Jealousy is an emotion that most of us have felt on some level in our romantic relationships and is quite different from envy, a word often used interchangeably. Today I’ll chat a bit about the difference between the two while focusing on jealousy within romantic relationships and how it can bring up emotions that can push our relationship apart if we don’t recognize the root of why we are feeling this emotion. I will also share how to address jealousy to best support our own mental health and wellness. Let’s dig into what marital jealousy is and how you can start the process of letting go and building a more connected relationship with your partner.
Let’s first look at the definition of envy:
Envy, from Wikipedia, is an emotion that occurs when a person lacks another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it.
First, let’s look at our reasons for wishing someone lacked the quality, achievement, or possession. Wishing someone else lacked that quality that we are feeling envy over is us thinking that we can’t have what they have and because we think we can’t have it, we could feel better about ourselves if that other person didn’t have it.
I actually love being curious when I notice feeling envious of someone’s achievement, quality, or possession. Typically, I will initially notice a feeling of discontent around what someone else is doing or something they have. I notice myself judging them as possibly being irresponsible or maybe better than I am, making me feel inferior. When I become aware that I am judging them, myself, or the circumstance, I enjoy asking myself what it is about what the other person is doing, or what they have, that I wish I could do or wish I had. At this point, I can decide whether I want to pursue what they are going after and doing or if I want to admire them and let go of envy. At this point, I can actually reach out to them from a place of admiration and gratitude. Gratitude because their accomplishment has pushed me to become better and to become aware of a weakness in myself and admiration for their ability to step into fulfilling a desire in their life.
All of our emotions are signals that we want to be aware of, just like the traffic signals; if we ignore them, we will eventually get to a place where we are hurting and become victim to the emotion or a place of dissatisfaction in ourselves because we aren’t stretching and growing into our capability. When we can slow down, pause, use the signal to help us decide where we want to go next, we can let the emotion guide us to a place of spacious, conscious thinking that allows us to let go or open up to a new adventure in our life. When we’re able to process the emotion of envy, it can open us to inspiration around something we’ve been wanting to do but haven’t allowed ourselves permission to do so.
The definition of jealousy:
Jealousy, according to Wikipedia, generally refers to the thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear, and concern over a relative lack of possessions or safety.
Jealousy is a human relational experience that becomes evident in the early ages of human development and envelopes other emotional aspects like anger, resentment, fear, inadequacy, worthlessness, disgust. When we look at jealousy within the confines of marriage, it can tear a relationship apart and cause a couple to create distance between themselves. Still, when we look at it from a different perspective, we can see jealousy as a place where you can work on your own personal growth.
Oftentimes, jealousy is rooted in low self-esteem, lack of self-compassion, self-trust, fear of unmet needs. It is often insecurity within ourselves around our desirability, ability, and worthiness to be a good partner, and we project that insecurity onto our partner. Seeing this fear within ourselves opens up a beautiful opportunity to dig in, explore, look inward and grow.
Going back to listen to episode 1 (How To Start Loving Yourself), episode 10 (One Simple Way To See If You Trust Yourself), and then episode 12 (Three Steps To Building Self Trust) will help you start taking steps to build your self-confidence and allow you to start the process of letting go of the grip jealousy might have in your marriage relationship.
When we start looking at our jealous feelings, we start looking at what is going on within ourselves and see what is triggering the emotional response. Learning how to process your emotions helps you to see where the weak link inside of you might be and then opens up your mind to the possibility of creating a conversation around what you are experiencing without putting the blame on your partner.
When we start looking inward, becoming aware of the fear that is arising within ourselves, and then do the work of processing through what thoughts are coming up for us, we can start separating out what is simply insecurity within ourselves and possibly something we might want to discuss with our partner. If we choose to have a conversation with our partner, it will come after taking time to access and manage, coming up with what you might say and how you will say it in a way that centers around you and your thoughts and feelings, without placing any blame on them for creating how you feel. We can state the circumstance, and what thoughts it generated for us, and how those thoughts made us feel; we do this process through a thought download (read more about this tool in my post “A Daily Tool To Manage Your Mind”) and then running some of those thoughts through a thought model (learn about what the thought model is and how you can use this tool in my post “Self Coaching Model”) so that we can see how we are producing our current result. When we discover the result that WE are producing and see that it is all being created within ourselves, this is often the point where we can start exploring a different option, an option that feels better for us.
When we’re open to having a conversation about what we are experiencing it opens up a vulnerability in our relationship which helps us create a more deep intimate connection with each other and helps create awareness for both parties. These conversations will often open us up to a different option for ourselves and for our partner. We went through an intimacy series recently and this type of conversation where you are opening up to how you are feeling helps build emotional intimacy, you can go back to episode 6 to learn more about emotional intimacy and how to increase it in your marriage.
Let’s briefly talk about three different types of relationship jealousy:
Projection jealousy is when we are projecting our own thoughts onto our partner. For example, we are being overly aware of our partner’s actions, jealous of things they are doing or saying, and then turning around and seeing how we might be doing the same thing, creating insecurity around ourselves and our relationship. We are projecting ourselves onto our partner to find evidence of how they may be doing the same thing. Possibly we are looking for validation outside of our marriage because we don’t feel like we are getting it within our marriage, so then we are looking for the same thing in our partner’s actions instead of focusing on ourselves, validating ourselves, and treating our partner the way we want to be treated.
Protection jealousy comes when we want to protect ourselves from something that we think might hurt us. It could show up as us attempting to control our partner’s actions to feel better and feel safe. An example could be checking your partner’s email or text messages to protect yourself from something that might be happening that could tear your relationship apart. When we build trust in ourselves, we start letting go of the control we have been placing on our relationship; we’re not ignorant to what is going on in our relationship, we’re actually more in tune with what is happening because we are engaging with our partner instead of sneaking around, focusing on something that isn’t building up the relationship and not trusting them.
Building our self-trust and self-confidence brings us awareness when we feel negative emotions and helps us dig into the why’s of that emotion versus placing the why in the hands of our partner. It empowers us to create the change we want without waiting and needing our partner to do it for us. We actually have a clearer focus of what we are creating in our relationship and trust that we are building a loving, connected, intimate bond with our partner.
Competition jealousy is when we are jealous of what we see other people getting and feeling jealousy that we aren’t getting that attention. When we look at this in our marriage, we could look at it from the perspective of scarcity, that we feel like there isn’t enough love and attention to go around, that it all has to be directed to us and if it’s being directed towards our spouse it means we are lacking. I really believe that there is plenty of love to go around when we manage our minds, and we see how emotions like jealousy are limiting our ability and capacity to love. When we take a look at the thought creating this type of jealousy, we will often find that we do not share the love that we wish we were getting, thus depriving us of the love in return.
Feeling the green eyes of jealousy isn’t such a bad thing; it means that we want something from our partner that we feel we aren’t getting for ourselves. We can let this green monster make us angry and resentful, have us pulling away from our partners, taking us further away from the relationship we want or, we can use it as a sign of love and compassion we have for our partner. A signal of an area for us to grow and a way to share with our partner how we would like to be treated and shown love and affection, an opportunity to be the one to take the action that you wish he would take.
Today could be the day where you take your jealousy and use it to pull yourself closer to your partner instead of pushing them away. If you are feeling jealous of your partner and are struggling with how to move out of it, I would love to have a conversation with you about the ways you can turn that jealousy into learning more about who you are and what you want in your marriage. You can book either a free coaching session or a program inquiry call today and notice how that action alone will create some ease in your life!
I am a life coach who works with individuals to break down relationship barriers by awakening their true self. My process isn’t about changing your partner, it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage. If you’re ready to take your life and your love relationship to the next level then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s decide together if this is your next step to creating the life you’ve been dreaming of.