4 Ways Your Jealousy Can Help You Improve Your Relationship
February 15, 2018|María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards
Although you might think jealousy marks the relationship's doom, sometimes it can be the boost to improve your relationship.
As an avid consumer of crime documentaries, I can tell you that an important percentage of the crimes originate in happen in some form of toxic relationships. This isn’t news, and we all know, either out of experience or because we hear stories about it, that jealousy is a behavior that can really ruin a relationship. We’re all prone to develop this emotion, and it can make us act in awful ways without us noticing it. However, today I’m going to talk about how jealousy can actually be a boost to improve your relationship. Now, obviously, this subject has to be treated from a critical perspective, and this doesn’t mean that all types of jealous behaviors can be categorized under this thesis. Right now I'm referring to the fact that we all feel jealous at some point when we’re in a relationship, but when we use our emotional intelligence, this emotion can actually have its benefits.
So, to start with, it’s important to establish that jealousy is our natural reaction to an emotional threat. Parting from here, I can say that for me there are two main types of jealousy, or better said, there are two main causes of this emotion: the real or imaginary existence of a romantic rival. Most of the times there might not even be a real threat, and if there is, remember that your partner doesn't necessarily have something with that person. So, instead of being threatened by these fears, unfounded or not, these are some ways to use your jealousy to improve your relationship.
It makes you work on the relationship
We all know that relationships aren’t all milk and honey. As soon as the so-called honeymoon stage ends, it’s normal to enter into a different emotional state that can definitely include jealousy. It’s been proven by evolutionary psychologists and specialists like Edward Lemay (University of Maryland) that jealousy is just a mechanism that works as a sort of ward to "protect" our partners from leaving us. This is pretty normal, but for that matter, whenever we start having this emotion, it’s also an opportunity to take a look at those parts of our relationship that aren’t that perfect so that we can actually do something to secure our relationship.
Competition always challenges us to bring the best of us
According to a study made by Erica Slotter (Villanova University), participants were asked to select those attributes they thought best matched with their personality. Then, after they were given a scenario where their partners were in flirting situations with other people and were asked again to select those attributes from that list, the participants chose those that matched their imaginary rival’s personality. So, more than just copying another person’s life or character, what happens is that we see these features as the things that are attracting and thus dragging our partners from us (even when there’s no actual rival). Rather than becoming super jealous or overprotective of your partner, you can use those features to improve and become even better.
Jealousy allows you to work on yourself
Following the previous idea, jealousy not only helps you find things about yourself you can improve, but it also makes you question why you're feeling this way and notice those emotional flaws that don't allow you to be entirely happy with the relationship you're in. In most cases jealousy appears because of a lack of confidence and insecurity. It’s a constant threat that makes you feel that you’re not good enough and that your partner can find anyone better than you. As I said, this is why most of the times jealousy is a matter of perception. This is the perfect moment to start working on yourself and become a more emotionally mature person.
It becomes a trusting exercise
We’ve worked on the personal improvements jealousy can generate and how it can strengthen a relationship. This point is more related to the relationship in general. Sometimes when we’re feeling jealous, we’re afraid to voice it out because we fear our partner will think we’re doubting them and not entirely trusting them. That’s absolutely normal, but there’s nothing better for a relationship than honesty and communication. Now, the thing with this is how you talk to them about it. If you tell your partner what you’re feeling, it’s more likely that both can work together on those issues that are sparking that emotion and begin a trusting relationship that will create a stronger bond between both of you.
It’s pretty normal to feel jealous whenever we think our relationship is being threatened, even when it isn’t. The difference lies in how we react to these feelings and how we use this as a beneficial way to improve ourselves and thus our relationship. It’s all a matter of trust and confidence not only towards our partners, but actually with ourselves.
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