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It’s called the green-eyed monster for a reason. Jealousy changes you, especially when you’re in a romantic relationship. You’ll find yourself doing things you’d never thought you’d do when you suspect your partner may be attracted to someone other than you. Anger, fear, and insecurity are the cousins of this powerful emotion and so many of us have been taught to avoid jealousy at all costs.

But what if you didn’t judge your feelings as good or bad, and instead saw them as messengers that  come to bring you important information? What would your jealously reveal to you? These 3 reasons for jealousy in a relationship may shock you.

  1. You feel neglected

Feeling jealous that your boyfriend seems to have such a great emotional bond with his female friend form college? Are you feeling left out of the inside jokes your girlfriend shares with her co-worker? This could be a sign that your partner is neglecting you and giving more attention to someone else. Instead of acting on your hurt feelings by trying to control who partner talks to, you could just open up and share that you want to feel more like a priority and less like an afterthought.

2. You have unexpressed expectations of your partner

Your girlfriend may not know you it’s a deal breaker if she has a lot of male friends if you haven’t talked to hear about it yet. So when you get angry and begin checking her social media feeds, leaning over to peek at her phone when she’s texting, and putting your arm around her whenever he’s around, it may be a sign that you see these men as a threat to your relationship. The simple solution is to express your expectations, dislikes and deal breakers with your girl instead of acting out on some suspicions that she’s cheating.

3. Your supsicions are correct

Sometimes, however, your jealously is a sign that you need to trust your instincts, especially if your partner makes light of your concerns. A study by Edward Lemay and Angela Neal, two professors of psychology, asked couples to keep a diary of when they felt tempted by someone of the opposite sex, when they thought their partners were being tempted, and when they felt their commitment was especially strong). They discovered that people were able to accurately pick up on when the other person was being tempted to stray! Unless you’re an insecure person who can easily feel jealous even if there’s no evidence that you should be, chances are that feeling in the pit of your stomach is correct, and you need to have a long conversation with your partner about what’s going on.

Jealousy can help you grow closer together as couple by fostering deeper, more intimate conversations that help you both meet one another’s needs. But it can also tear you apart, if you don’t know how to handle it.

BMWK, what has your jealous revealed to you? Were your suspicions correct?