"Help! I can't seem to stop being jealous!"
By Susie and Otto Collins
Gwen feels like she's tried everything to stop being so jealous all
of the time. She has read books and taken courses to overcome
jealousy and nothing seems to work.
It still happens frequently-- several times a week, in fact.
She will fall back into her usual patterns with her husband Will.
Gwen can't seem to prevent herself from interrogating him with
pointed questions about exactly what he did and who he spent time
with during the day (or time that he was away from her).
Gwen's jealousy-induced questioning drives Will crazy. He resents
being wrongly accused and he feels weighed down and boxed in by her
behavior. Even though Will appreciates the fact that Gwen is trying
to overcome her jealousy, he's ready for it to be out of their
Will doesn't know how much more of this he can take!
Perhaps you find yourself in a similar position as Gwen is in. You
recognize that you have a problem with jealousy. You see that
jealousy is leading you to say and do things that you later regret.
You know all too well how much damage jealousy is causing to your
love relationship or marriage.
Yet, despite your best efforts, you can't seem to stop being
Treat jealousy as the habit that it is.
It's pretty clear that jealousy is a habit. It's likely that it's
something you practiced enough times that it has become almost second-nature to you. You probably aren't even always consciously aware
that you are about to launch into some jealous behavior-- it just
You may have had other habits in your life that you decided were
undesirable or unhealthy and you set out to stop them.
It may be quite effective for you to treat your jealousy habit in
the same way.
Let's say that you smoke cigarettes and, one day, you decide that
you'd like to stop this habit. You probably would make a promise to
yourself that you will either quit cigarettes "cold turkey" (all at
once) or gradually over a specific period of time.
You might also try products or techniques that will support you in
Some of these products may assist you with the cravings that come
from being addicted to nicotine. Other techniques might help you
develop new habits that are healthier and that can replace the role
cigarettes played in your life.
Along the road to quitting cigarette smoking, you may or may not
encounter set-backs. You may reach for a cigarette again when you
are particularly stressed out or with friends who smoke. After this,
you can choose to get back to this process of stopping your smoking
It may take time and perseverance-- in addition to patience with
yourself-- but eventually you can successfully stop smoking.
Jealousy may not carry with it addictive substances like nicotine,
but there are aspects of it that keep you "hooked." These vary for
each person, but may include: feeling a sense of control or even
identifying yourself as a victim.
Support yourself as you stop your jealousy habit.
If you want to overcome jealousy, you need to deliberately support
yourself along the way. Get to know what triggers jealousy in your
life and what potentially unresolved events from the past may be
playing a role too.
Find healthier habits to substitute for jealousy.
The person who is stopping cigarette smoking might carry around
nicotine gum to chew, carrot sticks to munch on or a pencil or
something else to hold in his or her hands. These are all steps away
Figure out when you are most likely to become jealous-- this might
be related to specific events or even particular times of the month
or day. Come up with a list of healthier alternatives that you can
turn to when you start to feel jealous, or perhaps to do pre-emptively.
For example, you might plan a get-together with a friend or family
member when you know your partner will be out of town on business or
late coming home. You could also make agreements with your mate for
ways that the two of you can check in with one another while he or
she is away.
Soothe what's fueling your jealousy habit.
Go to the source of your jealousy. If you have low self esteem, be
pro-active and take steps to bolster your sense of self worth. If
you are fearful that your partner will cheat because of a past
experience, do whatever you can to heal the past and bring yourself
back to the present.
One who is quitting smoking may realize that he or she turns to
cigarettes when stress levels rise. To support the goal of quitting
cigarettes, the person might learn stress-releasing exercises and
You can also rely on your breath to help you come into the present
moment and calm down when you feel jealous, by the way.
Just like any other habit, you CAN make a change that will be long-
lasting and that will benefit your love relationship or marriage.
Come up with a plan that includes plenty of supports and healthy
alternatives and watch your jealousy habit become a thing of the past.
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Columbus, Ohio 43214
© 2013 Susie and Otto Collins. All Rights Reserved.
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