Advice to Help You Survive Your Partner’s Jealous “Storms”
By Susie and Otto Collins
Todd’s girlfriend’s jealous outbursts feel like a huge storm. He doesn’t usually see them coming and they always wipe him out emotionally.
There are times when his girlfriend seems to descend on him as soon as he steps a foot through the door to her apartment. She overwhelms him with question upon question about where he’s been, who he’s been with and what he’s been doing.
He gets the feeling that she’s not really listening to his answers either.
There are other times when Todd and his girlfriend are out together socially. These “storms” are even worse when they occur. She erupts into shouting and accuses him of looking at or flirting with other women.
After the outburst or barrage of questions subsides, his girlfriend usually apologizes for overreacting or making a scene. They then go about the task of repairing the damage and the distance that the jealousy seems to have caused.
Todd is just not sure how many more of these jealous “storms” he can handle.
The way that your partner might display jealousy could be very different than this. There may be no outbursts and few overt accusations coming from him or her.
Jealousy may rear its head in less loud and conflict-ridden ways, but you know that its there and coming between you and your partner.
Regardless of what your partner’s jealous “storm” looks like, it probably feels uncomfortable, painful and upsetting to you. Nobody likes to be treated with suspicion or wrongly accused and this is what many people who are with a jealous mate deal with all of the time.
Here are some strategies that can help you survive and your relationship to thrive…
Stop yourself before you react.
As you may already know from experience, when you meet your partner’s jealous outburst with hostility or an outburst of your own, the results are even more conflict for both of you.
One key to being with a partner who has a jealous habit is to stop yourself before you react. It’s natural that you might feel defensive if you are wrongly accused or being interrogated by your mate. Give yourself a few moments to breathe and calm down.
If necessary, let your partner know that you want to talk about this with him or her but that you need a few minutes to calm down first.
Above all, try not to simply react. It’s likely that any reaction you have will only make the disconnection between you two worse. A quick reaction will not resolve this conflict.
You could say something like this to your partner: “Your questions and how you are feeling about this are important to me. For that reason, I need to take a few minutes by myself in the next room to get into a place where I can really engage with you about this honestly and openly. I’ll be back to talk with you more about this in 10 minutes.”
Try to get to what’s at the core of the jealous “storm.”
You might ask questions as you talk with your mate about what is bothering him or her that help you better understand what triggered the jealousy. If this doesn’t seem possible, take some time when you are by yourself to think about what might be at the core of the “storm.”
Don’t guess or assume to know what is triggering jealousy for your mate. Instead, you might pose a question like this to him or her: “What about this is the most upsetting to you? Why is the fact that I (fill in the blank) triggering you to suspect me (or be upset with me)?”
Choose your words carefully. You certainly don’t want to intensify your partner’s feelings by putting him or her on the defensive. Either (or both) of you shutting down will not allow you to improve your relationship.
Speak mostly from what you are observing and, when you ask questions, do so from a place of curiosity and a desire to understand.
If you discover that specific habits you have are part of what’s triggering your partner’s jealousy– and this is often the case– let him or her know that you take responsibility for those actions.
This is NOT an admission of guilt or you saying that you are to blame for his or her jealousy.
Do your part in helping the situation to improve. This might mean that you make different choices about your own behavior.
Focus on what the most important issue for you is.
As you talk with your partner about the situation that seems to be at the core of his or her jealousy, keep at the forefront of your mind what the most important issue is for you.
This might be creating an agreement that you will call when you are going to be late home from work and your partner will NOT call or text you overly much throughout the day. The most important issue is consistent communication that is a comfortable amount for both of you.
The most important issue might involve how you will each interact with others socially. If you have a tendency to flirt or admire attractive people and your mate becomes jealous when you do, coming up with some guidelines for what is appropriate and what is inappropriate for BOTH of you to follow can help.
Get to the core of the issue and then make it your priority to reach a resolution that is pleasing to both of you.
For more advice about how to deal with your jealous partner, click here to receive Susie and Otto Collins’ free jealousy e-mail mini-course.
Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help couples communicate, connect and create the passionate relationships they desire. They have written these e-books and programs: Magic Relationship Words, Relationship Trust Turnaround, No More Jealousy and Stop Talking on Eggshells, among many others.
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