Jealousy is a bad thing: It makes you break into a sweat every time she wants to go out with the girls. It causes your stomach to sink at every mention of male friends, colleagues and ex-boyfriends. It leaves you unable to sleep, obsessing over what she’s doing with whom.
Jealousy, in short, will turn your happy little relationship into a seething viper’s nest of paranoia, nagging questions and suspicion.
And unfortunately, it’s one of the most natural emotions there is. Think about it: You adore her and want to be with her, so why wouldn’t every other man?
Jealousy, however, must be kept in check. Uncontrolled jealousy will destroy a relationship just as quickly as cheating. For the sake of your love life, we offer these four painless steps to overcoming jealousy in your relationship.
Ask a third party
Being an internal emotion, jealousy can easily lead into a downward spiral. Suspicious thoughts can be amplified as you turn them over and over in your head. Like a conspiracy theorist overanalyzing facts and placing great significance on tiny events, you can convince yourself of something that just isn’t there.
To succeed in overcoming jealousy, seek an outside opinion. Without any sense of perspective or rationality, you won’t see the real picture. Approach a close friend and ask for his advice. Preferably, this should be someone who considers himself your friend, rather than a friend of both of you.
Stress the need for total honesty and outline your reasons for being jealous. Reveal as much as you can, and if he asks questions, answer them with details, as they may help him shed some light on why you’re feeling this way. For example, have you ever cheated? If you have, this could be why you’re feeling jealous (as you’re expecting her to betray you), so don’t cover it up. Often, you’ll find just talking about things makes you realize how irrational you’re being.
Perform a detached self-evaluation
Armed with your buddy’s insight, overcoming jealousy requires you to take a long look at yourself in the mirror. The reasons for your jealousy could have more to do with your attitude and behavior than hers. Examine what issues could spark jealousy in you. If you’ve cheated or if any of your past relationships involved infidelity, you could be more prone to jealousy than others. If you’re under stress (even for reasons unrelated to her, like work, for example), you could find your libido lowered, and feel that other men are more attractive to her.
Next in overcoming jealousy comes your evaluation of the relationship. If you’ve made it this far, there has to be a reason for it. Focus on these positive points before moving on to any negative ones. Chances are that the good points outweigh the bad ones, otherwise one of you would have thrown in the towel by now. By comparing the real relationship to your internal feelings of jealousy, you should gain balance and realize competitors will have a hard time taking her away from you.
Build on this evaluation to improve the relationship, and — on a personal level — to make progress in overcoming jealousy. If you have identified problems with your attitude, behavior or relationship, work to resolve them. Remember: Jealousy is an internal process, but it will be reduced by favorable external circumstances.
Inflate your ego
Because this feeling is internal, the biggest step in overcoming jealousy is to work on yourself. Feeling jealous about her relationship with another guy has much more to do with you than it does with him. To overcome this, you have to boost your self-esteem.
Take time to remind yourself how great you are. The very fact that she’s with you means you have beaten all the other men in the world. Any rivals can’t just waltz in and take her away because you’re already miles ahead of the game. Channel time and effort into the relationship to make her happy, and when she tells you “You’re the best,” it’ll do wonders for your ego.
Overcoming jealousy involves not just concentrating on the relationship, but also increasing your self-opinion in all other areas. Take pride in the things you’re good at, take more time with the hobbies and interests you enjoy and excel at, and surround yourself with people who think you’re just swell. Get a haircut, buy a sharp new suit… do whatever you can to remind yourself that you’re the bomb, and you won’t worry about all the other guys in the world.
Trace all future episodes of jealousy
Keep track of all your future feelings of jealousy. If you find yourself suspicious or angry about another guy, sit down and analyze it. Get a clear idea as to why you feel threatened, listing all the reasons on your side and his. Then try to rationalize why these feelings are justified. Attempt to imagine the world in which all the crazy thoughts are true, and you’ll find that all the pieces just won’t add up. Eventually, you’ll come to dismiss your jealous thoughts as quickly as they crop up.