It seemed innocent enough to Jeff, but he also felt jealous. He worried that Jeremy would make a move on Theresa, and she couldn't see it. Instead of letting Theresa know how he was feeling Jeff began making jokes. He referred to Jeremy as "your handyman" and often asked if she'd had the "handyman" over that day.
The more Jeff assured Theresa that he was "only kidding" and "wasn't the least bit jealous," the more jealous he was and seemed. Theresa started to feel defensive about her friendship with Jeremy and sometimes lied about him coming over to help her with a project. Joking and teasing are not healthy ways to handle jealousy.
Yes, it's helpful to not fly off the handle and make accusations when you're jealous, but if something is actually not funny or amusing to you, don't pretend that it is. Joking or teasing about a situation or a person who you actually feel worried or threatened by is not going to help you feel better, and it's not going to bring your partner closer to you. And, when you're in a long-distance relationship the last thing you want to add is more distance.
So, be honest. If you feel jealous, don't make jokes about it. Be honest with yourself. Is there something that you really should take a second look at? If you have reliable information that your partner is lying to you or possibly even cheating, see if there's any proof to support or refute your fears.
Get the facts before you make accusations. Be honest with your partner too. It's okay to admit that you feel jealous. Don't ask your partner to stop talking with others or not to have friends. Even if you're heterosexual, and they are friends of the opposite sex.
Do admit to how you're feeling. You can use words like, "I trust you, and I feel jealous. I'm working on my jealousy and want to keep communication open with you about this." Keep reminding yourself of the facts as you work out your jealousy issues. Really listen and base your determination of what's going on with your partner on what you can verify, not what you guess at or assume.
Be creative. When you have an opportunity to talk with or communicate with your partner, make the most of it. Come to the phone call, computer or face-to-face time with an attitude of openness and from a place of love. (By the way, this means that you do whatever you can to deal with your jealousy when you're alone.)
Use the time you have together to be as passionate, close and creative as you can. Be willing to mix things up and try new and different ways to have fun together and express your love to one another.