I want to take today to talk about jealousy in relationships. It is a totally normal occurrence, yet when we aren’t able to figure out why it’s happening or communicate in a healthy way, we can often get in our own way.
I was talking to my client Karen who has worked with me for some time now, who was experiencing jealousy in her relationship.
A little background: Karen and I are about a year and a half into our work together. In that time, Karen has consciously uncoupled with her ex husband and let go of a man she fell in love with afterwards, seeing that he was ultimately a repetition of the same pattern she had with her Ex husband.
And now, as you’re reading this, she has found and is truly in love with her Soul Level Love.
They are even talking about marriage.
When Karen talks about this man, I can tell he is emotionally available. He wants to work things through with her and their communication is open and honest like no other relationship they have been in before.
Creating this relationship and calling in this kind of man was a product of all of the work Karen and I have done over the past year and I am SO proud of her.
This is where the BUT comes in.
You didn’t think I was going to let you think there is a such a thing as a perfect relationship – did you? Relationships are complex because we are complex.
Several weeks ago, Andy and Karen went out with his co-workers. There was a woman there who Andy hangs out with a lot, let’s say her name is Arielle. Karen knew who Arielle was and how well she and Andy get along, but she had never seen them interacting together in person.
Karen saw how flirty Arielle was with Andy, and even though Andy wasn’t necessarily engaging in the same way, he was definitely giving her attention.
She observed for a while and started to get really upset. Karen’s instincts kicked in and she said to Andy, “I’m just going to go home. I’m really tired.”
This is totally something I had done before in my relationship with Hemal, by the way – get upset and instead of communicating or clarifying, I would make a point to leave to separate myself from the situation (and also to see what kind of reaction I would get).
Andy told Karen he wanted her to stay, and reluctantly she agreed.
As they kept drinking and hanging out, there was about an hour where Andy was fully engrossed in a conversation with Arielle. Karen felt ignored and triggered by this experience.
When they got home, Karen couldn’t keep it in anymore. She was mad and felt totally disrespected.
They argued about how Andy was acting and how his attention was on Arielle.
At one point he said, “I didn’t realize that I was doing that. I thought I was trying to balance spending time with you and everyone else who was there.”
Karen didn’t see it that way. She asked him if he had feelings for Arielle and he immediately said, “Of course not, I am in love with you.”
After some more back and forth, Karen calmed down.
Instead of being mad, she began feeling guilty that she started this whole thing in the first place. It was late and all she wanted to do was snuggle with Andy and go to bed (one of her love languages is touch).
When she tried to then approach him and give him a hug, Andy pulled away and said, “I’m just going to go home and sleep there tonight.”
Karen was upset and didn’t know what to do. She thought she had messed everything up!
Feeling hurt and confused, Karen sent me an email.
She asked, “What should I do? Should I apologize? Should I tell him I didn’t mean the things I said? Or should I tell him that to ensure this doesn’t happen again I don’t want him being friends with Arielle anymore?”
This was my response:
It is totally okay that you both had an argument about this. Jealousy happens.
I asked her what was she really afraid of and after some digging she revealed, ”I am afraid that he is attracted to her, and if we’re not connecting as well one day or we get into an argument and Arielle happens to be there – then something might happen.”
This is a totally normal reaction!
I said, “Great. Have you asked him if he is attracted to her”?
She said, “No, what if he says YES?!”
Here’s the thing.
To create a powerful relationship you have to grant each other freedom. When you tell a man not to do something and create a rule, that means you’re cutting off his freedom AND yours.
It takes away your freedom because then you can’t have guys you are friends with or flirty with in your life (just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you are dead inside).
It also has you start to check up on him to see if he’s following the rules you created.
That is not the kind of relationship that allows you to feel expansive and connected.
You want him to stand for your freedom and you for his.
When you find yourself in a situation like this, have an honest conversation about your fears.
For Karen, even if he says he is attracted to her, when two people are honest from the deepest part of themselves – here is just another layer of trust that gets built in the relationship.
I told her to ask him if he feels he would he jeopardize their relationship in a moment of weakness.
I said, “Hear what he says and how he says it”
Karen got vulnerable and asked.
Andy said that he wasn’t attracted to Arielle and Karen could feel he was being totally honest.
He said, “I just feel a friendship towards her and I’ve told you she has been going through a hard time. Part of me just wants to help her.”
Relief. Karen got what she needed and CHOSE to trust him and herself.
So remember: Jealousy is normal.
Our brains are constantly comparing and when that happens, jealousy is inevitable.
This is what I want you to take away from reading this today:
Jealousy is a fear in disguise. When we unravel the fear and take action the jealousy dissolves.
This week your Lovework is to tell me below in the comments:
Have you been jealous before and how did you handle it? How did it affect your relationship and how did you resolve it?
I really want to read your comments on this one, so don’t leave me hanging. Tell me your thoughts.