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How to handle jealousy

How to handle jealousyJealousy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s human nature. It’s natural to feel jealous from time to time.

Jealousy becomes problematic “when we act out in jealousy or we wallow in it,” said Christina Hibbert, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in Flagstaff, Ariz.

It becomes problematic when it starts to consume you and “creeps into every aspect of your life,” said Kathy Morelli, LPC, a psychotherapist with a marriage and family counseling practice in Wayne, N.J. And you find yourself feeling bitter and angry often, she said.

One of the most common types of jealousy is romantic jealousy, she said. We also tend to feel jealous about others’ successes, strengths, lifestyles and relationships, Hibbert said.

For instance, we might believe someone’s life is much easier or more comfortable than ours. “We see only the good in their life and only the ‘bad’ in ours.” Or we might believe our best friend has a better relationship with another friend.

Social networking sites – such as Facebook – also can trigger jealousy. “[T]oday our online and offline worlds overlap, so there’s a lot more confusion and complexity in relationships and more ways to compare ourselves to others,” Morelli said.

Insecurity often underlies jealousy. “We feel threatened, or less than or not good enough,” Hibbert said. “[W]e fear that someone else’s strengths mean something negative about us.”

(Jealously also may be the result of your earlier experiences . But more on that later.)

Below, you’ll find general tips for dealing with jealousy, along with specific suggestions for jealousy in romantic relationships.

Tips for Romantic Relationships

Assess your relationship.

“The best way to overcome jealousy is to first take a look at your romantic relationship,” Morelli said. For instance, consider if your relationship is built on trust, respect and love, and if your partner’s behavior reflects their words, she said.

Are they honest with you? If they’re not, naturally, this can trigger or perpetuate your insecurities, said Morelli, also author of the books BirthTouch® for Pregnant and Postpartum Couples, Perinatal Mental Illness for Childbirth Professionals, and Healing for Parents in the NICU.

“If you are in an insecure relationship, expect to have your jealousy buttons pushed. But no one can tell you what to do. If you stay, most likely you’ll feel bad and jealous sometimes.”

If you’re in a secure and solid relationship, and you’re still feeling jealous, look at yourself and explore your own experiences.

“Research on the subject of jealousy in a romantic relationship indicates that a person’s basic attachment style underlies their tendencies towards jealous reactions,” Morelli said.

People who developed secure attachments in their early years – between themselves and their caregivers – tend to be less jealous and dependent, have higher self-esteem and have less feelings of inadequacy than people with an insecure attachment style, she said.

Morelli suggested asking yourself these questions:

  • “Do you have a pervasive feeling of emptiness or lack of self-worth?
  • How was your relationship with your early caregivers?
  • Was the atmosphere in your home warm and loving sometimes, but also critical?
  • Were you raised in a repressive atmosphere?
  • Were your early caregivers unreliable?”

Attachment style is malleable, she said. Later experiences and circumstances can influence your style. For instance, a skilled therapist can help you build self-esteem and work through your concerns.

Seek out other support.

Have interests outside your relationship, Morelli said. Talk to a friend about your jealous feelings, “but don’t do this to the exclusion of talking to your partner.”

General Tips

Recognize your jealousy.

“When we name the jealousy, it loses its power, because we are no longer letting it shame us,” Hibbert said. Acknowledging that you’re jealous opens the door to learning, she said.

Learn from your jealousy.

We can use feelings of jealousy as inspiration to grow, said Hibbert, also author of the book This is How We Grow. For instance, you realize that the reason you get jealous every time your friend plays her guitar is because that’s also something you’d like to do. Rather than wallowing in that jealousy, you sign up for guitar lessons, she said.

Tell yourself that you don’t need this emotion in your life, and you’re relinquishing it, Hibbert said. Then “breathe deeply, and imagine it flowing through you like the wind. Repeat as often as it takes to truly let it go.”

Manage your emotions healthfully.

“Practice mindfulness to calm your runaway emotions,” Morelli said. For instance, she suggested readers tune into your body to identify how you’re feeling, take several deep breaths and try to detach from the intensity of those emotions.

If your jealousy involves your romantic relationship, share your feelings with your partner after you calm down, she said.

To process your emotions, she also suggested journaling, dancing to your favorite music and taking a walk.

Remind yourself of your positive traits.

Hibbert gave this example: “She is really good at playing with her kids, and I’m not so good. But I’m great at reading to them, and they love that about me.” This reminds us that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, she said.

Again, jealousy is a normal reaction. It becomes problematic when it becomes persistent. When you find yourself feeling jealous, recognize what’s happening and delve deeper into your relationships and yourself.

Healthy intimate relationships are one of the biggest joys in life, bringing companionship, laughter and passion into both partners’ lives. When your relationship is based on trust, it serves as a lifeboat, anchor and sail that keeps you afloat, secure and filled with purpose . When jealousy corrodes the trust and respect in your partnership, the relationship becomes a weight that hinders personal progress.

Understanding how to stop being jealous in a relationship is a prerequisite for a healthy union. No matter what baggage the other person brings to the table, you can work on yourself to tame jealousy and create a meaningful partnership.

Want to improve how you handle relationships?

Understanding how to stop being jealous in a relationship

How does jealousy impact romantic relationships? It goes against the 5 Disciplines of Love – universal principles for building a trusting, healthy union. The discipline of unconditional love and compassion becomes impossible to sustain, since jealousy impairs your ability to love without barriers. It’s also impossible to be truly vulnerable when jealousy is an issue, since jealousy creates tension in the relationship. Envy clouds discernment, and it becomes hard to tell the truth from mere suspicions.

You can’t give your partner the freedom to live life when you’re jealous, nor can you truly feel free to live your own life when you’re dealing with a jealous partner. Jealousy can creep into all areas of your life, making it hard to enjoy anything. When jealousy is given full sway in a partnership, neither party thrives.

How to stop being a jealous girlfriend or boyfriend

Your partnership will suffer if you let jealousy go unchecked. Understanding how to stop being a jealous girlfriend or boyfriend requires being honest with yourself and your partner. Get to the bottom of your jealousy and create a healthier relationship dynamic.

1. Be honest about jealousy’s impact .

It’s impossible to solve a problem if you refuse to acknowledge it. Rather than pretending you aren’t jealous or your jealousy isn’t a problem, be honest. How do you feel because of your insecurities, and how are they hurting your relationship? It might be difficult to acknowledge the problems your envy is causing, but take heart in the fact that you’re taking the first step to a healthier relationship.

2. Ask what your jealousy is telling you.

Psychology Today provides a family therapist’s view on how to stop being jealous in a relationship: Rather than view jealousy as a problem, look at your jealousy as a solution . Jealousy (or any other relationship issue) is a window of opportunity we can peer through to gain clarity. Instead of shutting down the jealous behavior outright, seek to understand the behavior first. What problem is the jealousy attempting to solve? If you’re feeling jealous because your partner broke your trust, it’s the breach of trust that’s the real problem. If you’re projecting your insecurities onto your partner, it’s your insecurities that need attention. If you’re jealous of your partner’s successes, perhaps there’s an unhealthy element of competition that needs to be eliminated. Whatever the cause, looking at jealousy as a “solution” and working backwards from there will help you get to the bottom of how to stop being jealous in a relationship. By getting to the real problem, you’re able to address it to find lasting relief.

How to handle jealousy

How to handle jealousy

3. List your insecurities .

Mastering how to stop being a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend starts with looking at yourself. What insecurities are driving your jealousy? Are you unsure of yourself due to perfectionism? Are you comparing yourself to others? You’re not making this list to shame yourself – you’re owning your role in the relationship.

4. Cultivate self-confidence .

Once you’ve made a list of the insecurities driving your jealousy, write down an antidote to each one. If you’re living under the shadow of your partner’s ex, make a list of all the traits your partner loves about you. If you constantly compare yourself to celebrities, unfollow them on Instagram for a week. By giving yourself space from feelings of inferiority, you’ll be able to develop the self-confidence you need to overcome jealousy.

5. Consider the source of your insecurity .

Mastering how to stop being jealous in a relationship is often a matter of healing the wounds of the past. If you’re struggling with jealousy due to an unresolved issue like a childhood trauma or addiction, get the support you need to overcome it. With the right help, you can transform your struggles into sources of strength.

6. Be honest with your partner .

If you’re struggling with jealousy, your partner has probably already noticed. Your partner is most likely also contributing to the problem. By practicing effective communication , you’re acknowledging your contribution while also holding your partner accountable – and giving them the opportunity to support you as you work toward a solution.

How to handle jealousy

How to handle jealousy

7. Build healthy coping skills .

Sometimes, it can be hard to let go of jealousy in a relationship if you don’t have healthier ways to relate. Provided your partner isn’t giving you a reason to be suspicious or jealous (ie. by cheating on you or habitually lying), it’s up to you to tame the source of your jealousy. Recognize that you don’t need jealousy – you’re just used to it. Practice self-care and nurture your physical, emotional and mental health. When you prioritize healthy coping mechanisms, they become the norm and eventually replace jealousy.

Want to overcome your jealousy?

Overcome your unwanted jealousy by utilizing Tony Robbins’ Ultimate Relationship Guide.

How to handle jealousy

If you are in a relationship, it is natural to feel a little jealous at times, especially if you have very strong feelings for your partner. Occasional jealousy is okay and may even add a little excitement and zest to the relationship. But what to do when this jealousy becomes more frequent and intense and even overwhelming?

Why Do People Get Jealous?

The common evolutionary explanation for jealousy is that men fear sexual infidelity as they want to be absolutely certain that their offspring is actually theirs. Women, are more concerned with emotional infidelity, because they are concerned with their children’s survival and want to make sure that their partner supports their children, provide and protect them.

Today more than ever before, people are afraid of being rejected, not accepted, not being loved and worry about losing people they care for. These feelings of loss are natural. Yet, again, when thought and feelings of jealousy are extreme, they stem partially as a result of insecurities. When fear lessens, so does jealousy. If you experience jealousy very frequently, here are some strategies that will help you out:

1. Don’t Act On Your Feelings

It is hard not to act the way you are feeling. The feeling of jealousy or any other feelings is not the problem, the real trouble starts when you start acting on that jealousy and let it consume you. You can feel the feeling, but do not have to act on it. Remember that your better half is a human being that is actively interacting with the world around him/her. That world contains people of gender that they sexually prefer but that does not mean that they will cheat on you with them. There is a reason why they are in an intimate relationship with you. If they wanted to date other people, they would have done so. So, the next time you feel jealous, accept the feelings, yet change the way you think about the situation and be reasonable and wise.

2. Calm Down and Stay Vulnerable

To love is to be vulnerable. George R.R. Martin said it best “The more people you love, the weaker you are.” What you need to do is to open your heart to your partner, trust whatever comes and keep calm. Yes, it is not easy, but you need to be willing to accept what is beyond your control and trust yourself to deal with the unknown. Remember, you are in the relationship, because you decide to love. It is a choice you make to love your partner and at the same time accept the risks without any qualms or jealousy.

3. Express Your Jealousy in A Soft Way

If you feel that your partner is doing something that is making you jealous, you can express how you feel and talk to them in a mature way. You can also communicate it with humor, diplomacy or directly as long as it is respectful. If you are humorous, you can joke about how insanely jealous you are when your partner pays attention to someone else. Laugh with them as you say this, because it will take the pressure off the topic and will get the message across. When you are diplomatic, you can let them know that you love them a lot and know that they will never cheat on you. And if you are direct, just tell them that you trust them, yet cannot control your feelings and want them to consider how you feel.

4. Appreciate Yourself

One of the main reasons why people get jealous is that they have low self-esteem and insecurity issues. They tend to think that they are not good enough, their partner will realize this, and will leave them for someone else. You need to know that there is a reason why your partner liked you in the first place and got together with you. If you need some reaffirmation or appreciation, don’t hesitate to ask for that too (within reason of-course). The next time you feel jealous, remember that your partner is with you because they want to be with you because of your positive qualities.

5. Heal Your Wounds

People tend to act jealous because of previous relationships too. You might have been hurt before and they might have cheated on you. You have to move beyond your past and realize that you are out of that relationship and in a new one. The person that you are with is not your ex-partner. Understanding the roots, triggers and reasons for your jealousy is an important part of personal growth and maintaining a healthy relationship. Whenever you start feeling jealous, make a conscious effort to heal your old wounds, be more resilient so that your past does not affect your present and future.

6. Trust Your Partner

You must trust your partner, because you have no other option if you want to have a happy and successful relationship. No one can control your partner and you have to let jealousy go. Having some control is not a bad thing, yet trying to control somebody for things over which you have no control, is problematic. Act in a loving manner in spite of feelings of jealousy you experience.

7. Trust Yourself

The best thing that you can do is trust yourself. Trust yourself that you can love deeply and without any regrets. Trust yourself that your love will act like the anchor that will prevent your relationship from floating away. This is not easy, but ultimately when you trust yourself, you trust whatever comes. You feel confidence that you will be able to manage even the most difficult situation, including a breakup or rejection.

In conclusion, jealousy may be destructive and serves as a poison in intimate relationships. If you follow the above suggestions and strategies when feeling jealous, you will be in a better position to build your relationship and deepen the trust.

If you feel like you can’t get a handle on that green monster inside you, right this way.

Hello, and welcome to my Ted Talk: I’m here to tell you that jealousy in a relationship is totally normal…ish. Wondering who your S.O. is Snapchatting? Totally fair. Accusing them of cheating because you saw a figure that resembled their ex on their SnapChat? Absolutely not. TL;DR: There’s a totally right way and a totally wrong way to address jealousy in a relationship.

Robert L. Leahy, PhD, author of The Jealousy Cure, says that jealousy exists everywhere—even your pup can feel it. “It will be part of your relationship at times and if you deny it, you’re not going to be able to cope with it very well,” he says.

So if you feel an immediate pang of insecurity when you see a fellow hot person check out your S.O. as if you’re *literally* not right beside them, here are the seven ways to control that lil green monster healthily, according to Leahy.

How to handle jealousy

1. Be supportive of each other’s feelings.

If you can admit that jealousy is natural, it’s equally important that your S.O. can too. The last thing you need is someone lashing out at you the moment you ask them to quickly text you if they stay out late. “When you’re in a committed relationship, you sacrifice some freedom,” says Leahy. “You have some responsibility for how the other person feels.”

FWIW: Some of the terrible ways to deal with a jealous partner are telling them: “It’s your problem!” or “I haven’t done anything!”

“What works is comfort, and if you think of jealousy as a way of crying out, a response to that can be validation, saying, ‘I understand where you’re coming from.” You have to be down to listen to ways you can make your partner feel more at ease, and then decide if their requests are doable. And you should expect nothing less in return.

2. Know that jealousy (in small doses) is actually a good sign.

Jealousy doesn’t just happen without reason. Oftentimes, it’s about more than your partner liking their ex’s bikini pic. “When you first start dating someone, you don’t have that much investment or that much to lose,” says Leahy. “As the relationship progresses and you become more connected, you’re more likely to feel jealousy in the relationship. The partner is jealous because this relationship matters.”

If you’re committed to this person at all, you will have bursts of jealousy, no matter how chill or rational you want to be. But that’s a good thing, because it means you care about the relationship working. Recognizing and accepting that this is normal and moving on is so much healthier than beating yourself up over it or pretending it never happens.

How to handle jealousy

3. Set aside jealousy time.

If you’re feeling overwhelming jealousy toward your partner’s attractive desk mate or ex-girlfriend (and you know you a thousand percent have nothing to worry about), there are exercises you can do to deal with it.

“‘Jealousy time’ is an appointment the person makes with their jealous thoughts,” says Leahy. “If you have a jealous thought at 10 a.m., you write it down and then put it off until jealousy time.”

Basically, you spend 20 very self-aware minutes letting yourself fully concentrate on your feelings, and then you move on. “By the time you get to jealousy time, you are either no longer that concerned or it is the same thought you have had numerous times,” he adds.

And if you want to go a step further, you can do what Leahy refers to as the “boredom technique”—repeating a thought such as “my partner could cheat on me” over and over again for 10 minutes until you’re literally bored with it. (Again, this really only works if you’re confident that your partner’s loyal and there’s no real basis to your feelings).

4. Lower your expectations.

If you believe that it’s wrong for your partner to never be attracted to anyone else, you may have to check your core beliefs, advises Leahy. It’s completely natural to find other people attractive, but it’s not okay to act upon that attraction or do something about it. “The rules people may have can make them more prone to jealousy,” says Leahy. If you have highly romanticized ideals for your S.O., you up the chances of you getting jealous by, like, a lot.

5. Reevaluate toxic habits.

The very actions you think will reassure you (like interrogating your partner, checking their phone, stalking their ex on social media) will make you more anxious if you never actually find anything. “These coping strategies drive the very person you’re trying to connect to away,” says Leahy. And while he acknowledges that, yes, sometimes your partner is a liar and you’d never learn about the cheating any other way than glancing at their Facebook messages, you still have to make sure surveillance doesn’t become an actual habit that slowly takes over your life.

How to handle jealousy

6. Know that betrayal will not end you.

“Research shows that people who fear they’ll have no alternative if the relationship broke up are far more likely to be jealous,” says Leahy. Codependency makes this relationship something that cannot fail in your mind, so you’re more likely to ruminate and obsess over any perceived threats.

Jealousy can help you realize how much a partner matters to you or help you pick up on potential red flags. What it cannot do is full-on prevent your partner from sending flirty DMs or cheating on you with a coworker. All you can do is your best in communicating your worries and making sure your jealousy isn’t consuming you. Everything else, you can’t control—but you can definitely survive.

The green-eyed monster visits everyone occasionally, but you decide how to handle the emotion.

How to handle jealousy

When’s the last time you felt jealous? For many of us, dealing with jealousy is like a poky little feeling deep in the gut. It could be a regular visitor in your romantic relationships (why can’t my husband be as thoughtful as Lisa’s?), or Instagram could stoke the embers (how does she afford that vacation?), or even sometimes when you see a coworker succeed — and wonder why you haven’t done the same.

Social media seems to be egging it on. A 2017 survey by Kapersky Lab of 16,750 people found that 42 percent of respondents felt jealous of the engagement on a friend’s post.

And then there’s the age-old romantic jealousy. A 2015 study of 64,000 people by Chapman University said that’s still roaring strong. Heterosexual men were, perhaps surprisingly, more likely to be jealous of the idea of sexual infidelity (54 percent of men vs. 35 percent women). But heterosexual women were more upset by the idea of emotional infidelity (65 percent of women vs. 46 percent of men.)

So jealousy is definitely part of the human experience. The question is: What can you do when you’re feeling jealous? We spoke with two therapists to find out how to deal with jealousy in a relationship or in your professional and social life.

How to handle jealousy

“Jealousy and envy are two branches on the same tree,” says licensed psychologist Kate Balestrieri. “Jealousy contains a little more fear. Envy contains a little more resentment.”

For example, you might get jealous of a friend spending time with a new group because you’re afraid it means your relationship won’t be as important to them. But you might be envious of a friend who got a promotion when your own career has flatlined.

We often use the terms interchangeably, but it’s good to know which branch your feelings are stemming from in order to understand them better.

Those feelings are always worth working through, since letting them fester isn’t healthy. But you know they’re really reaching a tipping point “when a person becomes enraged and highly reactive,” explains Lisa Bahar, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Newport Beach, California. So if your spouse can’t leave the house without you taking a battle stance, it’s definitely time to get to work.

How to handle jealousy

Ever notice that when our emotions get spiked, our brain starts to chatter on with a million theories about whose fault it is? That’s no different here. Thought-stopping techniques — which can be as simple as literally saying, “Stop, [your name]” aloud — can give you the a real-world opportunity to get your head back on straight, says Balestrieri.

How to handle jealousy

Any time there’s a big emotion, like jealousy, it’s time to tune in. When we’re feeling jealousy, all kinds of physical reactions can occur. “Jealousy sends up a threat to our relational survival,” Balestrieri says. “We’re likely to experience changes in our blood pressure, our heart rate, changes in our sweat response, our breathing pattern is likely to become more shallow and quick.”

If you jump straight into fact-finding — figuring out if your partner has been texting all day with someone they shouldn’t be, or how many people have tagged your bestie in group events you weren’t invited to — without noticing, and eventually calming, these physical sensations, you’re unlikely to see the facts for what they really are. Paying attention to these sensations helps to ground you back in the moment so you can be clear-headed with whatever comes next.

How to handle jealousy

In order to get clear headed, sometimes you may need to literally shake it off. “When we get really charged, we’ve got to get rid of that energy. so that we can re-regulate,” Balestrieri says. Pushing against a wall, jumping jacks, heading for a gym session, or even taking a cold shower can help calm the your energy and give you enough space to do a reality check and control jealousy.

How to handle jealousy

Once you’re not so emotionally revved up, it’s time to examine what is fact — and what your brain is telling you. “What are you believing?” Bahar asks. Maybe if your partner went out with their friends, you have a lingering belief that they don’t want to spend time with you. But that’s not a fact, it’s an interpretation.

Be really honest about what you know, what you don’t know, and the stories your brain has started telling you to fill the gaps.

How to handle jealousy

Both Bahar and Balestrieri agreed that sometimes jealousy is a red flag that something really isn’t right in a relationship, which is why it’s important not to just shrug the emotion off and bury it. But often, jealousy has more to do with what’s happened to you in the past than what’s happening now — and that past stuff is worth digging into, too.

“It could be a marriage that didn’t go well in adulthood but it could go all the way back to early childhood development where there was a fear of abandonment,” Bahar says. In the moment, you can try to parse out what’s new and what’s old. But if jealousy is a recurring issue for you, it’s worth doing a deeper dive into its origins with therapy, journaling, and reflection, she explains.

How to handle jealousy

“Jealousy and envy can be an excellent communicator of where we need to step up in our own lives, and that can mean stepping up emotionally, physically, financially, educationally, professionally,” Balestrieri says.

That could mean investing more in our own social lives so we’re not resentful of our partner’s, or finding a new creative project we’re excited about so our friend’s accomplishments don’t feel like personal slights, or getting off social media if we find it’s bringing up primarily negative emotions.

Ultimately, when it comes to jealousy, we can’t stop the feeling from ever occurring or get exactly what we want from another person. But we can control our reactions and make changes to our own behavior.

Overcoming your emotions will do wonders for your relationship.

How to handle jealousy

How to handle jealousy

Maybe your friend got a raise while you’re struggling to make ends meet. Or your partner spent what felt like a little too long chatting with the neighbor who just so happens to be way better looking than you. At some point or another, we’ve all gotten a little jealous.

Thankfully, those envy pangs usually fade away after a little while. But what happens when they don’t? What if your jealousy keeps getting more and more intense to the point where you’re thinking about it nonstop—or worse, where it’s starting to affect your relationship?

It might be time to face those feelings head on. Here’s what experts say you should be doing to get your envious emotions under control.

Is it normal to feel jealous?

Getting slammed by the green-eyed monster can feel frustrating and even a little bit icky. After all, you’re a well-adjusted adult…not a petty middle schooler. But the truth is, everyone gets jealous once in a while—it’s part of being human! “Biologically and emotionally our earliest survival mechanism is our attachment to others,” explains Mark B. Borg Jr., PhD, co-author of Irrelationship and Relationship Sanity. Jealousy can make you feel like your attachment to a loved one is being threatened—which in turn makes you feel threatened.

How to handle jealousy

How to handle jealousy

Put another way? We expect our loved ones to make us feel secure. So when they don’t, we get jealous, Borg says. Maybe you always grab coffee with the same friend on Saturdays, but then she starts taking a weekend photography class and doesn’t have time to meet up anymore. Suddenly, you get hit with this weird sense like she doesn’t care about you as much and you start to feel jealous that she’s spending time at her class instead of with you.

Scenarios like that are pretty common, but that doesn’t mean they’re harmless. Jealousy messes with your mood and can steal your focus away from more important tasks. Worst of all? When left to fester, it can seriously damage your relationships, Borg says.

How to deal with jealousy in a healthy way

How to handle jealousy

You might think the best way to cope with your jealousy is just to ignore it and move on. But pretending your feelings don’t exist can be a recipe for an emotional disaster. “That’s how jealousy becomes toxic, gets acted out in exaggerated ways, and can become highly destructive,” Borg says.

To get your emotions under control, start by taking a deep breath. Now take the time to think about how you really feel—and how you want to respond—before making another move, recommends marriage and family therapist Risa Ganel, MS, LCMFT. Here’s how to do it.

1. Separate yourself from your feelings

Rather than label yourself as jealous, remember that your mind is merely handing you a jealous feeling at the moment. This can help you avoid getting swallowed by your own emotions—and keep a level head. “That makes it easier to choose if this is a feeling you need to act upon or if it’s one you let pass by,” says Ganel.

2. Figure out where your jealousy is really coming from

Do your jealous feelings stem from something the person has done in the past, or are they coming from your own insecurities? Figuring out the answer can tell you whether the issue needs to be addressed with the person (maybe your partner has a history of being a little too friendly at parties) or if it’s something you need to work on internally (your previous partner cheated, so you’re worried that your current one will too).

3. Write it down

Pausing to put pen to paper can sometimes slow the flood of emotions and help you think more clearly before taking action on your feelings, says Ganel.

4. Now talk about it

Once you’re calm and have taken some time to clarify how you really feel, loop the other person in. Be open and honest about what’s going on inside your head, and ask for help working through your jealousy instead dishing out criticism. “This gives you an opportunity to talk about strengthening your relationship from the signal jealousy gave you and keeps you away from playing the blame game,” Ganel says. “You may be surprised to hear that they’ve had jealous feelings too.”

What not to do when you’re feeling jealous

Resist the urge to lash out, even when you feel like your jealousy is totally justified. Accusing your loved one or blaming them for your feelings is a surefire way to spark an argument. “You want to own your emotions and be in charge of them,” Ganel says.

And when it comes to romantic jealousy in particular, here’s another no-no: Don’t monitor your partner or invade their privacy to prove that your jealous feelings are “right.” “No relationship has ever improved through snooping,” warns Ganel. And yes, looking through texts or emails totally counts.

Finally, don’t let your jealousy spiral out of control. It’s normal to feel jealous every once in a while, notes Borg. But if you’re seething with envy on a near-daily basis or your jealousy is triggering feelings of intense rage or even violence, you might be dealing with internal insecurities that are worth addressing with a therapist.