The Sneaky Green Monster

Posted by Beth Darling on Jun 23rd 2023

The Sneaky Green Monster

Dear Beth,

My husband is very outgoing and friendly. Every time we are out he starts talking to other people and I get jealous. I don't think he's doing anything wrong. But I can’t stop getting upset. Then we end up fighting.

How can I stop this?

Nancy T.

Dear Nancy,

Jealousy is a tough issue.  It’s not fun to be on either end of it.  Good for you for trying to address it in a healthy and constructive manner before it does too much damage.

Towards that, self-reflection is a great starting point. Spend some time trying to understand the underlying reasons for your jealousy. Are past experiences or insecurities fueling these feelings? Are you not getting what you need and want from your partner?  Are you worried that you aren’t “good enough” for him or that he’ll fall for someone else?

If you’re dealing with ongoing self esteem issues, you’ll do yourself a favor by dealing with them before talking to your husband. Facing your insecurities sooner than later is your best chance at overcoming them.  Perhaps you can improve your sense of self worth by engaging in self- care, and/or activities you enjoy.  Anything that makes you feel good about yourself, will help whether it’s going to the gym, meditation, hobbies, or spending time with supportive friends and family.  Being active and social can boost your overall well-being tremendously and reduce feelings of jealousy.

When you have a handle on your own “baggage," you can then better reflect on your husband’s behavior.  Is there something particular that bothers you or seems out of the ordinary? For example, does he only chat up women? Does he neglect to include you in conversations? Is he overly touchy feely with other women?  Or are you bothered by the way people respond to him?

Once you fully understand what’s triggering you, talk to your husband about your feelings in a calm and non-accusatory manner. Let him know that you trust him but that certain things are hard for you. Share what you’ve learned about yourself and his behavior. Tell him if you feel insecure or left out when he engages with others. Be specific about what you consider your responsibility and what you’d like from him.  Help him understand your perspective and seek his commitment to change things together.

Moving forward, perhaps you and your husband can try setting boundaries and expectations for when you’re out together. Are there ways he can help you to relax and feel more connected? Take the time to discuss your expectations regarding interactions with others and seek to find a balance that respects both your needs.

The upside of all this is that if you and your husband are able to resolve this issue in a healthy way, you may well discover that your relationship is better than it was beforehand. Of course, if the problems persist, I encourage you to seek professional help to support you.  Jealousy, if ignored, can kill even an otherwise good relationship.

With encouraging love and hugs,