5 Questions to Explore When the Green-Eyed Monster Rears Its Ugly Head
Few women are strangers to the uncomfortable pangs of jealousy. You know, that sinking feeling of insecurity mixed with a twinge of anger. Maybe it comes up when your boyfriend flirts with a cutie at a party. Perhaps it makes an appearance when your husband comes home from work and he’s talking, a bit too enthusiastically, about a charming new colleague.
It’s easy to beat yourself up for those feelings. After all, no one wants to be “the jealous type.” But what if I told you that jealousy can actually be good for your relationship?
Biologically speaking, emotions are useful tools- they are signals to pay attention to something potentially harmful in your environment, so you can do something to protect yourself.
When viewed this way, jealousy is a friend to your relationship, a little warning flag that says something you care about could be in danger.
So when you use that nagging twinge of jealousy positively- by tuning into your relationship to see what’s really going on, a little jealousy can be a good thing, prompting you to protect your relationship.
Of course when you take that too far- it can be damaging. But as with all emotions, what counts is not the feeling, but what you do with it.
So what’s the best thing to do when you feel jealous?
You should talk, without shame or blame, about your feelings and perceptions with your partner so you can protect your relationship together.
As long as you know that being overly jealous isn’t a deeper problem for which you should seek professional help, jealousy could be your gut telling you that your partner is attracted to someone else. That’s not something to ignore, but to look at more closely since it's bound to happen at one time or another. Attraction is inevitable, what’s important is that you don’t act inappropriately on that attraction.
That’s where jealousy can help protect your relationship. By going to your partner and sharing your feelings, together you can explore if there is any real need for concern.
5 QUESTIONS TO ASSESS JEALOUSY
To begin judging the real danger of an attraction, discuss these questions together about the person/situation that sparked the jealous feelings:
- Are you sexually attracted to her/him?
- Do you find yourself fantasizing about her/him?
- Do you feel yourself drawn to her/him emotionally?
- Have you opened up and shared really personal info with her/him?
- Has anything happened between you two that you would feel uncomfortable telling your partner about?
You need to be honest with yourself and your partner as you explore these questions. If there are any “yes” answers- together as a couple, you can come up with a plan to deal with it.
Protecting your relationship typically involves moving away from the attractive person. For example, you or your partner might agree to minimize meaningful contact with the third party.
We’re all going to have attractions to other people and sometimes our partners pick up on our emotions and feel jealous.
That’s ok because you want to use your instincts- in this case, your jealousy- to notice when you might need to protect your relationship, together as a team.
When you’re in a long-term committed relationship, you both need to be on the lookout for attraction to others so you can do something about it- not just slide toward it- that’s how too many affairs start.
But when you listen to your gut, use jealousy as a useful tool, and take active measures to protect your bond, love can last a lifetime.