Irrational jealousy gets the best of us.
Even those of us who feel secure in our relationships can't help but feel a twang of anxiety when we see a significant other receive a text from a name we don't recognize or an ex who likes all of his own posts on Facebook.
Most of the time, we know irrational jealousy is ridiculous and unwarranted. But in the moment -- like when we're confronting our partner about a text or his annoying ex (or worse, a text from his annoying ex) -- we can't help but feel like it's the most important thing in the world and that our entire relationship hinges on
this one f*cking person who seems like a threat.
It's hard to know what to do when irrational jealousy strikes. Do you tell your partner how you're feeling? Do you just brush it under the rug and hope it goes away?
I asked people who have been irrationally jealous in relationships about how they coped with their feelings. Here's their advice.
1. When I'm in a relationship, I'm rarely jealous, but the second a person becomes my ex, I'm crazy. I feel blood coursing through my veins and my face is red and hot -- and I snap -- everything I say is horrible. What advice would you give? STOP. You're only hurting yourself. Jealousy can be healthy, but if you're irrational, you're pushing your SO away and driving yourself crazy. You should trust the one you're with -- and, if you don't, find someone new.
-- Kaitlyn, 26
2. My boyfriend told me he hadn't talked to his ex since they broke up, which I found out was a lie when I saw her Facebook message pop up on his phone.
I had to investigate further, obviously. She was thinking up dumb reasons to message him, like, "I had a dream about your mom," or, "I found that necklace you gave me four years ago." It was clearly her doing the initiating, but he was being a little too nice back for my liking. That, plus the fact that he lied, sent me into a total inner panic. I refused to talk to him and immediately made sure he was put on all of my friends' sh*t lists.
Then I social-media-stalked his ex, hard -- all the while convincing myself my boyfriend, who I thought was a sweet and loyal dude, was actually a total lying scumbag. But THEN I must have accidentally friend requested her on Facebook while stalking. I know. Rock bottom.
I didn't even realize until I got a notification that she accepted my request. CRINGE. This snapped me out of it real quick and brought me back to reality.
Honestly, I still talked to my ex in a friendly manner on occasion, and I didn't tell my boyfriend about it. My boyfriend was nice back to her because he's a ridiculously nice person, which is one of my favorite things about him. And even if she did have a motive behind messaging him again, I can see why he would feel like her dream about his mom was not worth bringing up to me in conversation. He was extremely apologetic, and I haven't had an issue like that with him since.
I learned that sometimes you have to catch yourself going over the edge a bit to realize what is and isn't worth freaking out about. (And most importantly, when you're social-media-stalking, be f*cking careful.) What advice would you give? Try to pause the downward spiral into Crazy Town and back it up a second. Do you trust your SO? If the answer is truly yes, recognize that this is just you caring and taking it out the wrong way.
It also never hurts to remind yourself how amazing you are and why he or she chose YOU in the first place. After taking a good look at your flawless self in the mirror and recounting your loooong list of accomplishments, you'll laugh at the idea he'd be interested in someone else.
-- Julia*, 24
3. My boyfriend still had pics of his ex-girlfriend on Facebook. I thought it was a sign that he still had feelings for his ex, but it turns out that he is just lazy about removing old stuff or deleting.
I feel guys don't really think about these things because for them whats in the past is just the past. Women tend to try to find a hidden meaning to it. I approached him about this, and he was clueless that he still had pics of her up. What advice would you give? Take a step back. Are these insecurities/jealousy because of things he did/said? Or are you projecting because of past experience? Usually its because of past experience, and I suggest you talk to your mate about how you're having these feelings and what he/she can do to make you feel more secure.
-- Jessica*, 27
4. I'm never jealous while sober, but after a few drinks, I can sometimes start feeling that pang of anxiety over a text [from a girl]. What advice would you give? In order for jealousy to thrive, it needs constant feeding. It's important to acknowledge the irrational nature of your feelings, revisit the trust you have in your partner and move on. Don't give the green-eyed monster the time of day.
-- Sara*, 23
5. There was a Valentine's Day a couple years ago when I had to work that night, so my girlfriend ended up hanging out that night with one of our mutual friends, Kellen. She had even asked me beforehand if I minded if they hung out that night, and they even attempted to include me by coming to my place of work (a movie theater) to see a movie in order to attempt to include me for a bit of the night.
Despite all that, I was jealous of my friend that he got to spend Valentine's Day with my girlfriend, and I didn't. It wasn't a matter of trust; I just hated the fact that someone else was with her that night. What advice would you give? My best advice would be to try and keep whatever it is that is making you jealous into perspective. Ask yourself questions to try to determine if your jealously is valid or if you're overreacting.
-- Kevin, 27
6. I didn't want to be in a relationship with the boy I was seeing. In fact, I drunkenly told him, "I want to sleep with other people" -- the night after attending his family's Christmas party. (I promise I'm not a bitch; I was just in college and thought I needed to do the whole random hookup ordeal.)
But then, just as I'd requested, he started seeing other people. But not LOTS of other people. Just one girl. I was so mad. Not only was it one girl, but she was pretty.
What if he no longer fawned over me? I thought.
So I told him I wanted to be exclusive (when I didn't) just so he would stop seeing her, until I decided I was totally ready to move on. It was the meanest thing I've ever done. And I still feel guilty about it. What advice would you give? Sometimes I think it's healthy to be jealous -- especially in a relationship. It makes you try harder.
But I think once it starts changing the way you normally act as a person, like hacking into your boyfriend or girlfriend's Facebook or phone, or doing something you'd never do to make sure nothing happens -- then it's a problem. Then you're not only letting your jealousy take over you; you're telling your partner you don't trust him or her when he or she has given you no reason not to.
-- Lana*, 22
7. My current boyfriend's ex-girlfriend contacted him and told him he doesn't love me; he loves her. He then proceeded to block his ex from any form of contact, to prove his devotion. But I still felt (and feel) irrationally jealous and hurt that she would even contact him and that he would give her the decency of a reply. What advice would you give?
Calm down, and remember that bringing something up could risk the relationship. If all else fails, I would say to do what feels right.
-- Lola*, 21
8. I find myself getting jealous over women who I'm actually less committed to. I think the reason for this is obvious, because jealousy and security are inversely related.
It's like this one time when I had a crush on a girl. Totally harmless. Then she told me she was going out with a guy (who she didn't even really like, more of just a humoring him type of deal), and despite the lack of a real threat, I found myself feeling EXTREMELY jealous. Like REALLY jealous. And I'm not even sure why or if it meant anything because, yeah, I liked the girl, but not enough to warrant that kind of irrational jealousy. What advice would you give? I would say, "Be cool. Everyone gets jealous. Don't freak out. Just feel the feelings; they'll go away."
HAVING SAID THAT, I don't think jealousy is always meaningless. Take time to realize why you're feeling jealous and try to notice any possible underlying issues. Your jealousy could be the the equivalent of a medical accident that prompts you to go to the doctor -- only to find that a bigger, more dangerous cancer that had gone unnoticed up until this point.
-- Robb*, 24
9. I get irrationally jealous over all these fitness models my girlfriend follows on Instagram. Which is ridiculous, because she's a trainer and it's part of her work. But I become seething with irrepressible jealousy, as if THAT'S what she truly wants. What advice would you give? Hold it the f*ck in. It's very unattractive and transparent. Take a deep breath, and go for a walk in the cold weather. Jealousy will only make your partner respect you less.
-- Zara, 29
10. One time, I posted this super cute pic of me and my boyfriend on Facebook from this summer barbecue we attended.
Later that evening, we were lying in bed and chilling when I saw on Facebook that some girl named Allison commented on the picture saying, "Nice beard, Mike!" and I was literally just joking when I asked who she was and if she was "one of his hoes." He said that she was just a girl he works with from time to time.
All of the sudden -- literally worst timing ever -- he gets a text, and I happen to look over. Guess who it was: Allison. And I was just like, what the actual f*ck. Who is this bitch, and why are you texting her?
He said it was "just a work question." I was so uncomfortable and angry about it. Literally I still bring it up from time to time, and this was months ago. I passive-aggressively liked the picture she commented on, too. I'm having anxiety just writing about this.
I know probably nothing was going on and I'm being a jealous psycho, but I was insanely jealous. What advice would you give? Being irrationally jealous doesn't make anything better in a relationship. The only thing you do is drive a wedge between yourself and your partner.
It's perfectly okay to voice your concerns instead of bottling them up inside of a relationship, but don't fly off the handle when you have no real reason to. It all stems from the vulnerability and fear of rejection we all have in relationships.
Take a deep breath, listen to your partner's explanation in whatever situation it might be, and examine the facts. If you don't believe them, that is a different conversation, because you shouldn't be in a relationship with someone you don't trust.
-- Gigi, 25
11. I recently got super jealous of one of my boyfriend's coworkers. Being that Halloween is coming up, he and some of the fourth-grade teachers were trying to figure out ideas for a group costume.
In the end, the rest of the teachers backed out, and my boyfriend and one female teacher were the only ones left. He told me she was going to be Cookie Monster, and he would be the cookie.
I was kind of pissed about it, because he never wanted to do a couple costume with me. I really had no business even giving it a second thought, but in the moment, I couldn't help be jealous. What advice would you give? You have to remember that the people you are with could choose to be with someone else, but they haven't. They are with you, and they are with you for a reason. Be confident in your relationship and trust your partner.
*Name has been changed.