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Jealousy Doesn’t Have to Cause Problems in Relationships

So your partner approaches the hostess at a restaurant to put your name on the list. He also manages to crack a witty joke and gets a laugh.

You’re instantly jealous, fearful and even resentful.

You’ve been planning this night out and, well, now it could be totally ruined. Your mind begins to race. Did he think she was cute? Why was he flirting with her? Why does he always have to do things like that? Maybe he wants someone who looks like that.

Should you say something to him? That would come across wrong. Then, it really would ruin the evening. But, is the alternative to sit there all evening and stew in self-doubt and perhaps even anger?

Then, you inevitably bring up the issue. It might come across as sarcasm. He asks you which side of the table you’d like to sit on and you reply, “Oh, this side, because I know you want a good view of that cute little hostess.”
And good-bye to your evening, right?

There is a much better alternative.

Both men and women feel threatened in this way. Regardless of how faithful, or how much trust exists in the relationship, biochemical alarms go off when members of the opposite sex come into the picture.

For some, alarms bells sound louder and longer, due to past experience. Still, jealousy is a normal feeling. There is nothing wrong with it and it doesn’t have to cause a problem, if you handle it like a feeling.

Handling feelings like feelings means expressing them directly, not indirectly. Here’s how…

A direct expression of jealousy is: I am feeling jealous right now.

• An indirect expression of jealousy might be: She was sure cute, huh?

Direct expressions make you vulnerable. 
Indirect expressions are more like attacks on the other person. In healthy relationships, it is nearly always better to directly express your feelings and make yourself vulnerable, rather than allow feelings to indirectly charge your words with sarcasm or resentment. That just leads to fighting and vicious cycles of relationship hell.

So, directly express what you are feeling. Allow your partner to respond, reassure you, or do whatever he or she is going to do with it. You’ll be putting the truth on the table. Your partner will have a chance to deal with your feelings for what they are.

It’s a great way to be, assuming a certain level of relationship health.

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Jealousy Doesn’t Have to Cause Problems in Relationships

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2015). Jealousy Doesn’t Have to Cause Problems in Relationships. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Sep 2015
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