Anyone who’s been in a relationship knows jealousy is never a good look. But why do our emotions still get the better of us? Don’t fret; you can learn how to stop being jealous through this guide.
Books, movies, and shows capitalize on this plot: jealousy. It’s either seeing the central character spiral down in her jealousy, as she tries to figure out if her love interest is cheating. Or, you root for the jealous and zealous guy who’s fighting to win his ex back. Seriously, it is such a trope, but it hooks you all the time.
Why does it engross you? Jealousy is something even the happiest and most confident feels.
In a relationship, it stews a whole lot of drama and pain. Psychologists describe jealousy as a protective reaction when something threatens to topple, destroy, or take away a valued relationship.
But the feeling is more than that: it amplifies your every thought and emotion. Your sadness may rival that of the last person on Earth, or, you feel livid to the point that everything you see is tinted a mad red. Worst case, you think both. You cry until you can’t anymore, and you set out to mark what’s (or in this case, who’s) yours. Either way, it isn’t a pretty picture.
Why is this emotion so complex and, at times, destructive? And while we’re at it, how to stop being jealous?
How to Stop Being Jealous: The Stages
Since it is a painful emotion, psychologists and experts devised stages to analyze how the mind and body react when jealous. The most popular suggests that you go into five stages, kind of like the way you process grief.
Stage 1: Identifying the threat
Like a protective mama bird or an ardent goalkeeper, you sense a danger to your relationship almost immediately.
It’s most likely a shift in dynamic brought about by a new person in your partner’s life. This may be someone they just met or a person of the past who suddenly showed up and claimed your beau’s attention again.
The first stage is tricky because you’re not even sure if something is going to happen. All you know is you’re intimidated; you feel like you’re about to lose your lover to the newbie.
Stage 2: Assessing the threat
This is the stage when you begin to employ tactics and schemes you never thought you’re capable of carrying out. You spy on your significant other, check out their texts and DMs, keep tabs on them, and lose sleep as you worry incessantly.
You also try to gather intel about your rival. What are their hobbies? How do they know your partner? How do they interact, and how close are they to each other? Are they better than you? In what ways? You even wonder if this alleged “cheating” is something everyone noticed before you did.
Understatement, but stage two is the part when you go mad as a hatter. You’re fighting a lonely battle here, and your emotions start to go haywire because of it.
Stage 3: Emotional Reactions
Growing suspicions of infidelity can give rise to your emotional side. Your reactions may greatly vary; you become embarrassed, extra clingy, vengeful, violent, spiteful, selfish, depressed, or a nasty jumble of these negative emotions.
If a person were to give you a mirror that reflects not just your face but also your inner turmoil, you wouldn’t even recognize what you’ve become. Yes, it’s what, not who. You become a shell of the man or woman you used to be before your partner allegedly cheated on you.
Stage 4: Coping Response
If you feel strong enough to weather out the flurry of emotions coming your way, you either cope by shoring up your crumbling relationship or by saving your sagging ego.
You may swear off all the men or women who try to flirt with you or throw yourself to the next warm body you see to see if your partner gets affected. You may gaslight or manipulate your partner so that you maintain your chokehold on them.
Whichever coping mechanism you choose, there’s no denying that you are feeling the pain, betrayal, and shock all at once.
Stage 5: The Outcome
Your emotional reaction or the antics you did to cope may help or threaten the relationship. But usually, the latter is what happens, especially if all your accusations are unfounded.
Picture this: you were jealous for no reason at all. But you acted on your suspicions and slept with someone else to get even. All the while, your partner was utterly loyal. You, who didn’t take the time to confirm, is now the one who cheated. Oh, how the tables have turned.
It sounds like a plot, but hey, art imitates life.
The Relational Effects
Every single action has repercussions; your jealous ways may make or break your relationship.
How can it destroy my relationship?
Even the most patient and loving of partners can get weary when they’re repeatedly accused of unfounded infidelity. Imagine; they aren’t in the wrong, just living and hustling and loving you. But you return their love and loyalty with suspicious glances and scathing remarks—no doubt they’ll get tired. You don’t trust them even if they’re loyal, what more can they do?
And yes, trust. Trust goes both ways—you trust your partner, and you believe yourself.
If you aren’t accusing your partner of cheating, then you may be jealous of others because you feel you’re lacking.
Their friends or new workmate looks hotter than you, they talk to someone who shares their deep love for video games (something you can never do), or they spend time with club members who also go out and hike. You can’t be everything and anything for your partner; thus, you feel insecure and envious of all the time they’re spending with these peers.
You always second-guess and look down on yourself. You feel insecure, and that is when you forget how to be the fun, confident person your partner fell in love with.
Is jealousy ever healthy?
If jealousy is so detrimental to a relationship, then why is it such a universal feeling? Is it ever healthy? It could be but in minimal doses.
You can use your jealousy, at least the part when you feel threatened, to take a look at yourself. Check if you’re going too lax on your diet if you’re readily giving up on chasing even your short-term goals, or you’ve been neglecting your partner’s need for some TLC.
Jealousy can be a wake-up call. Make sure you don’t snooze it like your alarm, though; at the first ring, bolt upright and get moving.
How to stop being jealous
By now, you don’t need us to establish that jealousy harms your person and romantic relationship. Sure, it is unavoidable; we all get jealous. But, letting it consume and control you is an altogether different issue.
So, how to stop being jealous? We rounded up six must-dos you should give a try:
Be honest about your feelings
No matter how much they know you, your lover is not a mindreader. They most likely won’t detect the jealousy that’s eating you up, especially in the early stages. Boy, if they could only tell, then that will surely save both of you from the pains of stages two to five!
Since you can’t expect them to know about it, it’s your job to ‘fess up. When you feel jealousy creeping in, nip it in the bud. Ask your lover if you can have a heart-to-heart talk.
Don’t be afraid and be vulnerable. No matter how trivial or irrational, let it all out. Tell your partner about your worries, the sources of it, and how it’s making you jealous, which you hate. Ask them to be frank with you if your perceived threat is correct, or if you’re changing negatively because of jealousy.
Invite them also to speak out their mind. Operation How to Stop Being Jealous will only be successful if you are both candid and willing to iron things out.
Trust your partner
After confirming that your partner is not cheating on you, you’ll have to trust them. No matter how hard that may sound, you can only quell your jealousy if you place your faith and confidence in your partner.
Once the talk is over, promise each other you will let go of the unfounded issues you aired out. And make sure you mean that promise.
If you find yourself arguing, never rehash these allegations back. If how to stop being jealous is your goal, you have to let go of the suspicions you both confirmed to be false.
Have you ever heard of the pep talks encouraging you to believe in yourself? They’re not wrong; you have to believe in yourself before you can trust another person entirely.
In a relationship, it’s never enough and OK if you don’t have faith in yourself. You can never give what you don’t have, remember? So, how to stop being jealous of the people your partner meets if you can’t be confident about your own skin?
Thrive in your beauty, intelligence, confidence, and capabilities. Believe that you are a catch, and you are enough. Claim it, own it, exude it.
Always strive to improve yourself
If there’s no third-party involved, just the same old envy when someone new comes to view, take this as a challenge.
And no, it’s not versus that person. It’s a challenge to reinvent and upgrade yourself.
Ask yourself, “why am I envious?” Try to get a list of qualities or talents that make you tick. If there are things in your inventory that’s innate (meaning they’re born with it), don’t bother. You have capabilities of your own thanks to genetics.
But if your feathers are ruffled because they’re sporty, fashionable, or a good cook, for example—invest in yourself. Sign up for sports or physical activities you’ve always been interested in trying. Learn how to cook your favorite dishes from a recipe book or take basic cooking classes. Study your proportions and decide your “assets.” Then, enjoy mixing and matching clothes, accessories, and whatnots so you can also be trendy.
You see, if you only take a chance on yourself, you don’t even need to ask how to stop being jealous every time there’s a new person in town.
Respect their boundaries
A relationship is a partnership—you don’t own your partner in the same way that they don’t have full reign on you.
If how to stop being jealous is your goal, you have to accept the fact that you can’t be anything and everything for your lover. They’ll have friends, family members, colleagues, hobbies—they had a whole life before you came. And that’s not a bad thing.
It’s only right that you ask for your beau’s loyalty, bae-time, and a space in their plans. But don’t go overboard and ask them to make you the center of their world. Sure it sounds romantic, but a healthy and loving relationship revolves around boundaries, willingness, trust, mutual respect, and love.
Live a life of your own
Now, it’s not fair if only your partner gets to live their own life, right? You have to live yours, too.
Make time for your friends, parents, and relatives. These people were with you even before your special someone came along; they shouldn’t be booted out of your life because you have someone now.
Also, don’t give up on your ambitions and goals. Live your life for yourself.
To cap it off
One of the emotions you’ll have to deal with in a romantic relationship is jealousy. It’s as complicated as love itself; if you don’t overcome it, jealousy can even mean the end of your happy days together.
In the same way that it takes a lot of effort to make each other happy, weathering the pains and problems that come along with jealousy requires a lot from you, too. The silver lining, though, is that you’re a more reliable couple when you make it out.