It all started when you saw him or her looking at the hottie. And it went downhill from there. You may have made some jabbing accusations, started a yelling match, sulked or generally made your partner pay. You felt justified, righteous; worried and sure that your partner was in the wrong. What you really wanted was reassurance and love–the glorious unconditional kind. Sometimes you got it. Sometimes you didn’t. Sound familiar? Most of us have had a few incidents with the green-eyed monster called jealousy. And some of us have had more than a few. We all know that jealousy can cause painful heartbreak, scads of worry, out-of-control outbursts and setbacks in a relationship. It can even destroy love. But is it possible that jealousy can ever be a good thing in an intimate relationship?
So here are four dating problem situations along with four pieces of dating advice that will not only moderate spurts of jealousy but might actually work to help you and your couple.
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Let’s say your partner spends what seems to be an awfully long time laughing at some cutie’s jokes. That worried jealous feeling in your gut can serve to show you that your partner is desirable to you. We have a tendency to devalue anyone who wants to be in a club that would have us as a member. Plus after awhile of being in a relationship, the sparks tend to die down. So seeing someone validate your partner’s attractiveness is a good thing. It fans the sparks you still have for your partner. That flash of green in your eyes is a sign that you still care about and want him or her.
When you feel jealous, realize that it is a sign of how much you care for your partner. Make a point of being affectionate and caring. Tell them just how special and great they are. Chances are, they will focus even more attention on you and forget about anyone else.
Using these new V-Day ideas, by the end of the day (the newly-designed Valentines Day), couples will be too tired to “do” it with each other. But they can take comfort on V-Day knowing they are part of that elite group celebrated by Gladwell in Outliers.[iv]
He’s talking to a hot girl and the waves of insecurities and negative self-talk roll over you until you’re practically drowning in them. She has such thin thighs….my thighs are fat…. She is so bubbly…and I am boring. He is smooth, knows what to say…. I never seem to make her happy.
Begin to observe the ticker-tape of negative beliefs and worries about yourself when you become jealous. This is very important because if you notice these ideas you can actually change them. Begin a program of modifying your inner dialogue whenever you compare yourself negatively with others. As the 12 step programs say: Compare and despair.
Journal about the negative self-talk that jealousy brings up for you. For every negative statement, write a positive one. For example, if you write, “I have ugly acne,” add a sentence like, “My eyes are a gorgeous blue.” This will actually help you rewire your brain circuitry in a positive way!
If you see your partner paying attention to some well-kept, in-shape person, you may be jealous and angry. But also it’s an opportunity for you to reevaluate your priorities like going to the gym more regularly. If you see your partner flirting with a good-looking gal or guy, you may worry that they are headed for the nearest bedroom. What do these worries mean about you not your partner?
Notice what qualities make you jealous. Is it the fact that the other person has a great bod? Is it their sensuality? Make a plan to work on yourself so that you develop some of those same qualities. For example, decide to work on your moves in bed instead of letting your partner go wanting in that department. Be proactive by renting some sexy movies, buying some sexy lingerie or making up a fantasy he/she would enjoy.
Your partner is paying someone a lot of attention, listening attentively or making eye contact. You think: I need more of that. More attention, more compliments, more affection, more sex.
Work on making it happen. When you are feeling jealous, think about what you might need from your partner. And use positive and straight talk to ask for it, both in and out of bed. For example, you might say, “Honey, I would love it if you would rub my shoulders and tell me how sexy my neck is.” If you are feeling loved and grounded in your relationship you are less likely to become jealous. If you are fresh from a night of passion and “I love you” you are the hottie and another person cannot compete!
Of course, some of us have chronic and major struggles with jealousy. If you have the same scenario playing out over and over again where anger and fighting keeps erupting you may have a serious problem with the green-eyed monster. This often occurs if your partner has cheated on you in the past or if you are terribly insecure about your attractiveness to your partner. The type of saga may drag on with one lover after another. It results from picking players or people who are not into you or provoking good partners into unfaithfulness with your constant accusations. Serious and chronic jealousy is a type of paranoia that destroys love. The best fix for that type of problem is to go into individual/couples therapy to work out the deeper issues.
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