Jealousy is something that can destroy a relationship, or at least weaken it and cause major problems. We can’t write off our jealousy as ‘I just care’ or ‘It’s other people I don’t trust’, but we need to be able to spot the signs of our jealousy and learn to overcome our insecurities, anger, and suspicion. Building trust and dismantling jealousy will help make our romantic relationships thrive.
I remember a friend telling my other friend to keep an eye on his girlfriend while he was away. I asked why, and it was because the boyfriend thought his girlfriend may like someone else. He was jealous and wanted to know if something happened.
A good and healthy romantic relationship is based on trust
I thought that was so sad.
Jealousy Breeds Mistrust
A good and healthy romantic relationship is based on trust. We need to know the person we’re with won’t hurt us by cheating on us, and we’re happy when they’re out with friends having a good time. Instead of worrying what they’re up to.
It can be hard to know what to do when jealousy rears its ugly head
Sometimes relationships do sadly need to end. It may be because of something they’ve done or something that’s happened. But if we find ourselves getting suspicious and mistrusting when nothing has happened, then it may be because of our own insecurities. (Read Unhealthy Relationship Expectations We Should All Know)
(The following extract is taken from page 213-215 of The Dating Dilemma book, read the introduction for free here)
Guys and Girls Ain’t The Same
Let’s be honest, men and women both experience jealousy from time to time, but they often handle it very differently. In a relationship, it can be hard to know what to do when jealousy rears its ugly head. So it’s probably worth thinking about how to handle it wisely.
Green-Eyed Guys – A Message From André
Men, we can suffer from serious jealousy. Often we find it hard to spend time away from our girlfriend and we worry that she might find someone else. Let’s face it, we know how gorgeous she is – and how other guys’ minds work!
Sometimes we think that, by letting her develop her gifts or encouraging her to go on holiday with friends, she might ‘outgrow us’ and upgrade to someone else. So many men want to control their girlfriends, and might not even realise that they’re doing so.
We need to let her explore God’s calling and put that first
But we mustn’t let our insecurities smother our girlfriend’s time and skills and stop her from growing into the confident woman God has created her to be. We need to let her explore God’s calling and put that first.
Moving Towards Trust
If we find ourselves struggling with jealousy: first we need to be open about our insecurities and share them with her, rather than trying to control the situation:
- [Firstly], we need to be open about our insecurities and share them with her, rather than trying to control the situation.
- Secondly, we must realise that, even though it might feel like it, this relationship isn’t the source of our confidence and security.
- Thirdly, we cannot use the excuse: ‘I trust you; it’s the other boys I don’t trust’ to make her feel bad or get what we want.
- Finally, learning to trust her means we have to let go of manipulating who she sees and where she goes.
Jealousy is something we all suffer with from time to time. Being open and honest with our girlfriend when we are feeling threatened and angry is the only way to deal with it in a helpful manner. Easier said than done, I know, but if she’s worth it, then we need to be open to changing our natural reaction.
Green-Eyed Girls – A Message From Rachel
Have you ever felt pangs of jealousy when your man is chatting to a girl you think is prettier or funnier than you? Does your imagination run riot? Do you end up confronting the poor guy with: ‘Well, if you like her jokes so much, why don’t you marry her?!’
All women feel jealous from time to time. Those who say they don’t are probably living in denial. We feel jealous because we feel insecure or out of control. But nothing kills a friendship or a relationship quite as quickly as jealousy. So what can you do if you find yourself turning green from time to time?
Moving Away From Jealousy
Here are some of my suggestions.
- First, admit to yourself that you’re feeling jealous. If you don’t, you’ll end up blaming him for something he might not have done. Ask yourself why you feel jealous. Where are your feelings of insecurity or being out of control really coming from?
- Secondly, own your emotions. ‘When I saw you talking with that woman, it made me feel jealous because . . . ’ is very different from ‘You’re such a boy-tart! I forbid you to talk to women ever again!’
- Thirdly, recognise that your deeper feelings of acceptance and security come from your relationship with God, not your relationship with your boyfriend.
We need to create habits that don’t feed the jealousy but build trust instead
- Fourthly, have someone other than your boyfriend to chat with regularly about the jealousies you feel. God longs to do the deep work within you of healing your heart and mind, so let him. Find a friend to support you in that.
- Finally, develop your own wide life, and encourage your boyfriend to do the same. You will have so much to share with each other and to be involved with together. It will enrich your relationship and stop you from having endless nights on the phone or sofa, chastising your boyfriend for past grievances.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. ( James 3:16–17)
We all get jealous from time to time. But we need to stop and ask ourselves, why and when we get so jealous and mistrusting. If it’s because of a past relationship, our own insecurities, or the like, we need to create habits that don’t feed the jealousy but build trust instead. (Read How To Have A Good Argument.)
Can jealousy ever be a good thing? Comments welcomed below.