By Susie and Otto Collins
Andy is sick and tired of coming home after a hard day at the office to his wife, Caroline’s, incessant questions. Almost as soon as he enters their house, her probing inquiries begin.
“Who did you meet with today?”
“I don’t know her. Is she someone you see often?”
“Where did you go for lunch this afternoon?”
“Did you eat alone?”
“When did you have lunch?”
“Why didn’t you e-mail or text me to check in?”
After Andy attempts to answer Caroline’s questions, he feels annoyed and defensive. Andy knows that Caroline had a painful past before they began dating. She has a lot from her childhood to deal with as well as a couple of bad relationships before they met.
At the same time, Andy is worn out and, frankly, done being patient with Caroline’s daily interrogations that are fueled by her jealousy. He doesn’t know what to do other than give in and answer each question or to abruptly demand space and walk away.
If you are with a jealous partner, you might relate to Andy’s dilemma.
You may love and care very much about your partner and your relationship. You feel you have nothing to hide and have done nothing wrong, which is why his or her jealous behavior toward you is so frustrating!
Most of all, what you might want to do is to tell your mate that “No, I will not answer your jealous questions”…but you don’t because you’re worried about really setting him or her off.
We urge you not to give up on your love relationship or marriage if you truly want to be with your current partner. There are ways to communicate and set boundaries with your jealousy partner that can actually improve your relationship.
Do the advance work…
There may be a pattern to when your partner is most obviously jealous. It could be when you two have been apart all day. Or, it might be when you are out together (or separately) socially.
Begin to pay attention to the situations and even the words that you use that seem to trigger a jealous reaction from your mate. Look for ways that you might be inadvertently triggering the jealous reaction.
Let’s be clear here– we are NOT saying that your partner’s jealousy is your fault. We do want you to be aware of slight changes to your own habits that could ease this situation, however.
Take the time to ask yourself what you could differently– without compromising what is important to you– that might be less likely to trigger your mate.
One thing might be to interrupt an interrogation or accusation in progress and request that you two talk about this issue later, when you are not feeling defensive and when your partner can calm down and re-evaluate what he or she thinks is happening.
Allow your partner to own his or her jealousy…
As much as you’d like to “fix” or “solve” your mate’s jealousy problem, you can’t.
If you apply labels to your partner or try to figure out his or her jealousy habit and then expect your mate to be grateful to you for this, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
What you CAN do is to be honest when you feel wrongly accused or that your privacy and space is being invaded. It’s up to you how much transparency you are willing to provide to your jealous partner.
(If you’ve had an affair or broken trust, even if your partner is jealous it may be wise for you to be transparent.)
When your mate does take ownership for being jealous, be supportive and ask how you can work with him or her to help improve your relationship.
Say “No” and set boundaries with love and an invitation to connect…
When you set a boundary with your jealous partner, do so with love and be clear that it is your intention to connect, even though you are essentially saying “No” to the jealous habit.
If you are tired of being asked to account for what you did and who you were with every second of every day, think about how you could say “No” to this request for information with kindness.
For example, you might say, “I am not going to answer your questions right now. I love you and I will share with you about my day after I have had a chance to relax and unwind.”
You could also say something like, “I feel annoyed and accused when you greet me at the door with questions like this. I would love to hear how your day was and also let you know how my day was as a way to connect with one another. Will you make a shift and talk with me in this different way?”
Saying “No” to a jealous partner does not have to mean more distance and disconnection between the two of you. In fact, when you communicate your boundaries with a sense of honesty, openness and love, you can help support your partner as he or she overcomes jealousy.
Susie and Otto Collins are married, life partners who are Relationship and Life Success Coaches, and authors of several books on relationships, including their ebook Magic Relationship Words. Other popular books by Susie and Otto are:Should You Stay or Should You Go?, No More Jealousy, Creating Relationship Trust, Communication Magic and Attracting Your Perfect Partner.
In addition to having a great relationship, they regularly write, speak and conduct seminars on love, relationships and personal growth. To read more free articles like this or to sign up for their free online relationship tips newsletter visit http://www.collinspartners.com or http://www.RelationshipGold.com