Chill out, Nancy Drew.
Extreme jealousy is one of the most destructive things in a relationship. Engaging in jealous behaviors and suspicions is not cute. It does not let your significant other know you really care.
And it definitely will not strengthen your relationship.
An occasional, mildly jealous episode might actually heighten the interest in your relationship but chronic, pathological jealousy is like a cancer that will destroy any loving feelings that exist in your relationship.
With that in mind, here are five signs you are a jealous mess:
1. His phone habits upset you. Whenever your partner doesn't answer the telephone while in your presence, you wonder if it could be a lover.
2. His social media habits scare you. Whenever your partner has a new friend on Facebook, you go to the friend’s page to check out your competition.
3. You stalk him. You find yourself driving by your loved one's job, home or places you know him/her to frequent, thinking you'll find some incriminating evidence.
4. You're mistrustful of new people. Every time your loved one introduces you to someone new, you closely watch them for any sign of attraction and later grill your significant other about their relationship.
5. You snoop. Whenever you get the opportunity, you are checking your loved one's phone and/or email for signs he/she may be involved with someone else.
If this describes you, your relationship is in big trouble! It's time for some introspection and to make some changes.
Is this the person you really want to be? Does your partner deserve your trust and respect? If so, then extend those courtesies. If not, and your partner has given you multiple reasons not to trust him/her, ask yourself why you are still in a relationship with a person you cannot trust?
People who are a jealous mess choose these jealous behaviors as their best attempt to get what they want. Typically what jealous people want is for their partner to have no romantic interest in other people.
If you are a jealous mess, ask yourself the question, Is my behavior really causing my partner to want to be with me exclusively? When you honestly look at your behavior, you are going to have to admit that everything you are doing is pushing your loved one right into the arms of an understanding, non-jealous person.
Do you think your behavior is attractive? Do you actually believe that engaging in this crazy behavior will keep your partner devoted to you, and only you, for the rest of your life?
When you actually take the time to honestly answer those questions, you know what you are doing isn't helping your cause.
So now what? It's time to understand that you, and only you, are in charge of your behavior. When you feel compelled to engage in behavior you know is destructive, it is because you are having thoughts that lead to feelings that generate the destructive behavior. The place in that cycle where you have the most control is your thinking.
Next time you begin to feel jealous, ask yourself, What am I thinking right now that is creating these feelings of jealousy? Is what I'm thinking true? Is it really true? How do I know? What evidence is there to indisputably support this story I'm telling myself? What other story could I invent that would create loving feelings instead? What thoughts could I think that will lead to trust? What thoughts will help me be the person I really want to be in this relationship?
Change your story, change your life. Stop being a victim of repetitive behavior as if you have no control. The only person who can change this perpetuating cycle is you. So choose something different today!
Check out my book, Secrets of Happy Couples, for tips on what to do when you are a jealous mess. We talk about the four roots of jealousy and what to do about them.