Jealousy is a negative emotion that can interfere with personal relationships and self-esteem. Learning how to constructively cope with feelings of jealousy can help one feel valued and worthwhile, beyond a showdown of a doubt, with or without love from your partner.
Twenty-first century culture depicts jealously as an expression of love mixed with paranoia; that it is true love if you feel jealous. Yet jealously is best defined as fear, hurt and anger; not exactly loving feel good emotions!
In jealousy we fear abandonment, are hurt but the perception that our partner is no longer honoring or valuing the commitment to the relationship and angry at the painful experience of being cast aside. Jealously should not be confused with envy. Envy is longing for something someone else has. Specific to jealousy is the fear, hurt and anger that we will lose the relationship we already have to some rival. Jealousy may be perceived or reactive to a real situation such as infidelity but the tools to cope with jealousy remain the same.
The first step is to understand that jealousy is not a sign of “true love.” It is ego-centric and based off a dependency on the relationship itself.
Secondly, in an effort to reduce dependency, one must detach their own self-worth from the value of the relationship. Finding out that your partner is attracted to someone else is painful but that does not mean that you are a worthless person who doesn’t deserve to feel valued and loved.
Bolstering one’s sense of self-esteem and self-confidence is another tool to reduce jealousy and dependence in a relationship. Practicing efforts to act independently can foster confidence that you can survive adversity and trust your own ability to act no matter how unfair a situation is. Practicing doing something nice for yourself and thinking positively about your own qualities is an important exercise to strengthen self-esteem.
All these qualities can help you, as an individual, improve communication with your partner and increases fairness and satisfaction in your relationship. All helpful tools in reducing the likelihood of jealous misunderstandings.
If you or someone you know is struggling with jealously, or you’d like to learn more about services offered, please contact the Intake Department at Specialized Therapy Associates at 201.488.6678 to hear about our individual and group services.