How to Communicate
with Your Mate About the Tough Stuff: Jealousy
By Susie and Otto Collins
Joe's wife, Kristi, has a jealousy problem and he's had enough. It seems
that every single day there is new drama in their marriage...generated
It's often the same turn of events. Joe comes home a little late because
he's been tied up at work or maybe he needs a little time to unwind
after a long day, so he stops for a drink with a co-worker.
Then, when Joe does arrive home, it seems like he's always greeted with
accusations and interrogations. Joe wants to know how to talk with
Kristi about her jealousy before it's too late for their marriage.
When it comes to jealousy, talking with your partner in a way that
doesn't tear you further apart can be really tricky.
It may be obvious to you that your mate has a problem. The number of
times that he or she has flown off the handle and accused you of
flirting, looking at others or even having an affair may be too many to
On the other hand, if you are the one who tends to get jealous, it may
be obvious to you that your partner is the one with the problem.
Perhaps, from your point of view, he or she truly is a flirt and
sometimes even talks, looks at or touches others in ways that you find
What's your perspective?
When it comes to jealousy, your perspective can truly alter what you
see. It can mean the difference between words or actions being innocent
and "no big deal" OR them being suspicious and betraying.
This is really important to remember as you set about to communicate
about jealousy in a way that helps you and your partner move closer
Try to move beyond the question of who's right and who's wrong.
You are certainly experiencing a situation in a particular way and your
mate is probably experiencing the same situation differently.
In order for the two of you to be able to talk about what you each want
and to create agreements you both can stick with, it's vital that you
remind yourself that your perspective is not the only
perspective of what's going on.
Does this mean that you have to just sit there silently while, for
example, your boyfriend so clearly checks out an attractive woman who
Of course not.
What it means is that instead of yelling around about it or storming
off, you make a clear and, as calm as possible, choice about what you'll
Speak honestly and about your feelings.
The next time that Joe comes home late to an irate wife, he does
something out of the ordinary.
He hears her litany of questions... "Where were you? How do I know
you were really at work? When will you learn to treat me with respect
and call me when you'll be late?"
Then, Joe tells Kristi that he's going to take a few moments by himself
and then he'd like to talk with her about this whole situation.
She is surprised, because this is not Joe's usual reaction, which is to
yell back at her that she needs to just trust him and stay out of his
During this time alone, Joe takes some deep breaths and calms down. When
he steps back from his own perspective for a moment, he can understand
why Kristi would be upset and even feel jealous and worried.
Joe returns to Kristi and apologizes for being late and for his habit of
not calling to let her know his plans. He then opens up and shares with
her how sad he feels about the tension and conflict between them lately.
He tells her that knows that he's not easy to live with and that he
feels trapped and boxed in when Kristi lays in on him with accusations
Together, Joe and Kristi begin to sort through how they each feel. A
greater understanding of where they are both coming from results.
There is no magic cure for jealousy.
But, when you can begin to own and communicate honestly about your
emotions and you take responsibility for your share in the habits that
are driving you two apart, magical things can happen.
Choose words that reflect your experience of the situation. Do not label
your partner's experience or guess what he or she wants or is feeling.
You can always ask questions to get more information about what's
happening for him or her.
For example, Joe says to Kristi, "I get really angry when you
automatically assume that I'm sleeping around with another woman because
I get home late. But, I wonder if you are afraid that that's exactly
what I'm doing when I don't call. Is that true for you?"
When you ask a question, be sure you really listen to your mate's
response. Even if you don't agree with his or her perspective, you might
be able to better understand what's going on for him or her when you do.
From this place of listening and sharing honestly, you and your partner
can create agreements that will help you to overcome jealousy, bolster
trust and begin to move closer together.
Would you like more help overcoming jealousy in your relationship?
We have tips and advice for those who are jealous and those who are with
a jealous partner in our FREE mini-course.
Click here to sign up now.