Tips for Coping when You Have
Good Reasons to be Jealous
By Susie and Otto Collins
If your partner had an affair you might feel like you are justified, or that you have good reasons, for being jealous.
"After all," you might assert, "how can I ever wholly trust him or her again?"
We can certainly understand that after trust has been broken and infidelity has occurred, it can seem nearly impossible to open your heart as fully as you once did to your mate.
It might even seem wiser to you to stay on alert for any suspicious signs that your partner is once again cheating.
Nobody wants a repeat of hurt and betrayal again.
Your jealousy may have emerged in the midst of this
post-affair mistrust. As you are on guard and on alert, you might be jealous more often and more easily.
The core question in a situation like this, however, is: "Is this the relationship and life you want for yourself?"
When you envision being in a love relationship or marriage, do you picture feeling fearful and worried that your mate is having an affair?
Is it even close to your ideal relationship to have to be frequently on the look-out for suspicious signs of infidelity?
Sarina never thought her relationship with James would ever be this way. Quite often, she finds herself checking out James' "story" of where he's been and who he's been with by casually asking friends and acquaintances questions to verify James' claims.
This checking up and constant state of suspicion leaves Sarina feeling sad, disappointed and a little ashamed of herself. But, after James had an affair a year ago, Sarina feels like she has no other choice.
After he broke their relationship agreement to be monogamous-- along with her heart-- she believes she has good reasons to be jealous.
Unfortunately, no matter how "good" Sarina's reasons are for being jealous, she feels lousy and exhausted. She and James continue to move further apart emotionally-- even as they claim to be trying to put their relationship back together again.
Decide what you want for your future.
Your "good" reasons for being jealous might make perfect sense to you given your mate's past affair.
But it you want to have a close, connected relationship, those "good" reasons could partly why the two of you continue to live with a painful and growing wall between you.
Rebuilding trust after infidelity can take time and it certainly can't be forced. It also requires you and your partner to be willing to restore or renew trust and connection in your relationship.
If you find yourself jealous, it's time to make some decisions.
Give yourself time and the freedom to truly consider what you want for your future. Try to set aside the "shoulds" and "have tos" you might be dealing with.
Instead, allow yourself a full range of options.
You might realize that you feel conflicted about staying in this relationship.
It could be that you want to take some time apart to gain more clarity about what you want to do next. It could also be that you want to seek help from a professional coach or counselor.
If you decide that you do want to be in this relationship, then it's time to start releasing the past, forgiving your partner (and possibly yourself) for what happened and begin to turn toward that future you want with him or her.
After making a decision to stay in your relationship and let go of the pain of the past, you might continue to struggle with jealousy.
The difference is that now you have affirmed what you are headed toward and this can make it easier to question your jealous assumptions.
Take steps toward the future you want.
When Sarina takes some time to consider what she truly wants for her future, she is more certain that she would like to stay in this relationship with James.
A part of her can acknowledge the efforts he is making to prove himself trustable again, even as she still doubts and fears a repeat
of the past cheating.
Sarina decides that in order to line up with the future she desires-- which is to feel close to and trust James again-- she needs some outside help. She makes an appointment with a relationship coach for the next week.
After you decide what it is you want for your future, support that decision by pointing yourself toward it. What are some steps you might take that will move you closer to what you want?
This is usually different for everyone.
Some, like Sarina, find that working with a professional is invaluable. Others turn to books, tapes, dvds or other resources for inspiration and ideas.
You might already know what steps will move you closer to the future you want but you've been afraid to take them.
Now is the time!
Perhaps there are words you've been wanting to say to your partner. Or maybe you'd like to take specific action. Whatever you feel drawn to do, if it seems to support what you want for yourself, take a chance and give it a try.
Living with jealousy is unpleasant, upsetting, bad for your relationship and even worse for your own well-being.
Make choices about your future and then start turning toward what you want.
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