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How to Conquer Jealousy in a Relationship

Experiencing feelings of jealousy at certain times is perfectly normal. It's when jealousy gets out of control, or starts having an adverse effect on relationships, that steps should be taken to curb those feelings. Everybody expresses and handles jealousy in a different way, but certain universal techniques can be used to help conquer it.

Jealousy is a complex emotion, which often stems from insecurity or a fear of losing control. For example, you may have low self-esteem and worry that you are not good enough for your partner. Your biggest fear is that he leaves you for another woman. When you see him chatting to a girl in a bar, you automatically assume the worst: he is interested in her. This is where jealousy comes in, says clinical psychologist Craig Malkin in the article, "Five Ways to Kick the Jealous Habit," for "Psychology Today." Jealous feelings may lead to jealous behaviors, such as an angry outburst or a barrage of accusations.

Being aware of jealous feelings is the first step toward keeping it under control. Whenever you notice you are feeling jealous such as if you see your boyfriend talking to another woman in a bar, take a moment to accept your jealous feelings, observe its effect on you and relax. Take deep breaths and slowly count to 10. Tell yourself that your jealous thoughts are not the same as reality, advises clinical professor of psychology Robert L. Leahy in the article, "Jealousy is a Killer: How to Break Free From Your Jealous Feelings," for "Psychology Today." You may think that your boyfriend is flirting with the girl in the bar, but the reality may be that he is simply being friendly.

Conquering jealousy requires an honest conversation about how you feel. It's far healthier to talk about your negative feelings than to reveal them through your actions, says Malkin. Have a conversation with your partner when you're both relatively calm and receptive. Try to explain how you feel, without making accusations. Reveal your needs clearly, using "I" statements. For example, say "I feel a little insecure when we don't spend any weekend time together. Could we arrange something fun to do together on Saturday?" instead of, "You always put your friends before me." Raise specific concerns about any aspect of your relationship, in a non-accusatory, non-demanding way. For example, say, "I felt a bit jealous when I saw you talking to that woman in the bar. Could you tell me how you know her?" The more you communicate with, and seek reassurance from, your partner, the closer you'll feel to him, and the more your feelings of jealousy will subside.

Simple exercises can help you improve your self-esteem, which will lead to greater security within your relationships and less of a chance that jealousy will take over. Challenge your assumptions about yourself, suggests Leahy. Make a list of your best qualities, strengths and achievements. Keep it safe and refer to it regularly. Remind yourself of all the reasons your partner is lucky to be with you. Treat yourself with love. Eat healthily, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. Jealousy is often exacerbated by stress, says Malkin. Counteract this by surrounding yourself with caring, supportive people and by trying relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga.

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