The Jealousy Trap: 3 Ways to Begin Building Trust

The Jealousy Trap: 3 Ways to Begin Building Trust

Say goodbye to doubt and suspicion

The foundation of any healthy relationship is built on security, safety, and trust. I find that jealousy can quickly become a trap in relationships and create an ongoing, downward spiral. When jealousy takes over, unrealistic expectations and arguments arise, which creates a recipe for disaster. To get your relationship back on track, you must begin to acknowledge and then actively change your jealous behaviors. If you don’t do the work, your relationship can’t get to a healthy place! Building trust takes time, but is essential to any lasting relationship.
building trust1. Give yourself a reality check. Begin to monitor your jealousy triggers and ask yourself how realistic your jealousy is. When do you get jealous? Is it when your partner isn’t paying enough attention to you, or are there realistic signs? If you become jealous when your partner talks to anyone of the opposite sex, you are probably being unrealistic in your concern. If that’s the case, start to have positive self-talk when you feel the trigger and realize that everyone of the opposite sex does not pose a threat. On the other hand, if there are specific reasons for your jealousy, such as secret emails or messages, you may have a realistic cause for concern that you should address with your partner. Either way, identifying when and how you become jealous is the first step to dealing with your triggers head on.

2. Think about your past. If you were cheated on before, it will take a lot more work to trust and lower your jealousy behaviors and thoughts. Be real with yourself about whether or not you have deep-rooted jealousy that dates back to a past relationship. If you don’t know where the jealousy comes from, it will be much more difficult to extinguish it in your current relationship. Be honest with your significant other about your issues — let him or her know that it may take you some time to build trust, but keep an open communication as you create trust and get over your jealousy.

3. Don’t try to change overnight. If you simply expect to wake up tomorrow without any jealousy, you are doomed for failure. You need to work with your partner to build trust over time. Create a plan with your significant other, and talk about what you each need to do to contribute to a more positive dynamic. For example, maybe your partner needs to stop texting an overly friendly female co-worker, and you need to let him spend alone time with his friends without giving him the third degree when he gets home. Whatever your specific issues are, be explicit about what each partner is going to do to help build a higher level of trust.

Jealousy is one sure-fire way to send a relationship into a tail spin. It’s easy to get trapped in a cycle of questioning, defensive behavior, and arguments. In order to break free, you must take a reality check and figure out where your issues are coming from. Once you make a plan of action and really try to change your patterns, your relationship can get on a better track.

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About Jennine Estes, MFT

Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653