What can you do to make him feel better and keep YOU sane?
When you live with a jealous boyfriend, it's tempting to wear earplugs so that you don’t have to hear their comments, questions and veiled allegations. It's upsetting and uncomfortable when he wrongly accuses you of flirting, thinking inappropriately about another person or doing something even worse — but we recommend that instead of tuning them out, you keep healthy communication going in your relationship.
There are specific effective communication techniques you can use with a jealous partner that can help ease and even stop the jealousy.
Don’t get us wrong here, though — we aren’t claiming that you can make him stop feeling jealous entirely. That's something that only they can do. But when you close down and stop the communication, it won't help things. In fact, it will contribute to further distance between the two of you.
If, instead, you keep honestly and openly communicating, you can begin to set boundaries and make agreements that relate to the jealousy and go even deeper. In the process, you could find that his jealousy will begin to fade and disappear.
1. Listen and engage with him without getting defensive
As much as you might not want to acknowledge the jealous words coming from his mouth, we advise you not to create further distance in your relationship by closing down and ignoring what’s going on. Instead, try to let go of any defensiveness or irritation you feel about what you’re hearing and just listen. As you listen, try to hear the needs that he's expressing.
For example, do you sense that your boyfriend wants more attention from you as he invents a scenario of you having an affair with your mutual friend or flirting with the server? The problems he projects onto your relationship, even when they aren't real, are a good indicator of what he feels is missing. Tune in to how you feel about the needs that you think you're hearing. You can ask him if what you sense is right — if that's how he's actually feeling. Gently ask your partner if he wants more of your attention or more alone time together.
2. Set your boundaries and ask him what he REALLY needs from you
Just because he doesn't trust you doesn't mean that you have to answer endless questions about where you were and who you were with. At some point he is just going to have to take the step and actually trust what you say and do. But to move things along, ask what he needs from you at this time. Perhaps there are other things that he needs from you that you didn't fully understand and you're willing to meet.
You should also set boundaries as you express your willingness to offer more attention or give support to the changes he wants to make. For example, you can make it clear that you won't answer questions that feel like accusations, but you CAN share your feelings openly and honestly and you CAN share what you’ve been doing if it helps him feel closer to you.
It's a huge turning point in a relationship when both you and your partner can clearly see where you are and where you want to go.
As you decide that it's more important to connect, you can more easily see through the jealous comments that your mate makes and really communicate about how you can move closer together and better support one another.
Discover which words and phrases build trust and a healthy relationship (and which ones don't) in this free Magic Relationship Words video.
This article was originally published at No More Jealousy. Reprinted with permission from the author.