Jealousy is a common issue in many relationships. According to Psychology Today, “it’s a common misconception that jealousy is a sign of love.” It’s normal to feel some jealousy with our partners, but what determines if a person’s relationship behaviors are healthy, unhealthy or abusive is how they deal with their jealous feelings. Since there are so many different ways to go about confronting your own jealousy, we want to break down some of the myths and help you learn to handle jealousy in a healthy way.
Myth 1: My partner shouldn’t talk to, text or hang out with other people who might be attracted to them or vice versa.
False! In a healthy relationship, both partners should encourage each other to have friends of any gender outside of the relationship. It is important to set boundaries to make sure you’re both on the same page about what might constitute cheating, but you and your partner should have fulfilling friendships with other people.
Myth 2: Going through my partner’s phone, email and/or social media accounts without their permission is okay if I suspect they may be cheating.
False! Whether you heard a rumor or just got the feeling they may be cheating, it’s never acceptable to look through your partner’s phone, email or social media accounts without their permission. In a healthy relationship, if you are worried your partner might be cheating, you communicate with them openly about your feelings. Remember, it’s more effective to approach this as a conversation, rather than an accusation. (Here are a few tips on how to communicate better!)
Myth 3: Since my partner has cheated or lied in the past, I shouldn’t trust them when they say they’re being faithful.
False! It’s natural for you to be hurt by their cheating or dishonesty, but it’s never okay to use the past against your partner. Trust is something we decide to give, rather than being something that can be earned back. Not trusting your partner isn’t fair to them or to you. If you’re unsure if you can trust your partner, think about what it would take for you to trust them again. If your answer has anything to do with checking up on them, then you aren’t really trusting them. If your answer has something to do with adjusting your own jealousy and behaviors, then you may be able to go on to have a healthy relationship.
Myth 4: If my partner is jealous of other people talking to me, they’re just trying to protect me.
False! Just like in Myth 1, healthy relationships include healthy friendships. If your partner is telling you that you aren’t allowed to talk to other people because they might be interested in you, then your partner isn’t showing you that they trust you. When one partner tries to tell the other who to talk to, what to wear or where to go, they are asserting power and control, which is unhealthy and can become abusive.
Is extreme jealousy an issue in your relationship? Does your partner use their jealous feelings as an excuse to try and control or manipulate you? Talk to us. Call 1-800-799-7233 any time, or chat here on our website from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Central time.