If Jealousy Is Affecting Your Relationship, Here’s How To Talk About It

Feeling like a top priority in your partner’s life is a vital aspect of a stable relationship. However, maintaining a social life outside of a romantic partnership also means devoting time to relationships with friends and family. Depending on you and your partner’s personalities, insecurities, and time-management skills, jealousy can start to creep in before you know it. If jealousy is affecting your relationship, it’s important to open the lines of communication so you can get to the root of the issue. According to Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, experiencing jealousy is normal, but if it’s negatively impacting the relationship, it’s time to speak up.

"It is very normal to experience jealousy when a partner has bonded with others," Dr. Klapow tells Elite Daily. "It is more intense when the bond with others highlights challenges in your relationship. If the outside bond has what your relationship is lacking, you will see more jealousy." If you feel jealous when your partner spends time with a close friend who you know they deeply connect with, but you’re able to let it go, this might not be a problem for the relationship. You’re not interfering with their happiness or trying to undermine their friendship.

Unfortunately, jealousy can grow into a much bigger problem over time. "It’s a toxic situation that’s often not discussed, or masked as other problems in a relationship," says Dr. Klapow. "Your partner may never say a word about jealousy but act or speak in a way that signals problems. When there are more arguments and problems because your partner is showing jealousy, and it is not discussed, your relationship will suffer."

Since some people may be embarrassed to admit they’re jealous of someone else, it’s common for it to come out in other ways. "They may withdraw, question your priorities, criticize the friendship, question your dedication to them, pout, act disengaged, and even become mean when it comes to anything regarding your outside friendship," warns Dr. Klapow. This type of behavior can lead to loads of unnecessary drama, and if you suspect the core of the problem is jealousy, starting an honest dialogue is the first step. "If your partner is jealous of your friendship but instead questions your dedication then the root of the problem is not addressed," explains Dr. Klapow.

According to Dr. Klapow, you must start the conversation gently and lovingly. "Let your partner know you’re noticing certain behaviors as they relate to your friendship," he adds. "Tell them you care about them and that you’re trying to figure out what is going on." However, it may be a good idea to avoid directly using the word "jealous" as some people might be offended or triggered by it. "Let them describe their feelings about your friendship and your friend," explains Klapow. "Then, ask if they have concerns about the friendship, and if so, what those concerns are. Get them talking in a way that feels safe for them." Although this might not make their insecurities go away immediately, it allows you to understand the concerns that are fueling the jealousy.

Dr. Klapow also emphasizes the importance of understanding that jealousy often stems from hurt. So, if you suspect your partner is feeling this way, try not to get defensive, but instead, give them the chance to articulate their feelings. This way, you can uncover why other friendship(s) makes them feel hurt. Hopefully, the core issue will no longer be convoluted by other arguments and problems that may be masking the jealousy, and you can start to move past it.

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