If you've caught your boo looking over your shoulder to see who you're texting or if they're starting to seem a little suspicious every time you go out, you may be wondering if your partner is harboring some jelly feels. Whether they expressed their jealous feelings to you or you're just picking up a vibe, it's not always easy to know how to confront a jealous partner. Confrontation can be overwhelming in any relationship. But when it comes to addressing jealously with your partner, experts say the best move is to start with a self check-in.
"Before you ever confront a partner about being jealous you need to first need to define for yourself and for them what 'jealous' is," Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist and Host of The Kurre and Klapow Show tells Elite Daily. "You need to note the actual behaviors that are happening. The more specific you can be about what they are doing, or saying that makes you think they are jealous the better." Whether you've caught them looking through your DMs or you feel their eyes on you when you talk about your new coworker, pinning down exactly what's making you sense some jealously is the first step in talking with your partner.
While your partner being a little jelly may make you a little #annoyed, licensed marriage and family therapist Nicole Richardson attests that the best way to confront a jealous parter is by being gentle. "Often the best way to deal with conflict is to be sincerely curious, not sarcastic —ask you partner what bothers them most about the situation and what is the worst possible outcome," Richardson says. Trying to open the conversation for your partner to express where they're coming from will allow you and your boo to verbalize your needs, without putting anyone on the spot. Of course, if your partner has been through some infidelity or relationship pains in the past, Richardson shares that their jealousy may not even be related to anything *you* are doing. "If your partner's jealousy is something they brought into the relationship, then it has little to nothing to do with you," Richardson says. By understanding that your partner's jealous may be the product of past relationships, you can figure out how to best support your partner moving forward.
When addressing jealously in a relationship, it's important to look back to where the jealous feelings are coming from. Susan Winter, bestselling author and relationship expert shares the best way to combat jealousy may be by offering support. "If your partner is feeling scared and insecure, reassure them of your affection," Winter says. "Ask them what things they need to feel safe and secure. Negotiate on those needs so that both of you come up with 'a win.'" If you find your partner wants to spend more time with you, but your schedule is already packed, Winter suggests finding ways to make your partner know that they are a priority to you — from implementing a running date night to planning a weekend away. Of course, if the jealousy seems pretty baseless, Winter attests the importance of addressing that as well. "Explain to your partner that relationships require a basis of trust, and that you need to know that they trust you," Winter says. "Healthy relationships are capable of solving conflict through negotiation and compromise because both partners care enough to make things right."
Of course, when solving any relationship conflict, the only way through is to talk it out. While being open and honest is always important, according to Dr. Klapow, when addressing jealous with your partner, it may be best to keep the literal word "jealous" out of the conversation. "Don’t use the word jealous," Dr. Klapow says. "Be specific. Say that you are noticing that when you spend time with this person, at work, with friends etc. your partner’s mood seems to be different." Being specific about the behaviors you are witnessing and how you are feeling can frame the conversation around supporting each other, not on placing blame or accusations. Dr. Klapow shares that your partner's jealously may be rooted in insecurity or their own need for validation. Addressing the jealousy then, can be less about what they are doing wrong, and more about how you could better communicate as a team. "Do not use this as a confrontation — put into context your feelings for them relative to your feelings for the other people and situations and be specific about what your partner can do to feel more assured," Dr. Klapow says.
If you're getting the sense your partner is feeling a little jealous, it may help to first check in with yourself about why you're feeling this way. Coming to your partner with specific behaviors that you've noticed can frame the conversation around supporting each other in the future. You and your partner deserve to feel supported in every step of your relationship. Having open and honest discussions to express your needs directly can nix any budding jealousy and make room for your love to grow.