Dealing With Jealousy
Jealousy typically arises when one partner feels insecure or lacks trust in the other partner. Feeling jealous occasionally is normal, but how a person deals with their jealous feelings is what determines whether relationship behaviours are healthy, unhealthy or abusive. Constantly checking in, asking where the other partner is at all times and/or trying to control who a partner spends time with are not healthy reactions to jealousy.
These are signs that there is a lack of trust in a relationship. When there is trust, a person doesn’t feel a need to monitor or control their partner. They don’t need their partner to “prove” their love and faithfulness. If you trust someone, you trust them regardless of who they spend time with or where they go.
In a healthy relationship, both partners should encourage each other to have friends of any gender outside of the relationship. It is important to set boundaries to make sure you’re both on the same page about what might constitute cheating, but you and your partner should feel supported and empowered to have fulfilling friendships with other people.
If your partner is telling you that you aren’t allowed to talk to other people because they might be interested in you, then your partner isn’t trusting you. When one partner tries to tell the other who to talk to, what to wear or where to go, they are asserting power and control, which is unhealthy and can even become abusive.
Even if you suspect your partner may be cheating, it’s never acceptable to look through your partner’s phone, email or social media without their permission. In a healthy relationship, if you are worried your partner might be cheating or behaving in a way that doesn’t honour your relationship, it’s important to communicate with them openly about your feelings. Remember, it’s more effective to approach this as a conversation, rather than an accusation.
It’s natural to be hurt by cheating or dishonesty, but it’s not okay to use the past against your partner. Trust is something we decide to give, rather than being something that can be earned back. Not trusting your partner isn’t fair to them or to you. If you’re unsure whether or not you can trust your partner, think about what it would take for you to trust them again. If your answer has anything to do with checking up on them or trying to control their actions, then you aren’t really trusting them. Instead, try adjusting your own feelings of jealousy and behaviours, and you may be able to go on to have a healthy relationship. If you feel you cannot trust your partner again, then it might be time to consider whether or not the relationship is right for you.