these tantrums are the cause of your troubled love life. Realise that getting upset with her for no reason won’t help your situation.
2- Deal with reality
Focus on what is really happening, not what you perceive to be happening because with time, you may end up having difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction, and you don’t want to kill an otherwise perfect relationship over things that never really happened. Don’t let your imagination dictate the kind of person she really is.
3- Respect yourself
Realise that she chose you for a reason and there is no need for her to be so easily tempted elsewhere. Remind yourself that you’re every bit as deserving as those guys you feel threatened by.
4- Get a third party’s opinion
Ask a friend to take note of your behaviour around your girlfriend. It may help you to fully understand the extent of your actions (as well as hers) by getting a neutral party’s perspective.
5- Set some rules early on
Try establishing some general guidelines as to what is and isn’t acceptable for you. This way, you’ll both have justification for outbursts when either of you is behaving improperly.
6- Don’t overreact
It’s OK to feel jealous, as long as you can contain and channel it in a positive manner. Keep in mind that having other guys flirt with your girlfriend is normal — just consider it as
flattery on both your parts. As long as she looks but doesn’t touch, what’s the big deal?
Remember that trust is the foundation of any relationship, and you shouldn’t let your insecurities destroy yours. More importantly, show the lady the same respect you would want her to show you. If you can do as you please, then so can she.
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