How To Identify The Two Main Triggers Of Jealousy

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Woman mad at man

Jealousy can be one of your most profound teachers if you allow it to be.

I get several emails every week from people who are trying to navigate their jealousy, and hitting a roadblock. I find it to be one of the most commonly misunderstood emotional responses in relationships.

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Jealousy, like anger, is what is known as a secondary emotion, in that it surfaces as a response to another deeper emotion that resides underneath it.

If you follow your jealousy down and ask it why it has come to visit you, you’ll usually find either hurt or fear underneath. Follow the "why" down, several layers, and you will find your answer.

Here's a fear-based example: 

“I feel jealous because my boyfriend still engages with the female BFF that he used to date. Why does this bother me? Because a part of me fears that she will make a move on him and threaten our relationship. So fear is the culprit.

Has my partner ever given me any reason to doubt him? No. Then what is the more truthful, empowering statement to hold on to?

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I trust my partner implicitly, I know that he loves me, and I know that I have nothing to worry about. I should report my mind to my partner, owning my emotions entirely, in order to remove this falsely perceived block between us.”

And a hurt-based example: 

“I feel jealous that my girlfriend spends so much time out with her friends after work. Why does this bother me? Because she does this often enough that I feel like she doesn’t place me as a priority in her life.

Okay, any other reason? Yes, one time she stayed out late and ended up getting really drunk and making out with a guy that she didn’t know. So there is unresolved hurt. 

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Were amends made? Do I feel safe with her or do we need to discuss this further in order to feel safe in our relationship? I don’t feel safe, we need to discuss it more so that we can move forward in a healthier way.”

If your jealousy is pointing towards old unresolved hurt from past transgressions, then that needs to be addressed.

You are within your rights to ask that things shift so that you feel more safe in your relationship.

If your jealousy is pointing you towards your fear, then you need to embrace the truth of the situation and come to a more reality-based version of your internal story, as opposed to being controlled by your mind.

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Jordan Gray is a five-time #1 Amazon best-selling author, public speaker, and relationship coach with more than a decade of practice behind him. His work has been featured in The New York Times, BBC, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and more.

This article was originally published at Jordan Gray Consulting. Reprinted with permission from the author.