Can Jealousy Be Good for Relationships?

As jealousy conveys enduring vulnerabilities, it’s important to understand why you get jealous in the first place.

Can Jealousy Have a Positive Role in Relationships?

Dr. John Gottman once said

“I believe that every person has areas of enduring vulnerability. For a marriage to succeed, these vulnerabilities need to be understood and honored.”

With this perspective, jealousy becomes an opportunity to connect and not something to avoid in relationships.

As jealousy conveys enduring vulnerabilities, it’s important to understand why you get jealous in the first place. Once you understand the why you will be able to manage it in a constructive way. This allows your partner to be compassionate and understanding, hence creating an opportunity to connect and strengthen your relationship.

Knowing why you have triggers

Jealousy always reveal an area of past hurt and pain. It is important that partners talk to each other about these past experiences so you can be mindful of each other’s triggers and respect them. Jealousy can also be driven by low self-esteem (or self-worth), unrealistic expectations from your partner, and negative thoughts or interpretations that may not be facts. Negative thoughts impact our feelings which in turn determine our behavior.

When jealousy becomes too frequent and extreme, don’t ignore it, self-reflect to understand your hidden vulnerabilities or seek professional help to guide you to healing and self-discovery before it destroys your relationship. Some toxic jealous behaviors are:

  • Insulting your spouse
  • Assuming that your spouse is not attracted to you
  • Grilling your spouse on their whereabouts throughout the day
  • Accusing your spouse of lying without evidence

Turning Jealousy to a Strength

 Using the “I” statement, discuss in an honest and objective way your fears and feelings about the specific event, avoiding globalizing words like “you never” or you always” or attacking your partner’s character.

Always remember to convey what you need and not what you don’t need.

For example, “I’m worried when I don’t know where you are and I can’t reach you. I need you to text me and let me know…”

As opposed to “you never tell me where you are and you don’t even bother to text or call…”

The more partners talk, the more they can gain understanding of each other’s personality and the healthier the relationship. You can create the transparency and boundaries you both desire that will honor your values for your relationship.

When you able to understanding what is driving your feelings and take the steps in honoring each other’s endearing vulnerabilities, then you

Can turn jealousy into a tool to connect at a deeper level with your partner; and that is a beautiful thing in a relationship.

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