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If Your Partner's Jealousy Is Too Intense, Here's What An Expert Suggests

I wouldn't consider myself a jealous person. If anything, I may be too trusting. But even I've had times in my life when the ugly green monster known as jealousy was living rent-free in my mind and heart. I was miserable. Sometimes the jealousy was warranted, but mostly I was just feeling the ghosts of heartbreak's past coming back to haunt me. Other times it was over a misunderstanding which, once addressed with my partner, made letting go of the jealous feelings much easier. If this is sounding familiar, but it's your partner's jealousy that’s too intense, Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples' therapist in Los Angeles, tells Elite Daily it's best to confront the issue head-on and with a healthy dose of empathy.

"It is a very common experience," says Dr. Brown. "When someone is feeling jealous, they are feeling scared and they are also saying that this relationship is important enough to them to feel threatened. The question is not so much, ‘Do you feel jealous?' but more ‘Are you feeling so jealous and possessive that it is threatening your relationship?'" he explains. While it may be common to experience some fleeting moments of jealousy in a relationship, there are times when it can be a greater cause for concern, Dr. Brown reveals. "You should definitely become concerned if it is threatening your relationship; if one of the partners is feeling excessively possessive and controlling; and if jealousy is now one of the main themes in your relationship." If any of this is hitting close to home, here is how Dr. Brown says you should proceed.

Talk To Your Partner About How They’re Feeling.

When you're ready to address your partner's jealousy, the best way forward is to open the lines of communication with them, explains Dr. Brown. To ensure this process goes as smoothly as possible, make sure to approach the subject with an open mind and let your partner know it’s a safe space to express how they're feeling. “The most important thing, initially, is to provide a safe atmosphere for you or your partner to talk about what thoughts, images, and feelings are coming up around jealousy,” Dr. Brown suggests. Keep in mind it may take time (and multiple conversations) to make real, substantive headway. “It is important to find out why one of you is feeling jealous. There could be any number of reasons for this. You definitely need to have what will likely be a series of conversations about this if the level of jealousy is a constant issue,” he adds.

Find The Root Cause Of The Jealousy.

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The goal of any conversation you’re having with your partner around their jealousy should, at least in part, be about discovering the underlying issue behind their feelings of mistrust, says Dr. Brown. “Try to find out what is triggering their jealousy. Did they have a bad experience with this before? Have they been cheated on? What was that like for them? Do they have trust issues in general?” he suggests. After you've determined the root of their jealousy, you are more equipped to begin addressing it, he explains. “Once you have discovered the main issues, it is important to give them reassurance while, at the same time, setting some healthy boundaries so that their jealousy does not damage [your] relationship.”

What To Do If Nothing Changes.

Talking to your SO about their jealousy should ideally help to resolve the situation. However, if you’ve had multiple conversations and nothing is changing (or if, in fact, the dynamic has gotten worse), Dr. Brown says it's time to get outside help. “Should things still not change, and the jealous partner is not feeling secure, then it may be time to seek out a professional couples' counselor to help you both navigate these very choppy emotional waters,” he advises. Dealing with jealousy is a complicated and painful experience, so having someone who specializes in relationships guide you through the process can be invaluable.

The ultimate takeaway here is that a partner's trust issues are something you can work through if all parties are willing to be open about what they are truly feeling and can come from a place of empathy. However, if your partner's jealousy becomes possessive, controlling, or in any way frightens you, there are resources available to help. You can always contact the National Domestic Hotline for guidance and they’re available by phone (1-800-799-7233) or by chat on their site. You are not in this alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.