Once, your relationship seemed rock solid and capable of bringing you seemingly endless bliss. Now, jealousy and paranoia have taken over, causing you and your partner to frequently wonder why you even bother continuing with the relationship. Fortunately, if you’re living out this all-too-common scenario, there are several things you can do to combat these harmful factors and make your relationship strong again.
1. Recognize That Jealously Is A Time-Tested Emotion
Initially, you may be under the impression that jealousy is something that couples of the past didn’t have to deal with, but that’s far from the truth. While things like social media may make jealousy more prevalent in some regards, jealousy is something experienced by even the most primitive humans. In fact, those who had more success with finding food and shelter were arguably among those most likely to experience jealousy from peers, but they also had higher chances of survival.
Interestingly, primitive people who allowed themselves to go through intimate emotional relationships with partners also found themselves comparatively better off. That just goes to show that even though jealousy may seem incredibly destructive to your relationship now, it doesn’t always have to serve as a negative factor.
2. Do Your Best To Banish Insecurity
Psychological researchers have found that people who are the most insecure are also the most likely to feel jealousy regarding their partners. The next time you feel yourself sinking into the trap of insecurity, give a personal reality check and determine whether you may be falsely under the impression that everything (or mostly everything) your partner is doing is related to something you’ve done.
For example, if your spouse seems snappy and worn down when you ask them something, it might not be due to frustration with you, but because of some outside factor, such as a bad day at work or a lack of sleep.
Also, consider that the reason why you’re feeling insecure is because you might be making assumptions about the relationship rather than taking a moment to ask your partner what’s really going on. Incorrect assumptions can quickly breed fear and doubt, and rather than letting these mess with your head, it’s far better to just ask your partner for open communication.
3. Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over Perceived Shortcomings
Unfortunately, the kind of insecurity talked about above doesn’t always just extend towards the relationship itself or to a person’s partner. Sometimes, the person feels the most jealousy and paranoia because they figure they’re such poor prospects among humanity, there’s no way a partner would continue to accept them for who they are. If that sounds familiar, remind yourself of all the things your partner has said about you that reflect why they have chosen to be with you as opposed to another person.
Obviously, since your partner chose to pursue a relationship with you at some point, they saw at least one thing (and more than likely many things that were attractive about you.) As time passes, people tend to discover even more lovely and desirable things about their partners, which means you may be more attractive than ever to the person you are with.
You may find it helpful to write down a few compliments your partner has given you recently on an index card or similarly portable item. Then, when you start to feel badly about yourself and dwell on how it’s affecting your relationship, pull out those compliments, and use them to reshape your perspective.
4. Never Put Off Communicating
As mentioned above, one of the easiest ways to get clarity in your relationships is simply to request communications from your partner. But, when doing that, don’t do so in a harsh way, such as by exasperatedly asking “What are you thinking?!” or “Tell me what you mean!” whenever there are lapses in communications. Try to keep things open so communication flows naturally, and never put off talking it out when you’ve got something on your mind.
You may initially think there are times when it’s not feasible to communicate, especially if your partner is out of town on a business trip or something similar. In reality, modern services ranging from Skype to Facebook make it arguably easier than ever to stay in touch from afar. Always avoid bringing up heavy conversations in text messages.
Although convenient, texts are very one-dimensional. Because they don’t include things like tone of voice and facial expressions, it’s very easy for people to misconstrue text-based communications, which might make jealousy and paranoia even worse in your relationship.
5. Believe What Your Partner Says
One essential way to overcome both jealousy and paranoia in your relationships is to simply believe whatever your partner says to and about you. That may be difficult if your partner has a history of being untruthful, but remember if your partner is caught in a lie, they’re the foolish one, not you. If you constantly question your partner about things they do or say, that can be almost as destructive as cheating, because both those responses erode trust.
6. Resist The Urge To Reciprocate
If your partner is doing things to make you feel paranoid or jealous, you may feel inspired to return the behavior. That may simply be because you want to give the person a “taste of their own medicine” in an effort to get revenge. Although admittedly tempting, this response isn’t appropriate.
Playing games in this way causes you to stoop to your partner’s level and will likely make you lose sight of what’s really important. Fight to stay above drama, and while doing so, remember your conduct may make it easier to resolve issues efficiently rather than letting them dominate your life.
7. Stop Looking For Fairy Tale Relationships
Perhaps the reason you’re feeling so paranoid and insecure in your relationships is because you have unrealistic views about what to expect. No matter what children’s books and Disney films have led you to believe, relationships aren’t rosy all the time. Because people are imperfect, they have imperfect relationships. As long as you two respect each other and don’t engage in or tolerate abuse, you’ve already got the building blocks for a good relationship.
If you need help getting a more realistic perspective about what a healthy relationship is, think about all the people you know in your life, and then narrow the pool down to those who are in strong relationships.
Scrutinize those pairings and learn what it is about them that makes them so great. Chances are, you’ll soon see past all the things that once seemed perfect and realize that everyone has relationship problems from time to time. The difference lies in how those things are tackled and the speed at which that happens.
These actionable strategies should provide a good starting point for helping you move past jealousy and paranoia in your relationships. The first step is recognizing you have an issue to overcome, and by reading this, you’ve likely already done that. Good luck!