Best Ways to Deal with Jealous and Possessive Spouses
Jealousy has been called the green-eyed monster and indeed, a jealous woman or husband can be a fire-breathing dragon of a monster whenever they feel threatened. Jealousy can be subtle (a wife criticizing other women) or overt (a man picking fights with other man for eyeing his woman).
A little jealousy is a natural emotion, as this is what establishes boundaries and bonding within the committed relationship. However, a lot of jealousy is not only stressful, it’s downright toxic to friendships, to careers, and ultimately, to your own relationship.
When jealousy reaches the point of extreme stress it can no longer be ignored. It must be discussed and understood by both partners.
What is Acceptable?
Part of tempering jealous feelings will be in establishing some standards of acceptability. While ultimately each couple determines what is “jealous” behavior and what is shameful behavior, there are some universal standards to consider. Not necessarily in right or wrong, but in predictable consequences. For one thing, you cannot train a person to stop looking at other attractive people. You can try, but this is a type of codependent relationship and it’s not healthy. Instinct suggests that both men and women look at attractive people, and that’s regardless of how happy they are in a current relationship.
As for what constitutes cheating or inappropriate flirting, this must be discussed, negotiated, and agreed upon by both partners. You must have equality here, regardless of any so called feminist or chauvinist agenda. One partner will always feel slighted if he/she is to remain stoic while the other has the right to party, flirt and get away with anything. It’s only fair to allow your partner the same freedom you are allowed to take. This may instantly change some of your own behavior; for instance, how would you feel about your wife going to a male strip club? How would you feel about your husband dancing suggestively with another man? These issues cannot be taken lightly and so must be discussed in a mature and rational manner.
Eliminating Signs of Codependency
Jealousy is one thing and can be a fairly harmless issue, provided it is kept to a natural minimum. However, jealousy can exceed all normal standards when it transcends male-female relationships and even affects family members and friends. Your partner does not own you; that means you should not have to ask permission to see friends, family members or other important people. Codependent people may not realize what they’re doing by trying to restrict a partner’s rights and behaviors. A private discussion may be in order, one in which the bullied partner explains how the controlling behavior negatively affects the relationship.
Always try to discuss things openly and without judgment. Try to figure out where your partner’s feelings of jealousy are coming from. Is it related to insecurity? To mistrust? Perhaps even to perceptive abilities? (As in, my partner knew all along that she was hitting on me!)
The best way to deal with such problems is to talk things out and reach a mutual understanding.
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