Relationship Tips: How to Recognize Irrational Jealousy

Published: 11th March 2011
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When you love someone, it comes with strong feelings. You may not be used to dealing with such a range of intense emotions, and feelings like jealousy can be especially disconcerting. Sometimes, just the feeling of jealousy can seem like enough evidence to prove that your partner has done something wrong. Before you point a finger, here are some relationship tips to help you recognize irrational jealousy.

Irrational jealousy can be your past in disguise

When you're feeling jealous, take some time to figure out if what you're experiencing is about what is going on right now, or if it is a reaction to something that your partner or someone else did in the past. What images are coming up? What feelings are you having? Do they point to something current, or are they speaking in black and white terms? Absolutes, like "They always do this to me", "I can never trust them", or "People always hurt me" are either signals of deep general mistrust or of being stuck in the past.

Irrational jealousy can be a need to control

Sometimes, when you're jealous of someone it is because you are feeling out of control of a situation. This may have its roots in low confidence or in past betrayals, but if you are trying to control someone else, it is bad for your relationship. You cannot control someone else's thoughts, feelings, or actions. Having a mature and mutual relationship means communicating your feelings, making compromises to keep from hurting the other person, and knowing when you are crossing lines you shouldn't cross. If you're having trouble with jealousy and the need to control and you can't seem to talk with your partner about it, you may want to consider individual or couple's therapy.

Irrational jealousy can be low self-esteem

Irrational jealousy is often rooted in low feelings of self-worth. If you don't feel good about yourself on your own, you need someone else to constantly remind you of your worth. If that person is not focused on you, it is natural to feel jealous, even if they aren't doing anything off limits. Instead of calling them to task, try to work on your own feelings of self-worth. Good self-worth is built on self knowledge, accomplishments, and living with integrity. It takes time to build up your self-esteem. Tell your partner what you are trying to do, and you'll probably get help from them, as well.

Founded jealousy should not be ignored

Irrational jealousy must be separated from actual, founded jealousy. If you have a gut feeling that your partner is lying to you, or if you actually catch them in lies, you have good reason to feel jealous and betrayed. There are lines in any relationship: lines you set together and lines that are set by society. If you see your partner consistently crossing those lines, by kissing or flirting heavily with other people, for instance, the two of you need to have a conversation about boundaries and how it makes you feel when those boundaries are crossed. Try to keep your feelings separate from the facts. Share both feelings and facts with reserved emotion and try to keep from slinging insults or making accusations. Learn to communicate about this part of the relationship, and you'll have less reason for jealousy down the road.

Misha Anatolia is a relationship and bridal writer. For ideas on bridal shower etiquette and other bridal shower tips, check out

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