In ten years working with jealousy in relationships I've seen a lot of folks through the shadowy sides of envy, insecurity, and fear. No two experiences look the same, and yet there are a lot of clear themes.
Lots of people want to figure out why they're jealous. If you notice yourself wondering, I urge you to ask only with compassion. All too often we ask why looking to pathologize, judge, or fix. Instead, I suggest asking more compassionately:
- What is my jealousy trying to teach me?
- What does my jealousy want to know?
- What does jealousy want to know?
- What would bring me security or reassurance in this moment?
- What does meaningful support look like in this moment?
- What other emotions travel alongside my jealousy? (anxiety, fear, envy, admiration, lonliness, grief, and anger are common buddies of jealousy) What do each of them want from this situation?
- If my jealousy wasn't present how would I be different?
- What is my jealousy hoping for?
WHen you have time to sit and interview your unique experience of jealousy, there's likely a lot to learn about yourself, your needs, and your relationship from the interview. Often folks find out the intentions behind their jealousy are:
- I want to feel special
- I envy the desire I see in someone else
- I want to know I am a priority in my someone's life
- I want more fun/spontaneity/play/sex/curiosity/connection in our partnership
- I envy the learning/self-awareness my partner is getting right now because I want some of my own
- There are thing's I want to change about my own self-care
- I want to spend more time investing in my own desires and passions
- I want my partner and me to invest more time in each other
- I need to get out more
- I've experienced broken trust in this relationship, and I'd like attention to repair it
- I realize I need a richer social life
- I'm holding old resentments I haven't shared with my partner
- I'd like to take better care of my body
- I crave adventure
- I really like this relationship and I don't want to lose it
- I've grown dependent on this partner to meet a lot of my needs, I'd like to foster more friendships/relationships of my own
- I want more close friends
- There are parts of my relationship history I need to work on to resolve
- There are things my family taught me about relationships I want to work on in therapy/coaching
If you'd like help sitting with jealousy and insecurity to learn from it please give me a call. I'm always here to help.