Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rational Versus Irrational Jealousy

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Is jealousy ever irrational? My sense is that most jealousy is a signal about your relationship with your partner. Granted there may not be a specific person that is endangering your connection, but your tension is an alarm signaling growing emotional and physical distance.

Even when you have solid reasons to be concerned about your partner’s relationship with another person, you can appear irrational by how you express your pain. Whether you are responding to an inner discomfort or you have observed inappropriate behaviors, you must choose how to express your pain.

Pain does not entitle you to lash out toward your partner. It is common to choose anger because you feel stronger, but lashing out will surely trigger a fight or flight response when you need understanding and comfort.

Jealousy typically triggers one to talk about your partner rather than yourself.

“You were flirting with that waitress.”

“Why did she text that message to you?”

“Do you have to go to lunch with him?”

When you talk about your partner, this also triggers a defensive response. The only way to avoid your partner becoming defensive is to describe your pain that has been triggered by your partner’s behavior.

“I feel pushed aside when you give attention to the waitress instead of to me. I want this to feel like a date and you are courting my attention.”

“I feel afraid when I read your texts that seem too familiar. I want to feel protected from other women who are seeking your attention.”

“I’m conflicted. I don’t want to interfere with your career but I am uncomfortable with your coworker always inviting you to lunch to discuss business.”

I hope that you won’t overanalyze these examples because my choice of words are not what’s important. Just note that in each case the difference is talking about the partner versus challenging the significant other to respond to pain.

Now I understand that your may still discount your feelings and become defensive, even if you share your pain. By taking the second route and by talking in a vulnerable tone of voice you are more likely to encourage your partner to protect your heart.

1 comment:

joy said...

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