How to get rid of jealousy
When I work with a client experiencing jealousy, my starting point is always the thoughts that bring out the jealousy. I use cognitive tools to counteract the jealousy.
Once we map out exactly what thoughts bring on different emotions (e.g. anxiety, anger or fear) which then result in some sort of inappropriate behaviour (e.g. checking my boyfriend’s phone, mail), together we examine them.
- Could I think differently?
- Could these thoughts be pure fabrication, lies and misinterpretations?
- Could I do something differently and more useful in situations where I experience jealousy?
Once thoughts are examined in this way, huge improvements start happening and with a little training the client can do this it at home, because the tools, exercises and techniques are relatively simple.
Most clients report that after only a few sessions, they start to experience a noticeable difference in the way they act in their relationship, how they speak to their partner and especially how they experience lower levels of jealousy.
A male client recently said:
“Maj, I no longer feel the jealousy as that knot in my stomach that I just HAVE to react to right away. It’s actually become more a source of irritation, which I can know stop and have a look at – it is as if the very strong feelings of jealousy have disappeared.”
And that’s exactly what happens when you start working with all the thoughts that spark the experiences of jealousy.
The negative jealousy thoughts
When you experience jealousy, your thoughts are running wild but bringing them to light by writing them down, you can further figure out what to do about them.
The negative thoughts would likely include:
- Worries about being abandoned
- Worries about infidelity
- Doubts about whether your partner loves you enough
- Believing your partner is only in the relationship until they find something “better”
If your partner is cooperative then you can get your partner to help you look at your thoughts and ask questions like:
- What thoughts went through your mind when you experienced the feeling of jealousy?
- What did you think about?
- How many different thoughts did you really have?
- Why don’t we try and write them down?
- Are the thoughts even true?
- What proof do you have that the thoughts are true?
- Do you recognise these thoughts from your past?
- Have you ever experienced these situations in past relationships?
What is jealousy then?
Jealousy is the fear of losing something that matters to you.
There a huge differences in what makes one person jealous and what makes another person jealous. However, the common denominator for all jealousy is the fear of losing.
Is jealousy with different clients always the same?
No, it’s not.
Jealousy can be unleashed and fed by many different things and there are also different kinds of jealousy such as healthy and unhealthy jealousy, as well as rational and irrational jealousy.
The jealous thoughts are often the same – 15-20 identical “repetitive thoughts” that all clients deal with.
Here are some of the issues relevant to look at:
- Jealousy and old experiences of failure.
- Jealousy and your thoughts about the future.
- Jealousy and your thoughts about your partner.
- Jealousy and your fear of the future.
- Jealousy and self-esteem. Am I basically a decent human being?
- Jealousy and self confidence. Am I a good enough partner?
- Jealousy and feeling inferior. Others are better, more beautiful, more attractive than me – almost the same as jealousy/self-esteem.
See the jealousy as a common issue
If you as a couple can see the jealousy as a common issue, you’ve already come very very far!
There’s absolutely no doubt that if you as a couple can look at the “jealousy” as an intruder, as a third party needing to be dealt with together, then you have the absolute best possible foundation for getting rid of the jealousy.
No matter what issues or problems you experience in your relationship, it’s always something others go through!
And a problem, is not just a problem for YOU to fix. Concern, caring and support is essential to really kickstart the healing process. The better you support and ask “how can I help you in your process/journey/jealousy work”, the quicker you’ll reach your goal.
Deal with the jealousy as a team
From now on consider your relationship as a place of work. Because it IS a place of work. There are different chores needing to be done.
There will be challenges and issues you need to deal with. And you have to help each other. Yeah yeah I do know that in the given situation it can be extremely difficult, but please try anyway! Once the emotions have settled down.
There ‘s no boss! You’re both a part of the responsible board of directors and you can choose to either run the business into the ground or you can build it up ensuring the value of stock goes up!
Neither is it a fight over power in the board – there are no winners or losers – because if your partner loses, it affects you!
You have do deal with the problems, issues and challenges you experience along the way on your journey through life, as a team because then you’ll solve them best way possible. And yes, sometimes I’m the one stuck with it mostly and other times it’s mostly stuck on you – and that’s okay, but let’s talk about it first right?
But do I have to understand my partner’s jealousy?
No, you don’t. It’s a widespread perception and misunderstanding that we always have to understand each others’ issues in order to be able to help.
Of course understanding is a nice thing and to be understood in your issue, whether it’s jealousy or something completely different. But is rare that you’re able to really walk in your partner’s shoes, when such powerful forces are at play, like when we talk about jealousy.
You can still show you care, give support and understanding for your partner’s process in trying to work out the jealousy.
Is understanding the jealousy and accepting it the same?
But Maj, I really do understand why my partner is jealous. I just cannot stand it any longer.
It is very important to understand that understanding and acceptance and tolerance are not the same.
And this is exactly where a lot of people get it wrong.
- Just because you are able to understand your partner being jealous does not mean having to accept it as a given for how things are.
- Even if you can understand your partner becoming suspicious because they had an ex who was notoriously unfaithful, it does not mean you need to tolerate being put through the wringer.
- Your partner’s lousy childhood does not mean that you should accept the consequences it has for you and the relationship.
You don’t support because you understand!
You support because you are part of the process of getting on with your lives and releasing the jealousy and the jealous behaviour.
Expressions and behaviours of jealousy
All the thoughts that pop into your mind like a jack-in-the-box, especially when you least expect it, can make the jealous part react in a way that you know are extremely harmful.
But you can only see that once the irrational thoughts have subsided and the rational part of your brain has regained its power over the jealous thought patterns. In most cases, the damage has been done. Now it becomes a question of whether to keep the feelings and behaviours secret from your partner so that you don’t stir up any other jealous rages, or whether to clean up after the crisis you’ve just created in the relationship.
Because jealousy is often expressed through suspicion and controlling behaviour. Maybe you check you partner from head to toe, maybe you don’t trust what they’re saying and go into “conflict mode”, maybe you’re playing the role of prosecutor in a court when your partner gets home from a quick trip to the grocery store.
Maybe you find yourself following your partner, tracking them, driving around in your car searching and keeping an eye on them – or worse, pay someone to do it – it’s more common than you think!
This lack of trust is the basis for huge emotional distancing – BIG TIME!
When jealousy is positive
Jealousy in not always negative! In a relationship we do tend to get a bit bored once the infatuation has worn off. When we are thrown out of our complacency though and all of a sudden feel that someone is showing an interest in our partner then something really really interesting can happen!
Then our interest and emotions are heightened – oh no!, I am losing something that’s mine! You might feel it as a knot in your stomach or a bolt through your body and you start to once again make an effort when it comes to love. You might surprise your partner, you might take a bit more time on your appearance – exactly as you did during the first phases of falling in love – to be as attractive as possible.
And THAT kind of jealousy is not bad at all! It actually boosts the relationship and the love and can serve as a wake-up call in getting the love back on track.
Naturally, for this ‘healthy’ jealousy, you don’t need therapy, treatment or counselling. It’s MEANT to be there and is a natural part of a relationship.
The non jealous partner
How does it feel to not be trusted over and over when your intentions are good?
It’s not funny, not funny at all to be met with the same hostility, the same distrust, the same suspicion and to experience that no matter what you do, the jealousy just keeps getting worse and worse!
Maybe you’ve even tried to adjust your behaviour and hoped it would help only to realise that it didn’t. You’ve become less and less yourself and more and more something else, someone you’re not.
Maybe you experience distancing yourself emotionally and that you cannot cope with anymore conflict. And that means that you’ve stopped sharing things from your everyday life because you KNOW that anything you say can spur on jealousy.
Maybe you’re at a point where that lack of trust has started to fuel vengeful thoughts, whispering in your ear: “since she keeps thinking I’m unfaithful or want other people, I might as well do what she’s accusing me of!”.
Maybe you’re on you way out and have been for a long time but have stayed because you cannot stand the thought of what it would do to your jealous partner. You know deep inside that you do love him or her but you simply CANNOT live with it any longer.
Maybe you’ve already moved out, but still love the person…
But then what can you do?
Well, you can start the wheels turning NOW! It means to start making demands. In the good sense.
“Honey – I love you but I can tell how awful you feel once jealousy takes over. It hurts me to see how much you suffer and it’s heartbreaking to see what the jealousy is doing to our love and relationship. I would like to help you and us – what can I do?”
Refer to it as “the jealousy” and not as you and I – consider it an entity taking over your partner! Then he or she won’t feel as much of the guilt/shame and it becomes easier to talk about and to deal with as a real problem and not as a part of “this is just who I am”.
When the partner is an accomplice in maintaining the jealousy
Very often I find that a jealous client focuses so much on the jealousy that all other issues in the relationship take a back seat. And in some cases the jealousy is blamed for destroying way more than it actually does!
It is completely natural to want to place blame somewhere outside of yourself and not have to take any part of the responsibility of a dysfunctional relationship. That is actually an issue that’s even more taboo than jealousy itself.
This means that the non jealous partner can get away with A LOT and that can also be very detrimental to the relationship. All is brought back to the jealousy and other issues are left unaddressed.
When you become aware of this, you have to make sure you talk about these mechanisms in a good way. Frankly, bottom-line is that good communication is extremely important to be able to work together as a couple no matter what challenges you face together in your lives.
Jealousy – a self-fulfilling prophecy
The worst aspect about jealousy is that the things you are suspicious of and fear happening may over time, become a reality.
Jealousy is more or less the fear of losing and at a first you likely lose your close emotional connection and then the physical closeness and in the end you might lose your partner completely.
So if you don’t start taking your jealousy seriously and deal with it once and for all, you risk getting what you fear the most.
I wish you all the best on your journey on how to get rid of jealousy
Maj Wismann, Love Expert
Get 60 Free Audio and Video Online Course + Complete E-book + Worksheets
– The Real Love Blueprint – Loved by the Danes 😉
I have a girlfriend that got surgery and I thought everything would be ok, but then I started noticing a lot of men staring and it made me jealous it made me feel insecure about myself and that she might like someone else or like the attention that she now get, I feel like I’m loosing her,feel like i need to go out my way to show her how much I love her.
Thank you so much for writing – First you need to know that it is perfectly normal to react with insecurity when there suddenly is a change in the level of attention your girlfriend gets.
Second you need to know that the best way of dealing with the insecurity you feel is to talk with her about it. I´m sure she can relate to the feelings you have. Try talk to her about the feelings you have, and see if it does not help you – it often does 🙂
To be able to talk about and be honest about the jealousy is one of the most importend thing in the process of dealing with jealousy.
To to get rid of your jealousy is much more about dealing with it in the long run in a good way than try to get rid of it at first. The better you deal with it, the more it will go away.
And again – remember – It is completely normal what you feel <3
İt is a wonderful article that you wrote and also vert truthful. İ have been dealing with jelousy for 5 years now in relationship. Jelousy started after my ex before him i was never so much ubnormaly jelous. However i really appreciate my partner standing by my side now when dealing with this green eyed monster.
It is SOOOOO much easier to deal with jealousy when you have an understanding partner, cause it´s really strong feelings sometimes – like you are being “taken over” by the green eyed monster.
I hope you can use my article and find it helpful.
My husband daughter lives with us and is very sneaky and dishonest with her father about everything from her grades to boys. His exwife left him after cheating on him 3 times. He says he trust his daughter and resolves everything by talking with her. She is now 16 and soon will have a car soon. My husband says I’m jealous of his daughter. I just don’t like liars and it seems she’s picked up a bad habit from her mother. The child lives with us and visits her mom during holidays & summer.
Hi my name is hurt. I have a spouse that made a pass once to my sister and tried to be even sexual with her. I never knew of this for about five years. However every time my sister came over I noticed his rejection of her wanting to visit me. So I confronted him on it. I told him the truth shall set you free. I kept bothering him until he confessed. Boy did the truth hurt. I quarreled with my Mom and sis because they knew of this but didn’t want to hurt me or affect our children’s lives. He confronted my sister and pleaded her to forgive him and to help get me back. So yes I stood and forgave him. Since then he’s kept his promise that he loves me. But I feel it’s not true at all because I’ve pleaded him to stop looking at women around me. I told him that a heart that doesn’t see doesn’t hurt. I also warned him that things can graduate to higher levels if not loyal to one’s self. He tells me that he doesn’t mean to hurt me but he can’t help that God gave him eyes and that it’s not his fault if they dress practically nude. I’ve been with him for 25 years and still love him plus he doesn’t let me go when I catch him looking he tells me let’s get marriage counseling. I don’t want to be hurt just respected and as for the women he drools over I’m not jealous of them God Bless them. They don’t even know of my struggles.
so sorry to hear you are going through this. My dad had an affair with my mum’s sister that lasted 30 YEARS and they even had an illegitimate child together and went so far as to get some guy to pretend to be the estranged father of the child. My mum was in denial about the whole thing for decades but she knew deep down and would tell me often about her suspicions yet she also refused to act on them. He was also physically, emotionally and psychologically abusive to her. It finally came out into the open about 6 years ago and my mum almost immediately went through a rapid period of spiritual growth and accelleration. She had been lying to herself for decades and she was now finally starting to walk in truth and authenticity. While your situation may not be as extreme as this, do you want to be with a man who makes you feel like shit all the time who disrespects you so much as to actually try and sleep with your own SISTER? If you’re not strong enough to leave the relationship now my suggestion to you would be to start working on yourself, reach out to friends, get a new haircut, maintain an exercise program, take up a new hobby, learn a new skill, go for that promotion at work or start that business or write that book that you always dreamed of doing. When you are this emotionally strong you will be in a much stronger position to demand he change or you’ll be able to walk away from the relationship completely and find someone who deserves you. Your jealousy is NOT your issue- it’s HIM that’s violated your boundaries!!!
I agree. So often the woman is blamed for being insecure. When I’m on my own I feel good about myself but when I was with my ex boyfriend (who constantly checked out younger, attractive woman) it naturally made me feel bad. I told him how it made me feel but he wouldn’t stop. That’s why he’s now my ex.
No man has the right to make a woman feel inferior, especially his girlfriend. He’s the one with the problem.
Hi Maj ! I have recently developed jealousy. My husband emotionally cheated on me with several different girls but one in perticular . He did it for 14 months. November last year I caught him red handed . The women involved fully cooperated . I have forgave him and we talked . We now have our relationship back on track . How ever now when we go out . I see him eye ball and smile at other girls blatantly in front of me and it infuriates me . I walk off and leave him go home till I have calmed down and ready to talk . I am trying to resolve the matter by talking asking why he does that , especially what we’ve been through . I never use to be like that .
Hi, I was previously married for 20 years from a young age, to a man who was very abusive in every way- mostly emotionally. Μade me feel inferior to other women in every way…defiantly making me feel extreme low self esteem. That being said, I am now with a completely different man, supportive, loving, caring, thoughtful- but I am extremely jealous of him even glancing at another woman, and I know that I am not an unattractive woman. He’s had to work lately at a condo that is right on a very popular beach, now I guess it goes without saying that my mind is full of thoughts of him gawking at every “piece of ass” in a bikini that walks by. He reassures me that he just looks and goes about his day. But why do I feel that this even is cheating, I believe that if you are married you have no right to be entertaining any thoughts about another individual of the opposite sex. I just want to stop thinking this way..,I want to not care…he has no jealousy what so ever, which also makes me feel that he wouldn’t care if he lost me or not…
I am a very jealous person because of how much I have been hurt in the past by guys. I seem to think that every single guy out there is a dirt bag and no matter how much I try and believe that my boyfriend is just the opposite I can’t help but feel depressed or insecure when he see’s girls in skimpy clothes..OR even when he looks at them. I know he loves me and I know he is extremely faithful! Things with him are different, he is not a very sexual person but even though this may be the case I am really struggling. I do not want to push him away or loose him. Please help me. I really want your help to know what I can do to manage my jealousy issues and what I can do as soon as a thought pops into my head.
I have been dating a guy for almost 2 years. I noticed him checking other girls out when we were out, I called him out on it and he says “that’s what guys do and he wouldn’t be human if he didn’t”. Well what about the girl he is with, is she not supposed to have feelings. I noticed he started looking up sexy women online. I have a really hard time with all of this. Mostly because he is so obvious. Makes me feel like I am not good enough. Why can’t men respect women or stay single if that is what you like. It is kind of creepy and yet I love him but I don’t want to put up with it.
point blank you feel insecure about it and he’s disrespecting you do it back see how he likes it or simply leave him there’s more where they came from guys are just pigs point blank