Statistics aside, we all face jealousy of our partners at some point in relating. Jealousy is a feeling that you are not receiving something (love, attention, esteem, etc) that, by your account, you should. What makes this emotion so strong is that someone else is receiving the same love, attention and esteem that you feel is rightfully yours, hence the strong and sometimes explosive nature of this set of emotions.
What should you do if you go out with a platonic friend only to find that your partner is now incredibly jealous? How do you frame the suspicion, anger, insecurity and emotional outburst that come your way in exchange for a furtive glance at the opposite sex?
Here are 6 steps to keep your balance when your lovely partner turns into a giant raging green monster.
1. Remember the reaction is an expression of love.
“All is fair in love and war,” that famous line from Cervantes’ Don Quixote, it simply means that the raw feelings and emotions of a jealous heart, and the upset and actions taken in a fit of jealousy are forgivable. Jealous fervor is a piece of love’s passion. Remember that the next time you get grilled for being late coming home, or your girlfriend walks into the room with your phone in your hand and a scowl on her face.
2. Speak directly to the insecurity.
The tendency is to explain, prove and give evidence to the jealous party that you are innocent. Instead, try speaking directly to your partner’s jealous heart. He or she is hurting and looking to make sense of something that the heart can’t explain. Give your partner reassurance before you go on the defense of your character and/or your friends.
3. Let your partner speak it all out.
When I have been jealous, I feel like my emotions are hijacking my brain. I can see exactly where my feelings and my logic are mismatched, but I can’t stop the feeling without speaking it. Give you partner room to move from jealous anger to jealous loss.
4. Restore your jealous partner to partnership.
Remember your partner is hurt because he or she feels the sting of some perceived loss. Once you have listened fully to the hurt, make an offer to restore your partner to his or her fully esteemed position. Offer the time, energy or attention that your partner feels has been given to another. Restore the sense of wholeness and togetherness within your relationship. Remember he or she is fighting for you and not against you.
5. Verbally reassure your partner.
Your word is a bridge to connection for the suffering jealous partner. While you may not be able or willing to remove the object of jealousy (e.g. a boyfriend is jealous of your handsome male co-worker), you can verbally reassure your man of his importance in your life and the importance of your connection to one another. Simply saying that “nothing is going on”, without emphasizing your own devotion and love for your jealous partner, will only prolong his agonizing pain.
6. Physically reassure your partner.
A hug is a good way to say almost anything to someone you care about. A hug says, “I forgive you”, “I understand your feelings”, “You are important to me”, “I would never hurt you”, etc. The list goes on and on. Hugs have an effect on our hormones and brain chemistry and can counteract the outrageous mental pictures antagonizing the jealous partner.
Remember, the longer you want your relationship to last, the greater the likelihood of being jealous of your partner or feeling the jealous wrath of your partner. Jealousy, uncurbed, has the potential to ruin a once loving connection. It is just as important for the jealous partner to speak the truth of what they feel as it is for the partner who is feeling the brunt of the partner’s jealousy to help restore a deeper sense of love and connection. Remember love and connection are a two-way street.