Jealousy is quite dangerous in a relationship, and much like black mold, it can fester and destroy what is otherwise good and healthy.
That’s why it’s important to address any signs of this green monster upfront.
Contrary to what some believe, jealousy isn’t always a red flag of abuse. When it’s mild, jealousy is often a natural reaction to a situation that makes your partner feel insecure.
But if your boyfriend is showing serious signs of jealousy coupled with control (as it often is), this is a major red flag. If you’re in a situation where your partner is unreasonably jealous, these techniques won’t help. There’s a chance emotional abuse is at play, and you may want to talk to someone to get an objective view on your situation.
On the other hand, if your boyfriend simply seems uncomfortable with certain situations, like you hanging out with a friend of the opposite sex, there are ways to work through this jealousy.
1. Call it what it is
When you talk to your boyfriend about how he’s feeling, be sure to use the label. Jealousy is something we all feel at times and calling this feeling by its name helps us identify what’s really going on. This will help keep the conversation where it belongs instead of putting you on the defensive. For example, if your boyfriend is jealous that another man approached you, it’s because he’s feeling insecure. Ultimately, jealousy is insecurity.
2. Talk about the root problem
If jealousy signals insecurity, the next question may be obvious. Why is your boyfriend insecure? He may have a reason to be insecure with you if there has been past infidelity. Or he may be insecure with himself. He may be battling feelings of unworthiness that so many of us struggle with at times. When you figure out what your boyfriend is insecure about, it’ll be easier to help him overcome that negative emotion.
3. Reassure him that you’re not going anywhere
If your boyfriend is jealous of how you interact with a friend, ex or coworker, listen to what he has to say. Try to address his concerns and set his mind at ease. At the same time, think about whether there’s something you’re doing that might be contributing to his insecurity and whether you think it’s reasonable to change your behavior. Either way, it can be helpful to reassure your man that you’re with him for a reason and he has nothing to worry about.
4. Avoid fanning the flames
People sometimes make the mistake of thinking that jealousy is cute or healthy, and they encourage it because it makes them feel good. For example, if your boyfriend gets jealous over your relationship with a coworker and you purposely flirt with that guy in front of him. Or maybe you make jokes about him needing male enhancement because you know it’ll make him insecure. Feeding jealousy is the same as feeding his insecurity, and that could be considered emotionally abusive on your part.
Another trap to avoid is trying to make your boyfriend jealous when you’re angry with him. At the moment, it may feel good, but fanning the flames of jealousy will do irreversible damage to your relationship.
5. Keep your own jealousy in check
Any healthy relationship is a two-way street, and it’s important that we’re treating others the way we expect to be treated. This means that you’ll also have to keep your jealousy in check, regardless of how your boyfriend handles it. And if you are feeling jealous, talk about where the insecurities are coming from.
When you can both talk openly about jealousy, it’s much more likely to subside as your relationship grows stronger.