There are some emotions that show up in a marriage that can be detrimental; jealousy is one of them. Couples must take notice of the signs of unhealthy jealousy and prepare to address them immediately, as well as be mindful of how it shows up and impacts a marriage.
How to Deal With a Jealous Spouse
Jealousy has several definitions. The first is feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages. The second is feeling or showing suspicion of someone’s unfaithfulness in a relationship. The third is fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions. Each of these definitions could be the reason jealousy shows up in relationships. If you are looking for ways to heal your marriage from this specific emotion read on to learn what signs of unhealthy jealousy look like, what both you and your spouse need, and how to deal with a jealous spouse.
In This Article
What Is Unhealthy Jealousy
Unhealthy jealousy can show up as controlling, emotionally abusive, and can lead to anger and pain. It is important to distinguish it from simple care and concern. Checking in with your spouse when you’re out, or arriving and leaving a place can be more about safety than jealousy. Your spouse dictating where you can and can’t go, or becoming unnecessarily angry about your friendships could be something else.
Any actions that happen in a marriage that make either partner uncomfortable or fearful must be addressed in a healthy and safe way. If there are any fears around safety, please seek professional help and services prior to discussing your concerns. Unhealthy jealousy is just that, it is extremely harmful and does not benefit or strengthen the relationship. When someone cannot control their emotions appropriately or feel as though they have to be in complete and total control over their partner’s every move and other relationships outside of their own, these actions could be signs of unhealthy jealousy or something more serious. Keep an awareness around what doesn’t feel right and take any necessary precautions.
What Your Spouse Needs
When it comes to understanding jealousy, there must first be a concern around the needs of your partner. If they seem overly worried about what you’re doing and who you are doing it with, first seek to understand where that type of thinking comes from. Previous pain can easily find its way into a current relationship. Life experiences cause us all to react in a way that feels natural to us but might be hurtful to a spouse. Before you get upset about your spouse’s jealousy, be open to hearing what they need from you to help ease some of their marriage worries. If your spouse seems to display insecurities about your faithfulness and constantly pushes those insecurities on you, it is okay to bring it up for discussion. Ask your spouse about their past and do your best to come from a place of understanding as you listen. Pay attention to what you hear that might provide some insight on your partner’s experiences that might shed some light on who they are today. Everyone has a story that leads to the choices they make and how they show up in the world.
Though you may not be able to control your spouse’s emotions when those feelings and signs of unhealthy jealousy surface, you can help them understand its origin and work through some methods that will help prevent them from suffocating the marriage.
What You Need
Being with a jealous spouse can feel overwhelming. You have needs that might be getting ignored because your spouse is focused on something other than being the best spouse possible to you. Decide what you need in order to honor your feelings and share this with your spouse. Tell your spouse how their jealousy impacts you. Does it cause you to feel resentment or frustration? Is there any impact on your desire to be intimate with your spouse? Whatever the results may be, share all of it with your spouse. They need to know the results of their behaviors. Your needs matter and it is important that your partner knows where you stand as it relates to their signs of unhealthy jealousy.
How to Deal With a Jealous Spouse
Once you get to a place where you understand your spouse a bit more you can create an action plan for dealing with the green-eyed monster. Think about the areas that might actually cause jealousy. Here are a few ways to work through such a strong emotion.
- If your spouse seems jealous of your career, remember to include them on your journey. Share your wins and make a space for them to cheer you on and support you. People tend to get jealous when they feel like you are growing and they aren’t. There is also a fear that you will outgrow them and no longer need them. Reassure them that you do need them and highlight the specific ways that you do.
- If your spouse is jealous of your other relationships give them an inside look into those relationships. Schedule events or outings that provide an opportunity for your spouse to get to know your friends. Insecurities in this area surface because there may be misconceptions about who your friends are. As your spouse gets to know your friends, hopefully, they will begin to see there isn’t much to worry about. On the other hand, if you do have friends that don’t care about your marriage, it’s time to change your circle. Friends should be friends and supporters of the marriage.
- If your spouse thinks you might be unfaithful, reassure them by being forthcoming with information that could help bring some comfort. Again, your spouse’s jealousy can come from a variety of places and it might be difficult for you to understand. Be mindful of the small actions you can take to calm your spouse’s concern. Keep your spouse in the loop with what is happening in your life. Provide updates as often as you can so there aren’t any surprises. Remember, this may be one of your spouse’s needs, and as a good partner, you should be striving to meet their needs.
Jealousy is one of those emotions that’s sometimes awkward and hard to admit. Couples have to create a safe space to discuss what’s really happening when signs of unhealthy jealousy show up and know the actions to take to keep it out of the marriage completely.
BMWK, how do you deal with a jealous spouse?