Cosmopolitan Magazine recently interviewed
me on the topic of whether jealousy can be good for a relationship.
Jealousy is a hot topic. What do you think?
Well, like everything, jealousy is good in moderation.
Jealousy is a sign that something you care
about could be in danger.
When you use that emotion positively- to protect your relationship-
it can be a good thing. Of course when you take that too far- it can be
damaging. But as with all emotions, what counts is what you do with
So what’s the best thing to do when you feel jealous?
Talk, without blame, about your feelings and perceptions with your partner
so you can protect your relationship together.
As long as you know that being overly jealous isn’t usually
an issue for you (if it is, you may need to work through the issue with
a therapist), the pangs of jealousy could be your gut telling you that
your partner is attracted to someone else.
There is nothing wrong with that by itself- we’re human, and it’s
going to happen in even the best of relationships. But it is important
that you don’t act inappropriately on that attraction, and that
becomes especially important when you are around this new person on a
regular basis. .
That’s where jealousy can help protect your relationship.
By going to your partner and sharing your feelings, together you can explore
if there is any need for concern. Sometimes the partner who has a growing
attraction never really realized that it was becoming something that could
threaten your bond. You can do that by exploring some questions together:
- Are you sexually attracted to her/him?
- Do you find yourself fantasizing about her/him?
- Do you feel yourself drawn to her/him emotionally?
- Have you opened up and shared really personal info with her/him?
- Has anything happened between you two that you would feel uncomfortable
telling your partner about?
You need to be honest with yourself and your partner as you explore
And if there are any yes answers here- the couple can work together to
come up with a plan to deal with it. Typically that involves moving away
from the attractive person. For example, by agreeing to minimize contact,
by telling your partner when there is contact, and by sharing less personal
However, if you find a developing attraction, you may also have to take
back control of your mind by consciously directing your attention to
your partner whenever you have thoughts of the new person. In essence,
you simply refuse to go down the road that was starting to look attractive.
The bottom line is this: We’re
all going to have attractions to other people and sometimes our partners
pick up on our emotions and feel jealous.
That’s ok because you want to use your instincts- in this
case, your jealousy- to notice when you might need to protect your relationship.
When you are in a long term committed relationship, you need to be on
the lookout for attraction to others so you can something about it- not
just slide toward it. That’s how too many affairs start.
But when you listen to your gut and take active measures to protect your
love, it can last a lifetime.
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