I made a comment recently saying, "No other person is a threat to us unless it's violence." Whether it's your husband's secretary, the cute guy working behind the reception counter at the gym, a the hot lady dancing near your husband on the dance floor and giving him the eye of interest, or a co-worker and so on, it seems that many women and men have moderate to high levels of jealousy regarding their spouses/partners.
Here are six examples of thinking patterns that support jealous thoughts and feelings:
- High-risk Thinking: If my partner finds another attractive, then my relationship is at risk, as they may steal them from me. All others are a risk to my relationship security.
- Fantasy Thinking: My partner will never find anyone more attractive than me, I will be his/her end all be all. He/she will never have interest in being with another sexually because they are completely fulfilled, aroused and satisfied by me; therefore, when he/she thinks differently than my fantasy, I am hurt, rejected and threatened.
- Fear/Self-Loathing Thinking: Oh, s/he is better looking than I, I am ugly/fat, of course my partner will want another, I know s/he'll leave me for him/her. I hate her/him!
- All Men Thinking: All men lie and cheat, I should expect it. He looked over at her, I know he'll cheat on me. A man would suck on a cows titty if the cow would let him.
- Backpack Thinking: My ex cheated, so I can't trust that someone will be faithful. Even if my partner/spouse seems trustworthy, inside I don't believe it. They're guilty even if they haven't stepped out (yet).
- Projection Thinking: Look at the attention they are giving to him/her, I bet he/she wants to sleep with them. I need to question, pry, spy and accuse, because I can't let my partner know I've had thoughts of cheating on them.
Wise Thinking That Reduces Jealousy:
- If my partner finds another attractive, he/she is appreciating the beauty in another. I feel secure in myself and in my relationship. If evidence comes up that my partner crosses physical boundaries with this individual, then we will address it at that time. Being human, we will find others attractive and have sexual interest in them, in my relationship we recognize this and work to maintain our monogamy. If our monogamy is challenged, I have many choices as to how to handle the situation.
- I see a positive future for myself. I hope my partner remains in my future and if that does not happen, I know my future will still be good as I create my own happiness.
- I am loveable and worthy. If I feel hurt, I will explore that pain and discover healthy coping and decision making that reinforces my worth.
- I am never alone. Even when the world feels empty, I can look at the beauty of the stars and remind myself of the grandeur of life that surrounds me.
- I trust myself enough to avoid jealous behavior and if I'm tempted to accuse or spy, I will use wise thinking, evaluate the facts, talk with my partner and make a healthy choice.
Jealousy comes from fear, a loss of control, a belief that you are not good enough. So remember that it is a faulty logic that is superceding our rational mind and higher sense of self. When we engage in faulty logic we increase our anxieties, feel scared and lessen our own sense of worth.
Dr. Helen Fisher explains jealousy in an article for O Magazine:
"Why do we feel jealousy? Therapists often regard the demon as a scar of childhood trauma or a symptom of a psychological problem. And it's true that people who feel inadequate, insecure, or overly dependent tend to be more jealous than others. But the 'monster' actually evolved for positive reasons. Throughout our primordial past it discouraged desertion by a mate, bolstering the family unit and enabling the survival of the young. At the same time, it has pushed us to abandon philanderers—and many a futile match—in favor of more stable and rewarding partnerships. Jealousy can even be good for love. One partner may feel secretly flattered when the other is mildly jealous. And catching someone flirting with your beloved can spark the kind of lust and romance that reignites a relationship."
"But jealousy can go seriously awry. Some people, for no apparent reason, become consumed by it, undermining their self-esteem, and even driving their partner into another’s arms—the very outcome they had feared." Read more.
One can utilize their feelings of jealousy in a positive way, to explore what is promoting their jealous feelings and get to the root of the concern. It may allow you to shift from fearful thinking into wise thinking, or it may be a neon sign letting you know that a big problem resides in your relationship.
No one is a threat to your relationship, if your partner steps out emotionally and/or physically, it is not because of the other person, it is because of your partners choice. Remind yourself of your worth and value, shift into healthy-wise thinking, support a relationship that has boundaries in which you feel comfortable. When a problem arrives address it, until then, don't let your Jealous Bones create havoc in a likely unnecessary situation.
A quote by Robert A Heinlein, provides insight into the opposing factors of jealousy and love. "Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy—in fact, they are almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other." ―Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
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