In a Relationship with a Jealous Husband?
…..Rid Your Partner of the Green-Eyed Monster!
When you started dating, his gestures of possessiveness were flattering “The guy is so into me; he can’t stand another man even taking a glance!”, but it wasn’t long before his jealousy had taken a life of its own. From unexpected anger blow-outs (“Where have you been?”), to the setting of suffocating rules (“You will always cover your shoulders when we go out.”), to pure paranoia (“This here is a kiss mark from another guy — admit it!”), life with a man prone to jealousy can be frustrating, draining and downright anger-provoking.
If you’re reading this article, chances are your boyfriend or husband has a jealous streak — and it’s causing problems in your relationship. Your partner may be blissfully unaware of your distress, or you may have already given him a piece of your mind. Now you’re in need of advice as to what to do next. How you can help restore balance in your partner’s thinking and behaviour? More importantly, is it worth sticking it out with a person with jealousy issues?
If you need help dealing with your jealous husband, consider the following tips:
Work first on your own reactions.
In many ways, best person to help your partner deal with jealousy is you. After all, you’re the one directly affected by his possessive behavior, and thus can provide the most meaningful feedback. But it’s also important to recognize that because you’re part of the issue, you aren’t the most objective person to make an intervention. Your own feelings regarding the situation may affect your judgment and the way you approach your boyfriend or husband.
So, if you want to help your man deal with jealousy, the first thing that you need to do is acknowledge your own feelings and reactions first, and find ways to ventilate them. Ask yourself: what am I going through; is it anger, resentment, frustration? What do I require to feel more comfortable: would an apology suffice, or do I need actual, real change? List down all your thoughts and emotions regarding your partner’s jealousy and reflect on each one carefully. You may even get the help of friends you trust.
Second, think of all possible contributing factors.
Just because a man has difficulty controlling jealousy, doesn’t mean he’s automatically a bad partner or a potentially violent one. In fact, Kirk M. Jacobs, author of the well-received ebook ‘The Real Man’s Guide to Controlling Jealousy‘, revealed: “Jealousy is a normal emotion; no different from anger or frustration, and it serves a purpose in a person’s life. What loved ones must do is to think of jealous behavior as simply a means of communication.”
Perhaps your boyfriend or husband is telling you that he needs more security in your relationship. Or maybe your partner could use a self-esteem boost — he has lost confidence ever since his business became shaky, and needs to validate that he hasn’t lost everything yet. Or maybe your man wants to tell you to quit flirting with your male friends, but fears that doing so will make him look like a wimp. Understanding what’s fuelling your partner’s jealous reactions can translate to compassion — and for sure your partner will respond better to compassion than blame.
Third, communicate with your jealous husband.
This bit is the most important. Never mind what you’ve read in women’s magazines about remaining mysterious and keeping your thoughts to yourself. Strong relationships are hinged on communication, and if something has become very important, it must be discussed. You want to nip problems in the bud before they escalate into full-blown quarrels.
Jacobs shed light on a dynamic of jealous men that is so integral in understanding jealousy, yet is rarely discussed when the topic of jealousy comes up. “Most jealous men have one trait in common: they invest too much of themselves in a relationship too soon.” You may not want to discuss your partner’s jealous behavior with him, but doing so equals discounting everything he has invested in the relationship so far. Discussing jealousy openly can help your partner find ways of grounding his racing thoughts and feelings on the real state of your relationship.
The question is: what is the best way to approach the issue with your partner? Not all people are born communicators, and communicating to a loved one involves specialized skills in empathic listening. What if you make a mistake and end up doing more harm than good? Worse, what if your partner simply refuses to acknowledge that he has a problem?
Jacobs recommends the indirect approach if talking about the problem straight on is threatening to a man. He has spoken of clients who had been able to effectively break the ice with their partner, by handing them a book about Jealousy in Men. “At first guys would take being handed a book on jealousy as a practical joke. But after awhile, it gets them thinking. After all, in most cases of problematic jealous behavior, men already have an inkling of how bad they can get. Being handed an in-depth but sensitive book on the topic offers them much needed confirmation of how out of hand their jealousy has become.”