Is Your Secretive Partner Making You Jealous?

Love, Heartbreak

Communication help when you’re with a quiet or secretive partner.

Rarely does jealousy manifest out of thin air.

Usually there are very real things going on in your relationship or life that trigger jealousy. These might be more intense because of something that happened in your past or maybe because of something going on now.

You arrive home from a pretty good day at the office. You're looking forward to an evening in with your partner having dinner and watching a movie cuddled together on the couch. For the first time in days, you actually feel calm and relaxed.

Those nagging worries and fears about what's "really" going on with your partner are-- thankfully-- absent from your mind.

Until, he arrives home. As you two talk over dinner, you get the sense he seems to be vague and evasive. You know he played racquetball this morning at the gym and when you ask about his workout, he clams up and only answers you in one- or two-word grunts.

Suddenly, your partner fixes his entire attention on eating his dinner and, just as suddenly, jealousy is sparked within you.

When your partner seems secretive or evades your questions, all kinds of warning sirens go off in your mind. You start to wonder things like...

"What is he hiding?"
"Am I a fool to trust her?"
"There's more going on here."
"This is a sign of cheating!"

It’s true. Sometimes when people are secretive and avoid talking about particular situations or certain people they are trying to hide something like flirting or an affair.

Other times, people are evasive and even defensive and they are NOT lying or cheating. They react in those ways to avoid an argument or to side step a subject that they think will set off jealousy.

This can be painful for both of you.

You don't know what you can believe. Your partner is holding back and maybe even being inauthentic for fear of triggering your jealousy. It’s a NO-win situation.

Focus on the facts. 

When you think your partner is being secretive, try not to dwell on the hundreds of possible reasons why that pop into your mind. Shift your attention from all of the "What if's" and back to the facts you have. This is always helpful advice when it comes to jealousy even if it's not easy to do.

You can't know exactly what your partner is thinking or what is motivating him or her to clam up about a certain topic around you. You may not have quick access to facts that are reliable.

Review what you do know and what you can verify with your ears, eyes and other senses.

For example, what do you know about your partner's racquetball league? Is there any proof to back up that he did (or did not) play ball this morning? You can see his duffel bag in the hallway with dirty gym clothes sticking out of it. That's some tangible proof. Is there more you are aware of?

Look at your communication habits.

As you look for facts to support or refute your jealous suspicions, be sure to consider the way that you usually communicate.

Do you often greet your partner at the door with a long list of probing questions about his or her day? Do you tense up and make accusations when your he or she talks about being around other men or women?

Be honest with yourself. 

Identify any of your communication habits that come from your jealousy and not from true curiosity or a desire to connect.

If you feel resistant to this self-inquiry, acknowledge that there possibly are things your partner is doing to weaken trust AND there are probably also things you are doing that add to tension and disconnection.

Create new, healthier habits.

As you start to get a clearer idea of how you usually communicate with your partner, try out some new and healthier ways of talking and interacting.

It's okay to admit to him or her that you feel jealous when you do. Use words like, "I appreciate you telling me that you had lunch with her and I feel jealous. I am working on that and I believe you when you say she is just a friend."

You can be honest AND not hold your partner responsible for your jealousy.

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Choose your words carefully and try to remember the facts that you have as well as your desire to not be driven by jealousy.
Find out how to calm your jealousy so that you can know what’s true, what to do about it and how to communicate more effectively. 7 Jealousy-Stopping Secrets has answers to help you and your relationship.