How to stop being jealous?

Put An End to the Suffering

Jealousy is an emotion which we do not control, but that we have the power to manage. Some people have excessive jealousy that has important impacts in their different relationships whether they be professional, social, friendly or sexual. On the other hand, some only have issues in one of theses types of relationships. Since jealousy can influence multiple aspects of our lives and each have a variety of dynamics that differ, we will be focusing more on sexual and loving jealousy.

Impacts of jealousy on couple's relationships

It isn't necessary to have excessive jealousy for the couple to have difficulties with the matter. Jealousy always emanates from insecurities from the person who feels it, but will blame others to justify their behaviours. This creates conflicts about trust, unjustified accusations, interrogations, an excessive need to be reassured of the other persons loyalty and limiting someone's freedom. Certain people or couples will even go as far as try to limit the other persons thinking by demanding they do not fantasize about other people than them as they would consider it cheating or just feel bad about it. They can limit the other persons social activities and who they can hang out with to maintain the potential of infidelity as low as possible. Theses examples are even more frequent when both partners are jealous. 

These restrictions demonstrate that their is a lack of self-esteem and trust towards one's partner that will have dire consequences in the long run if the couple remains together. Eventually, the partners don't feel they have freedom in the relationship and they eventually can't stand it anymore, even though they might both be imposing their jealousy on the other. Inevitably, fights will start to emerge more and more about this issue and others more or less related so as to jeopardize the false harmony they originally thought they had. There are couples who maintain a relationship in this type of dynamic. Although, you have to ask yourself if you are truly happy? How happy can you be when you are feeling constantly insecure about your partner's whereabouts and who they hang out with? Do you feel free to do what you would like, without having to ask your partner's permission? How do you appreciate the feeling of constantly being monitored by your partner and having to do the same?

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Jealousy will eventually create dissatisfaction for one or both partners. Jealousy can decrease one's sexual desire and affection for the other if the jealousy and the consequences pile up. The partner who isn't jealous will not want to reassure the other continuously, will get fed up about the interrogations, they will start lying to get the illusion that they have freedom. For most people, the feeling of constantly having to reassure the other persons insecurities takes a toll on the admiration of the other and pity tends to replace it.

How to stop jealousy?

Jealousy is an emotion that makes us suffer and it can be quite hard to manage. We more often prefer to get rid of it than to explore its origins, because the exploration of its origins leads to things that we prefer to remain blind to ourselves about our personalities. Jealousy is not only a destructive force for our relationships, but also ourselves. It feeds on us from the inside to be exteriorized by nefarious behaviours in our relationship. First off, like any other interpersonal difficulty, we must take responsibility for what we contribute to the dynamic. We must stop putting the blame on our partner and confront our own fears and insecurities about the issue. We must accept and recognize our own personal value as a person and a partner in the relationship. We must learn to validate ourselves and self-soothe rather than constantly ask our partner to do it. This task is difficult and requires some time to master, especially since humans are more easily capable of being hurt and insulted, as well as rejected than remembering compliments and signs of affection and love. A jealous person tends to need to be constantly reassured and validated by their lover rather than doing it themselves.

Jealous behaviours exist primarily to seek out a sense of love from our partner. In fact, a person with low self-esteem needs to constantly be reassured of the love from others. They will sometimes use inadequate and harmful ways to obtain this false sense of love and affection from others. When we are validated and appreciated by others this temporarily soothes are insecurities. In the long run, this can have negative impacts on the couple who want to be satisfied on a personal, relational and sexual level. Couples where both partners are capable of validating themselves by acknowledging their own value, faults and their partner's will avoid the suffering emotion of jealousy. 

Recognizing our strengths and accepting our weaknesses is a very hard task for some. It may sometimes require the help of a sexologist in therapy. Here a a fews reflexions to have about your relationship dynamic:

  • What do you bring to your relationship and your partner?
  • What does your partner appreciate from you?
  • What makes you feel insecure and impacts your jealousy?
  • What are the ways you self-valide to feel good about yourself?
  • How could you better manage your jealousy?

Many false perceptions and beliefs about relationships can create difficulties with jealousy. First, we must understand that we cannot answer all our partner's needs and vice versa. It is unrealistic to believe that, as some needs must be fulfilled by oneself or other people such as family, friends, work, etc. This reality is hard for many as it requires that we are not the ONE & ONLY, UNIQUE person in our partner's life. This search of feeling profoundly unique in someone else's eyes creates an expectation that is only bound to create frustration and resentment. In the case where this perception and expectation is destroyed by the realities of being in a relationship, behaviours of jealousy arise to try to maintain our false belief about being unique. People who are jealous have a hard time accepting this fact about relationships. It is undeniable that lovers do bring unique elements to each other, but it is an error to think that we can answer every single need our partner has as well as our own.

What to remember

Jealousy brings lots of distress in a couple, and endangers its stability as well as sexual and personal satisfaction. Jealous behaviours are to be avoided at all cost:

By recognizing our own qualities and accepting our shortcomings; 

By mainly validating ourselves rather wait for our partner to do it;

By having realistic expectations and perceptions of our partner, ourselves and relationships.  

People who want to live a satisfying relationship and sex life must work on all aspects of their jealousy to overcome the inevitable downfall of the relationship. This self-healing will only make you feel better about yourself and to be more appreciated by your partner. 

To be able to love another person, one must first learn how to love oneself in every aspect.  

Learn more about the author

Francois Renaud M.A.
Sex therapist & psychotherapist in Downtown Montreal

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Fidelity & Jealousy

Importance of defining fidelity in your couple

Fidelity is defined as the respect of an agreement with another person. In most loving relationships, there exist a form of fidelity between partners, even in polyamory. Although, what one person thinks is adultery, the other person might not, as the confines of fidelity are wide and large. We can even change our own perception of it as we grow older and we perceive alternate ways of being in our relationship. 
The continuum of behaviours that is considered adultery is long and the combinations are endless. Certain individuals consider that fantasizing on another person than their partner is cheating, while others require penetrative sex for it to be cheating. Others will need an emotional attachment, but sexual attraction is considered fine. Sometimes, fidelity isn't defined by one's behaviour but more about one's intentions. The examples that we could give are numerous and vary from one relationship to the next. 

For that reason, it is very important for couples to exchange on their perception of fidelity. An indispensable discussion that is often forgotten in serious relationships. Some will even avoid having it by fear of having different opinions that could ultimately lead to not even starting the relationship or creating an awkward moment. This can demonstrate an uneasiness about intimacy. It is also important to talk about what reactions and consequences when faced with one of the partners acting out  and cheating on the other (couples therapy, break up, acceptance, reflecting on the continuation of the relation, etc.). We can even exchange on telling each other or not about the cheating and how you and your partner would want to find out about it. This clarifies each other's points of views on the matter and determines if we agree on the implications of committing to the relationship before hand. 

Hard discussion

Fidelity touches our most fundamental values as individuals. They can remind us of very painful memories of our past about being cheated on or if we cheated on someone. This can bring back feelings of betrayal, lost and major deceptions. We can also face very different point of views by having this discussion with a new flame at the beginning of the relationship about what fidelity entails. These differences can make one of the partners insecure, generally the one that has the most restrictive definition of fidelity. It will also show how much respect each partner has towards the other person's opinion on the matter and how they will listen and understand. It shows as well, how flexible we are about our own perception of fidelity or rigidity on the matter.

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We can also assume that most couples have very similar definitions of fidelity and the discussion doesn't really create any sort of conflict between them. In situations where limits are clear, jealousy has less chance of being prevalent in the couple's dynamic. If the perceptions, behaviours, intentions and acts are respected by both parties, trust normally takes precedence in the relationship. Even though jealousy is a universal human emotion, it doesn't have any use in a healthy relationship. 

How to manage differences about fidelity

Nobody wants to be betrayed, especially by one's lover, and feel the horrible emotions that come with it. When there is a fundamental issue about what each considers fidelity, there is a real need to reflect on how the relationship will work under such conditions. Sometimes we have differences because our perception of fidelity are more based on our insecurities and lack of self-esteem than actual values. Therefore, it might be important to work on oneself about these issues. We may also want to look at what are those differences and think about which ones we can actually tolerate. What exactly are the differences? How do they make you feel? How will you react if they ever come to be? What is each partner ready to work on and change about the issue? What if you can't come to an understanding? How do you picture this relationship evolving with that reality?

Since fidelity is part of almost every loving relationship that is long term, it is of utmost importance to have a discussion on our intentions in the relationship. This discussion, even though it might be a hard one and even stop the relationship from flourishing even before it starts, often avoids meaningless fighting and feelings of jealousy. On top of that, it clarifies the commitment each partner is taking before embarking on the relationship. Unfortunately, some people may still feel jealousy even though, the partners had this discussion. 

Learn more about the author

Francois Renaud M.A.
Sex therapist & psychotherapist in Downtown Montreal

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