I’m a person who can definitely get jealous. I can lie awake at night and wonder if my partner might secretly want to be with someone more than me, or all the ways the relationship might not work out. I used to translate these insecurities into passive aggression, like trying to make my boyfriend jealous, or sometimes even just getting into outright fights. However, as I’ve gotten older the more and more I’ve grown to realize that all this ever really does is negatively affect what may actually be a solid relationship with real potential. I’ve learned that ironically, if you don’t keep your insecurities in check you can end up sabotaging the very thing you want to protect.
So because of this realization there are a few major things that I now always try to be conscious of when in relationships—hopefully they’ll be helpful for those of you who find yourself struggling in the same way:
When you feel a pang of jealousy, take a step back
For better or worse, jealously is a normal and unavoidable part of being human. Sometimes no matter how stable or happy we are in a relationship the old green-eyed monster can rear its ugly head, even when we really don’t want to be “that person.” When this happens, take a step back from the situation and decide if it’s really over something that’s worth a confrontation. Do you feel confident in your connection with your partner? Do you know in your heart of hearts that they love you and are devoted to you? If the answer is yes, then try to recognize your feelings for what they probably are—the possessive, not always rational urges we all get as humans. If you can ignore your jealousy you can probably avoid a lot of unnecessary strain on what is an otherwise healthy and happy relationship.
Talk to your partner honestly about how you’re feeling
If you’re insecure in relationships, let your partner know upfront. Maybe you’ve been hurt before and are afraid it will happen again. Maybe you struggle with self-esteem and a part of you is secretly always worried the other person will leave. Maybe your parents didn’t have a great relationship and it’s affected your outlook. There are so very many reasons why a person might feel insecure with their partner, and being open and honest about it early on is so much better than letting it boil over into a fight or having it come out in the form of passive aggression. Honesty and openness are also a huge part of creating a healthy foundation with a partner, and it will set the tone and expectation for how you relate to one another in the future.
Remind yourself that you’re with each other for a reason
This is a big one for us insecure people. Whenever you start to fear that maybe your partner is dissatisfied, or maybe they are crushing on the cute new receptionist at work, or maybe things aren’t going to work if you move in together, etc., etc., remind yourself that you’re with each other for a reason. You clearly recognized something in one another when you met that led to you dating. You enjoy each other’s company for a reason. You love each other for a reason. Have a little faith in yourself and your instincts and try not to overthink all the potential hypotheticals that could somehow pull you a part.
Try To Put Yourself In Your Partner’s Shoes
Let’s say you were the one going for drinks with your guy friends, or worked with a ton of attractive members of the opposite sex, or were going for coffee with someone you used to date. Yeah, you’d probably understand if they were kind of jealous, but you would also probably want your significant other to trust you in those situations, and you probably would be a little insulted and defensive if they seemed seriously threatened. Think about this every time you sense yourself feeling insecure and wanting to confront them or start a fight. If you genuinely would want your partner to trust you then you should do everything in your power to do the same by them. This will create a sense of trust and respect that can only enhance and solidify what you have together.
These are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned when it comes to making sure insecurity doesn’t overwhelm and control me. And I’m not going to lie—sometimes it can be really, really hard to break old habits and do what you know is right in the long-run—but it can also go a really long way in making sure you don’t let your insecurities get the best of you and your relationship.
Toria Sheffield lives in Brooklyn, NY, and spends her time writing feature-length comedies. She has two cats and subsequently terrible cat allergies. You can see her work as a humorist on her beauty and lifestyle parody tumblr Facematters, and follow her on twitter @face_matters.