Being in love means being at peace, enjoying the company of the man or woman you love and hoping to build a happy future. Utopia indeed! However, the best and most romantic of relationships undergo stress because of that green-eyed monster that has an uncanny way of creeping up – jealousy! So what’s the way to be secure in love? Learning how to stop being jealous and controlling in your relationship.
Perhaps that’s easier said than done. Some experts suggest that jealousy is a protective emotion but in a destructive way! Confused? Here’s what Prachi Vaish, Clinical Psychologist, Psychotherapist and Trauma Specialist, has to say, “All emotions have a function and jealousy is simply an emotion with no good or bad value judgment to it. What’s important is how this emotion is interpreted and acted upon.”
Why Do I Get So Jealous?
If this is the question you ask yourself from time to time, then you are in a good place. Now, we aren’t saying jealousy is good but it’s nice to be self-aware when you find yourself getting consumed by insecurity over small issues and it starts affecting your peace of mind.
However, the first tip on learning how to stop being jealous and controlling is to differentiate between jealousy and envy. As Prachi explains, “Envy says, ‘I want what you have, how can I get it?’ and jealousy says, “I don’t have what you have and I won’t let you have it either’ or ‘You’re trying to take what’s mine, I won’t let you!’ So anything that triggers the latter thought in any relationship will lead to jealousy.”
In matters of relationships, insecurity and lack of confidence can lead to jealousy and a tendency to control your partner. For instance, if you feel the need to constantly look behind your back and keep tabs on your partner’s moves, it is an indication of the demons in your own mind.
There may be a lack of trust and the fear of betrayal that motivates such behavior. On other occasions, it might be a case of pure ego. As much as you claim to love your spouse or partner, you can’t bear to see him or her being more successful or popular than you. This causes you to become more and more jealous and insecure.
Whatever be the reason, if you can’t find an answer to how to stop being jealous and controlling, you will never find happiness.
Related Reading: Can Healthy Jealousy Help You Build Stronger Relationships?
11 Strategies To Stop Being Jealous And Controlling In Relationships
Jealousy in dating is extremely common, and to a certain extent, it is expected if the couple is not completely committed to each other. For instance, you might burn up at the thought of your woman or man, chatting up someone of the opposite sex.
Or might find a strange sense of possessiveness, if you see them getting close to your love rival. These are all perfectly legit feelings that indicate a sense of primal protection towards someone you feel attracted to.
The problem arises when you feel this way even when you have no reason to distrust your partner. If you find that you can’t get past these negative emotions, it’s time to make conscious efforts and talk candidly about how to stop being jealous and controlling. These 11 tips will help you correct the course:
1. Introspect and communicate
The first step is to identify your feelings of jealousy. The improbable rage that creeps up in a particular situation involving your partner and someone else. The inexplicable sense of fear that envelops you when you are away from your beloved. The constant need to check up on your girlfriend or boyfriend. These are all signs of being jealous.
“Ask yourself what is making you insecure,” says Prachi. “Look inwards and figure out if there is an event in the past that made you feel the same way. Once you have isolated a rational reason (and there is ALWAYS a rational reason, either in the present or buried in the past), talk to the person who is triggering jealousy.”
2. Keep a reality check on your expectations
Learning how to stop being jealous and controlling in your relationship means to stop having unrealistic expectations about it. One of the best ways to deal with romantic jealousy is to take a long hard look at your expectations and the reality of the situation.
Do you want your partner to constantly be at your beck and call, have no close friendships outside of your relationship and discuss everything with you? Sorry, that’s not going to happen!
In modern-day dating, the concept of ‘space’ is very important and both the partners have a life, career and friendships of their own. Of course, you can always talk and share your concerns with your partner but remember that you don’t own them.
3. Allow yourself to be vulnerable
Identifying your triggers and talking about them holds the key to how to stop being jealous and controlling. To be able to do so, you need to remember that talking about your triggers and insecurity will not make you appear weak!
“There is a difference between being vulnerable and being fragile. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable paves the way for deeper intimacy in a relationship,” says Prachi. She adds that the only thing you have to make sure of is that the conversation takes place when you are not emotionally charged.
“Stick to the issue at hand rather than bring all their past errors to the fore to make your argument stronger. You will just end up making your partner defensive. End the conversation rationally stating exact pointers on how they can help you feel more secure,” she advises.
Related Reading: How To Deal With Jealousy In Relationships?
4. Communicate and listen
Talk, talk and indulge in more talk. When you feel jealous and controlling, first try and talk to yourself. And then talk to your partner. List down the occasions and the behaviors that make you feel uncomfortable and what may manifest in jealousy.
When you feel a particular way, do not take the entire blame upon yourself. Maybe there are some legitimate reasons you have to feel uncomfortable about your partner.
Hence it would be best if you can have a candid chat with him or her and confess your negative emotions. Who knows your partner may become more aware and sensitive towards your feelings.
5. Be aware of how jealousy is destroying your relationship
Being constantly on the edge wondering who your partner is meeting or texting is no fun. Getting worked up and imagining all sorts of worst-case scenarios if he or she is late from work or traveling can wreck your peace of mind more than anyone else’s.
Be aware of these triggers and what it does to you personally. Once you are aware of how these feelings of insecurity are coming in the way of your happiness, you will be better equipped to deal with them.
Unfortunately, you have to put in the maximum effort to rid yourself of jealousy, nobody can help your feelings. Instead of controlling your partner, try and control your own thoughts from spiraling out of control.
6. Focus on the positives of your relationship
If you really want to know how to stop being jealous and controlling, learn to focus on the positives more than the negatives. So you feel troubled by your man’s tendency to charm any woman he meets. You fear his flirtatious nature.
But have you thought about all that is right in your relationship? Does he care about you, make you feel happy and support you when you need it? Give your energy to those aspects.
For sure, you have every right to voice your displeasure but do not allow the negatives to overcome the positives. Make an effort to overcome doubt in your relationship rather than allow your jealousy to derail what is already working.
7. Practice self-love
To love and be loved by others, you need to love yourself. One of the main reasons why you can never figure out how to stop being jealous and controlling is because you do not love yourself enough.
A lack of self-confidence is often projected as jealousy towards your partner because you have this inherent fear of not being worthy enough for them. On the contrary, if you are secure in your skin, have a good sense of self-worth, you won’t look for a person to complete you and fulfill your unmet needs.
So one way to overcome feelings of paranoia and jealousy is to work on bettering yourself in terms of health, looks, career or any other aspect of life.
Related Reading: 10 Tips To Turn Jealousy In Relationships Into Motivation
8. Find out your common traits
First and foremost, understand that envy and the need to control your loved ones is very natural. But when you delve deeper, you notice that jealousy arises when you notice that they have certain qualities that you lack.
Maybe instead of finding what differentiates the two of you, you should try and focus on what connects you and what common traits you share. Humanize them, do not place your lover on a pedestal and yourself on a lower rung which is what gives rise to feelings of insecurity.
This, in turn, makes you feel envious on occasions when your relationship does not give you the gratification you seek. Instead, strive to be an equal partner.
Feeling jealous is one thing, acting on it and doing something stupid is another. Take a few deep breaths each time you feel you are boiling inside thinking about what your partner is doing. Take a few deliberate steps back when you itch to control your partner’s moves and words.
Most of the time, the feeling of jealousy is fleeting. You may feel uncomfortable at your partner’s success at work or the appreciation he or she might be getting while you feel left behind.
Do nothing. Control your urge to taunt or pass a snarky remark. At times, the feelings fade on their own after the moment or occasion passes away and you might be able to leave the thoughts behind.
10. Trust your partner and yourself
The opposite of jealousy is trust. You need to do whatever it takes to build or rebuild trust in your relationship. Sometimes you just need to let go of whatever you can’t control.
A certain amount of control does come in when you are in an intimate relationship. But you can’t keep tabs on their every word or move beyond a point.
Ultimately, you need to heal yourself because you can’t change others. So trust your partner and more importantly, trust yourself. Build resilience so that if your doubts do turn out to be true, you have the strength to face them.
11. Talk to a therapist
If your jealousy goes beyond reasonable limits and starts affecting your bond with your partner, it would be wise to seek help from a professional. Jealousy can destroy the most beautiful of bonds as it comes in the way of building healthy, trusting relationships.
Most importantly, a therapist can help you identify the triggers especially from the past or your childhood that may be the root cause or the source of your negative emotions and help you get rid of them.
Building healthy, loving relationships requires a lot of work. That work is not just limited to fostering positive elements but also removing what is toxic. Try and turn your jealousy into something slightly positive by using it to identify what you want and what you don’t. In some cases, it can even help relationships become stronger!
You can overcome insecurities in a relationship by focusing on the positives, communicating your needs perfectly and identifying the triggers that make you jealous or insecure.
It could be due to deep-rooted insecurity, which in turn, could be traced back to your childhood needs that may not have been met adequately. Jealousy leads to the tendency to control your relationship because you lack trust in yourself and your partner.
You can get rid of jealousy by focusing on the positive traits you share with your partner, by learning how to trust, being open and communicative, and willing to seek professional help if you can’t control your negative emotions.
Jealousy may not be healthy but it can help your relationship become stronger by identifying what it is that you really want and what makes you insecure. Once you identify with it, you can perhaps work on strengthening that aspect.