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We've all experienced the uncomfortable emotion of jealousy in our relationships, whether it be with our friends, families, or most commonly, with our romantic partners. Ironically, this emotion that derives from love and the desire to protect our relationships can be the very thing to destroy them.
When we feel jealous, the knee-jerk reaction is to place the blame on someone else for evoking such an unpleasant emotion with their actions. But it turns out that experiencing jealousy may actually say more about the individual than the relationship. Our individual personalities influence our likelihood to feel- and act on- jealousy. People who are more insecure are most likely to question their relationship, their partner, and their partners' fidelity. People who are more emotionally unstable and neurotic are also more prone to jealousy, whereas those who are more agreeable, cooperative, and compassionate are less so. Feeling jealous can be a signal to look inward to one's sense of self and can motivate someone to behave differently in ways that benefit the relationship.
In order to keep jealousy in check, keep the following ideas in mind. It's important to nurture your relationship, especially when the two of you are apart. Make sure you communicate while one of you is away, and take the time to check in with one another. If you do find yourself feeling suspicious or threatened, whether the two of you are physically together or not, sleep on it. Flying off the handle with accusations will only make your partner defensive, angry, and resentful. Instead, take time to think and reflect on the way you feel and decide whether you will voice your suspicions or not.
If you decide to confront your partner, spend some time thinking about how to put your thoughts into words. The goal is to approach the conversation in a way that does not feel like an attack: try to avoid statements that place blame on your partner. Instead, talk about the way you feel by using statements like "I feel" or "I notice," so that the conversation is able to be constructive. Make sure to give your partner time to listen and respond.