In relationships, being protective over a loved one can feel romantic and is often an innocent and welcome signal that you’re truly cared for by a partner. Nothing beats knowing someone has your back through thick and thin, and that they’ll do their best to ensure you stay close and safe. A problem starts to emerge however, when being affectionately protective morphs into possessiveness. When you or your lover begin to treat each other like a possession and jealously enters into the mix, it’s a habit best nipped in the bud.
In any situation, your behaviour says more about you than it does anyone else involved, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking one of you can make the other feel jealous. A common root cause of jealousy is some form of deep-seated insecurity. If a person has specific issues it can manifest in the belief that their partner will find an external source to make up for what they’re missing. For example, if a woman is insecure about her figure and a man is insecure about his financial status, they may fear a partner going off with someone better looking or richer. This would leave the one left behind feeling even more redundant in the area where it hurts the most.
Tip: if you’re jealous of your partner being with other people, or them doing things without you, work out what you think they’re getting that you’re not capable of giving.
Trusting your partner
If your partner has never given you reason to not trust them, the reason your relationship is tainted with jealousy may be to do with your own unresolved issues. If, however, there have been real challenges between the both of you, openly dealing with them is the only solution.
The fact that you’re still in the relationship would suggest you’ve made a decision to stay, so it can’t be stressed enough how important communication is to the health and future of your union. If you stay, it only works when you forgive whatever indiscretion took place and you have a viable action plan. Your partner needs to know the triggers for your jealousy, what heightens it and what reduces it. When it still rears its accusatory head, it says you’re not over what happened and still have doubts.
Tip: For the sake of your partner, you also need to be realistic and understand there is only so much they can, and should, do to placate you. You can’t force someone to make you feel safe, in the same way you can’t force someone to be jealous. We’re all responsible for our own feelings.
So, sometimes we don’t trust others because we ourselves are insecure and have our own demons that we’re battling with. If you’re feeling guilty over certain fantasies or thoughts you’re having, it can be worrying to think that perhaps your partner is having similar ones. In circumstances like this, you need to distinguish between what’s genuinely your ‘stuff’ and what actually belongs to the relationship.
Tip: If this strikes a chord with you, ask yourself some questions. What do you feel is missing from your relationship, so much so that it makes you fearful of your partner acting on emotions which are really your own?
Essentially, jealousy is about control and fear, two things that will always end badly if left unchallenged. People who have problems with control will feel uncomfortable not being able to govern their partner as thoroughly as they might do themselves, or dependants such as children. What you need to remember is that you’re part of an adult partnership and that it’s unhealthy to make it all about what you want. A romantic relationship where you have more control over another adult than they do themselves is highly questionable. Relationships must have balance.
Tip: Ultimately, one of the aims of a well-adjusted and happy relationship has got to be mutual respect. You have to trust someone enough to let go of the reigns and allow them an opportunity to love and live in their own way. You’ll need to think long and hard about what you’re so scared of and why it matters more than letting the person you love be themselves.