Every relationship is different, which lends itself to different expectations and definitions of commitment. Jealousy is often a reality of any committed relationship in some capacity, but it can easily become possessive and unhealthy without trust and communication.
Small and well-managed amounts of jealousy can actually be healthy in relationships, since you obviously care about your partner and feel desire for them. Feeling jealous sometimes is a part of being human, and trying to make that feeling go away entirely is unrealistic. Instead, take stock of how jealousy and possessiveness impact you and your partner in your relationship.
If jealousy on either side affects your daily life, your moods, your trust for one another, or if it dominates the time you spend together, you might be dealing with unhealthy levels of possessiveness.
As with everything, communication is important, and if both parties make an effort to employ a few basic strategies to minimize jealousy and possessiveness, it can lead to increased happiness all around.
Give One Another Digital Privacy
While the temptation to snoop can be strong — and is often normalized — giving your partner their digital privacy is a basic practice of trust in a relationship. If you don’t want someone reading your texts, you shouldn’t be reading theirs either.
If the suspicion feels big enough that you’re certain you may find something you don’t want to see, it should be worth asking them and having a conversation about it. If it’s not, you can probably leave it alone or address the problem in other ways.
If you truly feel that you’re dating someone who would regularly hide things from you in their digital trail to the point where they need to be monitored, why are you with them?
Be Open About Crushes and Attractions
You don’t need to harp on the subject, but talking openly with your partner when you see a cutie in public or if you have a particularly strong celebrity crush can let them know that you’re truthful and open about your feelings and attractions. While this tip might not work for everyone, introducing it in varying degrees can create a spirit of honesty and trust.
There is security in knowledge, and knowing each other’s crushes and attractions is a great way to feel comfortable and secure in your relationship. You picked each other for a reason, after all.
Set Boundaries and Expectations Together
Every relationship has a different definition of what is and isn’t appropriate, and having frank conversations about each of your needs can help set standards for your behavior in a way that helps you both feel secure. Some people think that harmless flirting outside of the relationship is okay, and to some, it really hurts. Talk about those things so you can be sure that you are meeting each other’s needs.
When you’re aware of what specific behaviors make your partner feel uncomfortable, you’re obviously more likely to avoid them.
When You Feel Jealous, Spend Quality Time Together Rather Than Apart
It’s inevitable that jealousy and insecurity will come up every once in a while, and addressing it together can help everyone involved feel more supported and seen. Jealousy is often rooted in the insecurity surrounding your relationship’s integrity, so although it can feel tempting to isolate yourself, making more of an effort to spend positive time together can help you feel more secure.
Possessive behavior and jealousy are often rooted in personal insecurities, and when they rear their ugly head in your relationship, it can be easy to feel like your partner needs to do something to fix your negative feelings. The reality is, when jealousy comes from your own insecurities, nobody has the power to get you out of that headspace besides you.
You’re responsible for your own behaviors and emotions, including jealousy and possessiveness. If your partner communicates to you that you’re behaving inappropriately, you can own up to those feelings and try to move forward. Wouldn’t you want them to do the same?
Understand Your Insecurities
While it’s easier said than done, digging deeper into your own insecurities to understand why certain things trigger you is an effective tool to free yourself from jealousy. Understanding your emotions can give you a clearer path to behaving healthier in your relationship, being a more understanding partner and feeling less distressed.
Knowing why you feel insecure can provide you with better communication towards yourself and your partner when you feel possessive and jealous. For example, if you know that you feel insecure about your appearance, it can be beneficial to remind yourself that your partner thinks you’re beautiful. Or, if you know that your partner feels jealous and insecure due to abandonment issues, reminding them that you’re there for them through thick and thin is a great way to cater to their emotional needs.
While it’s nobody else’s responsibility to control your feelings, knowing the pathways out of insecurity can help you provide one another with better soothing techniques to make you each feel more supported.
Jealousy and possessiveness aren’t fun, but they don’t have to dominate your relationships either. With a bit of communication and effort, you can use those feelings as an opportunity to strengthen and grow in your relationship, and individually as people. When you work together at understanding your patterns of possessiveness, you both will grow into more understanding, patient and trusting individuals.