What triggers your jealousy? The answer is different for everyone.
For some people, jealousy rears its head when an ex is in the picture. Maybe your partner regularly communicates with or spends time with an ex because the two share parent a child. Or maybe because they’ve managed to remain friends.
Perhaps you have come into contact with your partner’s ex and this sparks a painful comparison game in your mind. Or maybe all you have to do is think about them and it brings fear that you don’t measure up or that your partner will leave you for him or her.
Another jealousy trigger can come up in social situations. This is especially true if your partner is more extroverted than you or if they are a flirt. Even if your partner only has eyes for you, the cruel comparison game is a trigger.
Relationship advice says distance between partners can also trigger jealousy. If you and your partner are physically apart, either temporarily or on a long-term basis, this can makes it a challenge to stay connected and maintain trust. Physical absence is not good for an imagination prone to jealousy.
Emotional distance in a relationship will most certainly trigger jealousy too. Unresolved disagreements, misunderstandings, and long-held resentments can stir jealous thoughts. They can also cause you to act in ways you might not have otherwise.
It’s important to identify what triggers your jealousy, then take steps to minimize the trigger’s influence. Most important of all is to practice techniques that help you calm down and see more clearly.
Whether your jealousy is triggered by your partner’s ex, social situations, or distance in your relationship, these five cures will help you move beyond the trigger’s effects and teach you how to stop being jealous for the sake of your own health and your relationship.
1. Find a way to let out your negative feelings.
All of that frustration and anxiety isn’t going to go away on its own. Instead of trying to dull, distract, or deny how you feel, find a way to let it out. Contrary to what your impulse might be, you don’t have to let it out all over your partner either!
Create a private space and time for yourself to give a whoop and holler. A round of yelling — not at anyone — can be cleansing and will help you release those pent-up emotions.
2. Soak in a hot bath.
Water can be soothing for stirred up feelings, including jealousy. If just thinking about what’s triggering your jealousy is too much to take, run a hot bath. If you’d like to be more active, go to your local pool or lake and take a swim.
3. Write it all down.
Record the thoughts you’re having about your partner’s ex, the flirting, or your betrayal fears.
Write it all down without censoring yourself, then focus on the central thought or belief. Question it. Look for facts to show you this thought or belief is not as solid and “true” as you might think.
4. Take a brisk walk alone.
Interrupting the momentum of your jealousy can be a huge help. If you’re caught up in worry because your partner will be spending time with their ex, clear your head by going for a brisk walk.
As you walk, direct your attention to your breath, your surroundings, and the feel of your feet on the ground. This calm and clarity is an essential part of handling a triggering situation with more grace than usual.
5. Love yourself and your partner.
One thing that will make your jealousy grow and possibly build beyond control is if you meet it with criticism, hostility, and hatred.
It’s understandable that you don’t like to feel jealous — nobody does. It’s even understandable that you don’t like certain situations or people. But don’t let negativity inflame your jealousy. The more you can cultivate sincere love, the better.
Love yourself. Love your partner. If you can, love the feelings you’re having.
Your jealousy is an important signal. It’s telling you to slow down and go inside yourself to understand what you’re feeling and what you need to do for yourself to feel better.