My Spouse is Jealous of Me and It’s Ruining My Marriage
You may look at your life and say: Money’s decent. Job is stable — good social life. I get along with lots of people. I’m winning. But somehow, you still feel like you’re losing. Why? Because if your spouse is jealous of you, it can feel like it’s ruining your marriage. That’s a tough place to be.
Jealousy is a strong emotion that can cause serious control issues. Let’s be frank: jealousy can lead to abusive, violent, or destructive behavior. If it’s at that point, calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline may be your next step. The root causes of jealousy may be deep or go back several years. Seeking professional help sooner rather than later may be the best answer. If your spouse is open to it, finding a counselor who will fight FOR your marriage could be a game-changer.
In the meantime, how can you deal with jealousy in your marriage?
Jealousy is often rooted in insecurity, with fear as a close relative. It may be sparked by a relationship you have, career accomplishments, community recognition, or simply because you’re happy. None of this is necessarily wrong.
What Can You Do?
Are you giving your spouse a reason to be jealous? I’m assuming you are not. But it’s an excellent place to start.
Ask yourself if you are…
Spending too much time with someone else?
Sharing parts of yourself with someone that should be reserved for your spouse?
Getting a disproportionate amount of your fulfillment from your work or community involvement?
Often prioritizing being there for others and leaving your spouse on their own when they have problems?
Your spouse can become jealous when something else has the place in your life that they believe they should fill.
Ask questions to understand the jealousy.
There may not be a single thing you need to change. However, you can talk to your spouse to understand their insecurities or fears. Make sure you’re setting aside uninterrupted time so they know they’re a priority.
Without bringing up the jealousy first, you might ask, “What is your biggest fear?”
Or you can more directly relate it to the relationship: “Is there anything in this relationship that scares or concerns you?”
If you believe your spouse is jealous because of your accomplishments or success, try, “When something good happens to me, how does it make you feel? Is there something in my life that you believe has a place in my heart that you should have?”
Side Effect: Giving your spouse a safe space to be open and vulnerable is an antidote to jealousy. Demonstrating your care and concern may increase security, thereby decreasing jealousy. (Read about How to Be An Emotionally Safe Spouse here.)
Communicate your frustrations.
You love your spouse. But the jealousy makes it difficult. Get your thoughts together. Lovingly, tell your spouse what it makes you think and feel when their jealousy shows itself.
Set healthy boundaries.
There’s a difference between healthy boundaries and being controlling. Boundaries aren’t set to feed jealousy or insecurity. If your spouse wants to know your every move, you may feel like they are controlling you. Communicating daily about plans for the day and telling each other about changes may be a healthy boundary. The goal is for you to be able to be yourself without any surprises. This happens through honest, considerate communication and respecting boundaries.
Talk with a trusted married couple.
Find a couple you both respect and discuss your struggles with them. Since jealousy is something many couples have experienced, the wisdom of another couple may give you insights that can change the course of your marriage for good.
What You Can’t Do
You can’t change your spouse; don’t try.
You can assure them. You can listen, talk, and be understanding. And hopefully, your mate can see the jealousy. You can’t force them to be different.
You can’t always prevent jealousy, but you don’t have to feed it.
Being who you are may cause jealousy. Achieving success, being liked by others, or having meaningful relationships with others may just be who you are, but changing who you are isn’t the answer.
You can’t ignore it; otherwise, the jealousy may escalate.
It may take trying several different approaches to break down the jealousy in your marriage. The person you know and love is hiding somewhere behind that jealousy. Fighting through jealousy together is a good thing for your marriage, and the rewards from moving forward can last a lifetime.
Other helpful resources:
How To Improve Bad Communication In Marriage
How to Stop Being So Jealous of Your Spouse
10 Ways To Know If Your Marriage Is Toxic (And What To Do About It)
MARRIAGE COURSE | Maximize Your Marriage
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