Trust: It's quite possibly the most essential ingredient in a good relationship. You can have matching libidos. You can have the same goals,...
Trust: It's quite possibly the most essential ingredient in a good relationship. You can have matching libidos. You can have the same goals, dreams and desires. You can both enjoy wearing space suits during sex! But without trust, it all means nothing. For some people, trust comes easily. They work on the assumption that someone will be faithful until they're proven wrong. If this is you, count yourself as one of the lucky ones. Sure, you might get a nasty surprise now and again, but at least you're giving relationships the best chance they've got to succeed.
Giving someone your trust means putting your heart in their hands for safe keeping. It's a precious present and it takes guts to do it. Then there are the rest of us: the battle-scarred. If you've been hurt before, or if you grew up with parents who cheated, trusting your partner can seem as foolish as standing in the middle of a four-lane highway and expecting not to get hit by a car. Others hover somewhere in the middle. But how do you determine what's a "healthy" level of jealousy and what's getting way out of control?
Everyone gets jealous occasionally. If you love your partner and you feel someone is threatening to take them from you by flirting, it's normal...
Everyone gets jealous occasionally. If you love your partner and you feel someone is threatening to take them from you by flirting, it's normal to feel a possessive pang of jealousy... one that's usually sorted out in a second with a bit of reassurance. Other times it's just that you've chosen the wrong person. Match a "normal" person up with someone who presses all the wrong buttons and just watch all that "normalcy" go right out the window as he or she become outrageously, irrationally jealous. Sometimes jealousy is warranted. If your partner has a history of playing around or if he's done something to justify your mistrust—cheated on you or has a history of cheating—you're wise to keep your eyes open.
The difference between normal jealousy and abnormal jealousy is this: Truly jealous people experience it with practically every person they date...
The difference between normal jealousy and abnormal jealousy is this: Truly jealous people experience it with practically every person they date. They could date Mother Theresa and still be convinced she was squeezing in a bit of hanky-panky on her way home from the orphanage. In fact, most jealous people know they have a problem. Once they've calmed down, most also know they've been illogical.
The trouble is, when you're in the middle of a jealous rage, you lose all sense of perspective. Jealousy is an incredibly powerful emotion. You can't control it because it's being fed by one continuous thought: Is my partner being unfaithful to me? Jealous people look at the world through distorted lenses. They see danger where there really isn't any. It also has a lot to do with self-esteem. If you're happy with yourself, you're much more likely to think: Why would my partner want anyone else when they've got me? A healthy ego is great protection against jealousy.
Extreme jealousy is an ugly emotion. A doctor friend of mine tells the story of a woman in her thirties with terminal cancer who had to spend a...
Extreme jealousy is an ugly emotion. A doctor friend of mine tells the story of a woman in her thirties with terminal cancer who had to spend a lot of time in bed. She bought some pretty pajamas so she could look good for her husband, but instead of complimenting her, he flew into a jealous rage and accused her of trying to look attractive for the hospital staff. A psychiatrist told me about a patient who wired up his entire house with microphones so he could tape the supposed sex sessions his wife had while he was at work. They weren't rich and he spent their life savings doing it. All he recorded was her doing the dishes and gossiping on the phone to girlfriends. (So much for that vacation they'd been saving up for.)
There's another quite bizarre case of a man who was so jealous, he was convinced his wife was being unfaithful during the few minutes he left the bed during the night to use the bathroom.
Editor's note: If you or your significant other's jealousy leads to a situation like the one in this pic, get help. Extreme jealousy is no excuse for physical (or emotional) abuse.
The couple where one or both partners are jealous is easy to spot: They're the ones who stay home. The only stress-free environment for that...
The couple where one or both partners are jealous is easy to spot: They're the ones who stay home. The only stress-free environment for that kind of a couple is on the couch with a DVD and a bottle of wine because any public place—pubs, restaurants, even shopping—has potential rivals (i.e. people of the opposite sex). But some people can't even bear to have their partners watching attractive people on television and in movies.
Even the news becomes a problem if the newsreader happens to be attractive. The saddest thing of all is that jealousy not only won't stop people from being unfaithful; it makes it more likely they will be. If you accuse someone often enough of having an affair, they eventually think, Hey, if they believe it, I might as well do it.
The second biggest fear of a jealous person is that her partner will leave her, but if she continues to make his life hell, he probably will. Don't let this happen to you. Take a deep breath and make a commitment to follow this seven-step program which can solve the problem permanently. It's not a quick fix. It takes time and effort. But it does work. I know—I did it!
Before you start the program, it helps to understand what's making you jealous. Identify the reason: Is it insecurity, your childhood, your past...
Before you start the program, it helps to understand what's making you jealous. Identify the reason: Is it insecurity, your childhood, your past, your own cheating history (if we find it hard to be unfaithful, we don't expect others to be)—or a combination of all four?
If the answer's not obvious, force yourself to think outside the box; for example, it might stem from sitting through all the gory details when your best friend's heart got smashed to smithereens by a lover who cheated. Also work on your self-esteem: The more highly you think of yourself, the less likely you'll believe your partner would dream of risking your relationship.
Finally, you need to change your behavior and this is where we start the seven steps:(1) Every single time you have a jealous thought, write it...
Finally, you need to change your behavior and this is where we start the seven steps:
(1) Every single time you have a jealous thought, write it down and rate how strongly you believe it on a scale from one to 10. Ex: My boyfriend is having an affair with a girl from work: Nine (I'm certain this is true).
(2) Underneath the sentence, list all the reasons why you believe it is or isn't true, no matter how silly they sound. Ex: "He's working late a lot." "He wore his lucky pants to work."
(3) Wait two minutes and dwell a bit longer on how upset and angry you feel. Deliberately stay in the "rage" state of mind a little while so every single one of those suspicious thoughts surfaces for you to write down.
(4) Wait another two minutes, but now try to come out of the "rage" state and calm down. Breathe deeply, remind yourself of how you felt after the last jealous rage (unjustified). Then force yourself to challenge each and every point you've listed with a logical explanation. If you find this difficult, imagine your best friend is there with you. How might she challenge those thoughts? Write down the explanations even if you don't believe what you're writing. (He's working late because he wants a promotion. He wore his lucky pants because he had an important presentation.)
(5) Read through what you've written, focusing on the logical explanations—and re-rate how strongly you now believe the initial thought is true...
(5) Read through what you've written, focusing on the logical explanations—and re-rate how strongly you now believe the initial thought is true. Accept that there's as much possibility the logical statements are true as it's possible your jealousy-inspired accusations are true. (6) Don't re-join your partner until you've reduced your initial rating (example: nine) at least one point. Don't be alarmed if the minute you walk out of wherever you've been hiding, it all comes flooding back and you shoot back up to nine. Just congratulate yourself that you regained a small amount of control when normally you would have just stormed out without thinking. (7) If you still feel out of control, repeat the exercise or leave. Go back and go through the steps one more time. If it's not working, go home—with or without your partner—and try it again there.
Keep repeating this exercise. If you're an extremely jealous person it will have little effect during the first few weeks. However, one month in...
Keep repeating this exercise. If you're an extremely jealous person it will have little effect during the first few weeks. However, one month in, you'll notice a small improvement. Two months in, you'll see a significant change. Three months in, you're well on the road to living life as non-jealous people do. Please don't give up. Keep writing things down until you can do the exercise mentally, without needing the pen and paper.
Once you've trained your mind to challenge silly thoughts with logic, it will start working through the process subconsciously and automatically. This is how "non-jealous" people's brains work. If there is legitimate reason to be jealous, the thought will filter through. So don't panic: You won't suddenly stop seeing real threats; you'll just stop seeing those that aren't.