This guest article from YourTango was written by Susie And Otto Collins.
Jealousy in a relationship can cause you to say things you later regret. You grill your partner about who she had lunch with. You interrogate your boyfriend about who he was just talking to on the phone. You accuse your spouse of flirting.
Jealousy robs you of your peace of mind and wreaks havoc in your relationship. It comes through in the way you talk and the way you act. Strictly speaking, “stalking” is the illegal act of pursuing or harassing another person, like when paparazzi stalk celebrities.
But did you know that stalking also happens in committed relationships and marriages too? Because of suspicion and jealousy, girlfriends stalk their boyfriends and husbands stalk their spouses.
It’s a dangerous game that’s rooted in worry, fear and confusion. What’s worse is that you might not even know that what you’re doing is considered stalking. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you check your partner’s Facebook page at least once a day?
- Do you regularly drive by your partner’s house or workplace just to check for his or her car?
- Do you look through the texts and call history on your partner’s phone?
These are just a few ways that people stalk and it’s not healthy for your relationship or for you either!
Stalking usually increases suspicion instead of calming it, even if you don’t find any proof. Your jealous mind will not rest until you’ve checked again. The thought, “What if I didn’t catch the incriminating text?” runs through your mind, wears you down and causes you to doubt your partner’s commitment even more than before.
It also ruins trust. Not only does stalking weaken the bond of trust with your partner, if you get caught spying or checking up on him or her, it’s going to push you two further apart. Stalking is isn’t always a conscious choice which makes it difficult to deal with. You react to feeling jealous by sneaking and picking up her phone without thinking. You alter your route home to see if his car is in the parking lot at work without fully realizing what you’re doing.
Getting Rid of Your Jealousy
When your partner says or does things that trigger your jealousy, it feels like you can’t help but stalk them. We want you to know that you can start to make conscious decisions that not only soothe your jealous urges, but improve your relationship.
1. Talk with yourself first.
As you feel that impulse to stalk, notice what you’re doing and stop. Don’t take any action until you have a talk with yourself first. Your self-talk might go something like this, “Hey, I really really want to click on over to Facebook and check my boyfriend’s page. His class reunion was last weekend, and I’m worried that he’s re-connected with his old girlfriend.”
Take a deep breath and continue by saying to yourself, “Okay, is this going to make my jealousy go away? I don’t think so. Will it help me feel close to my boyfriend? Nope. So, instead I’m going to go for a run, and then I’ll text my boyfriend and invite him to meet me for a late dinner together.”
You can literally talk yourself out of being driven by jealousy. Slow down and remind yourself to consider the consequences of stalking before deciding whether or not to go ahead and do what you were compelled to do.
2. Talk with your partner.
Are there times when you’ve got good reason to check up on what your partner says? Definitely! It’s never wise to ignore warning signs that indicate your partner might be lying to you or hiding something. Stick with observable facts, and, in some cases, this might involve doing the very same things that constitute stalking.
The most important thing is for you to know when your jealousy is taking over your decision-making and when clear-seeing is leading the way. For many people, jealous impulses are fear-driven and not linked to facts. Clear-seeing comes with a sense of certainty, even if you don’t like what you’re being pulled to say or do.
When you have reliable proof that your partner is flirting, lying, breaking promises or disrespecting you, communicate with him/her about it. Have a talk where you set boundaries and create agreements to address whatever is going on. If you find out that your partner is having an affair, decide whether or not you’ll stay in the relationship.
Second chances can lead to success, but only if both of you are willing to work together to rebuild trust.
More relationship advice from YourTango:
- Hard Work Ahead: Are Relationships Really Worthwhile?
- How To Make Long-Distance Love Work
- The Kiss Of Death For Relationships Revealed!
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 May 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Experts, Y. (2013). Jealous in Your Relationship? Stop Stalking & Start Talking. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 10, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/05/17/jealous-in-your-relationship-stop-stalking-start-talking/