How to Manage Jealousy and Prevent it From Ruining Relationships

Jealousy is a common phenomenon, and it’s the reason many relationships either hang in the balance or end altogether. You see your partner talking to someone at a party, and there it is — you narrow your eyes, and your gut jumps to your throat. Telling someone to stop feeling jealous is like telling them to stop being nauseous when they’ve eaten bad food. Jealousy is a natural feeling that affects everyone. Still, how can we manage it so it doesn’t ruin our lives and relationships with others?

The word jealousy written using Scrabble blocks
How to Manage Jealousy and Prevent it From Ruining Relationships

The Difference Between Jealousy and Envy

In order for you to deal with your jealous outbursts, you first need to understand what you’re experiencing. Many people confuse feelings of jealousy with envy. The main difference is that when you are envious, you are seeing something that you want to take from someone else while with jealousy, it comes down to fear of losing something you already have.

What Causes Jealousy

Woman staring at her boyfriends phone while he's on it
How to Manage Jealousy and Prevent it From Ruining Relationships

Did you know that jealousy is not a single feeling but a collection of 45 different emotions? These fall into one of three main groups — sadness, fear, and anger. Studies have shown that women tend to feel anxiety or fear-based jealousy, while men are more likely to be jealous out of anger. Addressing these tendencies starts by identifying the governing emotion behind your triggers of jealousy.

Jealous boyfriend looking at his girlfriend smiling to another man
How to Manage Jealousy and Prevent it From Ruining Relationships

How to Manage Jealousy Once it Appears

For starters, acknowledge that you’re experiencing it. Don’t try and fool yourself that you’re not jealous. Embrace it. Secondly, be open about it with your partner (or friend). Lay your cards on the table and tell them how you feel, so you can both work through it. Often, jealousy comes from ignoring your life outside the relationship, so try to zoom out, and redirect your attention to things you enjoy doing like hobbies and crafts. Most importantly, make a habit of sitting down with your partner on a regular basis to reflect on your feelings, so you can keep your jealousy and other negative emotions in check.