How to deal with a jealous partner 

Seeing beyond the green-eyed monster and saving your relationship

Part 1, Part 2

What do you do when your partner’s jealousy is threatening to destroy your relationship?

You might be in a relatively happy relationship – maybe it’s not without its occasional difficulties and challenges, but generally things seem to be just fine.

But then slowly, a darker side to it all begins to reveal itself... 

Your partner starts acting strangely. You feel as though he/she doesn’t trust you. They begin to question your whereabouts, who you’re spending time with and what you’re doing. 

At first, maybe you don’t mind too much because it seems like your partner is just demonstrating concern. But somewhere along the way you to begin to feel increasingly uneasy about the seemingly harmless questions. It's as if you always have to explain yourself. 

And then suddenly, you have to bear the brunt of unfounded accusations.

Image quote: Any over the top emotion makes us blind!

Signs of jealousy

You might feel:

  • that your partner is distancing himself/herself from you, or
  • maybe just the opposite - that your partner’s mere presence starts to stifle you
  • that you find yourself unable to do the things you used to do, out of fear that he/she may disapprove.

Your relationship might have changed. It can become not just constraining but tiring too. It may also hurt when you start to feel that your explanations no longer suffice – especially when you aren’t doing anything 'wrong' in the first place. (Oh, by the way, if you did do something wrong then there’s advice in here for you too.)

Other signs of jealousy and mistrust

Your partner may also...

  • want to be seen as 'protective', but to you it feels like possessiveness
  • seem vigilant and anxious
  • be intolerant
  • be demanding of your attention
  • seem begrudging of anything you do

Therefore, alongside this article, I'd also like you to read my article on the signs of an abusive relationship. Why? Well, the boundaries between what is understandable and acceptable under certain circumstances and what is outright abusive behaviour can be blurred.

Gender differences in jealousy

Studies show that men and women feel jealous for rather different reasons. Men feel more intense feelings of jealousy if there is physical intimacy – especially sexual relations – between their partner and someone else. On the other hand, women (on the whole) are more hurt when they discover emotional intimacy between their partner and someone else.

Ultimately, any form of betrayal causes pain. When a partner's affair is discovered, that pain is only part of the emotional trauma for the betrayed partner.

See the complete infographic on the Science of Relationships (link below)

What if you're totally committed and their jealousy seems uncalled for and irrational?

Maybe your partner has always been somewhat jealous. Maybe as a child his or her essential emotional needs were not met. Perhaps they have low self-esteem, have experienced troubled relationships or feel that they're lacking in some way or other. It’s important that you’re able to reassure them that you’re in it for the long haul - unless of course you're beginning to have doubts about the long term viability of your relationship.

Your partner may, in his or her own way, be trying to cope with their feelings of jealousy. In the process unfortunately their behaviour can at times be completely counterproductive, and doesn't help to deal with the underlying problems at all.

Many partners who are the victims of false accusations get so frustrated that they choose to just throw in the towel and head for the divorce courts.

Before it gets to that stage, let's see if I can help you deal with and solve the problems. But, first of all...

Have you betrayed your partner in any way?

If by any chance you have been unfaithful, I want you to know that I am by no means judging you. I don't want you to be hard on yourself either; what's been done has been done - it matters only how you recover the situation now.

So, let's start by naming what might have happened.

What does infidelity really mean? Cheating doesn't have to be a full-blown relationship with someone else. Let's see how else your partner may perceive your behaviour as a betrayal...

10 ways of betraying your partner or spouse

Your partner may also feel jealous because you...

  1. have been caught sexting
  2. indulge in pornographic material
  3. are sending inappropriate messages to other males or females
  4. talk too much about what was supposed to be a casual meeting
  5. appear to have a 'relationship' with someone in a chatroom
  6. are staying active on dating sites
  7. have inexplicable connections with people on Facebook
  8. haven't or have changed your relationship status on Facebook
  9. appear to have developed an emotional intimacy with someone
  10. spend time with other people, but have been lying about it

One or both of you may think these things are benign - if not entirely harmless - but they can add up for your partner (and for you too!).

Expect your partner to be somewhat jealous if they've discovered any sort of betrayal in the last few day, weeks, or even several months ago.

Of course, with much reassurance you should slowly begin to notice a letting go with an increase of trust, and the return of a stable mood and contentment. Much will depend on your attitude though!

Also, if the betrayal happened many moons ago, your partner’s jealousy is a sign that they haven't been able to get over that yet.

Hop over to my page on surviving infidelity now to learn more.

Image quote: You may want to gently remind your partner of this.

Can you guess your partner's perspective?

Whether or not it's as a result of anything you may or may not have done, here's what might be going on for your partner:

  • I am not worthy of love; I have not done enough; I don't mean enough; I am not handsome/pretty/intelligent/warm/loving/sexy/etc enough
  • Someone or something else means/meant more
  • My partner doesn't love me or truly want me (anymore)
  • His or her words of reassurance don't sound real, I'm not sure they mean it
  • They may change their mind any time, even if they want to stay with me
  • I need him or her more than ever, but I'm frightened of sounding needy
  • I don't know how to be, behave, speak or dress, I don't know who I am anymore

So let's next learn how you can (and can't!) help your partner in Part 2.

Part 1, Part 2

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Elly Prior

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It's me - Elly Prior, I'm the Founder and Author of this site. I'm a 'real' person! I'm hoping to make a positive difference, small or large, to every person who visits my site.

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Images courtesy of: Symphony of Love